There will come a time when we perceive Britain – with its traditional global outlook, it’s long history as a merchant and maritime power, with its trade links and special relationships all over the world – becoming part of the European Union as a folly, an historical error. While post-war British politicians from Attlee to Churchill believed in intergovernmental cooperation between European allies, and the conservation of our national independence, the ideal of a unified Europe subject to a supranational government became the dominant ideology on the continent, and eventually enraptured the ruling elite in Britain too.
Now the EU referendum is rapidly approaching and we have an opportunity to correct this historical error and leave the European Union to embrace our future as a progressive influence for free trade, democracy and intergovernmental cooperation in the modern age of globalisation.
Leaving the EU means ending our political union. It means leaving the political, judicial and monetary institutions of the EU and the common policies but, crucially, it does not mean leaving the Single Market. Remain campaigners will continue to base a large part of their message of fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) on the conflation of European Union membership with participation in the Single Market. The EU is not the Single Market and participation does not require EU membership.
It is not necessary or desirable to end our participation in the Single Market when we secede from political union. Independent nations such as Norway and Iceland have access to the Single Market, but they also have control of their trade policy and are nor subjugated by EU institutions. They participate directly and independently in the complex, globalised regulatory process and are able to wield a veto.
The reason Remain campaigners will focus relentless on the alleged risks to trade and the economy is to distract from a proper discussion about the nature of the EU. Europhiles understand only too well that the general public are largely ignorant about its true nature, and a majority vote for leaving would be far more likely if it was widely understood. This is why it is imperative for Leave campaigners that we raise awareness.
The EU is not, of course, some kind of free trade zone, it is not a marketplace, it is a supranational organisation unique in the world, with institutions that are not replicated elsewhere. Member States are subordinate to the supranational government and their individual influence is limited. This had been the purpose of the EU throughout its history, it was never intended to be merely a common market. From the very first mentions of the idea a century ago, throughout the development of the ideology in the 1920’s and 30’s, to the beginning of its creation in the aftermath of WWII; the intention was always to unify Europe under one government.
The future of the EU is one of deeper integration, with the completion of economic and monetary union already set out in the recent Five Presidents Report, and the ultimate destination being common policies on the economy, defence and everything else you would expect of a de facto state. Britain may secure second class status outside the Eurozone but the direction of travel is the same. The public must be made to understand this, and base their vote on the truth, something that Remain campaigners will strive to conceal.
There are a multitude of international organisations that work on an intergovernmental basis; bringing together representatives of independent nations who take part in decision by unanimity, rather than by majority vote. The public need to know that the EU is not one of them. It is not like NATO nor is it like the Commonwealth. Neither is it like the European Free Trade Association, which I endorse rejoining, because it is not based on supranationalism, there is no majority voting, and it really is about equitable cooperation between nations allied in their mutually beneficial endeavour to increase trade and prosperity. There is no majority voting in NATO either; each member takes its own decision on what action to take in the event of an act of aggression. Moreover, you can leave NATO in one year in a simple process. The EU is an entirely different beast, far more complex, and its central aim is to turn nations into vassals and build an empire.
It is a top down construction that has sought since its inception to gradually suppress European nation states, to harmonise them, to drain them of power, to take increasing control of their economies, and micro-manage them in a way that has a profound effect on domestic policies in a way that the peoples of each nation barely understand, with the ultimate aim of the total abolition of their independence. The secret hand of EU governance has effectively turned national governments into provincial governors, and will continue to centralise and remove power and control from the people of Europe as we move into a post-democratic age.
The EU is following in the footsteps of empires of the past, driving the unification of Europe under the ultimate control of one government, and crushing dissent with economic exploitation and political intimidation. It has imposed unelected governments in Italy and Greece and willfully ignores referendum results that reject its policies.
This is what the British public must come to understand. Economic links were always a means to an end, designed to facilitate political integration in stages and gradually increase its power. This has always been better understood on the continent, but ignorance is rife in Britain, and the focus has always been on the economic element. British business finds it particularly difficult to grasp this, as do many politicians. While business leaders have a legitimate interest in the workings of the economy and the structure of the market, they do not have an interest –any more than any other individual citizen – in deciding if democratic political power should be removed from a nation.
Please, make this a talking point to anyone unsure about the EU. Its unalterable supranational character renders it totally incompatible with national democracy and self-governance. In a real free democracy, the people elect their representatives directly and have the final say on who governs them. In the EU our representatives are subordinate to the European Court of Justice and the Commission and their role in the European Council is severely limited. Above our own government – who the public expect to have the power to implement policies as they see fit – is a vast, complex layer of supranational government and bureaucracy; power is not vested in the British people, therefore Britain is no longer a democracy, but a subjugated vassal with decadent politics.
Tony Benn famously posed five questions for the powerful:
What power have you got?
Where did you get it from?
In whose interests do you use it?
To whom are you accountable?
How do we get rid of you?
Ask the question in the corridors of power in Brussels and it becomes easier to understand the essential anti-democratic nature of the EU.
The referendum is primarily about who governs us, not business. We made a tragic error when we gave away our status as a self-governing democracy in our demoralised state as it seemed our decline was terminal. It was sold as means of securing better trade and improving our export performance thereby stopping the rot. However, the grounds for our accession no longer apply. The high growth rate of the Common Market was temporary, thus it was not a sacrifice worth making but a highly damaging and ultimately pointless surrender.
In the long term Britain has huge economic potential to realise as an independent free trading nation and the only way to refresh and reform our degraded politics and restore our democracy is to correct this error and vote leave.
The views expressed in this article are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Conservatives for Liberty