During these EU referendum days I find myself being a member of a not much talked about group. There’s the remain camp and the Brexiters. Then there’s also the reluctant remainers. However, I’m in the reluctant Brexit camp.
I’ve been pro-EU most of my life. Ever since I started learning about the EU while studying for my combined Law with Politics degree I was impressed, almost in awe of the European club in which Britain is, for now, a member. However, that was academia and I now realise that so much of the EU system I never got to know.
Since completing my degree in 2002 so much since that time has changed and I’ve learnt a lot more about the EU. Being a member of the EU has indeed provided us with some good employment and consumer protection laws, I wouldn’t deny that. But this isn’t good enough. When I look at the whole picture I can no longer justify why we relinquished so much of our democratic control. Why we renounced, not pooled, a huge chunk of our sovereignty. Why our Supreme Court is not supreme. Why we weaken our economy by inhibiting trade with the rest of the world because of restrictive EU rules. Why we can’t control our own immigration system.
I have no idea what the European Parliament debated today, this week or even this month. Do you? In fact I don’t know what its debated this whole year. We are all so remote from it all. The Parliament is the only elected institution in the EU but by no means the most powerful. That title goes to the unelected Commission which of course sets the legislative agenda. One third democracy doesn’t cut it for me. In practice it’s even less. Many argue that our House of Lords is unelected and so our own domestic legislature is only half democratic. They would be right if it wasn’t for the Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949 which allow the Commons, the most powerful chamber, to override the Lords if it tries to block legislation. This ensures the democratic will of the electorate is not suprressed.
Some also try to argue that the EU has maintained the peace in Europe since the end of the Second World War. I dare say it has indeed helped with some negotiating processes, but the real peace has been secured by another organisation called NATO.
When remain supporters ask me, and in the process try to trip me up, how leaving the EU will affect my day to day life I simply reply by saying:
‘I will feel so much better knowing that our democracy has been restored. I will feel so much better knowing we have recovered our sovereignty. I will feel so much better knowing we can control EU migration. I will feel so much better knowing hundreds of millions of pounds will no longer be under EU control. And of course I will feel so much better knowing that we will be free to establish new trading arrangements with the other 90% of the world’s population, and ensure our long term economy will be stronger than it has ever been’.
The European Union has had its day.
Jamie Fulford - Digital Media and IT Officer
Welwyn Hatfield Labour Party