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Jun 22

EU Referendum – If You Really Believe in Democracy There is Only One Way You Can Vote on Thursday

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eu referendum A couple of months ago I began this EU campaign genuinely undecided about how I would vote. I knew we sent the EU quite a lot of money and that it was bureaucratic. But I also believed fully in the idea that we were stronger together and that free trade is usually a good thing.

After much thought and research I have decided to vote to leave the EU. The final factor was the Paxman documentary which I would encourage everyone to watch.

Much as I love Europe. I cannot vote in favour of a system which is undemocratic and unaccountable. We must all fight to defend our democracy. So many have already sacrificed so much in the past to do so.

How is the EU undemocratic? Firstly, perhaps most importantly it lacks transparency. This system is unnecessarily and seemingly deliberately complex. Understanding how laws are actually made is difficult. There are three main bodies.

The European Council – Decides priorities and directions of the EU

The European Commission – Proposes legislation, policies and programmes of action and is responsible for implementing the decisions of the European Parliament and the Council.

The European Parliament – Amends and approves legislation

There are also a myriad of other bodies involved, of which there are far too many to list. When a system is this complex it becomes impossible for ordinary people to have any input or influence on the decision making process. Power becomes held in a smaller and smaller elite.

New laws are not proposed by elected members of the EU parliament. In almost all cases they are proposed by unelected commissioners. This is crucial. What is the point of having elected representatives if they are powerless to change anything? When I vote for my MP to go to Westminster he or she stands on a manifesto of policies he or she wishes to undertake on my behalf. My MEP stands for nothing. It’s little wonder that almost no one actually knows who their MEP is. The elected European Parliament, in those policy areas in which it is allowed a say, votes on directives in vast batches with very little opportunity for debate. Detailed scrutiny is given in committees, but only a tiny proportion of MEPs are able to participate. The ability to modify directives is itself subject to many rules. There is no accountability. Any laws which are created trump our own parliament. Whatever people may say, it is not democracy.

I do not pretend that leaving the EU would not be difficult and there would not be a great deal of upheaval. I have also been very disappointed with most of the arguments and figures from both sides. It saddens me that the debate has been dominated by immigration and the economy when to me the true issue is our relationship with the EU and our democracy.

But we cannot allow this undemocratic system to continue. The EU has shown itself to be completely unwilling to reform. David Cameron had a golden opportunity to work for proper democratic reform during his re-negotiation. He didn’t even bother because he, and most other politicians, have no interest in changing a system which favours them. It is time for us all to stand up and be counted and take back control of our democracy. We may not get another chance.