There are a great many things in politics and society I care about deeply — the capture of state power by vested interests, the condition of the poor and the sick despite the many billions of pounds spent by the welfare state well beyond our capacity to pay, the injustice manufactured by the institutions of the financial system… — but the reason I came into politics was to restore democratic control over political power with a referendum on our membership of the EU.
The proposed European Union Constitution was an appalling mess. Given a referendum in a proper manner, I would have voted against it and against the United Kingdom being incorporated into a new European superstate. Disgracefully, when European electorates rejected the Constitution, the Lisbon Treaty was used to steamroller through the same measures.
The European governing elite did not submit to the democratic will of the people. They did not stop and rethink their plans. They used subterfuge to extend power without consent. That was then, and it is now, intolerable.
Only one political party has both the will and the capacity to change our relationship with the European Union and then to offer the British people a referendum on the result. It is the Conservative Party.
I am sceptical about the EU’s capacity to change. It may have begun as the embodiment of the classical-liberal ideal but social democracy is now so entrenched everywhere that an alternative consensus only seems possible on a smaller scale. That is why I think we will have to exit.
And yet David Cameron has delivered a cut in the EU budget, prevented a new treaty to extend control over spending across European member states and taken the UK out of the Eurozone bailouts. Evidently he can produce change where none seemed possible.
Having worked so hard to obtain the present Conservative policy, I will now support it. It is the shortest route to the referendum needed to revive Parliament and restore democratic control of political power in Britain. Before that referendum, there must be a renegotiation of our membership and that requires a strong Conservative team in the European Parliament.
If you want change in Europe, please vote Conservative on 22 May.
My posts on the EU, dating back to December 2007, may be found here.