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Should I Stay or Should I Go? Why A Vote To Leave The EU Will Make No Difference, by Mark John Maguire

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Should I stay or should I go?
Should I stay or should I go?
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On 23rd June several million people are expected to vote in a referendum on whether the UK should remain a member of the EU or leave. It is presented by both sides of the divide as being a straight choice whose result will have far-reaching consequences. Yet this is an extraordinary exercise in deceit in a political system which is built on the premise of the great illusion which sustains Western-style democracy: that the representative democratic electoral system is capable of delivering meaningful choice. It does not.

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To begin with, it should be acknowledged that a vote to remain or leave on Thursday 23 June will have no effect in law: the best it can possibly do is to reinforce one point of view or another. To think otherwise fails to understand the process by which government policy-making and law-making is effected. Moreover, t he referendum is purely advisory in its effect: it can have no direct bearing in law and it will not of itself alter the position of the UK's relationship within the EU in any way. It would, of course, be wrong to think that a government can simply ignore the Public Will when it has gone to such lengths to seek its view - but it is equally mistaken to imagine that a vote to leave will lead to an exit from the EU. Indeed, the power to invoke Article 50 to bring the UK out of the EU resides with Parliament and will require the full process of law-making to effect - including a raft of legislation and the repeal of the 1972 EC Act.

Apart from the legal and political obstacles to a UK exit, there is the matter of a committee of civil servants which have, for several months been considering the consequences of a "Leave" vote and what steps would need to be taken by a UK administration in such a circumstance. Amongst these, I understand, are the following options: 1) ignoring the referendum result entirely (very unlikely); 2) renegotiating the UK position in the EU and submitting to a new referendum on the basis of fresh circumstances (possible); 3) renegotiating the UK's position with the EU on a series of bilateral arrangements which will have the effect of ensuring the UK remains effectively consonant with, if not an actual Member of, the EU (possible, but complex, prolonged and unclear); 4) a complete exit from the EU (a theoretical possibility and an option honoured more by its inclusion in discussions than by its probability of adoption. In fact, it is almost inevitable that the main locus for a future government of any persuasion will be to seek renegotiation of the UK's Membership with a view to bringing forth a fresh referendum to approve a revised UK Membership mandate.

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If this all seems an exercise in futility, there are good reasons why a popular or even a political consensus will have difficulty resisting the EU project and these are derived of a powerful current in European history which favours unification and must be viewed in the context of a two millennia struggle for its achievement. Cultural, economic and demographic pressures have driven Europes military struggles since the Roman Empire first made Europe a unified political and fiscal market: since then all European history has been characterised by attempts to recreate this standard: successive Emperors and tyrants have sought to create a unified political and economic system which could
1) extend Europe's landmass and
2) act as a bulwark against Russia and Asia to the East and Africa to the South.

The shadow of the Holy Roman Empire still hangs over Europe; it did for Charlemagne, Napoleon and Hitler who were all motivated as part of this compulsion for a Greater Europe. That is the prize which hangs before Europe today: it is a Europe that is protectionist in outlook, and which seeks to dominate those outside its borders for its own capitalist economic advantage: it has clear political and economic aspirations. Furthermore, if war is a natural consequence of economic ambition then conflict assuredly awaits a Greater Europe: we see the warning signs in the plans to create a European military force, as well as the increasing political centralisation and the growth of coordinated European foreign policy. It is in this context that the UK referendum is caught up in the current drive for European hegemony.
The future of the European project is unknown but whatever the UK verdict on 23rd June, we should not expect that it will result in any significant changes of the sort being promised, threatened or predicted by either side. It will not - nor will it end the age old aspirations for a Greater Europe.

 

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http://www.MarkJohnMaguire.com

I was educated at the University of Manchester, Swansea University and the Polytechnic of Wales, where I studied History, Philosophy and Intellectual and Art History (MA). I have lived and worked in Ireland, Germany and Holland and the UK as a (more...)
 

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