I am starting to feel sorry for the Englishman. Once he used to rule the waves and now the Scottish have their own parliament. The Welsh have their assembly. They don’t even rule at home anymore as Feminism has brought equality there. These lost souls have been struggling for years to find something they can fight for and so we were given Brexit.
It is interesting how the majority of Brexit voters are white males, lost and fighting their demise into equality. What I find most interesting is the convoluted arguments they make to justify these feelings of hurt, one of which I would like to tackle. Sovereignty.
Sovereignty: The Authority of State to govern itself or another state.
As ever, this is not about fairness or democracy but about power. There are people who feel we are losing our power to influence and control. Yet the move towards shared sovereignty, where we join groups to ease trade, travel and politics, is to give a little away to gain a lot. Are we soon to abandon the UN and its international court of justice? We have moved from fiefdoms, to the first king Egbert in 827, to eventually having a king of England. Wars were a constant blight on England from all parts, stopped by a Union with Scotland. Strength in numbers allows peace, which allows trade, which allows innovation, equality and freedom. This is why Winston Churchill was a driving force for the broken European states to join together after the war to create a trading alliance. He also foresaw that this would eventually become political. It is the logical conclusion to maintain peace and prosperity. Each step in our long history has led one area to lose some sovereignty over themselves, for the greater good of peace. We are currently throwing this away.
So, does the UK even make its own laws anymore? If you listened to the Brexit debate you would think Westminster have been twiddling their thumbs for the last few years as up to 70% of our laws come from the EU. It may not shock you anymore, but this insane use of statistics to manipulate public opinion is simply not true.
The first point to make is that there is a difference between law and regulations. The EU predominantly creates the regulations for Agriculture, Fisheries, external trade and the environment. This is what we joined in 1972, that as a trading bloc we would all follow the same rules. British MEP’s are part of this democratic process to create the regulations. There are many who argue that the common agricultural policy and fisheries have been bad for the UK, but with both, a scientific approach is prevailing and improving the policy. Some may have noticed Cod is back on the menu in the UK and I would suggest poverty in farming is more to do with the supermarkets than the EU, with their subsidies. Even the house of commons library warns “there is no totally accurate, rational or useful way of calculating the percentage of national laws based on or influenced by the EU”*. Therefore when you hear UKIP/Brexiteers say ‘they know’; you know they are lying.
It seems then that the laws that genuinely affect our lives: Welfare and social care, education, criminal law, family law and the NHS have little influence from the EU*. It is the failure of westminster that causes the issues in this country, not Brussels. Except, I hear you cry, the convention of human rights Act in 1998 which has so blighted our country. Without it terrorists would not be free and that european court would not be continually changing our decisions.
This is again wrong. The first mistake is to confuse the European court of Justice (ECJ) with the European court of human rights. Something I did until researching this blog. There is a brief description about the differences in the attached link.
The ECJ is mainly concerned that the countries within the EU follow the regulations that have been set and queries from this. This is not the courts creating laws for us to follow, just making sure we follow the rules that have been agreed. This will probably make little difference to the hardline brexiteer because they did not make the rules, so they are not fair. We obviously did, just that we agreed them with 27 other nations. A tremendous achievement in my book.
The European court of human rights is independent of the EU and ensures we treat people with equality and respect. I can understand how the ruling class have an issue with equality in terms of gender and race, feeling that they are losing their supremacy must hurt their feelings and ego’s. It is just a shame they were able to hide it behind the sovereignty issue.
So, we have a situation, that as a club we follow the same rules and we have become very successful as a nation being part of this club. From the sick man of Europe in the 1970’s, to ones of its powerhouses all while in the EU. We have the ability to pass laws to affect the nation in the way that will truly support a fair and egalitarian society and if we don’t follow the rules of the club, or we don’t treat people properly then a higher court than our own will tell us to sort it out. We may feel we lose a little of our sovereignty when this happens. Good, we should be treating people properly in the first place. So the questions is; is it worth it? A strong economy, a diverse population, human rights and an empathy for others is enough for me to say yes. I dont think the EU is perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it is merely 24 years old, compared to the hundreds of years we have had to create our own democratic system. We should be in the EU driving change for all the people of the EU and being a strong voice within. Not allowing ourselves to look back and turn into the sick man again, but worse, sulking in the corner because we can’t have it all our own way.
* Fullfact.org – an independent fact checking website, run on donations if you can support.