That sovereignty thing #Remain

imageA lot is made by the Brexiteers of taking back our sovereignty. Piffle!

And much was made of President Obama’s pronouncements on whether the UK should stay in the EU, and the suggestion was that the USA would never give up its sovereignty in a similar way. Eh?

The clue is in the name – the United States of America!  It’s a country made up of large economies with more in common than separates them, that act together to be stronger and to further a common interest.

Take California, an economy about as large as the UK’s, which has open borders with Oregon, Nevada and Arizona. I remember being stopped at the border between AZ and CA once and asked whether I had any fresh fruit in the car but that was it (and then I turned on The Eagles and Hotel California and drove to the ocean) but that’s a bigger barrier than I have experienced crossing EU borders.

I’m not saying that I want a full USE – United States of Europe – but it’s a bit rich saying that Americans wouldn’t stand for this type of thing when they fixed their country that way over a century ago. And the CA independence movement is rather small. Montana is not riven by Montexit.  Maine wishes to remain.

It is a necessary part of a civilised life that we each give up some freedom (eg freedom to kill people) for the common good. It’s almost a definition of the passage of civilisation that we have given up the freedom to act badly in return for everyone behaving better – and it’s always been those who are most powerful who are most reluctant to allow this. We all benefit from rules, if they are good ones, that promote the common good. That is one of the points of government.

I give up part of my sovereignty over how I live my life simply to be a good neighbour – and I respect my neighbours for doing the same.  I give up a bit more by electing district councillors, paying local taxes, and letting them get on with doing things on my behalf (but reserve the right to moan about them when I like). I give up quite a lot of sovereignty by electing an MP (if only my fellow constituents had voted the same way as I did) and then paying taxes to a government that runs the country. I’m perfectly happy for some of my sovereignty to go all the way to Brussells and not be stuck in Westminster because I can see that brings me benefits environmentally, socially and, probably, though least importantly, economically (and I’ll put up with the irritations – and moan about them).

Some British politicians want to take back from the EU all the power/influence/money/sovereignty that I have lent to them. That’s my power/money/influence/sovereignty that Boris, Nigel and Michael want – it isn’t theirs!  I’d rather continue to pass it to the EU which seems to be a gang worth being in.  I’ll be voting, through my free choice, to continue to loan the EU some of my power on 23 June.

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17 Replies to “That sovereignty thing #Remain”

  1. As a twenty something in the 1970's I voted against joining the EEC.

    I have never thought that the EU is a democratic organisation, and I sometimes wonder why their accounts are not published.

    I have not listened to our politicians on either side, leave or remain, as my mind had been made up for years.

    As I am mostly in the hills I don't want my valuable time wasted in going to a polling booth - so I have a postal vote.

    Yes, there have been good things that have come out of the EU but there are many elements that offend my personal notion of democracy.

    I respect the views of those that want to remain, I hope you will respect my view to differ.

    As I have a postal vote I have already voted, I voted leave.

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    1. Robert - well I hope to survive for just over a week to cancel out your vote (as you have already cancelled out mine). I wonder how close it will be? I'm fairly confident I will be on the winning side - but far from certain.

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    2. 'As a twenty something in the 1970's I voted against joining the EEC. '
      Ditto me. Except it took me no time at all to realise i had made a huge mistake. I had a lot of political German friends who told me that Germany was still extremely right wing. I voted No because i thought it would pull the EEC would pull the UK to the right.
      How wrong can you be. We didn't need the Germans we had our very own home grown extremist leaders.
      Now i vote to remain almost entirely for environmental reasons but also with the hope that Europe can restrain the madmen and women that our monkey-brains are determined to put into power.

      The only silver lining of an exit would be that Scotland would get another referendum. I hope that too many Scots don't vote exit for that reason. I met one who laughingly told me so but i'm hoping she was joking.
      Boris Johnson was right when he said in the tv debate that Sturgeon wants Hollyrood to be led by Brussels not Westminster. Who wouldn't.

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    3. Splitting hairs, I know, but the 1975 referendum was also on whether to remain. Heath's government took us in; Wilson's then gave the referendum.

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  2. Mark - whether we leave or remain I hope that there will no lasting animosity on either side. We can all unite as a country and move forward.

    As most readers of your blog are passionate about wildlife, leave or remain, I hope we can all continue to do our best for wildlife - particularly in trying to eliminate the seemingly relentless destruction of our raptors on driven grouse and pheasant shoots.

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    1. Robert

      I hope so too, but I think it is a forlorn hope. Talking to friends, it’s clear that this is splitting the country and families along age and class.

      I’ve been out campaigning for the last five weeks. I’ve spoken to Brexit campaigners and, without exception, they have been polite and friendly. There’s a sense that we are taking part in something important, and contributing to the democratic process. However, the same cannot be said of Brexit supporters – I’ve met a few who’ve been pretty aggressive. It’s clear that some are very angry people.

      Brexit seem to be ahead in the polls, but my hope is that the nation will look into the abyss in the last week, and pull back. If that happens, expect a lot of very angry people on the Brexit side. They’ve been fed a diet of flag waving and low level racism for weeks. I honestly don’t know how they’ll react.

      Andrew

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  3. One thing that has become abundantly clear to me during the course of this 'debate' is that generally, the more pro-Brexit/anti-EU somebody is - then the less time they appear to have spent familiarising themselves with how the EU actually works.

    I'm increasingly resigning myself to the fact that we will vote to leave - I note the odds on Brexit appear to be shortening by the day.

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  4. If we do leave and if, as I expect, we end up with an even more right-wing successor government to Cameron's as a result, then that government will go through a process of stripping out the EU aspects of our large body of legislation. This will allow them the freedom to simplify all of the economic, social and environmental rights that are presently underpinned by EU law. So the increased democratic freedoms we have acquired through our membership of the EU will no longer exist and all of our present rights will be reduced so that businesses, developers, exploiters of our natural environment etc will have greater freedom of action. Labour laws will no longer restrain businesses, wildlife conservation areas will no longer be protected, neonicotinoids will be useable with impunity etc. I would rather have the protections of a so-called 'undemocratic' EU than a supposedly more sovereign and therefore less restrained and more powerful British government. Those who are prepared to vote to leave on the basis of what appears to be a tidal surge of xenophobia appear ready to shed a lot of their democratic rights as well as precipitate a financial crisis that would impoverish us all. I simply cannot understand it. It has all the hall-marks of a death-wish.

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    1. John Jones - thank you, very well put.

      Please everyone, if you have not yet voted, vote for the principle of peace and co-operation with our European family members.

      And without EU Directives, will any British government protect any wild creature unless they are good for shooting, trapping, poisoning or hitting on the head?

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  5. Mark - I'd been musing on your very good point about the USA. Few people in this country realise just how much power individual states of the US have - including whether they have the death penalty or not, rather a huge independent power, don't you think ? And the first thing Americans ask each other when they meet is what State they are from.

    And for Robert Ince, no, I don't think everyone will come together after this vote and, with the leanings of the pro-Brexit campaigners, it is very hard to see a Brexit vote as anything other than a vote against wildlife. And I hope you have a private income - the hills are almost totally dependant on farming subsidies which will not survive the first economic crisis after Brexit - amongst other things, the EU has been much more effective at supporting outlying areas & fragile economies - including the hills, Cornwall and the Scottish highlands - than Westminster ever has.

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    1. Roderick - thank you. Yes the states of the USA do have great power, but share a currency, army etc. And large parts of the USA used to 'belong' to other countries - Florida, California and much of the SW, Texas, Alaska, Hawaii even after independence from us lot.

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  6. 'And the first thing Americans ask each other when they meet is what State they are from. '
    Not sure that is relevant and neither is my comment. I lived for 6 years in the states and although i picked up a slight accent i don't remember ever being asked where i was from. I think they all presumed i was from somewhere else.
    I put it down to them moving around a lot especially as most people i met were in a highly mobile trade.

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  7. "I have also been baffled by remain’s daily conga of elder statesmen, corporate toffs, bankers, intellectuals and celebrities all wailing that Brexit will damage their various interests. How will this impress an electorate dying for a chance next week to give the lot of them a bloody nose?"

    So says Simon Jenkins. Whatever happens, that list of usual suspects, and the conspiracy ideationists, should reflect on how we got to be in this position. When you - or your Elephant - crap on enough people for long enough they are going to get upset. So here we are, where we are.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/16/german-dominance-remain-eu-referendum-britain-votes-stay

    My alter ego's heart tells him to leave, but his head says stay. I fear the outcome may be the usual SNAFU

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