The independent London newspaper

If there is a democratic deficit with the EU we should look to Westminster not Brussels

23 November, 2018

• THE government is in tatters, with a self-proclaimed splinter group in the cabinet and Rees-Mogg’s ERG corralling its members to unseat the prime minister.

Against this chaotic backdrop, Terry Wood’s assertion that “The biggest lie of all was when I went to vote in 1975 and was told it was for a new trading area, not the European super-state it turned out to be” provokes some thought (Lie about the trading area that became a super-state, November 9).

I’m a history buff and occasionally watch Simon Schama’s excellent History of Britain. Introducing the section on the Civil War he says: “The civil wars were not just an accident, or an occasion to dress up as Cavaliers and Roundheads.

“They were that most un-British event – a war of ideas, ideas that mattered deeply to contemporaries because at the heart of them was an argument about liberty and obedience. That argument became lethal at Edgehill and it would echo for generations through British history. As a matter of fact, that argument has never really gone away.”

That argument is rarely made explicit but has resurfaced with Brexit. The question has become one of who governs Britain. 17.4 million of us think the EU has too much power and that power should be diminished.

The EU was always a political project as much as an economic one. If now we say that the EU is too powerful, we must accept that our governments have signed up to this.

In 2010, only two per cent of people thought the EU was an important issue, way below the economy, immigration, education and the NHS. Europe didn’t seem to be on the political radar.

Perhaps this is why we weren’t given a vote on either the Maastricht or Lisbon treaties. Had we been able to vote then, perhaps we wouldn’t have Brexit now. If there is a democratic deficit with the EU we should look to Westminster not Brussels.

Richmond Grove, N1


Share this story

Post a comment