On Democracy

To me, this referendum is unequivocally about the kind of democracy that we want to see in the United Kingdom. Are we happy to settle for a significant amount of legislation being dictated by people who are unelectable and unaccountable? Are we satisfied to be represented by a leadership which acts in a way which is fundamentally antidemocratic? Are we content to see British democracy weakened to the extent that local government becomes an irrelevance? I’m not.

The only body with formal power to propose legislation in the European Union is the Commission. Commissioners are unelected – we cannot hold them to account and we cannot vote them out if we are unhappy with them. I believe that in a democracy, laws should be made by people who we can see, hold to account, and vote out. There is very little transparency in the Commission – few people could name the EU Commissioner who represents the United Kingdom (who at the time of writing is The Lord Hill of Oareford) and even those who know who our Commissioner is have no way of holding them to account.

When we cannot elect our own Commissioner and hold them to account, how are we supposed to hold the other Commissioners to account? There are 28 people representing the peoples of Europe, none of whom were elected by the people over whom they legislate – that is simply not democratic. It is also simply not representative that in one corner of this union a single Commissioner is supposed to represent 64 million people’s views, while at the same time in another corner of the union another Commissioner represents the views of 420,000 people – not that representativeness makes a difference where there is no way for the populace to influence them.

The European Union has taken deliberate action to make itself even less transparent than before, including this 2014 case of restricting document access requests. It represents an antidemocratic body – the unelected Commission’s President, Jean-Claude Juncker, has oft talked of curtailing anti-EU political parties’ abilities to have their voices heard in the European Union. Juncker and the Commission forced the anti-austerity Syriza government in Greece to adopt a platform of deep austerity and imposed budget restrictions on the Portuguese and Spanish governments, forcing them to adopt a specific economic policy – regardless of the opinions of the populaces of those countries.

Democracy is, fundamentally, about being able to see the people who make our legislation, hold them to account, and vote them out. The European Union simply does not fulfil this criteria. It is not transparent. The populace cannot hold their legislators to account. Our legislators cannot be voted out if they have acted against our best interests. To put it in one simple fact that says all that needs to be said about EU democracy: Jean-Claude Juncker was elected as President of the only body with formal powers to propose legislation (and so is, in essence, our Chief Legislator) with the support of 0.0000027% of the populace he represents. That is not a democracy.

Leaving the EU enables us to revitalise our democracy. Dragging power down through the system – from supranational government, to national government, through to local government – will re-empower our local government and enable us to build a better democracy. Decisions should be made as close to the people that they affect as possible, not drawn up to levels of supranational government further and further away. By voting leave, we can ensure that the decisions that affect Southampton get made in Southampton, and the decisions which affect the United Kingdom get made in the United Kingdom.

The EU is undemocratic. The only people who can propose legislation are unelected and unaccountable. On June 23rd we have the power to restore and revitalise our democracy – we must vote Leave.

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