The upcoming referendum on the EU is, I believe, the single most important political decision any of us is likely to make in our lifetime. I’m voting ‘Leave’. Here’s my reasoning in ONE word. Accountability.
Accountability keeps us behaving responsibly.
As individuals we are responsible for how we treat each other, responsible for our possessions, and responsible for what we do with what we have. We are responsible for what we ask of others, how our decisions affect them and how we adjust to the effect we have on other’s lives – our response-ABILITY. Responsibility and accountability are linked. We are responsible FOR things and people, and accountable TO those people, obliged to maintain a free flow of transparent communication so that we prove ourselves worthy of trust.
In Britain we have decided that those who are responsible for the direction and management of our country are ultimately accountable to us, the people they lead, whose lives their decisions affect. Responsible for. Accountable to.
The reason I’m voting Leave is because such accountability is missing in the EU. We have no idea who makes the decisions that affect us. We do not know the person responsible for each of the myriad of choices imposed on the millions of people who must do as they are told. There is no cabinet minister’s name attached to an ‘EU Directive’. Parliament cannot overthrow it. As a result of that ongoing and unstoppable anonymity, power becomes absolute and absolute power corrupts absolutely, regardless of the intentions of those who wield it.
The counterbalance to the abuse of power is democracy, described by Churchill as “the worst form of government except for all the others that have been tried from time to time.” Or as it has been succinctly put, ‘the least worst form of government.’
Every few years in Britain the people have an opportunity to kick out those in power if they don’t lead well, or spend our taxes carelessly, and this makes they much more attentive to the people they, at least in theory, are committed to serve. We wisely wield that power every five years in Britain – about the right time-frame in my view. But no one can kick out those who wield the power in the EU, so its bureaucrats can – and do – decide as they like.
Worse than that in some ways is that the inertia of this unwieldy autocracy is so great that the EU has proven to be UNABLE to reverse, even though catastrophe lies in such a path. It has become unABLE to respond. It has lost response-ABILITY.
We paid a high price for democracy – many many lives. Let’s not give it away in a single day of apathy.
This issue of power is way more important than any financial implication (or even issues like immigration). Prosperity comes and goes and we’ll love to exercise our creative skills in developing our markets with the rest of the world. We are certainly mature enough, creative enough and courageous enough as a nation and economy to do so. But democracy, once it has been surrendered, cries out for blood in order to be restored. Germany, Spain, Italy, and indeed ourselves, could well do with remembering the lessons of history. So let’s not, due to negligence, weakness or ignorance, drift into blind obedience to the relentless autocracy the EU has determined to exercise since its inception.
By the way, I love being with people from other nations. I’ve visited every country in Western Europe (except Iceland and Macedonia). And I’ve visited many other countries too – from China to Canada. Human beings are amazing. I’m always impressed. But I’ve also noticed that where accountability and transparency flourish, corruption is minimal. Where it is diminished, abuse of the people, people like you and me, sooner or later becomes normal. Dark deeds are done in secret.
One final thought.
Reformation. Membership of a ‘reformed’ Europe (whatever that might mean) is an option, but to be committed to a vague undefined so-called reformation without knowing what it will be, and knowing that the very people choosing the reforms are the same autocrats committed to the original governmental system – well, that would be foolishness indeed, wouldn’t it?
I personally think that the removal of the U.K. from the EU could be a catalyst for reform. Brexit will be a major upheaval for Europe, perhaps even big enough to force such reformation, so us voting ‘leave’ will serve the EU well, as a child running away from home usually causes the child’s family to ask deep searching essential questions of themselves, their relationships and parenting. What freedom is that person seeking that they could not get here? “How is it that such freedom is SO important that they have left the apparent security of this ‘home’ to seek it?” Although of course Britain isn’t a child. It is a mature thoughtful adult choosing to leave a business club that is no longer serving its members well.
The British people have given Europe’s leaders a chance to change. They haven’t. They don’t care about the members’ concerns, the sincere concerns of those they rule. Instead some have even threatened us with retaliation and financial ‘punishment’ for making a free legal choice. Some friends! Do we want to be forced to live the rest of our lives with them, ‘return’ to their walled fold? Not exactly enticing, is it. Bullying tactics are in the DNA of the over-powerful. Do I want to continue living within the doors of such a ‘home’? Certainly not. A bully living next door is one thing. Living with them is something else – as millions of people know only too well.
Time for Britain to grow up, believe in itself again, move out, seek our fortune in a less confining environment and move on. These EU walls that are hailed as protecting us have become our prison. We don’t need them thanks. This is our chance to walk out from that prison. Our world is a big place to explore, to play and work in. I believe we are courageous enough to say goodbye to our fears, stand up tall as a nation again, trade with confidence … and show the world how good it is to live with an accountable government and a free press in a democratic society.
That’s the reason I’ll be voting ‘Leave’.