Tag Archives: European Commission

Confession: I think the EU referendum was a mistake

I now think that holding a referendum on Britain’s continued membership of the European Union was a mistake. I have, I fear, reached this conclusion far too slowly.

I suspect it was the glamour of it all; the honour of working at the heart of a history-making political campaign that clouded my judgement.

I was in the midst of it all a 20-year old that had been given a fantastic first job I was arguably too immature for. That is not to say that it wasn’t anything other than a modest role, but to me it meant the world.

This, combined with occasional television appearances after the result, got to my head a little too much. I should have realised sooner that simply taking part in the referendum would not be enough.

It is a matter of head versus heart. The heart looks back with fondness at the privilege of campaigning and the many friends and contacts made.

But the head is nagging me about our constitutional difficulties, ambiguous Brexit options and unstable, incompetent leadership during such a sensitive period.

I always try my utmost to allow my head to win these battles. And so in this case I must concede that referendums are not the way to exercise ground-breaking political reform.

It has been quietly obvious for a while now that the real winner of the referendum was in fact David Cameron, who was able to use the result to slip out of government in time and avoid the mess we are now in.

He and his advisors probably saw all of this coming. I predicted as the results were coming through on June 23rd that he would step down as Prime Minister, but, rather naively, did not foresee the obstacles that acting on the result has since faced.

The main problem with last year’s plebiscite was that it did not provide clarity for those like Richard North who supported both Brexit and membership of the single market.

I wish I had taken notice of researchers like him (and indeed his blog eureferendum.com) much earlier than I did. He and his son Pete, bizarrely inept at social interaction, have yielded answers to complex questions for longer than our media has been able to keep up.

Referenda are binary, usually offered to appease the electorate and are and deliberately oversimplified. The options given lack nuance, ensuring they provide exactly the fertile soil for disruption and chaos. This is why governments tend to support the status quo option. 

Our EU referendum created the inevitable problem that, in the event of a Leave vote, which became predictable weeks before polling day, ambiguity over what kind of Brexit its voters would prefer caused poisonous hostility. 

Now, a simple way of getting round this would have been to alter ballots in New Zealand-style fashion and ask those voting for Brexit a second question: “Do you think the UK should remain a member of the single market?”

Of course, we know what the answer would be if folk were well-informed. Since immigration was the largest single issue aroused by our camp, most would have opted for a single market exit too.

But that is not the point. My point is that a referendum over such a huge issue created a mandate for a policy without a policy. We were left directionless in an uphill battle.

And what made it worse was the fact that we had a government responsible for addressing the policy that did not agree with its premise in the first place. 

Despite being an exercise in direct democracy, our referendum exposed a sharp disconnect between public opinion and the preferences of those in the Westminster bubble. 

Referenda are, as I now appreciate more fully, renowned moreso for the constitutional upheaval they generate. Crimea in 2014 is perhaps a more extreme example. 

Since signalling for EU departure is the most profound democratic decision made by the British electorate arguably in history, it is no surprise that our politicians can barely organise themselves to adhere to it. 

In hindsight, a much more durable alternative to a national poll would have been a clear manifesto commitment, from either of the two major parties, to leaving.

Both Labour and the Tories have more than their fair share of voters wanting out, and any party claiming to be government material must be able to embrace the possibilities that come with legislative repatriation.

Yes, upon election, there would still have been the grave difficulties of negotiation, but at least direction and mandates would be more clearly established.

The only reason why neither party dared to do this was because they were (and still largely are) afflicted by the lingering Blairism that for so long prevented them from carrying out policies supported by faithless voters.

David Cameron certainly wouldn’t accept such an inclusion in a Tory manifesto. He is as supportive of the European project as they come.

A mutual friend of Dan Hannan and I, and notable Flexcit supporter, once told me that during his years at university, Mr Cameron donned prized cufflinks sporting the EU flag.

And the party’s current stock of leadership contenders aren’t much different, I might add. A referendum may therefore seem like an escape from this problem, but in reality caused many new ones of its own.

Had there been no referendum, significant pressure from Tory party members would have spurned their politicians into action, I am sure of it. 

I sometimes wonder what the European Commission and fellow member states think of all this. They cannot possibly consider Mrs May to be tough negotiating material.

She made far too humiliating a mess of last week’s General Election to be considered so, and only remains in Number 10 thanks to a cynical, gentleman’s agreement from the DUP (who themselves favour what we call ‘soft’ Brexit).

I must also point out here that in no way do I regret my vote or campaigning last year. I am as fervent a supporter of our secession as one can be. I just think that our means of securing that exit were profoundly flawed.

And since elections are now heavily influenced by last year’s result, as was expected given how divided we are, it may as well have been a party decision to take us out after all.

 


Initial reaction to my Brexit campaigning

On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of travelling down to Brighton for a couple of hours in order to campaign with Vote Leave. A stall was set up, some canvassing was arranged and hundreds of leaflets were distributed around the town centre. Despite not being there for too long, the experience was thoroughly enjoyable, and I look forward to my Sunday adventure in Bournemouth (this time for Leave.EU).

What was perhaps most interesting about my time on the coast was the strong noticeability of ignorance amongst the local electorate. Many of those I spoke to either were not particularly well informed on the issue of European Union membership, or when questioned seemed fairly non-committal and hesitant.

This, I thought, was much more so a reflection of political inactivity and a lacking in any real connection between politicians and public than it was genuine disinterest. The danger is, of course, that with so many blissfully unaware (out of perhaps 40 people asked, only a handful were familiar with TTIP, and even less so with its effects) citizens roaming around in the lead up to our referendum, the more government can get away with.

Many in Britain, particularly socialists, are in for a huge surprise when this deal lands. Little do the disenfranchised know that a trade agreement of such magnitude will result not only in the privatisation of various European public services, but also in a much stronger corporate presence within EU and UK law.

Those who disagree with my euroscepticism do not bother me. For the most part, I enjoy entertaining divergent opinion, and those with whom I disagree are free to take a different stance. So long as voters can substantiate and justify an electoral decision, disagreement is usually welcomed.

It is those who show a lack of interest and reject politics that do. Those who feel that the system is too ‘dirty’ and who may feel unable to make any real difference. Understandable though this thought process may well be, it isn’t helping matters. Particularly when one considers that our national vote on June 23rd is of critical importance, both domestically and internationally.

The UK’s vote on whether it should retain membership of the European Union will, quite literally, mould the immediate and future destiny of our country. This referendum, after all, is fundamentally about who governs Britain, and how. I am astonished and irked somewhat by the wave of neutrality that I meet when speaking to members of the public about the subject.

So when I travel to Bournemouth on Sunday, I’ll remain cautious of encountering a similar level of ignorance. The leave campaign is well and truly under way for me, and the part I play (as well as all those making the effort country-wide) leading up to the summer vote will be incredibly important.

David Cameron has done a particularly fine job of highlighting just how dictatorial and domineering the European Commission are thus far, and it’s down to people on the street like myself to take advantage. Britain’s renegotiation has been a sham and our membership of the European Union is on the brink. Now all that remains is for British people to wake up.

 

 

 

 


Letting rip at all of this ‘renegotiation’ bullshit

I think it’s now pretty clear that David Cameron regrets his decision to campaign for the ‘stay’ vote. In hindsight, his alleged renegotiation may have proved far more fruitful had he expressed a threat to take his country out of the European Union. Perhaps, in such a case, the European Commission would have scrambled together some extra concessions, awarded him for his troubles and waited patiently for the referendum.

For any British patriot like me, having to watch a Prime Minister tour Eastern Europe, pleading with foreign governments to allow Britain a so-called ’emergency break’ on migrant benefits has been not only an insult to our sovereignty, but a refreshing wake-up call for anybody who had previously questioned the control that the EU has over the United Kingdom.

An independent, self-governing Britain wouldn’t, of course, have such a problem. If anything, this renegotiation has been a startling reminder of not only who this country’s supreme government is, but also their glaring lack of accountability. If only it was me at that negotiating table, instead of Mr Cameron.

The difficulties do not end with agreement between Donald Tusk and the Prime Minster, either. Once some sort of deal has been reached, other European Union members will be able to weigh in with their opinions and suggestions, possibly rendering any agreed negotiation obsolete. The whole thing would be laughable if it wasn’t so important.

When Bernard Jenkin, Conservative MP for North Essex, stood up in the House of Commons a couple of months ago and asked: “Is that it?” he wasn’t kidding around. The overwhelming problem with Britain’s renegotiation is that, quite plainly, no substantive attempt has been made to repatriate any existing legislative power. Nothing on fisheries, nothing on TAX or VAT rules, nothing on preventing the destruction of our coal-fired power stations and nothing on the European Council’s voting system.

It does pose the intriguing question of whether or not a successfully agreed deal will actually be a success for Britain, or whether it will actually be felt across the country. It isn’t entirely David Cameron’s fault, however. I get the sickening feeling that just about anybody, europhile or eurosceptic, in his position would have struggled to extract anything hugely substantial from our European neighbours.

Pathetic attempts to exclude the United Kingdom from ‘ever-closer-union’ and instead implement a new, cutely branded ‘associate’ membership are futile. Anybody interested in the subject need only read page 2 of the Treaty of Rome, 1957 to arrive at the conclusion that this project will not be stopped anytime soon. A rampant migrant crisis, soaring public debt and the threat of terrorism, though, have halted any aspirations for imminent political integration. I suspect normal service will be resumed in a year or two.

June 23rd is the target date for Britain’s vote on membership of the European Union, and my feeling is that the result will be incredibly close. In all likelihood, a mere 3-5% swing will be the deciding factor. But, no matter how we vote, one thing can be said for sure, and that is that David Cameron’s renegotiation should have absolutely no bearing on any voter’s decision-making.


Extended debate over the validity of republican arguments

Last week, I wrote a piece condemning what I thought to be rather lackluster arguments flouted against the institution of monarchy. The piece received a varied response, and for anybody interested, can be read here:

https://norgroveblog.com/2015/11/20/serious-responses-to-silly-anti-monarchy-arguments/

After receiving criticism (some misguided and some valid) from one Twitter user known as @sandpiper64 (also known as ‘JP’ and whom I must thank for what developed into an interesting discussion) I decided to take on the extended debate on this blog.

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The actual conversation was a long one, and lasted a good 45 minutes, but I shall interject the most significant claims into this post for the sake of time.

JP begins by asking me a very fair and simple question. ‘Is having an unelected head of state who can impose/reject legislation fine on the basis that they haven’t done it yet?’

It is worth mentioning at this time that since the Act of Settlement, 1701, British monarchs have been consigned to a constitutional realm of power. The legislative power of a sovereign is a hotly-contested issue, as every law passed requires the signature of the UK’s Head of State, but the Queen is officially unable to propose any legislation of her kind.

Assuming that JP is frustrated with the Queen’s power to impose legislation, I would like to note that on a personal level, I find it very comforting that we have, in our midst, a person able and willing to place constraints onto politicians. It may sound anti-democratic (because it is) to ensure that such a prospect remains so, but I shall remind readers that democratically elected politicians have visited upon this country a myriad of destructive or harmful laws and regulations. Why shouldn’t one be glad that somewhere in our system we have an inherent power capable of overriding the actions of our politicians (who in many cases themselves have proven to be corrupt in many ways over the years).

JP also eludes to the fact that a constitutional monarch has yet to refuse the Sovereign’s Assent (act of law-passing) which, isn’t actually true. In 1707, post-Act of Settlement, Queen Anne withheld her assent over the Scottish Militia Bill, which can be researched here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Militia_Bill

The act has not been carried out by Queen Elizabeth II, despite occasional pressures from ministers over the years. My advice to anybody, including JP, worried about the legislative power of an unelected head of state would be to focus your attention towards the European Commission and Jean-Claude Juncker; a man who is now our unofficial head of state, and who is responsible for legislative propositions and enforcement without any sort of mandate from the citizens of Europe.

On JP’s second point, concerning political campaigns and the democratic processes involved, I am equally sceptical. Political campaigns are immensely expensive, particularly leading up to General Election time, every five years. All of the UK’s major political parties are allotted tax-payers money in order to fund their respective campaigns, based on the number of parliamentary seats each one amasses. Exact cost increases as the number of seats increases, with UKIP being awarded £650,000 for attaining only one.

Presidential campaigns wouldn’t be much different, either, in all likelihood. The last presidential race in the United States (not including the ongoing one) back in 2012, recorded an astonishing $2bn combined expense for all who ran, on all sides of the political spectrum. Exact figures and references can be found, here:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2012/12/07/presidential-campaign-spending/1753971/

In my previous article, I spoke about the democratic mandate of our politicians and the flaws which are exposed by democracy. Like when you are presented with a menu in a restaurant, a ballot paper on polling day provides voters with a list of pre-selected candidates, all of whom are only put up for selection if they adhere to their party’s rules and ideals. The idea that we actually have the choice over who represent us on the world stage is, therefore, a bit of a mistake.

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Also in my last piece, I noted that the Queen, or any other constitutional monarch for that matter, is uninterested in personal advancement whilst sat atop the country’s political pyramid. JP responds by saying that the monarch already possesses immeasurable wealth, which is a slightly misleading statement, and that subjects are incapable of attaining such wealth.

Well, without sounding too pedantic, royal wealth is actually the property of the crown, not the individual who wears it. The Queen is legally unable to both sell the land she owns, and equally cannot buy it from the crown for personal use. On the issue of ‘living in a palace’, again on partially true. The Queen has residency in Scotland and at Windsor Castle, and so does not use Buckingham Palace as her personal, fixed abode.

On the face of it, it may seem easy to envisage and be envious of a palace, jewels and a golden carriage, but seldom do we focus on the things which royals sacrifice in order to carry out constant political, ambassadorial and national obligations. Things that we all take for granted; like privacy, freedom of speech and the ability to go on with our personal and social lives without judgement, hindrance or speculation.

Please remember these points before rushing to conclusions over an issue which should rightly be discussed. I’ll give @sandpiper64 credit for one thing he said to me: ‘Sometimes I wonder whether people see the monarchy as a good thing simply because this is the way we’ve always done it. We should question it and see if it really is the best thing for us.’

I couldn’t agree more.

 


Serious responses to common anti-monarchy arguments

As a former republican, I am well-placed to counter some of the useless and misguided rhetoric surrounding the institution of monarchy (If anybody is interested in reading about my change of heart on the subject, please do so by clicking here). Quite frequently, the arguments made in favour of British republicanism are so poorly crafted that I can scarcely believe the confidence with which they are fronted.

Since my philosophical switch, I have remained firm in my assumption that those directing contempt towards the royals are, more often than not, doing so out of envy rather than to forward any substantive political agenda. It is, therefore, the duty of any intelligent person to point out such flaws and attempt to persuade those that make them otherwise.

The first and most popular stance you tend to meet when discussing the issue of our constitutional monarchy is the notion that the institution glaringly offends and negates basic democratic principles. Whilst I cannot deny that Britain’s head of state is unaccountable and cannot be removed, I should point out to people reading that she has never, in any way, harmed or intruded beyond her constitutional realm, and has never proposed harmful legislation upon the country.

But, in a more broad sense, what does democracy actually mean? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for preserving it (hence my onslaught against both the House of Lords and the European Union) but it does seem to me to be highly overrated. It is worth mentioning that the politicians who are allegedly democratically elected are actually pre-selected. Politicians standing for office are only selected by their parties if they abide by the party’s rules and ideals.

So already, the system is exposed as flawed.

Secondly, there comes the issue of expense. The campaign group Republic (of which, and until recently, I was a member) recently exposed the yearly cost of monarchical maintenance as over £330m. This is a huge sum of money and undoubtedly induces tax-payer contributions, but I would take this opportunity to remind those angry about this that political campaigns (yes, including presidential ones) are also highly expensive.

Another argument used in favour of a British republic (one I was recently hit with on Twitter) which bewilders me beyond grief is the apparently worrisome fact that we have a person in the UK who is above the law, and cannot be charged with a crime. My dear friends, were a constitutional monarch to engage in criminal behaviour, the general public would unite in calling for his or her head.

It is in the best interests of the monarch concerned not to break laws which apply to subjects for the sake of preserving public opinion, and for the country to have stable government above the law composed of individuals uninterested in their own personal advancement.

So yes, in an ideal world, every child should indeed be born equally, and enjoy equal successes and equal opportunities, but within a capitalist state this is simply nothing more than a Utopian wish. Those born into royalty are robbed of the kind of private life that only subjects are allowed to enjoy, whilst having to engage in incessant public and political duty.

But even outside of royal spheres, children aren’t born equally. Capitalism, anyone? Richer parents can afford better education, facilities and healthcare for their children; ensuring better quality of life and long-term wealth retention. Equality, both in terms of rights and life chances, is a concept that no society or nation will ever circumscribe perfectly, so why whinge about it?

And as I finish up with this piece, I am reminded of that ever-relevant George Orwell quote. ‘All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others’.

 


The SNP’s nationalist pursuit has nothing to do with independence; it’s a glorified vanity project

If you picked up a newspaper earlier on in the week (I’ve had to delay this piece as incidents in Paris made the issue a less pressing one), you will no doubt have read about David Cameron’s disappointment over rejections to his Sunday trade proposals. A bill to extend trading hours on Sunday has officially been put on hold by the government after it was blocked the Scottish Nationals on the grounds that it would ‘drive down Scottish wages’.

Forgetting of course that the Scottish nationalists are more than happy for mass migration (both EU and external) to continue on a completely unsustainable scale; a political policy which also results in the driving down of wages. Why is no sufficient distinction made to justify this?

What a disastrous and thoroughly disagreeable charade the Scottish National Party has become.

A disorderly group of greedy, inward-facing politicians bound together by a hatred of the rest of the United Kingdom and rather bewildering support for the European Union. One has to wonder whether the Scottish Nationalist movement is simply an affair built out of boredom or vanity; rather than to achieve any substantive political purpose.

Those who back the idea of Scottish ‘independence’ (I’ll explain the inverted commas in a subsequent paragraph) clearly have a limited or skewed knowledge of Scottish history, and those who do will know all too well why preserving the Union is of paramount importance.

Scotland’s attempts at seventeenth century imperialising, while valiant and understandable, proved catastrophic at a time when fellow European nations (including the Kingdoms of England, France, Spain and Denmark) were leading the way in terms of their respective colonial endeavours, particularly across the Atlantic Ocean.

A 2,000-manned invasion of Panama, named New Caledonia for only a short period, in 1698 was Scotland’s last, and decisive attempt at empire-building. The country’s imperial efforts were denounced as failings, and the nation entered financial collapse. Scotland’s economy wilted and, were it not for the English, would not have been salvaged, as she simply couldn’t compete commercially or fiscally with her European neighbours.

And so, in 1707, the Act of Union passed by both England and Scotland (who had been sharing a monarch since 1603 anyway) was announced to combine the countries into one; ruled by an autonomous Westminster parliament, coupled with new powers transferred from the crown. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Now of course, a failed exhibition in the seventeenth century doesn’t necessarily mean Scotland would be economically or diplomatically incapable of national independence; that would be an absurd suggestion. My problem, though, is that Scotland’s EU-supporting ‘nationalists’ simply aren’t offering it, as much as they’d like to think they are.

European federalism proposed publicly by the Brussels Commission seems to me to be much more prominent an obstacle refraining Scotland from independence than lack of Westminster devolution, and I’m shocked that the SNP still blindly assume that EU membership is what a prosperous Scotland needs.

Within the Treaty of Rome (1957) on page 2, a clause calling for the determination to achieve ever close union between EU member states is written quite plainly and clearly. It’s a rather vague assertion, admittedly, but what it does represent undoubtedly (and history proves this) is the abolition of national sovereignty. Something the Scots allegedly hate.

A recent study conducted by an independent organisation known as ‘Business for Britain’ (which can be viewed here) found that European Union laws and regulations shape a staggering 65% of UK law. A Scottish National Party endorsing such intrusion doesn’t sound to me like a group too keen on independence at all.

So, if independence isn’t the true objective…what is?

My only guess is that this whole agenda is, fundamentally, nothing more than a glorified vanity project. Something for a select bunch of ignorant Scottish politicians to put their names to, and one which I fear many Scots will fall for. I was intrigued by (and, in truth, surprised) at just how close 2014’s referendum result actually was.

A second referendum hasn’t been ruled out by the SNP, and will no doubt be offered up within the next couple of decades. I just hope that the people of Scotland come to their senses a second time and decide not to entertain what is tabled as an opportunity for independence; but what, in reality, is nothing more than a vain and selfish demonstration of disloyalty.


Rees-Mogg and Jenkin were right to attack David Cameron’s thin EU proposals

I think Bernard Jenkin (MP for North Essex) captured my thoughts perfectly when, yesterday in the House of Commons, he stood up defiantly and asked of his Prime Minister’s renegotiation proposals: “Is that it?”

Echoed in spectacular fashion by Jacob Rees-Mogg, a fellow euroscpetic within the Conservative Party, the complaint arrowed its way around the chamber and represented not only my feelings, but the reaction of many political commentators too.

David Cameron’s performance at Chatham House yesterday wasn’t particularly inspiring. His speech felt like Bloomberg all over again and many of the points he made were recycled and rehashed. You would almost be forgiven for mistaken the two.

His four major, outlined proposals (which can be studied here) lacked any substantive content or demand. They were, in effect, suggestions made to the commission, all of which involved prompts and a string of promises which will likely not be kept.

Cameron’s inclusion of an exemption from ever closer union was particularly astounding, given the historical trajectory and founding purpose of the European Union. As the club’s commissioners and front-running politicians have announced throughout the years, this is of course the EU’s sole intention. Treaty of Rome, 1957 ring any bells?

I wonder if Jenkins and Rees-Mogg were perhaps too polite over the matter. It really doesn’t say too much for your Prime Ministerial credibility if your own backbenchers are decrying your efforts as ‘pretty thin gruel’.

Mr Cameron’s letter to the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, contained no desire to rectify or alter any existing legislation, and made no attempt whatsoever to restore some much-needed power to Westminster’s parliament. Strange, when you consider that respect for national sovereignty is, historically at least, a fairly major hallmark of conservatism.

The Prime Minister’s obsession with forging what he would like to call ‘associate membership’ is a laughable proposition. The European Commission has repeatedly made clear its refusal to be undermined by individual member states, and has remained adamant that continued EU integration is the way forward for the continent.

I can only hope in the coming months that leading Conservative Party figures like Theresa May and Boris Johnson (two MPs tipped for leading the ‘Brexit’ campaign and known for their respective euroscepticism) take a stand against their feeble party leader by ensuring the ‘Leave’ lobbies have strong and well-known leaders.

I am resigned to disappointment for the time-being, though there is one ray of hope amongst this myriad of doom and gloom: there does still remain a remnant or two of conservatism within the Tory party.


101 reasons why Britain should leave the European Union

On a rather more interesting note, a friend of mine (former Chairman of UKIP Bexley) has published a list of 101 reasons for Britain to escape the clutches of the European Union, up on the borough’s party website.

I thought I’d draw some attention to it out of pure curiosity. I thought it interesting that so many valid points were raised in just one list. Perhaps those of you who read could take a look at it (below) and use it to help form your own opinion.

The list in its entirety can be read here.


No Mr Corbyn, you can’t be democrat and europhile; you’ll have to pick one

You would be forgiven for thinking that Jeremy Corbyn was a principled and honest politician. After all, his majestic performances during leadership candidacy were convincing and genuine enough to furrow the brows of even the Conservatives’ most confident associates.

You would, too, be forgiven for attaching any real merit to Mr Corbyn’s sudden change of heart (full comments can be read here) concerning Britain’s somewhat polarising membership of the European Union. Such a dramatic personal U-turn could only have manifested itself through intense intra-party pressuring. It’s a disappointing turn of events, to say the least.

I should at this point confess that I like Jeremy Corbyn. He seems, to me at least, to represent a move towards the genesis of the Labour party. His proposals have struck a chord, both positively and negatively, with a large section of the British public, though my gut instinct tells me he’ll fall short at the 2020 hurdles.

For Jeremy Corbyn, ushering in a more traditionally euroscpetic approach to the EU could have presented his party with a refreshing opportunity to take back lost UKIP voters, whilst establishing itself as a more clearly defined oppositional force to today’s David Cameron-led government.

Instead, however, his decision to back Britain’s expensive European Union membership has inflicted immeasurable damage to his image both as a man, and more importantly as a democrat. And the reason for this is very simple indeed: you can’t be a democrat and a europhile. The two traits are totally incompatible, and for an entire plethora of valid reasons.

Democracy and European Union are terms seldom used adjacently. The European Commission, for instance, is a foundation supported entirely by privately appointed politicians, of which you can read about here. I shudder to think at the potential dangers posed by a body of un-elected politicians and commissioners, and just how demonstrably offensive this factoid is to modern, western government.

The Council of Ministers doesn’t fare too much better for the people of Britain, either, as a nonsensical qualified majority voting system will attest to. As you’ll be able to see in the document here, the UK is equipped with 29 votes in the council that must be forwarded either for or against any proposed legislative motion.

Malta, the European Union’s smallest member state, has a representative platform of three votes within the Council of Ministers. This means that, per head of the population, the Maltese have fifteen times more influence within the body than the British public, posing as yet more evidence of the EU’s abominable lack of democratic legitimacy.

It is worth noting, too, that since 1996, Britain has rejected an EU directive on 55 occasions, and has been unsuccessful every single time. This doesn’t feel like democracy or respectable government to me; in fact I’d go as far as to call it subtle dictatorship.

The European Union is perhaps the most pernicious, vile and intrusive form of government that I’ve experienced in my life, and it is great insult to the citizens of the project that we are seldom informed or influential of regulations or directives, and that we are unable to elect, nor hold the government to account for any of their political endeavours.

And so for Jeremy Corbyn to denounce his support for a system in which his voice, if he does get in to power, will be muffled and rejected is as bizarre as it is hypocritical. I’m not exactly sure how anybody, much less the new Labour leader, can refer to himself as a democrat and a europhile at the same time, and so his desire to persevere against his own personal interests seems to me to be on the level of futile gesture.

No, I don’t think he’ll be this country’s next Prime Minister, but if Jeremy Corbyn was indeed a man of principle, he should have done the right thing for himself and for his party, and forged an anti-European Union movement. Corbyn’s credibility has been irrevocably damaged by his indecisiveness over the EU, and so I’d be forgiven for thinking that he isn’t the principled and honest politician that his campaign so fiercely painted him to be.

You can’t be a democrat and a europhile, Jeremy, and so you’ll have to pick one.