This…

As one of your assiduous readers, Derek, I can only agree with you on the emotional case for the EU.
What stays with me are the words of my grandfather, who left Lanarkshire to fight at the Somme, and father, who left Orkney and ended up in the jungles of Burma : “we are voting for Europe so that you never have to go through what we went through in the war”.
That was in 1975, when the referendum was really about the issue of Britain’s place in the world and our relationship with our neighbourhood. Contrary to what people say now, it wasn’t really about the economy – few people understood or were inspired by the Common Market.
The argument was between those who felt more comfortable with the way things were in the 1950s, and those who thought that the doors were closing on a Britain clinging to a fast-fading Empire, willing to take the risk of opening up to the neighbours.
You often say you are mystified by the ways of Brussels – maybe you are ‘othering’ the EU in the way that you rightly criticise our political leaders for. But if I could say to my grandfather that British, Germans and French, a Spain liberated from fascism, not to speak of the now independent countries that they had never heard of, were working together in the same town, the same building, the same corridor, the same offices, not fighting but talking, he would say – it’s a miracle!
Every day that ‘Brussels bureaucrats’ come to work together to find solutions – in those meetings that you find so boring or incomprehensible – is a miracle day for the people who fought in the trenches and jungles.
Every boring discussion about product standards, police cooperation, the rights of working people, energy saving lightbulbs, mobile phone charges, bankers’ bonuses, clean air, research cooperation, is a testimony to those who fought for our freedom. Each one, a tiny step to paying back the enormous debt we owe them.
Each Member State of the EU has committed to provide consular protection to the citizens of any other Member State. If I could say to my grandfather now – “Papa, if ever you’re in trouble abroad and you can’t get to the British Embassy, go to the Germans, they’ll look after you” – he would have tears in his eyes.
And for all the talk about the lack of democracy in the EU, not one decision can be taken by bureaucrats. They all have to be taken by elected people – in the European Parliament, or by elected national ministers in the Council.
No proposal to change any law can be made without publishing details about how it might affect people and what the costs and benefits are. You can ask for and get the emails of European Commission staff involved in preparing decisions, the minutes of meetings, who lobbied for what.
For all the talk about not being able to remove the bureaucrats, the sacking of the European Commission in 1999 is probably the only example in the world of an entire civil service being removed by elected people. What could we say about Westminster ‘taking control’ of its own bureaucracy.?
Just because people can’t be bothered to follow this, or say “it’s so complicated” doesn’t mean that it’s not democratic.
But it could be made so much better. Open up the hidden places in the EU – the lobbying, the ‘technical’ discussions where the opinions of Member States are never revealed, the conflicts of interest of members of parliament. Get people involved in shaping ideas and challenging public officials.
Shine a light on the dark places, and the EU can be better.
Ah, but what about Greece, then – or TTIP ?
Well, Greece asked for 300 billion Euro and got it – but the awful conditions were not imposed by Brussels but by elected politicians fearful of their taxpayers and voters. The crazy austerity came from the conservative ideology of elected leaders – of exactly the same type as we have governing from Westminster.
The same happened with TTIP – but it hasn’t got through yet. Almost 3 million people across Europe are involved in a campaign to remove the worst aspects of TTIP. The European Parliament can vote it down. They’ve already forced the light to shine on the issues at stake. But it’s just as much a fight in each country – especially in the UK where the government is pushing for the talks to be concluded as soon as possible. No group of people in a single country on its own can resist this. But together, it’s possible.
So what about immigration then ? The only way to cut immigration in the long term is to invest in the skills of British workers, to provide proper child care so that women can work more easily, to encourage the innovation and new ideas that generate growth. Those are all decisions taken by national governments, not the EU. If the EU can do anything, it could provide a service by helping countries work better together, to make the sum bigger than its parts – the economies of scale that working across boundaries can generate.
But our referendum has thrown up an alternative – to leave the EU, get rid of the immigrants, cut the growth rate of the economy and the number of jobs. Then we don’t need people to come. We can even go back to the days of net emigration, to help all those who say that our ‘wee island is too crowded’.
But since immigrants are net taxpayers, we’ll need to increase taxes now to maintain the crumbling NHS. Oh, and take back the 1 million Brits in the EU, mostly pensioners, who will have plenty of demands on housing and health services.
In the short term, when we can’t get enough people to work in the health service and care homes, or in the tourist industry, or in agriculture, we’ll need to get them from outside the EU. The nearest ones are Turkey, Albania, North Africa and the Middle East. More likely, from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. How long before anti-EU feeling turns to anti-Muslim ?
Surveys show that the people voting to leave the EU don’t even believe that it will really cut immigration. Their concerns are about something else – “our town isn’t like it used to be”. The closed factories, the delayed doctors appointments, the crowded schoolrooms, the declining health service, the housing crisis – none of which is anything to do with the EU.
It’s strangely reminiscent of the referendum in 1975 – people looking backwards, trying to get back something that has gone. And people looking forward to the things that they could get by working together.
Only this time, after 40 years of political leaders othering Europe, of nothing but bad stories promoted by a press with commercial interests outside Europe – even Boris Johnson admits that he made almost all of them up – who is left to argue the positive case ?
If there is a difference between Scotland and England, it’s that people know that Scotland is a small country that needs to work with others. Most of England still thinks of itself as a big country, an island of itself.
Enough for Scotland to exchange one type of dominance for another ?
Except that in Westminster, there are no written rules. There are no guaranteed rights. There are only subjects, not citizens. No nations that can refuse illegal wars or nuclear weapons. No countries that can escape policies they didn’t vote for.
The EU may have hundreds of pages of Treaties. Complex and boring ones. But they are written down. They are scrutinised publicly. And judged. They guarantee independent nations rights and votes. Vetoes over things like wars or weapons. Dignity. For the people that fought for our freedom.

(Courtesy of Alan. Dateline: Yesterday)

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41 thoughts on “This…

  1. Excellent, measured and correct . Well done

  2. P G McLaughlin

    Excellent. Put lots of my thoughts together in a way I wish I could.

  3. Brilliant letter. I am going to use it to leaflet and argue for the Remain vote. This letter should be published far and wide.

    Leaving the EU is not the answer to the post-industrial decline afflicting many of England’s rural comminities. I can’t believe that the UK is sleepwalking into disaster because of the discontent of the English working class who didn’t have thet get up and go to go or change.

    What will it feel like when we wake up on the morning of the 24th and find outselves locked out of Europe, and locked into a neocon nightmare run by Boris, IDS, Farage, and Priti Patel? From which there will be no escape?

  4. It is for these very reasons, that I support the EU, and which is why I think that this article is an important contribution to the in/out debate.

  5. Thoughtful, intelligent and very well expressed. Thank you.

  6. Why don’t we crowd fund this letter to go as an advert in the English red tops next week? Saying that it is a citizens’ response because the politicians can’t argue the case?

    Cameron, Osborne, and Corbyn couldn’t sell a fish supper!

  7. If only this article could be magicked through every letterbox in the land before 23/6

  8. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant!

  9. If only our politicians had the wit to express themselves so well.

  10. Well that’s the best summing up of why we should vote remain that I have yet read and I doubt it will be beaten

    It truly is an article that puts forward the positive case for staying in the EU with brilliant reasoning that is so well written. Thank you Alan for also giving me the only arguments that should be necessary to make the case for Remain.

  11. Folks in an SNP ‘our dear leader can never be wrong’ bubble might be interested in thinking beyond the cliché that Brexit support is just a bunch of racists/xenophobic folk. Oh and Nicola and the SNP are keeping things really positive “of course vote for the interest of Goldman Sachs or evil Tories will kill your first born etc”.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/15/leave-is-ahead-because-british-voters-no-longer-trust-their-elit/

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/video/2016/jun/14/labour-supporters-brexit-stoke-on-trent-eu-referendum-video

    The SNP leadership have been disgraceful in refusing to engage in any intelligent or intellectually serious discussion of the EU. Very sad.

  12. katherine hamilton

    I totally agree about Alan’s comments about his Dad and Papa. My Dad was on the northern convoys to Murmansk with all it’s horror and fear. He’s gone now but I know he’d be appalled if we betrayed their courage and optimism by cowtowing to a bunch of Eton educated wasters.

    Europe is more than economics.

  13. Well reasoned and expressed post and thought so at the time.

  14. So well said. The EU has been great for me. It allowed me to live and work in Germany where I met people from different countries and learned about their languages and cultures. These new networks took me then to America and a whole new life course. I returned better-educated and with a broader mind, more open to new ideas than when I left. Without the European Union, my life would probably have been very different. The opportunities it gave me enriched my life immeasurably. I would not want to deny to others the chances that were given to me, so I will wholeheartedly be voting to remain.

  15. Put my own feelings into words much better than I could- brilliant piece!

  16. Excellent article.

  17. Bill McDermott

    I will definitely be voting to remain. As a shellfish farmer I depend upon the European market and as it happens I have French partners willing to invest hundreds of thousands of pounds in my farm to take it to a new level. To think we might be at the mercy of Boris Johnson, Chris Grayling, IDS and Priti Patel sends shivers down my spine. Please God, no.

  18. VikkingsDottir

    There is no emotional case for being in the EU, except if you’re Greek that is, and your emotions have been permanently damaged by it. I’m not sure what planet you’re living on. The days when we thought that the reason for the EU was free trade and good neighbourliness are over. Anyone can see that it’s a quasi dictatorship, run by folk who want to tell everyone else what to do, and live in luxury themselves on the fabulous wages they earn. The sad thing is that there are still people who believe all the guff about being one big happy family. It’s an impossibility, and, I think your grandfather would have tears in his eyes if you told him to go to the Germans, but not for the reason you’re thinking.
    Jeannie, we could and will be able to work in any European country being out of the EU. The EU never gave you anything but aggro.

    • “Jeannie, we could and will be able to work in any European country being out of the EU.” – How so?

      • Because we’ll have all the benefits of club membership without the irksome burden of paying the fees.

        I must try this the next time I get my Annual Green Fees demand from the golf club. I’m sure someone else will be happy to pay to maintain the course for my use.

  19. denismollison

    Vikkingsdottir – “Anyone can see that it’s a quasi dictatorship, run by folk who want to tell everyone else what to do”

    As the article so beautifully explains, it is nothing of the sort. Please try reading the article again, especially the bit beginning “And for all the talk about the lack of democracy in the EU, not one decision can be taken by bureaucrats”.

  20. An excellent post.
    Personally I’m voting Remain because despite all the beaurocratic ‘ stuff’ ( and let’s face it, we live with the most up their own backsides beaurocratic councils here) for the same reason as I want Independence.
    It’s not that Westminster won’t change, it’s that it can’t change.
    Europe for me, keeps Britain if not on the straight and narrow at least having to participate in some progressive ideas. Air pollution, environmental issues, best practice, work place issues.
    With no EU , Britain can continue kidding itself on that its an important player, hanging out the bunting, watching Sunday night nostalgic programmes for a Britain that never existed.
    Interestingly, went to ‘ a debate’ about the EU last week, where an American historian put forward the idea that it was the US who wanted Britain as a ‘ bridge ‘ between the US and post war Europe. He suggested Britain was ‘ encouraged’ as a close ally of the US, that it would benefit all.
    To be honest, I was too wee at the last Referendum and haven’t had much time to read up about Americas role at the time but given the US has its own political issues at the moment not sure ( apart from the crafted leaks by President Obama etc ) what influence is ongoing behind the scenes.
    Unfortunately David Coburn was also a speaker so it all kind of went downhill after that

  21. Well, naturally, I disagree with this, and I’ll tell you why:

    Freedom is the greatest gift any man, woman or child could ever have, and nowhere is that gift more expressed than in a democracy.

    Democracy, that old chesnut the ancient Greeks gave us, is probably the greatest gift Europe ever gave the world. By its actions, the EU has shown itself not only to be anti-Democratic, but anti-European. It insulates itself from the people, it is governed by an elite that dislikes and distrusts ordinary voters to make the ‘correct’ decision, and it has shown itself to be a racket for corporate interests.

    Tell me why an ordinary working man like myself should give two hoots for an institution beloved by banks, big buisness and corporate interests?

    Ah, it’ll protect you from evil Tories and Boris Johnson and Micahel Gove, they say. We need the EU to stand up for workers rights, trade unions, and human rights.

    That’s the Left’s argument for voting in. And to that I say: the Left are a bunch of spinless bastards!

    Long before the EU rolled into town, men and women fought and died for workers rights, were sent to prison for demanding workers rights. They ended the 12 hour day, they got trade unions, paid holidays, they created the NHS and the welfare state. Men like John Maclean, Keir Hardie, the Red Clydesiders.

    They didn’t need Brussels or the EU holding their hand for them. How dare the Left insult the memory of these men and women. They would have scoffed at the idea of letting others do the work for them. They seized their own destiny.

    Democracy is as good as society wants it to be. If the British people want an end to the House of Lords, the NHS preserved, trade unions defended, human rights defended, they will vote accordingly.

    Men and women fought and died for our democratic rights. Don’t insult them by outsourcing the decisions to Brussels. Don’t be feeble and let others make the decisions for you.

    We saw how strong Scottish democracy was in 2014 when people seized it for themselves during the referendum, and we came within a hair’s breadth of victory, and it was a strong grassroots demcoracy that brough us so close to the finishing line…

    People had that power, and now they want to give it away to Brussels…

    We were brave in 2014. We were prepared to take a leap into the unknown with an indy Scotland. Why are we so meek now?

    • I’m not sure I agree with My Cocaine (partly because I am confused about his definition of ‘the Left’ which seems to exclude people from the past who would normally be described as being left wingers). As far as I can see the Left today seems to be split between the majority who are going to vote reluctantly to remain and the minority arguing to leave. Apart from that I have a lot of sympathy with what My Cocaine says about an anti democratic, pro elites EU.

      My inclination has always tended towards Leave. In principle, as a left winger, I would reject the EU as it stands. The author of the article writes as though the EU is a benign institution which, though flawed, ultimately has good intentions and our interests at it’s heart. He also writes as if formal ‘democratic’ structures and the vulnerability of politicians to the influence of taxpayers and their electorates encompass the reality of where power lies.

      A better way of looking at it might be that the EU is a vehicle the super rich (through their corporations and bought politicians) have partly designed and certainly considerably modified to further their own ends. Ends which benefit them at the expense of large numbers of ordinary human beings within the EU and also outside it. The Greeks were shafted to a large extent as a consequence of the need to protect the interests of rapacious banks (German and otherwise). Dewey’s quote about politics being the shadow cast by big business seems to me to be a more appropriate way of looking at the political structure of the EU.

      Now I am swinging towards Remain. Spineless? I don’t think so. Pragmatic? Probably. A Leave win will result in an even further right wing bunch of Tories running the UK. And I don’t share My Cocaine’s reliance on democracy to express the will of the people. Democracy is undoubtedly the least worst system we have for making political choices for the benefit of the many, but it’s not enough in our case. Firstly because we only live in a partial democracy. And secondly because most of the electorate’s information is fed to them by the elite owned corporate media and by the establishment BBC. If you cannot get hold of reliable information then you cannot make proper judgements. Witness the ignorant beliefs many people have about immigrants.

      There are a number of good things about the EU as the writer and others have indicated. But for me these things are well outweighed by the negative ones and I have very little confidence in this particular neo liberal dominated institution being susceptible to reform by us, the little people of Europe. However I cannot easily bring myself to vote for a future in which Boris et al will lower even more the quality of the lives of ordinary people in this country (and the rest of the UK). As has been said, a Leave vote will probably let us witness neo liberalism on steroids over the next 4 years. That would be a good thing if it wakened people up, politicised them and mobilised them to reject the Tories and their rich masters. But it would also almost certainly further weaken existing ‘democratic’ institutions, the social fabric of our society and the morale of ordinary people.

      In conclusion George Monbiot sums up the choice available to many of us on the Left. In yesterday’s Guardian he wrote an article titled ‘The EU is the worst choice – apart from the alternative’.

      • Not having a go at you, but this running theme about the EU being s**t, but we should stay in because the alternatives are worse, is a terrible reason to Remain.

        Sadly, it’s an argument that many media commentators have peddled these past months.

        • I don’t think they have been pushing the ‘EU is shit, but …’ line. I think they have been pushing the ‘there are problems, but …’ line. That mantra (delivered with a suitable expression of concern) and being arrogantly told that if I am for Scottish independence, then I must vote to remain has been irritating me for some time.

          I’ve seen left wing articles – but not in the mainstream – which push for leaving. Monbiot’s article is the only left wing one I’ve seen which explicitly states how appalling the EU is, but reluctantly recommends remaining.

          As I said I don’t have your trust in our ‘democracy’ and I don’t think we can ignore the probable consequences of a Leave vote. It could be that I’ll still be undecided when I’m holding the ballot paper in my hand next week.

      • Workers are forced to piss in a bottle at their work station.
        The Finance industry sells a ‘product’ ,Pay Day Loans at !300%, food banks, Cash For Clothes, £1.2 Billion in welfare and Public Service cuts a year, and so much more, by the ‘democratically elected’ Neo Liberal Far Right Westminster Tory Government, who were roundly booted out of Scotland last year, along with their Red and Jaundiced Tory fellow travellers.
        The EU may be the ‘worst choice’, apart from the alternative. The alternative being a WM Government which will always put the interests of Scottish citizens a remote second.
        Independence within a Reforming EU is the only game in town.
        If England vote Leave, then Scotland will suffer.
        I recall Farage’s aside on QT the other week. ‘At less than fifty bucks a barrel, Scotland can’t afford Independence’.
        Jesus.

  22. Gavin.C.Barrie

    i’ll vote to remain, not because I’m hugely well informed over the pros and cons. And not because I can travel freely/easily through EU countries. And Yes to Remain because the warring factions – incl. royal families – that caused so much conflict over the 18th and 19th centuries have been effectively neutered by the EU.

    I’m not at all comfortable with the treatment handed out to the Greeks, since it wasn’t the Greek general population that caused the financial crisis, just as the general working population of the UK didn’t cause the financial woes that imposed austerity upon the poorer of our society here.

    What does Brexit offer? Opportunities for entrepreneurs they claim. Like the banker entrepreneurs that brought the financial mess down upon us?

    VikkingsDottir assures Jeannie that we could and will be able to work in any European country – and – enjoy the protection of employment rights? Whereas in trade union neutered Brexit UK?

    Finally, subjectively, my view of the UK – arms sales and City money laundering. Anything for a buck.

  23. ” So what about immigration then?” The only point, as far as I can see, that you left out of your excellent article, is the fact we wouldn’t have this refugee crisis, at least on the scale it is at the present day, is because of the Westminster Government, either Labour or Conservative, engaging in probably illegal, and certainly unnecessary wars in countries where we have no right to be.
    In Scotland, we have different needs to the rest of the U.K, and one is we need immigration. Unfortunately, because of the Scottish Referendum result we have no say in that policy, so until we become an independent country, we are at the mercy of whoever is in power Westminster.

  24. I can sort of understand Mike Small’s annoyance. In the build up to the election the ‘SNP is everything’ clamour did become oppressive and expressing a leaning to the Greens or RISE could get you accused of being a unionist shill or a traitor from some of the SNP fanboys.

    As for Newsnet, I stopped dropping in some time ago. For a site with News in the title there is precious little of that. I’m also someone who prefers to read rather than watch and listen. I can see why Newsnet operates on a much smaller budget, it shows I’m afraid.

    • I like Newsnet and think you are being a bit hard. I enjoy the interviews and the subjects Derek chooses. The last one with Pat Kane was particularly illuminating. The quality on Bella and Commonspace is very varied. There is some absolute long winded dross mixed with articles that are more informative.

  25. Only now managed to read the excellent article….. and the ugly face of the right-wing has now turned up for all to see. A young woman gone and her two children, her husband and all those who knew her left in shock.

    • Yes horrific. But there’s a lot in this about the state of Britain today. The Labour Party is disconnected from its core vote. Jo Cox admitted this on Tuesday in her last interview which she gave to a Guardian journalist. She said she didn’t think she would be re-elected, as voters were abandonning Labour for UKIP: this was what she met on the doorsteps. She also said that most were for Leave whilst she was for Remain. She said she struggled to make the Remain case, the voters believed what the tabloids said.

      She is a local Batley woman who made good and went to Cambridge. She was a former head of policy at Oxfam and wanted to help refugees. Very noble. But what has this got to do with her constituency and the white working class that are abandonning Labour for UKIP because they believe the Labour Party no longer listens to them? I think Mair is another Breivik, and his target was a disconnected Labour Party that has become an elite institution no longer representing the white working class. Like Breivik he was working alone, but influenced by the wider anti-immigration literature. Breivik objected to the Labour Party in Norway changing the narrative (as he perceived it) no longer being for the Norwegian people, but being internationalist, and for foreigners. He objected to immigration as a political project being foisted on the Norwegian people dishonestly and by stealth by the Labour Party in Norway, a project that the voters had never actually voted for.

      John Harris was saying the same in the Guardian, and Pat Kane in Derek’s most recent podcast. That outside the big metropolitian centres, the white working class feels abandonned by Labour. They are hurting, suffering from the ills of 40 years of post-industrial malaise and the neocon policies pursued by successive neocon governmehts either Labour or Tory. They cannot identify the cause of their ills, so they blame is on the EU and immigration.

  26. Just as I’ve written this, it has been anounced that Mair has given his name to a British court as ‘Death to traitors, freedom for Britain’.

    Sorry that this confirms my Breivik theory that he viewed the immigration friendly internationalist Labour Party as being the enemy, having sold out the white working class.

    If you read the horrific details of the assault you cannot be in any doubt as to the hatred he felt for Jo Cox and her ilk. His final shot was to shoot her as she lay stabbed, shot, and bleeding on the ground, at close range right ‘in the face area’. This was a deeply personal and absolutely horrific attack connected to her politics and what she stood for. Garry Young in the Guardian has said as much that this was a politically motivated assassination of an MP because of her political views.

    OK the guy was a nutter and seems to be acting alone, but there is context which shows the extent of divisions and alienation in Britain which politicians must address. It’s not enough to lecture the white working class that they are Neanderthals – even if it is true. Brown’s haughty comment about Gillian Duffy as ‘that bigoted woman’. Something has to be done to prevent this poison spreading and it has to do more than tackle attitudes but also the economic grievances on which they fester.

    The white working class is not prospering in post-industrial neo-con Britain. That is the root of the problem. Even if immigration were to continue at present levels hostility to it would end if the white working class were prospering.

    • Agreed and for politicians to appear on TV with tearful solemn faces laying flowers attending vigils while stoking up the Diana like media outporing of grief is sickening beyond belief .
      These same career polititions who are ultimately are at the root of all this division in our totally f/kd up society by their actions and inactions they have laid the foundations and we the public are enduring the fallout , you would have thought these manipulators of society would have learned cause and effect .
      The quote of ” a good day to bury bad news ” made by correct me if i am wrong made by a Labour politician while events were still unfolding in New York on September the eleventh 2001 in my view sums up these people, These tearful actors will milk this personal tragedy for all its worth while disclaiming any responsibility .

    • And not just the politicians MBC. There are those who create the narrative and those who sell the narrative. Politicians and the media are the main drivers of opinion within society.

      Today’s outpourings of condemnation and outrage from both institutions will be forgotten all too soon in pursuit of the next seat or the next headline. They are what they are… and that should make all of us feel uneasy at the very least.

      • But the narrative feeds on economic grievance Macart, finds fertile soil in the decaying communities of post-industrial Britain. That’s what politicians must address. Neocon policies of privatisation, deregulation and extreme competitiveness have created a more polarised society of haves and have nots. Britain IS more meritocratic than in the past, but it is also more competitive. Jo Cox was a bright working class woman who was able to go to Cambridge, get a job as head of policy at Oxfam, become an MP and had a brilliant career ahead of her. She and her husband had a houseboat on the Thames, a home in the constituency and a bothy on Skye. She was doing brilliantly. Thomas Mair belonged to the same class but of white working class males who did not prosper because they were ‘inadequate’.

        Yet ‘adequacy’ is a relative term. In another day and age his kind might not be losers, they might have prospered modestly in some low key routine job with security, community, and a works pension and social club. His life and his prospects would have been mapped out for him. Instead people like him, mediocre, lacking in enterprise or drive, are just festering, without employment, direction, or self-esteem. They are adrift, and the Labour Party does not care that they sink into insignificance as others like the newcomers to Britain thrive because they have the drive to do so.

        I honestly believe that if the white working class were prospering the resentment against immigrants would lessen and the toxic narrative would not catch on.

        • We don’t have far to look either MBC. As we are all too aware, there are examples close to hand of successful economies with narrower wealth disparity, more stable societies and more socially aware politics.

  27. “The EU may have hundreds of pages of Treaties. Complex and boring ones. But they are written down. They are scrutinised publicly. And judged. ” And ignored.

    Writing from Spain, in a comment that I imagine might be shared by a Greek person, I think that the difference between the UK and the European situations for citizens may be considerable but by no means necessarily favourable to the EU.

    Starting from a European Parliament with no representativity and no powers and including a takeover of power by the governments of the most powerful countries. Think TTIP, where even MEPs are denied involvement or even basic information.

    Spain has a new and un-tried left-wing people’s party to take up the anger, Scotland and Catalonia opted for independence, and the EU referendum is apparently doing the same for the rest of the UK.

    But at the end of the day, the problem is that the system in general has failed ordinary people and they want it fixed. Before anyone takes sides again, maybe we should consider the concept of “necessary evil” and John Harris’s quotation from Antonio Gramsci in the Guardian: “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new is yet to be born. And in the interregnum, a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.”

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