Europe and more specifically our relationship with it is an issue we Brits feel strongly about. We are a proud people. Independent thinkers. We are used to self rule. We have a stable political system ( well most of the time). Democracy works well here.
Our laws over many hundreds of years have been shaped to meet our needs through the evolution of Common Law. We already have an inbuilt sense of fairness and compassion. In short, we set the gold standard which many countries, including some European countries, fail to meet.
In recent times we have, in some inexplicable way, allowed all this to be put at risk. Not because of foolish decisions we have made, nor because of a significant shift at the ballot box. If we are to be found wanting, as a people, it’s because we have trusted our politicians and our systems to notify us when we need to make the really big decisions. We are sleep walking towards abandoning a thousand years of history to the European experiment.
I am sure everyone wants to trade with Europe. Many want to return to the concept of a free trade zone, the “Common Market”. Their are some who want the free movement of people across Europe. Many want to live in Spain and France in retirement. Others fear that our high standard of living will attract too many from the poorer parts of Europe.
It is clear that the EU is very far from perfect. It is largely unaccountable, has too many vested interests that are red lines and has a ridiculous administration system. Meaningful decisions are rarely taken by elected politicians.
But in some sense none of this matters. What does matter is that we, the people, have never had a chance to have a say on the matter of our integration into a federal Europe. Such a fundamental shift of power from “us” to “them” without our approval is a national disgrace.
Our Prime Minister is wrestling with the problem. I congratulate him. But, why do we have to wait until 2017 to have a referendum. This is not a party political issue. It is one of fundamental accountability to.our people. I see no reason why the referendum cannot be held at the same time as the General Election in 2015.
I fear that all parties are frightened that the people want to pull back from being ruled by the EU.
It is time to listen to the people.