Towards an ever looser union

There are so many important things to blog about. Cake, chickens, and shooting, for instance. But the big topic of the moment is Europe and the UK veto of the latest treaty change.

Looking at the polls, I’m obviously part of an overwhelming majority of opinion. 62% in favour of the veto, only 19% against. And this in spite of the grief-stricken ululations from the BBC and The Grauniad.

Examined coolly, any individual’s involvement in the political process is almost vanishingly tiny. Still, like most people, I take my right to vote very seriously. Most of us genuinely ponder the issues of the day, and turn out to cast our vote accordingly.

My one exception is the European Parliamentary election, where I routinely spoil my paper. Why? Because I feel disenfranchised by the voting system. My influence isn’t merely small, it’s effectively zero. The offer is to cast a vote for a “party list” which then goes through some opaque process of proportional representation and a bunch of grey men, all named Buggins, get to take their turn in a European Parliament. The UK has 72 out of 785 MEPs. As if this wasn’t detached enough, the European Parliament has to work in conjunction with (read “dictated to by”) the Council of the European Union. The Council appears to be populated by the political aristocracy of Europe, the von Buggins and de Buggins of the wealthy and well-connected.

This seems to me to be profoundly undemocratic. I have no practical say in this high tax, high subsidy, high regulation Euro-world. But the results do affect me quite directly. The rising tax burden, the grossly offensive way in which the tax revenues are wasted, and the pervasive petty regulations that threaten to criminalise every one of us, all of these contribute to a vague sense of oppression.

Goodness knows, the UK veto of the recent budgetary proposals is a small enough gesture, but I feel that today that oppression sits a little lighter on my shoulders. Freedom is indeed good.

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