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5.4.09

EUtopia for Cornwall







The following post is to introduce a good blog that deals with the EU and other European issues. The blog posts below and their ensuing debates are worth the read.

EU competence creep, the spectre of the superstate, and how governments actually work

Four points and a question for eurosceptics who believe in the advancing EU superstate

Why EU superstate conspiracy theories are nonsense

Exclusive: The danger of Jean Monnet

I think the quote below from the blog author is worth reproducing here as well:

WG - Tim (being, as he is, a libertarian) takes things to a bit of an extreme, but both he and the Cornish Democrat make points that - from different angles - tally quite a bit with my take: why “the nation”? Why Britain? Why England? Why Scotland? Why should I, a Sussex-born Londoner, have any say in how a farmer in Cumbria has to live, and why should s/he have any say over my life? Why should those of us who live in wealthy parts of the country have to subsidise the poorer areas, often hundreds of miles away? I was born closer to Paris than Edinburgh - why should I be affected by the actions of politicians north of the border any more than those of northern France? Why should a Breton have to listen to Paris, a Basque to Madrid, a Bavarian to Berlin, a Sicilian to Rome or a Cornishman to London?

My take is that the current nation state model is outdated, has outlived its usefulness, and was in any case always something of a misnomer when applied to pretty much every European country (”nation state” implies a level of ethnic/cultural homogeneity which simply does not apply to most European countries). Europe is packed full of diverse cultures, with huge differences within the borders of pretty much every EU member state - even tiny Belgium and Cyprus have long been split down the middle on cultural/linguistic lines, with only the minute island of Malta having any real claim to be culturally homogeneous (it has a population of just over 400,000…). As such, the arguments against legislation at an EU level are (in the vast majority of cases) just as valid at a “national” level, in my books.

What I want - and whether this is happening or is likely is another matter entirely - is more regional/local decision-making, with those areas of governance best dealt with at a broader level dealt with at as broad a level as possible. Immigration, counter-terrorism, organised crime, energy supply, pollution, trade standards and various other issues are increasingly best dealt with at a level above that of the nation state; practically everything else can be dealt with regionally.

(Ideally, by the way, these big issues wouldn’t be dealt with at a mere continental level either - they’d be worked out at a global level. The EU, I’d hope, is merely a first step on the road to a Star Trek-style planet-wide government. That’s going to take centuries at best - if such utopian dreams ever come to pass - but in the meantime, the EU and Europe alone will have to do.)

As for those things that the EU has legislated on that could be better dealt with regionally? Yep - there are loads. I’m still hopeful that the concept of subsidiarity will take a greater hold over future EU policy-making, however (and there are some signs that it is). And in any case, I still can’t see “being dictated to by Brussels” as any worse, really, than being dictated to by Westminster. (And that said by someone who can walk from his home to the Houses of Parliament in less than an hour…)

In short: The perennial question of the eurosceptic camp of “I didn’t vote for it, so why should I have to put up with it?” is just as applicable to ANY democratic system. I didn’t vote for Labour in ‘97, ‘01 or ‘05, and yet have had aspects of my life affected by the decisions of Labour MPs, often from constituencies hundreds of miles away from my home, with cultural backgrounds utterly different to my own. It’s no different.

(On the sovereignty issue - other than feeling the need to point out that in Britain the people are not nor ever have been sovereign, sovereignty lies with parliament - might I point you to this old post of mine that sets out my views on the matter?)

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