One thing would convince the average person that Britain must leave the European Union; being a fly on the wall for a couple of weeks in the European Parliament and seeing the squalid, elitist nonsense of how laws are made.
I’ve written before about how debate is stifled, and this week in Strasbourg is no exception.
I had submitted my request to speak in the steel industry ‘debate’; the Deputy Speaker had five spots to allocate. My request was acknowledged. They took just three speakers, looked across at me, smiled, and closed down the debate.
Redcar had been mentioned more than once in the debate, but the message was clear: they’d do their best to stifle any mention of the EU’s responsibility in some (not all) of the factors behind the loss of jobs. You see, us eurosceptics are dangerous. We must be gagged in case a moment of common sense breaks out in all the ridiculousness.
And it really is nonsense on stilts. My North East Labour colleagues seem to think that despite the millions fleeing Syria and the EU’s redefinition of the word ‘refugee’ causing a mass exodus from countries like Bangladesh towards Europe, there just aren’t enough people arriving at our shores – so they voted to invent a new type of refugee, a ‘climate refugee’. Fortunately, the measure was defeated, but it was worryingly close.
The EU is now pushing for a seat at the United Nations’ Security Council. I spoke out against it, and voted against it. The EU is not a nation. Labour happily voted in favour. But when UKIP asked other parties’ MEPs to join with us and demand that our British seat on the Security Council be protected, not one Labour, Conservative or Liberal Democrat MEP anywhere in the country bothered to respond. By being in the EU we’ve already lost our voting rights at the World Trade Organisation, of course – typical of how we lose influence as members of the EU.
We voted on a bizarre report supposedly about child poverty, which ranged from far-left to outright communism and included talk of wealth redistribution, income redistribution, anti-privatisation and universal benefits. By all means believe in those things, but this was a report about child poverty being used as a political football.
The Labour Party weighed in on the act, lambasting anyone who voted against an EU-wide ‘child guarantee’ – we all want to end poverty, but you won’t do it with an unfunded, uncosted, back-of-envelope idea across 28 different countries at once.
All of the above happened in just one day on Tuesday. It’s a system utterly divorced from reality, and it’s sickening to see just how quickly MEPs can ‘go native’.
I refuse to attend the daily champagne receptions of lobbyists in Brussels (the only city in the world with more lobbyists than Washington DC).
I scoff at the blue carpet laid out for MEPs to walk into the Parliament on, whilst mere mortals must tread the solid granite floor.
I hate the system where I, as an MEP, am expected to waltz to the front of any queue anywhere in the Parliament – and get funny looks if I wait my turn.
The list of things that can actually be done better at European Union level than 28 different countries would be quite a short list.
The list becomes even shorter when you consider that issues which span different countries might be better discussed in the United Nations.
It becomes shorter still when it’s painfully obvious that the European Union lacks the ability to produce good legislation, thanks to an unelected Commission, weak Parliament and a massively bureaucratic decision-making process.
The European Union juggernaut’s stated aim is ‘ever-closer union’. Once power has been given to the EU by the UK, under the ‘acquis communautaire’ principle it can never be given back unless we leave the European Union. Power after power is ceded to Brussels, with few people out there pausing to consider whether the power should be there in the first place.
As the proverb goes, a tyrannical king once asked a wise man what he could do for the betterment of humanity. The wise man told the king “Stay in bed until midday, so that for this brief period you may not afflict mankind”.
If the European Union didn’t legislate at all, the world would be a better place.
If readers could only see what MEPs deal with on a daily basis, they’d vote to leave the European Union and put me out of a job. I truly hope they do.
This article was originally published in the Journal on 26/11/2015