Monday, 25 January 2016

Time to stand up to the EU bully

There will be large number of people who approach the whole question of the EU with a sense of apathy.  There will also be a large number who while not really caring for the EU would rather hope we can agree a "reformed" relationship with the EU - the idea of a break-up sounds messy.

David Cameron knows all about these groups - he is relying on them to win the referendum, save his premiership and (he hopes) save the Tory party from self-immolation.  The long-term interests of the UK do not figure in these calculations - Dave's a "here today, gone tomorrow" PR man, not a strategic thinker.

In truth, a year ago I was in the "reform" group.  Sure, I'd never cared for the EU and had long considered it a ridiculous organisation - and I had always expected the Euro to be a disaster (memory of the ERM debacle and an understanding of basic economics and what forms an optimum currency area). But, I thought, we're all friends and allies after all, surely with a bit of give and take we can find a way of rubbing along and working together that suits all parties ?

Since then, everything I have seen, heard, read and investigated has led me to the firm conclusion that it is a fallacy to believe the EU can reform in any meaningful way.  Or that it can accomodate a looser "trade and co-operation" relationship for the UK. Even if I hadn't already come to that conclusion, I suspect an article in The Guardian by Joris Luyendijk would have been sufficient to convince me.

The problem with the UK according to EU federalists

The author lists what he sees as the problems with the UK's approach to the EU :
- "transactional" not  "transformational"
- "economic" not "cultural and political project"
- "country’s national interest"  not "appealing to the European ideal"

But the most telling comment is when the author refers to the UK's "nationalism" - the original sin for federalist true believers.  The EU offers "the promise of freedom from the threat of nationalism", whereas the author complains that the UK public see no need for "a post-national political entity".

Herein we see the fundamental truth of the EU federalist position.  Membership of the EU is not for economic benefit, rather it is to take part in a political project. There can be no thought of national interest, as by definition there can be no national interest in a post-national political entity. The European ideal requires rejection of the idea of the UK as a nation state in favour of the supra-national EU.

UK asking for the wrong concessions apparently

The author demands that the EU do not grant concessions to Cameron's act of "cynical extortion" and laments the missed opportunity for "fundamental reform" to the EU which would benefit all europeans.  He lists 3 examples:

1) Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).  According to Joris, Cameron should have insisted on a comprehensive overhaul of this disastrous policy - as if the UK has not sought reform of this policy in the last 40+ years. In 2005, Tony Blair sacrificed a good portion of the UK's rebate for a vague promise of future CAP reform.  The CAP has now become even more bureaucratic, with the result that the UK is now paying more fines to the EU because of incorrect paperwork associated with CAP.

2) Salaries, Expenses & Corruption. UK eurosceptics have regularly criticised the EU's scandalous record in this area (the EU's accounts have not been signed off for over 20 years). The EU's treatment of whistle-blowers (Bernard Connolly, Paul Van Buitenen, Marta AndreasenHans Martin Tillack) hardly inspires confidence that the EU is willing to embrace reform in this area.

3) The expensive and wasteful practice of Moving the EU parliament back and forth between Strasbourg and Brussels.  In 1992, France lobbied to maintain a two-centre operation and succeeded in securing a new (no expense spared) building at Strasbourg. In 2013, the EU parliament voted to scrap its second HQ in Strasbourg, but the French Government retain a veto on this action. In August 2015, an MEP from the European Conservatives and Reformists group (AECR) proposed using the European Parliament’s rarely used Strasbourg building as a temporary refugee center.

Joris writes that "a child can see that the EU needs fundamental reform" and then demonstrates his own lack of vision. His suggestions are all examples of an EU that is bloated and unaccountable, but are of peripheral concern. The big concerns are democratic consent and the role of nation states, for example as discussed in the AECR groups Reykjavik Declaration.  Regrettably, even Joris's peripheral reforms appear un-achievable, let alone anything more meaningful.

Intimidation & Threats

Nevertheless, Joris admits Brexit would be a disaster for the failing EU empire. To avoid this scenario, he argues that the EU should use their size "we would strangle or crush the English ... the way any group of nations comprising 450 million people would to an opponent eight times smaller"  and threats "the best way forward for Europe is to threaten to hit the English as hard as we can". He proposes a number of ways Brussels can talk up fear ahead of the Referendum, all of which prove to be idle threats on examination:

Foreign & Defence: The UK should be isolated and its influence with the US (as its "poodle") diminished.  Joris concedes that an independent UK will continued NATO membership. Moreover, he fails to mention Article 34 of the Lisbon Treaty, which means that currently the UK is subordinate to the EU's position in the UN Security Council and all international forums. In practice, the UK is a Brussels mouthpiece rather than a US poodle.

Scotland: The EU should aim to break-up a post-Brexit UK by making a tempting offer to post-Brexit Holyrood.  A non-starter given that the EU will not offer terms that are an improvement on any current members terms. And an insult to suggest UK/Scottish democratic consent can be bought so cheaply.

Industry & Finance: The EU should "repatriate" finance, multi-national HQ's from London and the UK-based Japanese car industry should be relocated to Greece (seriously !).  Except that we had the same "sky will fall" tales of woe sold to us in 2002 during the campaign for the UK to join the Euro.  In hindsight, the UK's decision not to join the Euro looks like one of the UK's best decisions of the last 70 years.

Lack of Democratic Consent

Of course, this dismissive and intimidatory attitude to democratic consent is nothing new for the EU or its supporters. The installation of unelected technocrats in Italy & Greece during the Euro crisis in 2011. The disregard for the No votes in French & Dutch Referenda on the EU constitution subsequently re-branded as the Lisbon treaty and implemented without referenda.  The numerous occasions where No votes in referenda were rejected until the voters produced the right result. 

An illuminating story is told by the journalist Christopher Booker. In 2008, the Lisbon treaty was undergoing ratification and then Czech President Vaclav Klaus was subjected to a verbal onslaught by a visiting delegate of EU MEP's headed by Daniel Cohn-Bendit (a student agitator in the 1968 Paris riots). The normally genial Klaus, a distinguished academic economist and noted cold war dissident, remarked "I must say that no one has talked to me in such a style and tone in the past six years. You are not on the barricades in Paris here. I thought that such manners ended for us 19 years ago" (i.e. when Communism fell).

The most recent example is the EU's treatment of Greece. Following the election victory of the Syrizia party in 2015, unelected EU officials displayed a worrying disregard for the Greek peoples democratic choice. Jean-Claude Juncker remarked "There can be no democratic choice against the European treaties", the latest in a long list of Juncker quotes that undermine democracy.  The crisis came to a head with the Referendum rejection of the proposed austerity measures, subsequent "water-boarding" of Greek PM Alexis Tsipras and imposition of even harsher terms.

Some will argue that the EU had no choice over the Greek euro crisis.  It is undeniable that the Greek economy is in desperate need of reforms, not least its ramshackle and corrupt tax collection and public services. But the EU chose not to allow Greece to default on its Euro debt in 2010, in order to transfer the liability from private (mostly french & german) banks to the Greek tax-payer.  Prior to that, the EU had chosen to approve Euro entry for the unreformed Greek economy, based on some extremely dodgy accounting undertaken by Goldman-Sachs.  The very same Goldman Sachs who recently donated funds to the BSE (Britain Stronger in Europe) campaign - these bankers know which side their bread is buttered.

The Greek euro crisis is better understood as a power-play by the EU.  The European Central Bank actually shut down the money supply to Greece around the time of the Referendum crisis, an action that is incompatible with its role as Europe's "lender of last resort".  (Parallels can be drawn with the Euro crisis in 2010-11 when the ECB threatened Ireland). The 2015 crisis achieved the desired result of neutering the Syrizia government who had challenged the EU. As if to confirm Greece's status as vassal state, the EU may seal Greece's border with non-EU Macedonia trapping tens of thousands of migrants inside Greece.

Across the continent, global corporations and mainstream political parties form an establishment elite in support of a faceless EU semi-superstate. Filling the democratic vacuum is a more extreme and nationalist politics supposed to have been made redundant by the EU. The explicitly neo-Nazi and fascist "Golden Dawn" took 3rd place in the Greek elections of September 2015.  Such is the cost of the EU's democratic deficit.

The Bullying EU empire 

Nor is the EU's bullying limited to Europe, as Africa can attest.  Having brought catastrophe to the UK's fishing waters, the EU's predatory fishing practices are also devastating the African fishing economy, causing mass economic migration from West Africa to Europe.  Similarly, the EU's trade policy is severely impacting Africa's agriculture and their ability to develop their economies.  In Oct 2014 the EU imposed a tariffs on Kenyan cut flowers to "persuade" a reluctant Kenyan government to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) trade deal, which means underdeveloped East African economies have to try to compete directly with Germany.

It's a similar story at WTO level, where negotiations on the Doha round continue to falter on the EU's (and US's) protectionist approach to agriculture.  I guess this is what meant by the EU's negotiating "clout" - in practice it means a big bloc bullying smaller, less developed states.  An independent UK would be free to strike its own trade deals and would also regain its voice and vote at the WTO and other international bodies governing trade - providing the potential to develop a trade policy that is fair and allows African economies to develop.  This should particularly apply to commonwealth countries and former colonies like Kenya.  As an additional bonus, this would help mitigate some of the African economic emigration issues we have seen.

Time to stand up to the EU bully

Joris's article provides insight into the mindset of the EU and its supporters. It is clear that since the aim is to create a "post-national entity",  there can be no UK national interest in EU membership. Entirely the reverse in fact, the EU needs the UK (the worlds 5th largest economy, 4th largest military power, global leader in "soft-power") to add to its own strength.  Whenever you hear pro-EU campaigners talking about "UK's voice magnified" and "greater heft, clout" they are really talking about the EU becoming powerful by absorbing the power and strength of nation states. As the EU empire grows, the member states must by definition diminish and ultimately be dissolved.

The EU empire has grown without democratic consent and governs in the same fashion.  Political disillusion and disengagement are widespread, and a more disturbing form of politics is on the rise. Rather than bringing prosperity, it has devastated the economies of much of Europe, leaving a terrible legacy of unemployment and despair for the next generation.  Rather than providing security, the continent has not felt a less secure place in my lifetime.

Yet still "the project" continues on the same path. Whatever the problem, the answer must always be "more Europe".  There is no prospect of meaningful reform or concessions.

But there is hope.  The public are forcing referenda and debate across the EU.  The Danes recently rejected an "opt-in" to certain European Union police and justice policies.  The Netherlands will hold a referendum on the EU association agreement with Ukraine. The Finnish public raised a petition to force parliament to discuss ending Euro membership (which has tipped Finland into recession). Dutch voters raised a petition to force the lower house to debate Euro membership. Over 260,000 Austrians signed a petition forcing their parliament to debate a referendum to leave the EU.  But of course the main event will be the UK Referendum.

It is noteworthy that all the mainstream political parties and the establishment elite (CBI, BBC etc) are firmly in the Remain camp. If you are entirely happy with the current political establishment in the UK and across Europe and have no concern as to whether the UK is a self-governing state, then by all means vote Remain. By contrast, Brexit would break the current cosy establishment consensus and is the one event that can turn the tide decisively against the failing EU empire- to provide hope for a new Europe based on trade, co-operation, self-government and democratic consent. Beyond Europe, the opportunity to play a liberating role beckons : break the logjam provided by the current big trade blocs and revitalise world trade;  pursue a joined up foreign, trade and development aid policies; provide fair trade and development to developing nations.

The EU empire is a bully, using its size and strength to bully states in Europe and beyond.  We can be sure that threats, intimidation and fear will be the order of the day during the Referendum campaign.

It is time to stand up to the EU bully.  Liberty, democracy and self-government are at stake.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

FUD-Fight: Exit holds no fear

FUD - Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt. A strategic attempt to influence perception by disseminating negative and dubious or false information. We have seen a lot of FUD regarding the process and negotiations for Leaving the EU. The truth is, the Exit process should hold no fears.

Last week we saw Stephen Kinnock (Labour MP for Aberavon) choosing to inject a strong note of fear into the prospect of a UK exit from the EU. In the commons, he suggested that the EU would subject the UK to "punishment beatings". He followed this up by misrepresenting Article 50 (the EU treaty clause that provides for states to withdraw from the Union).

This is clearly intended to suggest that under Article 50 the EU will simply impose exit terms without consulting the UK. The truth is very different :
- Clause 2 of Article 50 explicitly states that the EU will negotiate and conclude an agreement with the withdrawing state;
- Clause 3 of Article 50 sets a 2 year deadline for negotiations but also provides for these to be extended subject to unanimous agreement;
- Clause 4 of Article 50 makes it clear that the withdrawing state continues to take full part in the EU institutions during the period of negotiations, except for those occasions where the Council of the European Union discusses the state and progress of the withdrawl negotiations.

This is entirely reasonable. The UK would not expect to be present while the EU council discuss the progress of negotiations, anymore than EU representatives would be present when the UK Government discuss the progress of negotiations.  To use the same metaphor as Kinnock, you would expect mediation and negotiations with your spouse during divorce proceedings, you would not expect to be present in your spouse's private consultations with their lawyer.

This is not the first occasion that Article 50 has been misrepresented in this way. On each occasion the challenge and correction has come from bloggers rather than mainstream media:
- Lucy Thomas, Business for New Europe corrected by blogger The Boiling Frog
- Bronwen Maddox in Prospect Magazine corrected by blogger The Brexit Door
- Fraser Nelson in the Telegraph corrected by blogger VoteToLeave
- Kinnock & various others corrected by blogger Lost Leonardo

Kinnock's reference to "punishment beatings" reflects a story earlier in the week: "House of Lords warned EU will punish UK if it votes for Brexit" as reported in Catherine Bearder (Liberal Democrat MEP) is quoted as saying:  "My concern is that if we vote to leave that the deal we’d be given would be such that no one else would want to leave. We would bear the brunt of the angry other 27 EU countries."  Catherine Bearder has form on this, having made similar comments last November as reported in EUobserver and in an interview to LibDem Voice.

Such a view of the EU punishing the UK flies in the face of what is actually written in the Treaty of the European Union. Articles 3.5, 8, 21.2 commit the EU to maintaining good international / neighbourly relations based on co-operation.  The same articles also commit the EU to promoting free & fair trade and progressive abolition of restrictions on international trade.  Article 50.2 states that the EU will negotiate with the UK "taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the union", i.e. a future relationship as defined by Articles 3.5, 8, 21.2 discussed above.

Article 50 also states that agreement is reached via Qualified Majority Voting, not unanimity. However, it has been suggested that Article 50 would not cover the details of a free trade agreement, which would need to be negotiated separately.  The EU’s free trade agreements are in practice ‘mixed agreements’ which require the consent of the EU institutions and ratification by all Member States.  However, if the UK simply reverts to membership of the EEA, it is simply a continuation of existing trading arrangement in the single market and detailed negotiations requiring unanimous agreement are avoided.  This emphasises once more that “Leave the EU, Keep the Single Market” provides a risk-free exit plan.

Furthermore, as pointed out by another blogger The Sceptic Isle, negotiations will have to be undertaken in “good faith” :
- the EU Treaties exist within the framework of the Vienna Convention of the Law of Treaties, which requires the parties to act in "good faith"
- “good faith” in itself is an underlying principle of international law
- “good faith” is also a principle of World Trade Organisation (WTO) international law (and the UK can rely on WTO non-discrimination, which requires the EU to offer EEA or equivalent terms).

In short, the frightening claims made by Bearder & Kinnock do not appear to have substance when the details of the EU treaties are examined.

Catherine Bearder is the sole surviving Liberal Democrat MEP and is part of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) within the EU parliament.  The ALDE group is headed by Guy Verhofstadt, the arch-federalist former prime minister of Belgium.  Verhofstadt and former Liberal Democrat MEP Andrew Duff are spearheading progress to a federal europe.  So it would be fair to categorise Bearder as an enthusiastic supporter for more European integration and progress to a Federal political union.

Stephen Kinnock is of course very much part of the EU aristocracy. His father Neil was the Labour Party leader who reversed his party's historical Eurosceptic position to a pro-EU stance  and then served as the UK's EU commissioner 1995-2004, including an inglorious period as administration commissioner for eliminating fraud (removed whistle-blower Marta Andreasendismissed complaints from whistle-blower Dorte Schmidt-Brown and faced calls for his resignation over the Eurostat scandal).  Stephen Kinnock's mother, Glenys, was an MEP before becoming an unelected minister for Europe in Gordon Brown's cabinet.  Finally, Stephen Kinnock's wife is Helle Thorning-Scmidt, who was also an MEP prior to her term as Danish prime minister.  Stephen Kinnock recently launched the "Stronger In" campaign in Wales, so he is clearly an EU enthusiast as well as EU insider.

So why would EU supporters such as Bearder & Kinnock Jnr claim that the EU would act in such a capricious way ? Is the EU not after all the beacon for progressive, enlightened government that they proclaim ? If the EU is capable of such actions in breach of its treaty commitments, is it wise to remain in such a union ?  Or is the Remain case so weak that all they have to offer is fear and intimidation ?

To return to the marriage metaphor introduced by Stephen Kinnock, blogger Semi-Partisan Politics poses the question: is the EU a trusted partner or an abusive spouse ?  During the Referendum campaign we will be fed a constant diet of stories about the dire consequences of leaving, how we'll be too weak and too small to survive etc.  The truth is the EU treaties promise trade & co-operation for neighbouring states and international law requires "good faith" .  The truth is, there is a plan for a "soft exit", i.e. "Leave the EU, Keep the Single Market".  The truth is, the UK is the 5th largest economy in a world where the overwhelming majority of countries are not in the EU.  We'll be fine.

With any abusive relationship, staying never makes things better - instead the abusive partner draws strength from their partners fear.  The right answer is always to leave.  Then the abusive partners lies and power to coerce is proven to be illusory and a brighter future awaits.  We have nothing to fear from Leaving and everything to gain.

Monday, 4 January 2016

An Obsession with Empire

From time to time, I come across descriptions of Britain as having "an obsession with empire" and hankering after past glories. Ironically, the empire was not popular with the British public until the mid-nineteenth century when Imperial Culture was promoted to bolster support for the monarchy. Empire sentiment reached its peak at the time of the Boer wars, when Britain's hold over empire was already weakening. Following two world wars, it became clear that Britain could no longer afford to maintain an empire.  The great majority of people in Britain today have grown-up and lived in a post-imperial Britain and I have not encountered anyone with a desire to go back - empires are expensive and a hassle to maintain.

However, Britain has become entangled with another form of empire, as illustrated by the following quotes from leading european politicians:
"Sometimes I like to compare the EU as a creation to the organisation of empire. We have the dimension of empire" - Jose Manuel Barroso, former President of the European Commission  
"Europe must become an empire - in the good sense of the word."  Guy Verhofstadt - current leader of the ALDE group in European Parliament and former Prime Minister of Belgium 
So I was particularly struck by this article in the Times by Edward Lucas at the end of 2015, which describes the EU as an empire in a mess.  He makes two very striking and disturbing suggestions:
  • The EU may end in catastrophe, but we should gamble on it succeeding.  
  • Concerns over the EU's survival and effectiveness trump concerns over democracy.

Lucas claims that the advantages of the single market, common currency and passport-free travel requires and justifies loss of national sovereignty to "imperial" Europe and trumps concerns over democracy.  Lets have a look at the 4 areas he discusses :

1) Competition Directorate

The European Commission has sole responsibility for both investigating and ruling on individual cases (regarding mergers, takeovers, cartels and the use of state aid).  Only the European Court of Justice (ECJ) can overturn a Commission decision on a competition case.  The competition directorate-general - above all the competition commissioner – possess huge power over member states and corporations.

The Competition Directorate has faced criticism for: its dual role (investigating and ruling); acting in the interest of competitors rather than championing consumers; creating extra costs for taxpayers & businesses.  The rules on state aid have regularly brought frustration from the French Government and would prevent Jeremy Corbyn's Labour party from implementing many of its policies (which makes Corbyn's recent conversion to a pro-EU stance particularly confusing).

A functioning Single Market will need rules and judicial mechanisms to ensure free and fair competition.  However, this does not provide justification for creating a supra-national political union.  Certainly, the current model of placing huge power to both investigate and decide into the hands of unelected commissioners without democratic oversight seems positively unhealthy.

2) Energy Directorate

Lucas claims credit for the EU's Energy Directorate in destroying Russia’s abusive and discriminatory gas export business.  Far more likely causes are the global collapse in oil/gas prices and US-led advances in fracking, allowing European countries to seek alternative sources of oil and gas.  In short, we have free markets to thank, not the EU.

3) Eurozone

Lucas admits the whole structure has been constructed without democratic consent, based on wishful thinking and may still blow up. Southern Europe has been ravaged with high unemployment and virtually zero overall growth since the Euro's introduction - all of which seems to bear out Milton Friedman's idea that the Eurozone was never an "optimal currency area".
Europe exemplifies a situation unfavourable to a common currency. It is composed of separate nations, speaking different languages, with different customs, and having citizens feeling far greater loyalty and attachment to their own country than to a common market or to the idea of Europe. — Milton Friedman, The Times, November 19, 1997

4) Schengen

"Schengenland" is described by Lucas as stretching from the southern tip of Italy to the north of Norway. Norway of course is not in the European Union, but is part of the Nordic Passport Union, which allows citizens of the Nordic countries (Denmark (Faroe Islands included), Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Iceland) to travel and reside in another Nordic country without any travel documentation.  These nations have been operating a prototype Schengen since 1952 on the basis of international co-operation, which would seem to scotch the idea that the supra-national EU is needed to provide passport-free travel.

Lucas then identifies the twin threats to Schengen of terrorism and migration as requiring an  "imperial" European Police Force and European Border Army, with authority to override member states wishes.  This of course is a classic use of a "beneficial crisis" to extend the power and authority of the EU.   Spurning inter-national co-operation for a policy which over-rides national sovereignty / democratic consent seems destined to provoke more political unrest across Europe.

Saving the Empire

Lucas admits that "costs and constraints are far higher than originally advertised".  I'll say !  The Euro, always a political rather than an economic project, has had a devastating impact on Europe's prosperity.  Democratic consent has been routinely over-ridden.  It is both ironic and disturbing that the EU has spurred a rise in an extreme, nationalist politics it was supposed to eliminate.

Having graphically described the shortcomings of the EU, Lucas appeals to voters to save imperial Europe.  I find this to be an increasingly common refrain in the EU Referendum debate:

Even more worryingly, some of the most cherished projects of European unity are in deep trouble – the Schengen zone buckling under the weight of new migration, and the euro bedevilled by flaws which were obvious at the start. There is a legitimate question as to whether the EU can survive in its current form two or three decades from now.
....  There is no doubt that without the United Kingdom, the EU would be weaker. It would lose the fifth largest economy of the world, the continent’s greatest centre of finance, and one of its only two respected military powers. We will have to ask, disliking so many aspects of it as we do, whether we really want to weaken it ... William Hague
Firstly they will lose the best performing economy in Europe. They will lose the economy that in 20 years is likely to be the biggest economy in Europe. They will lose the country with the longest and most historic foreign policy reach. They will lose one of only two countries with a military capability and a nuclear capacity. Now if Europe was formed (as it was) to look America and China and the big countries of the world in the eye as equals, if Britain comes out that ambition has gone.  John Major
We are currently being told that should the UK vote to remain within the EU, the UK will remain exempt from the Euro & Schengen arrangements (which are not popular with UK public in any case). Furthermore, membership of the EU is not a pre-requisite for participation in the Single Market.  EFTA EEA provides a "trade & co-operation" alternative (as exemplified by Norway) - remaining in the single market but regaining our voice/veto on international bodies and regaining control of our trade policy.

It appears we are being asked to vote "Remain" in order to save the EU empire from collapse - rather than for any consideration of UK advantage.

Alternatively, leaving the EU for EFTA EEA provides the advantages of the Single Market while restoring democracy and self-government.  An alternative Europe based on "trade, co-operation & democratic consent" then becomes a visible counterpoint to the failing, undemocratic EU.  I suspect other states will see this as a compelling alternative and follow the UK out of the EU.  A UK exit from the EU could be viewed as a lifeboat to save passengers from capsizing of ship "Imperial Europe" (as Lucas describes it).


The 1975 UK Referendum decision to remain in the EEC has often been portrayed as leaving behind our "obsession with empire".  In  reality, the British empire had already been consigned to history and we were abandoning our Commonwealth and EFTA allies (UK founded EFTA in 1960 with 6 other states) in order to take advantage of trade within a European Common Market. Ironically, EFTA concluded a free trade agreement in industrial goods with the EEC in 1977, just two years after the UK referendum. 

In this referendum, we again have a choice to make about "empire":  
  • Should we remain subordinate to a failing EU empire - at the cost of democracy and self-government ? 
  • Or should we leave the political/judicial control of the EU, and pursue "trade & co-operation" via the EEA EFTA route ?  (Which provides an alternative vision for Europe, based on "trade, co-operation and democratic consent")