Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Dr Fussbucket comes out for Brexit

Meh. Another MP comes out for Brexit. This time, Dr Sarah Fussbucket. It's actually surprising because on past record I don't think there's been a single piece of hectoring, nannying and authoritarian regulation she has ever been opposed to. By nature, she ought to love the EU. However, away with such overly generous praise. In her own words:
Those who wish for us to remain in the EU, are ramping up the rhetoric, warning about a risk to our national security in the event of Brexit due to a collapse in cooperation. It will clearly be in everyone's best interests for such cooperation to continue and to foster positive relationships on both security and trade.
We are warned that we will become like Norway, subject to all the rules and fees but with no hand on the levers of power but arguably that sounds pretty much like the current situation, except of course that Norway control their own fishing grounds. In the event of Brexit there would be every incentive for Norway and others to join Britain in a different and more positive relationship with the EU based on trade and cooperation.
Though she will inevitably spoil it by speaking further, taking her lead from self-appointed experts in Brexit affairs, the essence of what she says is just about the right tone. Measured, pragmatic and realistic. Good for her. But what sells her to me is this:
When I ask at public meetings, few can name a single one of their six MEPs, fewer still have ever contacted one. Why would they bother when their representatives are powerless in comparison to the elite corps of unelected, remote and unaccountable commissioners?
And that really is the crux of the issue. We don't know or care who our MEPs are, except for the eccentric blowhards and careerists. And why is that? Put simply, media follows the influential. In no meaningful sense do MEPs hold influence, nor are they likely to initiate change or succeed in its execution. 

Democracy means "people power". The word democracy stems from the Greek word, dēmokratía, comprising two parts:dêmos "people" and kratos "power". Without a demos, there is no democracy. But people without power is not democracy either. For all the nonsense spoken about Norway not being "at the table", it is apparent there's not much to be said for being at the table either.

But in this, Dr Fussbucket should be reminded that most people don't know who their MP is either, wouldn't bother to contact them, and if they did, they would realise just how futile that is too. Not at any level can we say that the people have power - thus if we do want democracy, while leaving the EU is a worthy first step, there is a lot more to be done thereafter. 

While we should cautiously welcome Dr Fussbucket's comments, I would remind her, and all of the MPs wading into this debate, that this is a referendum - and my vote is every bit as good as hers. That's what real democracy looks like, and if the EU system is not good enough to say we are a democracy, then Westminster isn't either. Not least when she can use her position to tell us how to live and what to eat. Perhaps her true objection to the EU is that she doesn't like the competition? 

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