It’s hard to get away from the reality that most people who are virulently opposed to the EU are twats, who probably shed a tear while watching videos of the queens coronation on youtube.
Yet when the elections come round in a couple of months I will be officially joining their ranks when i offer my vote to the NO2EU coalition. The NO2EU is a new left wing euro-skeptic trade union backed organisation. On their about page they say the following:
We want to see a Europe of independent, democratic states that value its public services and does not offer them to profiteers; a Europe that guarantees the rights of workers and does not put the interests of big business above that of ordinary people. We believe the current structures of the EU makes this impossible.
Personally speaking I have never had any great interest in defending British sovereignty in and of itself, and in abstract terms have no problem with the idea of nations pooling sovereignty. Yet the real issue with the EU is that of democracy. The point is that, whether we like it or not, it is within of nation states that democratic power – insofar as it exists – can currently be brought to bear. The real problem with policy decisions being made in Brussels, or by the European Court of Justice, is not that they are made beyound these shores. Rather it is that they are made outside the realm of mainstream public debate.
Today we have witnessed the ridiculous spectacle of the unelected EU commission telling the elected governments of France, Greece, Ireland, Spain and the UK to rein in there fiscal deficits. Deficit spending, of course, is a crucial tool through governments can ameliorate rising unemployment, and lessen the enormous pain caused by recession. Reining it in, meanwhile, means cutting public services. It should be obvious to absolutely anybody with an ounce of commitment to democratic principles that decisions on public spending should be taken by elected and accountable politicians.
But could the EU be democratised? The answer I would give is it possibly could in formal terms, and that it absolutely couldnt in real terms. Arguably it is impossible for a territory in which 20 odd languages are spoken to operate as a democracy in any real sense. Pressure groups, political parties, civil society, the popular press will necessarily find it difficult to operate on a truly transnational level. It is a structure far more conducive to negotiations between elites, between bureaucrats carrying around armies of translators, than to popular action spanning the scope of the territory. Meanwhile any social and industrial gains that can be won within a national framework are necessarily imperilled by a structure enforces absolute mobility of capital, goods and services.
So, as somebody who has no interest in British patriotism, but does have an interest in making popular interest and popular action the centre of politics, I will be voting ‘NO’ to the EU.