There is no denying that the UK’s supreme authority has in many ways become the EU, yet, many remainers would argue that since UK citizens have a say in what is legislated in Brussels, then this concern has no value- our sovereignty is exercised by our people, reflected in the both governmental and European elections.
However, the problem with that argument is that democracy in the EU is simply assumed and not necessarily implemented. Whilst we (provided we have suffrage) can vote to elect MEPs, our say in EU legislation is very limited. This is particularly due to one factor- The EU Commission.
The legislative initiative in the EU is held by the EU Commission. This means that the Commission is responsible for drafting EU legislation, not the European Parliament, which we vote for. Whilst the European Parliament hold this Commission accountable and can approve or block proposed legislation, they cannot formally initiate these, which means our say in what becomes law in our own country is merely a “yes” or “no” answer performed by MEPs whom themselves are split by European party groups which may not reflect our national interest, but rather, reflect the interest of the EU all together (leading to our own sacrifice in an act of well-intentioned collectivism).
Country leaders have this power too, however, it is pretty clear that members of public don’t necessarily vote for the same parties in the European elections as they do General elections- the head of government is Theresa May, whereas the biggest UK political party in the European election (2014) was UKIP, with 24 MEPs, beating the opposition’s 20 and Conservatives’ 19 MEPs. This can cause severe democratic complications, as the ideology of the people in the Council of the European Union may not go hand in hand with the ideology of those whom the people of the UK elect to represent them in the EU specifically, which may lead to a clash of opinions and thus a vote mismatch. Whilst the majority of our MEPs may vote to pass a bill that they ideologically desire, the head of government may vote the opposing way. This isn’t democratic. It does not reflect what our citizens truly want, nor what may be in their best interest.
The EU Commission is made up of 28 members- each representing their respective countries, however, it is also important to note that each member is “equally accountable” for each decision taken by this Commission. This is rather significant, and slightly alarming to me as a Brexiteer, because it means that each member has to act in a way that is in the best interest of the EU as a whole in order to not be held responsible for any problems (such as economic decline) caused as a result of a specific legislation, or lack thereof. This can effectively mean that any commissioner can be put into a position where they are forced to push for economic prosperity in the majority of EU countries at a high price to their own economy. This is rather pleasant for the majority of EU countries, but for the country that is suffering, it is undemocratic. British people do not want to be a subject to the EU’s failure to address everyone’s concerns.
Furthermore, legislation that is passed through the EU is done so through an EU majority, not through public majority. Essentially, this means that if a legislation is proposed which is detrimental to our economy (but poses an opportunity for the rest of the EU), and every single one of our MEPs along with the head of government rejects it, there is still a large chance that it would go through, and we would have to adopt it. Do our people have a say in that? No.
We have simply reached a point in Politics where we have to realise that not all countries can benefit from one set of laws. Whilst one law may help develop a country, that particular law can contribute to the destruction of another. When a union is created amongst a large amount of countries (28 in this case), you will have to deal with economies of varying levels, crime rates of varying levels, welfare of varying levels etc. It is not one size fits all; each and every one of those countries needs a different set of laws and policy to prosper, and it becomes extremely problematic when countries are limited by higher authority in bringing certain legislation that will fit their needs. It can frustrate the people who didn’t vote for restriction, and that is our ordinary people. It’s me, and it’s you.
The EU’s not democratic. It just pretends to be. With each and every “democratic” move comes a complication which dilutes our voice to the point where it tastes like water. I’ll tell you what is democratic though: a referendum which was straight and direct. Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?
The answer was finally up to you and we voted leave.