The Europe debate is spoiled by jingoistic egoism…..
Europe, it seems, is back as a big political issue. Of course, for the Conservatives ever since its creation it has been an ever-present political issue. Labour too has grappled with it and suffered greatly from internal turmoil caused by the continent that is, relatively speaking, a hop, skip and a jump across the sea. I think the centrality of the ‘Europe question’ shows an awful lot that is wrong with British politics.
Sadly, to my mind it shows a certain lack of maturity – an inability to get to grips with Britain’s place in a world in which it no longer strides like a colossus across the globe and it certainly no longer imperialistically enslaves 3/4 of it. Being once ‘great’ does not make Britain a special place or either particularly exceptional – if it does, Rome has equal, if not greater, claim to this kind of special status.
It is irking that Euroscepetics consistently whine about the democratic deficit in how the European Union is governed but then, in the next breath, are desperate to claw back ‘national sovereignty’. Institutions like the European Council are precisely their because of ‘national sovereignty’ concerns yet they are the most undemocratic because they take power away from the people, and institutions like the European Parliament – which is the representative and elected part of the EU.
The subordinate position of the European Parliament – the elected element of the EU is the product of politicians selfish, greedy desire to suffer no challenger to their position – not the product of their desire to protect ‘national interest’. The national interest of every single European nation is better served by tighter union. Until we can have a mature political discourse in Britain about the necessity of that we unlikely to move forward as a nation or contribute much to the development of a democratic European polity.