Michael Staples asserts that the principal argument for leaving the EU is to assert our sovereignty, and regain control of our borders.
Let’s deal with the last issue first: the UK was never party to the EU’s open borders Schengen agreement, so the UK always has controlled its borders with the rest of the EU and leaving would make no difference to immigration, the issue to which he alludes.
As for sovereignty, in a world dominated by global corporations who pay millions to political parties who then by and large act in their interests in between elections, it’s clear that any government’s sovereignty is in practice limited.
But even within that sphere of action available to governments, the EU could be said to be more democratic than the UK, because UK voters elect MEPs using proportional representation.
In contrast, the first-past-the-post voting system used for UK parliamentary elections is unfit for purpose, as can be seen by the yawning gulf between voting numbers and the numbers of MPs per political party.
Parliament doesn’t represent the country fairly at all. So much for democratic representation in the UK – we the people have very little sovereignty.
I think as well though that there’s another element to this discussion that’s being ignored.
Despite the depredations of the UK’s banking sector and governmental protestations of austerity, this remains a rich country.
So in the same way that as a society we share the wealth of the better-off with the less well-off, that principle of sharing applies across the EU.
We should, I would contend, be less insular in our thinking and consider how we can help others. Despite its many faults, the EU is one way of doing so.