More on the EU. And Brexit. And taking our football and going home.
One of my many flaws, apart from my vision and idea of democracy within the EU is that I love a good discussion. So I replied again. I probably shouldn’t do it again though!
It is possible the young Sapper died to protect and promote democracy. In 1918 that democracy had a domestic electorate of a mere 7.7 million men over the age of 21 and ruled over an empire of over 400 million people. One could say it wasn’t overly democratic.
I would suggest that more likely he died for King and Country to defeat a coalition that Britain had been at war with since he was 11. All parties entered that war in 1914 not to ‘defend democracy’ — Germany had a bicameral legislative system that was arguably *more* democratic than Britain’s at the time — but to honour alliances they had created, settle old scores and take advantage of the fighting to gain prestige and increase their territory and sphere of influence.
Sapper Gavan was a small cog in that Empire’s industry of war which secured Britain increased prestige, settled old scores and moved the British Empire territorially and by population towards its zenith.
I concede that my both my vision and the idea of democracy within the EU each have flaws, no system can ever be perfect, but they can always evolve.
Interestingly the UK has enjoyed a remarkably powerful position within the EU which was diluted by the Thatcher and Major governments. Both the Single European Act and Maastricht Treaty reduced the number of things that could be immediately vetoed by the UK member of the Council of Ministers and now can be passed by a majority vote.
But one good example of rejecting EU laws using that veto was in 2011 by Cameron. His single vote against all the other council members applied the veto and shut down a revision of the Lisbon Treaty that he said didn’t benefit the UK.
There are also a number of opt-out clauses to EU law that the UK and other states within the EU have. A good example for the UK is protocol 36 of the Treaty of Lisbon, but there are others. The UK has even been able to opt out of sections of the law, but then opt back into the bits it likes. That’s a pretty snazzy thing to be able to do if you ask me!
As I’m sure you’re aware, I can’t democratically vote for the head of financial control for expenditure on any projects in the EU, unless they are my local MEP and they happen to be on a council which influences those matters. That kind of direct democracy would be absolutely unwieldy in the EU, just like it would be in the UK.
I have the ability to vote for my local MP, but not for the head of the Bank of England or for any of the Cabinet or anyone else who gains their position by appointment, unless that is my MP. I am one man with one vote in a multi-layered and complex democracy. Some might say those two systems are quite similar — both could be improved.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think the EU is close to perfect, just like I don’t think the UK Parliamentary system is. I feel that a great deal could be done to evolve both. The English and then British and then UK political system has had hundreds of years to develop. This EU, the EEC and the ECSC before it only really started in the years post-WW2. I feel it has had growing pains just like any nascent political entity, but my opinion is we would be better off shaping it from within, rather than without. To be friends within the local markets, rather than adversaries.
I appreciate this is a ‘long-game alliance’ stance, but I have not seen a credible reason to leave the union that would suggest we are going to end up better off taking our football and going home, rather than being united in our diversity with the rest of the local players.