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Differences and Similarities between EU and the UK


People’s pledge campaign & UKIPs leader Nigel Farage were on the Daily Politics today talking about an EU referendum. Nigel was on longer talking also about the huge Euro crisis/meltdown going on.

Nigel made a comment or rather a series of comments that made me think how ridiculous most EU sceptics and nothing embodies the eurosceptic better than UKIP and Nigel Farage.

One of his points can be seen at the end of this clip.┬áThe point being that 37 years ago, his parents voted on whether to join the Common Market which is very different from the EU that we have today. His second point not in the clip was about how 2/3rds of the population (of the EU) being against the EU and had they had a choice in whether the EU was created or not, it wouldn’t have been created. And if the people of the EU had a choice to vote or stay in that a majority would vote to leave.

How true or not that statement is, isn’t the point of this post but rather the difference between the UK and the EU.

The EU or a diluted form in the Common Market has had a referendum, it may have changed considerably but thats beside the point. The United Kingdom or should I point out that the former kingdoms within it have never in 307 years of existence ever had a vote on whether the UK should even exist.

Ask any historian and they’ll say that if democracy like we know it had existed in 1707 and a referendum on Scotland joining a union with England and of England joining a union with Scotland, then the vote would have been lost by a bigger margin I would expect than 2/3rds against on both sides of the border.

Yet over 300 years later it still exists and people like Nigel Farage claim that the UK is the most successful political and economic union ever.

If the independence referendum happens in 2014, then it will have taken 307 years for one part of the union to have an in/out referendum as opposed to the EU’s 37 and counting. If the referendum goes the way polls are suggesting it will then it looks like it might be a 70-30 split in favour of the union.

That is dramatically different than what would have happened 305 years ago. The UK has evolved particularly in the last 15 years or so with the creation of a Scottish Parliament and continuing devolution of powers.

The EU, if it survives in 15 years will look dramatically different. Now, I would hazard a guess, that in 305 years in 2317 that many people will be saying that the EU/eurozone or whatever its called in 2317 is the one of the most successful political & economic unions ever.

Thats not to say, the EU is perfect, of course it isn’t but neither is the UK. I believe in a more federal UK & EU, with power concentrated as locally as possible.

I believe the UK can learn from the EU and the EU can learn from the UK.

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Categories: Politics
  1. May 18, 2012 at 18:17 | #1

    If we have a referendum on the EU simply because no one’s voted on it in three decades, I want a referendum on becoming a Republic, abolishing the Lords, total dissolution of the UK, and many, many other constitutional issues we take for granted. I never agreed to any of those. I also want a referendum to take away devolved powers, as I was too young to vote in those, and I want a new AV referendum next year. Thousands of people have since turned 18.

    In other words, simply because people haven’t voted isn’t an argument.

    The other problem is, we *didn’t* vote on a Common Market in in the last referendum. The clause ‘ever-closer union’ has been part of the concept of the EU/EEC since the 1957 Treaty of Rome. We implicitly accepted that it would develop. It may not have been much talked about, but that’s the fault of campaigners, not the referendum, and doesn’t really render it illegitimate.

    *sigh* I have yet to work out why many europhobes seem to believe that London is the only place where power can be made. Not in Edinburgh or Cardiff, in the town hall or the ward, nor in Brussels and Strasbourg, but only in London.

    Nice post :-)

    • May 18, 2012 at 18:45 | #2

      There are thousands of constitutional issues that we have never voted on including becoming a democracy.

      The nobodies agreed to it in 3 decades is as you rightly point out a flimsy argument.

      I think the EU argument becomes more poignant in direct contrast to the UK because nobody has ever voted for the UK and people in the early 1700s were opposed to it about as much as people are opposed to the EU but now 300 years later, most are heralding the most successful political and economic union. I wonder what they’ll be heralding in 2317, the United States of Europe (USE) perchance.

  2. May 19, 2012 at 00:22 | #3

    “it might be a 70-30 split in favour of the union” so every single undecided voter plus around 10% of current comitted independence supporters will vote no? Aye, right.

    • May 22, 2012 at 20:24 | #4

      It might be. Most opinion polls, I’ve seen have shown independence solidly at around 30%!

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