I’m for staying in, for a number of reasons, but in no small part because the EU project is one that brings humanity together and forges together our European nations as a common civilisation and power-bloc that can compete and act on a comparable level to the USA, Russia and China and to continue to compete on the world stage with emerging powers.
A choice to stay in is a hopeful one, looking to the future, making common cause in a united human enterprise and a step towards a more united and cooperative humanity.
A choice to leave is a victory for petty nationalism and short-term thinking. A further loss of our national standing and influence and a cynical opting out of the greater human project of unity and cooperation.
Isn’t it better to look forward and up with optimism? To retain the human and workers rights protections the EU gives us? To work together with our neighbours to improve our lot as a whole?
I’ll be voting to remain in an imperfect but improvable step on that optimistic path and I hope you will to. For once let’s have some ambition and pride in our civilisation and reach forward.
I’d stop there, but I want to address a common argument against remaining in the EU which I hear a lot. The argument that it is ‘undemocratic’.
This is, frankly, laughable coming from our nation with our First-Past-The-Post system that discards a huge number of people’s votes, our gerrymandered boundaries and our unelected House of Lords. The EU is arguably much more democratic than our own institutions and more representative (in content) of the British people’s views.
Do we get outvoted? Sure, but that’s true of any minority viewpoint in a democracy. If you’re in favour of Brexit are you in favour of Scottish independence? Welsh? Northern Ireland? Cornwall? Should more left-wing urban areas be allowed to leave the UK because they’re outvoted by the more conservative rural areas?
Isn’t this democracy working as intended, just at a larger scale on decisions that affect Europe as a whole?
As to the parts of the EU…
- The European Parliament is directly elected via proportional representation and with a number of representatives proportionate to the population of the member states. That’s much more democratic and representative than our own system.
- The European Court of Justice is made up of one judge for each state agreed upon by the elected governments of those member states. Our elected representatives are involved in these choices.
- The European Central Bank is an independent bank whose appointees serve fixed terms and are agreed upon, again by the elected governments of the member states. Our elected representatives are involved in these choices.
- The European Council is made up of the elected heads of the member states. Our elected representative is present there.
- The Council of Ministers contains one member from each state of the union appointed by our elected national governments.
- The EU Commission is made up of representatives appointed by our elected national governments. It exists independent of national interests but is nonetheless chosen by our national representatives.
- The Court of Auditors is made up, again, of appointees chosen by our elected governments.
In every single case the apparatus of the EU is accountable either directly (The European Parliament) or indirectly via our elected representatives. If you consider the UK to be democratic then the EU certainly is, and that means not always getting our way. This is simply an invalid critique, especially coming from within the UK.