Saturday 6 October 2012

Is there a contradiction between euroscepticism and unionism?

Is there something contradictory about being in favour of the UK leaving the EU, but being against Scotland leaving the UK? Eurosceptics cite that they don’t want to be ruled from Brussels, but likewise the SNP does not want to be ruled from London. Are unionist eurosceptics not being hypocritical in denying to the Scots what they want for themselves?

Not at all. Firstly Scotland is going to have a referendum on independence. The first thing that eurosceptics want is a referendum on the EU membership. If we lose we will accept the result just as we will accept the result of the referendum on independence. 

Why are eurosceptics against the EU. Personally I’m against the EU not because I’m against unions in general. The United States, for instance,  strikes me as an ideal multi state union. Why does it work. Because there is a common identity, a common language and there are common political parties which stand in every state. Each state has a lot of devolved power and each state devolves that power still further so that a great number of decisions are taken by politicians who are close to the people who elect them and who can easily be voted out if they go against the wishes of the electorate. Overseeing all of this is a strong national government, with responsibility over matters, which affect the country as a whole. Of course there are faults with American democracy, but on the whole it is an enviable model.

If the European Union were like that , there might be a case for being a member. But the EU can never be a free, democratic multi state country like the United States, because it lacks the conditions for being a successful nation, a common identity and a common language. It is for this reason primarily that the Eurozone is failing as an optimum currency union. Whereas someone from New York can easily seek work in California, someone from Greece can not easily seek work in Germany. Whereas richer parts of the United States are happy to transfer money to poorer parts, richer parts of the EU resent the idea of subsidising people who they consider to be foreigners. 

Britain already is an optimum currency union, because we have the conditions for being an optimum nation. We have a common language, culture and identity. We do not see people from other parts of the UK as foreigners. We have in Britain what the United States has, a fully democratic country, we have what the EU lacks and can never have. 

It is for this reason that I am opposed to breaking up the union of the UK, while being in favour of breaking up the EU. There is no contradiction here. 

Scottish independence makes no more sense than Texan independence. Of course each of these formerly independent States could function successfully on their own, but they each benefit from being in a political fiscal and currency union with other people who speak the same language as them, have similar values and cultures and just as a Texan benefits from not being a foreigner in Washington, so a Scot benefits from not being a foreigner in London.