The campaign for the UK to leave the EU, Brexit, is presently ahead in the polls. This is not surprising as the EU is the clearest example yet of the growing disconnect between the political elite and those they purport to serve.
The deeply-divisive and flawed referendum process is the inevitable result of political factions deliberately misleading the electorate over a long period of time, and not just in the UK. Post war Europe was determined never to repeat the mistake of two World Wars and the political class was convinced that the only way to ensure this was ever closer union. However, mission creep set in as seasoned wartime statesmen were replaced by young career politicians. The new elite were enthralled by pan-European power and stepped up their empire building. The people became increasingly marginalised as well-intentioned and politically correct diktats flowed like water. The EU’s first fatal mistake was by its leaders and apparatchiks in seeking to fast track events ahead of electoral approval or knowledge. The second fatal mistake was to replace the elasticity of variable currencies with the straitjacket of the Euro. All were to become equal whether or not they could afford to or even wished to change their lifestyles. However, in common with all ruling cliques, mistakes are not admitted to and the inevitable answer is still more unification. A single government and a single budget will apparently now be required to support the single currency.
The founders of the EU project recognised the danger of over-centralisation and advocated devolving power to a local level. They even adopted a term from the Catholic Church to define this, ‘subsidiarity.’ This holds that social and political issues should be dealt with at the most local level possible. Unfortunately, the opposite is now taking place with ever more power gravitating towards the centre.
Brexit and Remain are both right in what they say. Brexit is correct about the inability to control our borders, red tape and the restriction on global trading by the EU. Conversely, Remain is right to point out that there would be damage to trade and that our ability to stand up to major players such as Russia and China would be weakened. This tells us that the referendum will solve nothing. However, no middle way is on offer and we are stuck with a blunt Yes or No choice, neither of which will be in our best interests. The EU has made many mistakes but it has also got some things right and must be reformed rather than blown asunder. However, it will take a concentrated effort by all its member states to bring about the changes that will be required.
The Campaign for a Free Parliament aims to revitalise our democracy by breaking the stranglehold of the major political parties. Britain faces a multitude of problems at present with more to come. We firmly believe that the only way to overcome these difficulties will be to get as many people as possible to play a part, no matter how small. We must raise levels of self-reliance and responsibility by stimulating diversity and localism so that everyone has a stake and a say in their own country. We firmly believe that, if the old European parliaments were to regain their sovereignty and adopt the measures that we propose for Westminster, the EU would reform from within. Not only could the UK then settle any remaining differences with a reformed EU, but Scotland would also be keen to take its place within the new order. The EU did not build the Europe we know and love; it diminishes it by destroying its character, institutions and traditions. The issue for the British is not actually Europe just as the UK is not anathema to Scots. The real problem is that neither Westminster nor Brussels are sufficiently responsive or accountable to those they purport to serve.
We have invited all UK parliamentarians to become part of the movement for reform and we are now discussions with a number of them. Hopefully the referendum will prove to be the catalyst we need to get the process of reform under way.
With wild claims and counterclaims by both sides, the referendum has reflected badly on our politicians and they will need to work hard to rebuild trust. A significant part of the electorate is now repelled altogether by tribal politics and not voting, or voting for extremists, the status quo plainly cannot prevail. This presents a unique opportunity for like-minded parliamentarians who recognise the need for change to coalesce in order to reform the system. We believe that our proposals, such as Recall, would provide a sound base for any such coalition. Hopefully the destructive EU referendum will provide the catalyst we need to get the process underway.