Brexit, Frexit......Why staying in the EU would end democracy

Many of the people I work with, who I follow on Twitter, still consider Brexit to be an insane decision, as do the many politicians who continue to fight the referendum decision. They focus on trying to maintain the status quo of being in the single market with all that implies, instead of rationally looking at the opportunities.

Now we have the situation in France where the two sides of this debate are being put in front of the French people very starkly.

I therefore think it is time to lay out my reasons for voting for the UK to leave the EU and why I believe this to be the rational and right choice, though it will be harder than the status quo of remain.

My decision to vote to leave the EU was not based on ANY of the promises or threats produced by both sides in the debate leading up to the referendum. I have seen too many elections to be able to trust politicians to keep promises and it was extremely clear that the future was not predictable, in the sense of being able to state what the futures of remaining in or leaving the EU would bring.

The only solid information on which to make the decision on which way to vote was (and is) the track record of the EU, EC and the associated institutions. Politicians come and go but the institutions and the structures remain. Indeed the EU and the EC were designed to be bureaucratic institutions that would retain stability through political upsets. That the EU and EC will continue to operate as they now do is entirely predictable – and virtually impossible to change.

There are two things that have gone wrong as the European Common Market has morphed into the EU and the EU has grown. And most depressingly I see absolutely no prospect of the EU being able to remedy these problems. Cameron tried to get some movement on both of these and was consistently rebuffed in the years before the referendum, reinforcing my view that the EU is unable now to make substantive change.

Problem 1 – with 28 nations now in the EU, instead of the original 6 then 9 when UK, Denmark and Ireland joined, it is now unable to make timely and sensible political decisions. The EU failed to take effective decisions and action when the Bosnian war erupted, when the economic migration from Africa started, when Russia became aggressive, when the Middle Eastern wars erupted, when the banking crisis happened and when Greece and the other Mediterranean countries started to get into financial trouble. Combined with this virtual paralysis on the European Council, the EC institutions have become in large part the law-making bodies of the EU, often through regulations and case law. And this whole structure has no effective national democratic control. A country's prime minister is just outvoted on the European Council and the European Parliament is a confirming chamber that largely follows where the EC wishes to take law and regulation. The EU is virtually politically paralysed on the big issues. And national concerns, no matter how pressing, are ignored in favour of keeping the big EU project and the Euro on the road. Stay, and all our national democracy will become increasingly irrelevant.

Problem 2 – having originated as the European Common Market, the interests of industry and finance have become the controlling rationale for how the EU is being developed. Lip-service is paid to communities through regional funding but it is the big companies and their friends in finance who call the shots. And right at the centre of the EU there is the Luxembourg tax haven, with the Luxembourg Prime Minister who set the tax-dodging systems up now as President of the EC. Free movement of labour and finance, set up to stimulate economic growth after WW II, has morphed into 'freedom of movement' which basically gives companies the ability to ignore supporting the countries and communities in which they are based. They know they can pull in trained workers from elsewhere and can move their business easily around the EU to where it is financially in their best interests to operate. Had there not been a huge popular campaign the TTIP trade deal, negotiated in secret, would have even given companies the ability to sue national governments.

All the other problems flow from these two big problems with the EU. Stay in the EU and the UK will not be able to act effectively to resolve any of these other serious problems.

If there had been any prospect of being able to fix these problems from inside the EU then I might have voted to remain. But it was clear there was no chance of this.

It will be very interesting to see how the debate plays out in France. I have not yet had a chance to look closely at Macron's policies but from first reports it appears he is strongly in favour of the EU, globalisation and hence presumably the interests of the big companies and big money, whereas Le Pen is putting the interests of communities, social cohesion and democratic control first.

There will be a big battle this next decade. The balance between companies/financiers and community/social cohesion has gone wrong. With more robots it will go even further wrong. And without democratic control the people of the UK, and other countries, will not be able to fight the rich and powerful and stop them pursuing their self-interest, at the expense of society at large.