Even a not so lovable child has many names.
The British and their Brexit has stumbled into huge problems. It must now be quite clear to everyone, that leaving the EU is political and economic blasphemy. EU IS GOOD! – Don’t you get it?
This is the impression we are all left with after the Brexit that was presented to the sceptical British, and not so skeptical Scots, by the UK Independence Party and others. These EU sceptics were so focused on the short-term “Let us get out, no matter what”, that they forgot to think in a strategic and long-term rational way.
Brexit were sold with the wrong arguments, and UKIP forgot to think ahead: They wanted a leave majority no matter what, but did not bother themselves with plans on how to implement a Brexit in a coherent and sensible way. They chose to focus completely on immigration-scepticism and “EU control too much”. But they chose to ignore many other much more relevant arguments. They ignored the incoherent economic policy of the EU, and the many macroeconomic chains imposed on all member states, even those outside the Eurozone. They did choose the theme of too much being decided by the EU, but they did not explain how and why the EU is deciding too much. There was no real dissidence, only criticism of a few of the many socio-economic and political illnesses created by the EU, but not the causes for those illnesses.
By choosing such incoherent strategy the British EU-sceptics have done EU-scepticism in general a great disservice. The have illustrated for the sceptical peoples of the EU, that by being an EU-sceptic you will damage the livelihood of yourself and your children. The EU-believers can now argue effectively, though not truthfully, that EU-scepticism is simply frivolous populism.
The British EU-sceptics gave the EU the perfect tool to fight EU-scepticism, and the EU leaders have already exploited this efficiently in their “negotiations” with Prime Minister Theresa May. They want the British to have a black-and-white choice: a hard Brexit or a new referendum.
It is true that the EU present the peoples of the EU with many opportunities to work or educate themselves in other countries and to travel more freely. There are many carrots hanging from the advertising trees of the EU to lure people into their net. But the EU also transfer power away from the national parliaments and into a very steep and centralized hierarchy, that have pushed the national parliaments out of the political equation of supra-national legislation. Heads-of-states and a few officials in top positions decide, not elected parliamentarians close to the voters being forced to live with this supra-national legislation.
The EU has banned macroeconomic tools, normally used when the economy of a nation that experience recessive problems, like increasing unemployment, and waning competitiveness on international markets. In such cases the normal tools are devaluation, adjusting interest rates and increasing public investments. But such excesses is forbidden in the EU, especially because of the Euro, the Convergence Criteria and the Stability and Growth pact, imposed by Germany to safeguard German competitiveness at the expense of other member states.
It has lead to a growing unemployment in almost all EU-members. This unemployment was triggered by the economic recession that hit the World in 2007/08, but thanks to this ban on the use of operational, macroeconomic tools, unemployment is still high in many sections of the population in many EU countries, even after more than 10 years, though some improvements in statistics have occurred. The EU have been a lot slower to recuperate than the USA, who was hit much harder by the recession than Europe; all this because Germany has shut tight the macroeconomic toolbox.
What is needed is a change from skin-deep criticism of symptoms, to in-depth dissidence: primarily of the anti-democratic legislative structure of the EU, by-passing national parliaments, and the economic policies that retain and worsen the mechanisms that stimulate inequality and unemployment, especially for those living at the lower end of the social ladder.
This is where we should have our focus when we argue for the necessity to leave, or much better to change the EU from the inside out.
Is this populism?
Populist policies are when fallacious arguments are being used to further fallacious politics; i.e. when such politics are in contradiction to realities. The EU-elite have been able to give the impression, that any criticism of the EU is populist.
It is my assertion, that it is the EU-elite, supporting the federalist idea, that are the true populists.
The federalist ideas of the EU-elite are based on a quagmire of political and economic principles, that are in contradiction to both original principles of democracy and modern principles of economics. What the EU-sceptics need to do is to put behind them the skin-deep problems of the EU, and instead focus on this quagmire of self-contradictory nonsense.
The anti-democratic reality of the EU:
In a democracy people elect parliamentarians, who choose a government. The government and parliament share the right to initiate and conclude legislative processes.
But in the EU it is heads-of-states and their ministers, who have the sole right to decide which political topics should be supra-national, and to initiate legislation on those topics, a task that is given solely to the EU-commissioners. On some political topics ministers must share the right to pass legislation with EU-parliamentarians. But no matter what this legislative process is far away from the daily reality of the people, who are forced to live with this legislation. This is what the EU-elite call democracy, when they criticize populist governments for not adhering to democratic principles.
The famous principle division of power is basic to all democracies: those that pass legislation must not also be those that execute legislation, and vice-versa. None of them should be allowed to judge violations of this legislation. A very sound principle, often being implemented in such a way, that elected parliamentarians have the sole right to pass legislation, appointed ministers have the sole right to execute legislation, and courts of justice have the sole right to pass judgment based on such legislation.
This division of power has vanished from the EU.
In the EU the heads-of-states are in charge. They regulate the guidelines for legislation. Their political handy-men and -women – the commissioners, appointed by governments – write the laws. Ministers pass laws, partly in collaboration with the only elected institution in the EU, the EU parliament. The parliament has no legislative power. It can only rubber stamp legislation delivered to them by heads-of-states and their craftsmen, after some criticism of details. But it cannot completely block legislation, and it cannot initiate legislation.
The commission execute legislation and have repeatedly acted as a court of justice.
This legislative system is in polar opposition to original principles of democracy. In the EU every aspect of power have been blended into a broth of anti-democracy.
The economics of the EU.
Several esteemed economists put forward that the Euro is a failed project, based on fallacious economics. Among them are Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman. Other economist argue that national independent economies are essential for safeguarding economic durability. Among them are Dani Rodrik. The main argument is that if one model for political control of the economy and the labour market fails, only one country is impacted, and this country can find inspiration in the models of other countries on how to solve the issues.
But in the EU you are forced to choose one model for political control of the economy and every other aspect of society; the German model. All eggs are put into one basket. Germany accepted the French proposal for a common currency, but to counterbalance this, the Germans demanded all Euro member states to prostrate themselves to the convergence principles and the stability and growth pact, disabling access to normal macroeconomic tools like devaluation and public investments. The goal was to safeguard the Euro; the result is the opposite. By implementing this “one model for all to follow” most East- and South European euro-states are kept in economic bondage, and this is affecting the entire EU economy, and for that matter the rest of the world.
The EU is all about federalization and de-nationalization.
It worked to some extent in the USA, so why not in Europe? For one main reason: The USA was formed from scratch, and have been able to develop into what economists call an optimal currency-area.
An optimal currency-area require the socioeconomic conditions to be closely aligned over the entire geographic area. The USA succeeded in accomplishing this, at least to a sufficient extent.
But Europe consists of more than 50 nations, with widely different sets of socioeconomic conditions. 28/27 of these nations are now trying to force their socio-economies into the same straitjacket controlled by the EU-elite. This will fail, to the detriment of all; it already has failed. The EU-countries are simply too different to function as an optimal currency-area.
The economic union was the first attempt to kickstart this standardization of socio-economies. The EU would like to take what they perceive to be the final step in accomplishing the optimal currency-area: the political union allowing the EU elite to control every political aspect that might affect the credibility of the Euro. These populists actually believe that if the economic and financial policies and every structural reform capable of affecting public expenditure are controlled by the EU-elite in every member state, the same policies will function constructively in Germany, France, Romania, Greece, Hungary etc., no matter what the socio-economic realities in these countries might be. These realities are trivial in the eyes of the EU-elite; only the Euro counts. This is frivolous populism, and stupid politics and even more stupid economics.-
What should be done?
Should the member states just leave the EU and return to a Europe of nations, without common institutions for solving cross-boundary problems? Perhaps! But that cannot be accomplished by simply leaving with or without a deal, maintaining status quo within the EU. We need to cooperate in gradually changing the EU from the inside.
Brexit illustrates perfectly the many chains built into the EU fabric. These chains cannot be removed simply by leaving. They must be removed gradually and in cooperation – there is no other constructive way.
There are many changes that are needed. I will focus on those two topics of dissidence I have already mentioned: Democracy and Economics.
The EU should be changed from an autocracy of heads-of-states into an inter-parliamentary alliance. Heads-of-states should not be the ones cooperating on defining supra-national legislation on their own accord. Supra-national cooperation should be defined by elected parliamentarians on both levels.
Firstly the European Council and the Commission should be removed, thereby removing the sole right of heads-of-states to control supra-national legislation.
Next the council of ministers should be downgraded to simply cooperating on executing legislation across borders. They should also be given the right to initiate legislative processes.
The EU-parliament should go through a major workover. The future EU-parliament should consists of parliamentarians elected directly as we now it today, but the parliament of each member state should appoint a number of national parliamentarians to have a double mandate, and to function as direct links between national parliaments and the EU-parliament. This can be accomplished by each country electing some parliamentarians directly, as it is done today, but also to appoint members of the national parliament to also be a member of the EU-parliament – a double mandate.
The right to pass legislation should be given back to the national parliaments. They are the only ones capable of truly representing the voters. In this way the degree of supra-nationality will be controlled by elected people in each country, not by heads-of-states, focused on usurping as much power for themselves as possible.
Cross-boundary legislation should be put forward by ministers, EU-parliamentarians and national parliamentarians alike. Proposals should be analyzed and written in close cooperation between parliaments at both levels and ministers, before being sent to national parliaments, thereby maintaining national sovereignty.
The EU court is not a court of justice; it is a rubber stamp for the EU elite. Remove it or change its mandate completely. But remember: political differences cannot be solved judicially.
The economic policies should be changed gradually.
The straitjacket imposed by the EU should be loosened gradually, and removed at some time in the future. Focus in the economic union should changed from rule-adherence or punishment, to greater macro-economic freedom combined with assistance, or even aid, to countries suffering from recessive problems. Countries should be allowed to use normal macro-economic tools when needed. Euro countries should keep the Euro as the name of their currency for the time being. Each country should also be allowed their own financial and fiscal policies to counteract overheating of their economy.
But it should happen gradually and in close dialog with the other member states. The Euro and the long-term effects of the fixed rates of currency exchange across borders will remain a central aspect of the economies of not only in the Eurozone, but all member states, for an extended period of time. We cannot remove this aspect by just giving member states a greater degree of freedom. The adjustments must be done gradually and in a coordinated fashion.
By changing the EU into an interparliamentary alliance based on national independence, the peoples of the EU countries will be able to keep a firm hold on the degree of supra-nationality. A much higher degree of popular acceptance of the EU, leading to a political stability, durability and political legitimacy of the European cooperation, will be attained.
But what should the British people do with their Brexit?
Well, if they do leave with or without a deal they should join the EFTA. By doing this Britain will have a free trade agreement with the EU.
But there is another possibility: A new referendum deciding to stay, and then become the most, if so-far the only, dissident member-state of the EU, working diligently and aggressively to change the EU from the inside. One goal could be to change the EU into an interparliamentary alliance of independent states.
What does it mean to be dissident? The essence is governmental and civil disobedience combined:
Don’t accept the EU as a supranational legislative self-proclaimedauthority; take back power. Every law delivered by the EU should be put to the vote in the British parliament and House of Lords, and either rejected or amended as needed to tailor these supranational laws to British reality. The EU is tailoring their laws to a federal reality that does not exist, and will never be able to work constructively.
Focus on the fact that the EU is anti-democratic and use this to substantiate the fact that you are taking back power. The British should rule Britain, not the EU. The EU should be a body for cooperating on solving cross-border problems, not for standardizing legislation, thereby gradually realizing the political union, without involving the peoples of Europe.
The EU will strike back. The federalists won’t tolerate dissidence. So what! That is the logical nature of dissident behavior. But focus on the fact that the federalists are a small self-proclaimed elite. The majority of the European populations will accept and respect dissident insurrection.
Therer is much more criticism of the EU, and details about the alternative in my book, especially chapter 7.