June 23rd will settle one of the longest rows that has existed in modern British politics - whether the UK remains in or leaves the European Union.
Gove's statement making the case for leaving had a few choice phrases in it:
"The EU is built to keep power and control with the elites rather than the people"
That is rather the problem with most democracies - check the background of the people at the Cabinet table next time Gove, and bear in mind 65% of the people not voting for your party still gives you a majority to control legislation.
"your government is not, ultimately, in control in hundreds of areas that matter."
To which end, Gove gave an example of olive oil being contained in maximum five litre containers. No mention this is about standardisation, and purity control by amount stored. Or that Member States can go beyond this amount, but our own government after a consultation where one respondent (out of seven people in UK that had) asked for such an increase was refused by our own Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA):
Also, spare a thought for domestic moggies living in newly built housing being kept a minimum distance from birds on heathland. How dare we think of preserving wildlife as best we can. British born cats should be given the freedom to hunt migrating birds as much as possible, in Gove's new independent UK. Might help keep migration numbers down.
Given Gove invoked the American War of Independence, one might have thought we might see flashes of Jeffersonian inspiration. Alas, we did not. If Gove had written the Declaration of Independence, America might still be a colony.
The EU provides a mechanism and an institutional infrastructure for elected governments to come together and take on issues which are of mutual concern and benefit: security, trade and environment to name but a few. If we want to increase democracy I am all for the European Parliament making legislation as opposed to passing or amending what is put to them. The petition system to raise concerns is hardly a substitute for that.
Ironically that would challenge domestic legislatures - so the idea never really gets off the ground. Such democratising of the EU would mean ever closer union. As such, the Council of Ministers of elected government have the real power and checks.
The idea that we can remain in the EU and reform all this, is rather a pipe dream. It remains so national governments have control, but little accountability to us for how such accords are produced by the Commission.
The EU has only worked as a top down driven processes while economic security was provided. The troubles of the Eurozone, the real austerity and suffering that Greece has gone through, together with Southern Europe trapped with higher unemployment due to no monetary lever - they call the whole process into question.
The bigger picture is not clear cut. There will be scaremongering on both sides as to the future, if we vote one way or the other. Notice Iain Duncan Smith saying we will have a Paris Attack, as if London did not already have a sufficient threat for that to happen.
If you want value free analysis, well let me know where you can find it. The decision is going to be yours alone, and everyone is going to distort and scare you to be on one side or the other.
Do not expect an Olive branch from the other side when you have made your mind up.
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus' Weblog