In the Telegraph, Peter Oborne reviews Ruling the Void: The Hollowing of Western Democracy by Peter Mair. I have not yet read it. Towards the end, Oborne writes,

Like Miliband, Peter Mair comes from the Left. He was an Irishman who spent the majority of his professional life working in European universities in Italy, the Netherlands or Ireland. And yet he has written what is by far and away the most powerful, learned and persuasive anti-EU treatise I have come across. It proves that it is impossible to be a democrat and support the continued existence of the European Union.

The article is here: Europe is slowly strangling the life out of national democracy.

When I first began saying that the EU should be abolished in favour of a reformed and strictly limited Council of Europe to maintain free trade, the rule of law amongst European nations, peace and fundamental liberties, it seemed absurdly radical. Now a prominent commentator feels able to endorse the view that, ‘it is impossible to be a democrat and support the continued existence of the European Union’.

Perhaps 2014 will be the year when a new Europe is born, one founded on social co-operation without extensive rule by the authority of unaccountable elites. The biggest question may be whether the countries of Europe can avoid descending into far-right populism with all that entails.

I hope so: over-government is the problem and nationalism is no answer to it. If the European nations take power back to themselves, their governments should keep the process going and hand it back to their peoples. After all, in international relations, it is not the people who must be restrained so much as their rulers.

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