March 01, 2006

EU Referendum

EU Referendum has been digging into the scary technical stuff of the Power Report and found that in the opinion of the authors of the report it is not just the centralisation into national government that is causing problems, the drift of power into the supra-national organisations is also a problem for exactly the same reasons.
Supranational bodies and processes of international negotiation such as the European Union have gained extra powers and influence at the expense of nationally and locally elected representatives. The direction and sometimes the detail of wide areas of policy are now heavily influenced by, or determined by, decisions taken by appointed officials working in supranational organisations or by politicians and civil servants in negotiations with their overseas counterparts.

The result of these shifts has been to make political decision-making more opaque, hidden and complex. It means that the people who take key decisions are more likely to be geographically, socially and politically distant from the people who are affected by their de-cisions. It also means that decision-makers are less directly account-able to those who are affected by their decisions and rarely engaged in dialogue with them. The Power Commissioners saw at first-hand how a lack of real influence over decision-makers has become a primary cause of alienation from formal democracy, and recognise that those processes which have produced greater distance between governed and governors are a source of deep concern.
So if you want people to feel empowered and so take an active interest in the way that power is used you really must empower them, people are not stupid they know when they are being duped. This means not only pushing power downwards away from central government and into local government, removing areas of power from government control entirely and placing them back in the hands of individuals, but also taking power back from the supra-national bodies and distributing it to central and local government, and removing it from government control as appropriate. Unfortuantly with the EU this is simply impossible because of it's current deep structures, such as the one way rachet of Aquis Communitaire and the Occupied Field principal. Only a ground up rebuild will change these.


Blogger tomdg said...

I can see your point about disenfranchisement caused by centralization of power. Yes, the EU can cause this as much as any government. On occasions it also does the opposite, where EU law results in local laws being thrown out (e.g. on Sunday trading or the employment of foreign nationals).

Do you take an equally strong view against the involvement of large companies in our economy (whether multinational or otherwise)? That's just as disempowering and they are arguably less accountable than any of the organizations you mention.

I think that's why the US tends to be even worse off in these respects than we in the EU are.

2:14 pm  
Blogger chris said...

You can choose whether or not to buy from a multinational, and most of the time I don't.

However there is no a choice offered on EU laws. It is not laws that cause disenchantment it is the lack of choice in how they are drafted or even if they exist. If you get some say in a process then you are going to feel more in control of it and therefore less disenchanted with it than if you don't. And the EU never has and never will allow meaningful choice in the laws it passes.

6:41 pm  
Blogger tomdg said...

True, you can buy from who you want. You can work for who you want too. But you will still be affected by large corporations because in many cases they completely dominate the market both for goods and labour.

I was under the impression that EU laws had to be approved by the EU parliament, voted for by us. I won't pretend that makes them in any way accountable, but it's not really that different from the situation in Westminster.

12:55 pm  

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