Most bloggers seem certain about their opinions, and in a lot of cases so am I, but when it comes to the EU referendum I am going to out on a limb and say “I don’t know.” I am concerned because I feel so many, in particular me, are unaware of the issues. The more I read, the more confused I get.
I apologise now as there will probably be a few of these posts, while I try to work out where I stand on the issues. I only hope they don’t muddy the waters.
I’ve always been instinctively pro-Europe and never seen it as a clash with my pro-Indy Scotland stance. Quick recap; I believe Scotland is a country with it’s own culture and values and as such should govern itself, but at the same time working with other nations is beneficial. (Mainly, I want to bypass Westminster.)
As a Rampant Nationalist TM I can see the advantages of a Scotland voting In to a rUK voting Out, if only to show the metropolitan media that there are different attitudes up here, plus the ever wished for substantive change.
There are pluses to being in the EU, especially with a Tory Government in control. Key Environmental, Health & Safety, Food Standards and Employment law have all been implemented often with the background of complaints from the British Government. Successive administrations seem very keen to bang their chests about sovereignty when it comes to the EU, but are less vocal when they are selling off utilities, services and infrastructure to their friends in business. I can’t be the only person who feels like we are living in the middle of a fire sale prior to the next economic downturn.
HOWEVER, the EU has turned into a monster. It’s not the number of nations that I have issue with, it’s the huge unelected bureaucracy I dislike.
We elect MEPs to the European Parliament, using the d’Hondt system of proportional representation with regional closed lists. The pros and cons of such a system should be well known to people in Scotland. (Northern Ireland uses Single Transferable Vote.)
These MEPs advise and consult the European Commission, which is the executive body. It has 28 Commissioners, 1 per member state, who are meant to represent the interests of the EU as a whole and not just that of their own country. One of these 28 is the Commission President (currently Jean-Claude Juncker) who is proposed by the European Council (I’ll get to them in a minute) and elected by the European Parliament. The other 27 members are appointed through agreement of the Council and nominated President. These 28 members as a single body are then subject to a vote of approval by the European Parliament.
The Commission also includes the administrative body of 23,000 European civil servants, who are split onto directorates-general, and based in Brussels.
The European Council is made up of the member states’ Heads of Government with it’s own president (currently the former Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk) plus the Commission’s President. The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, currently Federica Mogherini, also takes part in its meetings, she is chief co-ordinator and representative of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) within the EU.
At this point I feel as though I have just written an introduction to Soap (ask your parents, it was very funny)
Despite these concerns, being left wing I still feel I should still be an automatic supporter of the In campaign. After all weren’t we told during the Scottish referendum of the importance of standing together with our brothers & sisters in England & Wales – I thought that was bollocks then and I still do. I can support socialism in a different country without having to live there.
There are too many negatives about the system mounting up for me to vote In without reservations.
The way that TTIP was introduced to the public – in that it feels like they tried to sneak it through without anyone noticing. Yes, we know about it now, but 2 years ago it was really under the radar. TTIP appears to be a wholesale corporate takeover with it’s insidious Investor-State Dispute Settlement, which seems to pop back up every time we think we’re got rid of it. I don’t think it’s paranoid to assume there is more going on in the background that we don’t know about. I’m not going to go in depth over it now, but this Independent article highlights the main concerns What is TTIP? And six reasons why the answer should scare you
Then we have the EU’s actions as part of the Troika, alongside the International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank, it was ruthless in the way it treated Greece and it’s democratically elected officials, showing how that banks take priority over people’s lives.
Steve Topple wrote an excellent article last year I sometimes agree with UKIP going through these and other issues in detail from a left wing perspective, and I really suggest you read it.
Am I going to vote In or Out? Right now, the only thing I’m certain of is that I haven’t got a clue.