“A figure from the Eighties cannot resolve the problems of the next five years” so wittily did David Cameron remark when considering the proposal of Jean-Claude Junker to the position of EU commissioner. Apparently, he completely missed the irony of this remark, after dedicating a huge tribute to Margaret Thatcher, and the lessons she taught us. Regardless of this inconsistency, and the unshakeable faith in progress that is implied in such a short-sighted remark, it seems Dave is in a bit of a pickle. He wants to reform Europe, but Europe doesn’t want to be reformed.
The appointment of Jean-Claude Junker to the post of EU commissioner would not be a victory for an ‘ever-closer union’. Whoever achieves the post of EU commissioner, the European Union will be committed to Federalism. From its very conception, in the creation of the European Economic Community, its fundamental objective was a United States of Europe. Winston Churchill famously endorsed such proposals in 1946, in a speech to the academic youth of Zurich, for a ‘United States of Europe’. Though in his vision the United Kingdom would not be a member. It would appear some form of united Europe is simply unavoidable. The question that is open to us, here in Britain, is if we surrender over 1,000 years of history, our national institutions and our national sovereignty itself, to become a part of this federal Europe.
There have been suggestions, by people with far greater credentials than our esteemed Prime Minister, that we can work with Europe, to make it a ‘union of nation states’ as opposed to a Federal Europe. However, where these allies will come from, is a mystery. One proponent is conservative philosopher Roger Scruton, who suggests allies could be found in Eastern Europe. David Cameron suggests they could be located in Germany. However, since Chancellor Merkel has recently endorsed Mr. Junker for the post of EU commissioner, I sincerely doubt many will continue to think that alliance possible. Scruton’s claim is a lot more credible, within Eastern Europe there are several pockets of resistance to a united Europe. However, even between them, they could not out-vote Germany in the European Parliament. Some have suggested their hopes lie in the far-right. Indeed while it is true the far-fight is on the rise in Europe, many of these groups wish to leave the European Union, or simply lack anything near the support required on a national level to overturn the European Union. No, the far-right’s prominence in national politics, will come with the failure of the European Union. Its inevitable collapse, both economically and politically, will no doubt provoke the kind of extremism it was designed to avoid.
Regardless of the European Union’s future and its longevity, the question that should concern us, is whether we in Britain should remain a part of this experiment in supranationalism. Whether Mr. Junker gets the commission or not. Or indeed if Ian Duncan Smith delivers a package of power repatriation from Brussels or not, simply does not matter. The question of national sovereignty remains at the heart of this debate. Whether 75% or 1% of our laws are made in Brussels, that is somewhere between 1% to 75% that cannot be altered or overturned by the British people. It is beyond the remit of our own national democracy. Indeed, within a Federalist union, our ability to determine our national affairs would be completely destroyed. Instead, we would be subject to EU decree, just like our sales taxes and post offices are today; all aspects of national life would be decided outside the nation itself. Yet all of these decisions will affect our nation profoundly.
When it comes to the European Union, I simply do not care if it keeps the forces of Socialism at bay, or if retains some pseudo-intellectual proposition of peace. I would much rather live in a nation, governed by a Socialist state and at war with the forces of Capitalism, than surrender sovereignty to any supranational organisation. We must be free, to determine our own collective destiny, be that through the forces of Socialism or Capitalism, Conservatism or Liberalism. The politics of this, doesn’t lie in factions or principles. It lies in where we regard the ultimate political authority to reside. In this case, it has been, and can only be, the Nation-State. Within this authority, a single people can determine their affairs, conduct and destiny. Outside of it, in the case of the European Union for instance, decisions are imposed upon the people. Furthermore, to those who argue that we need ‘more european democracy’; I would simply reply thus: there cannot be a European Democracy, for there is no European demos.
As Tony Benn so rightly claimed:
“Britain’s continuing membership of the [European] Community would mean the end of Britain as a completely self-governing nation.”.
The real divisions over the European Union lie not between the right and the left, between Labour and the Liberal Democrats on one hand, and the Conservatives and UKIP on the other. It transcends any party agenda. Division ultimately lies between those who have faith in the nation, national democracy and self-determination, and those who wish to impose a ‘higher’, international authority upon us, and erode the boundaries of the nation entirely. Between those who are Nationalists, and those who are Internationalists.
So when David Cameron talks about powers being “returned’ from Europe, in a complicated series of compromises and relentless pleading, remember that those powers rightly belong to us anyway. We the people, the British people, have a right within our democracy to determine our own national affairs. The rights of the European Union, its institutions and its representatives, are entirely illegitimate. Sovereignty within a nation, belongs to the nation. Reject, in its entirety any ‘negotiation’ with Europe. Remember, Mr. Junker is no more, or less, a federalist than thousands of others in Brussels; including many of the previous commissioners. Simply decide, if your loyalty lies with the supranational project and its unaccountable commission; or your own national institutions.