Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Freedom & Self-Determination

Been hearing a lot on social media from those intent on voting out that they want to retain their self-determination and freedom. Freedom to do what, exactly?

Below is a popular OUT meme on Facebook:

This begs the question of how the EU has thus far impacted the self-determination and freedoms of the average British citizen. Here's my assessment:
  • The freedom not to have the EU moniker on your driving licence or your passport has been one freedom that must have severely affected a lot of people. Can you imagine the restrictions that has placed on them?
  • People must really resent the foreign-inspired 5p levy on a supermarket plastic bag.
  • As for being told how to dispose of your old fridge - a severe curtailment of your right to dump it anywhere.
  • Those anti-freedom eco light bulbs are simply demonic!
  • As for mobile phone roaming charges, how dare the EU force mobile phone companies to get rid of them and make consumers pay less?
  • Paying less for European products due to being in a Free Trade Area - now that's a very serious curtailment of our national freedom to pay more!
That's about it - unless you can come up with some more ways in which our freedoms as individuals have been eroded.

I do have some sympathy with the eco light bulb argument and that could sway me toward Brexit...

Self-determination is largely a myth, as rights are given up when we vote in any democratic election, whether that be at local or national level. Majority rule is a denial of self-determination, and that is the dominant form of government within the UK. On the continent, however, there are many countries within the EU that use proportional representation - which arguably enables a higher degree of self-determination.

As long as the costs of remaining a member are not seen as excessive in relation to the benefits accruing from membership, there is a reasonable chance of the federation system of government succeeding. I don't see the above costs being too great. Where federalism can fail is where the federation is multi-ethnic, but ethnically speaking Europeans are the same as us.

In a way the UK, and England in particular,has conquered the rest of Europe already - the vast majority of Europeans speak English as a 2nd language and it is the international language of diplomacy and business and IT.

As for the meme above:
  1. Participation is not a surrender of your right to govern yourself, as demonstrated above,
  2. Ironically, the IN vote depends on the turnout of the young, who are overwhelmingly pro European and not as reactionary as their parents,
  3. Surrendering control of communal life, finances, land, resources and borders is just risible and not even worthy of comment - project scare hyperbole, as demonstrated above. I ask anyone to outline how these have been affected since we joined the EU.
  4. While the senior staff of the Commission are indeed unelected, so are bureaucrats almost everywhere, including those in your local council and in Whitehall. And those staff – as well as being appointed by the elected governments of the member states, and being subject to confirmation in their positions by the elected European Parliament, and having to report regularly to the EP – cannot make final decisions on EU law or policy. Those decisions are made by the Council of Ministers (consisting of ministers from the elected governments of the member states) and the elected EP). The idea that there is a European government in Brussels with independent powers is nothing more than a myth. Perversely, a federal European superstate is the perfect answer to the criticism in the meme.

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