I had no vote so didn’t have to make a decision, but if I were still living in UK I think I would have voted to leave the EU.
What concerns me, apart from the unnecessary layer of bureaucracy, is that power in the EU seems to be wielded by a small group of people with an almost religious fervour for, and an intense faith in the concept of a single European state. The structure and institutions of EU government should be constrained by proper democratic checks and balances, so that the voices of the large numbers of EU citizens who find it alarming to be dictated to by people they did not elect and do not necessarily trust, should be properly heard and listened to. Unfortunately the EU Parliament, where the power should reside, is very much a token talking shop with no real authority to hold the executive to account.
Yes, I know that, in theory, the Commission can be sacked by the Parliament, but that would only result in a new Commission being appointed - different faces with exactly the same ambitions and exactly the same obedience to the faith.
I find it alarming, too, that some national leaders, for instance Frau Merkel and her close allies, can apparently make up EU policy on the hoof or in private meetings, and then dictate it to their Brussels Commission appointees so that it soon becomes EU law by decree rather than by a more transparent and democratically open process. The EU parliament, which is supposed to be the democratic assembly of the peoples’ representatives has no say in these directives, and precious little power to stop, revise, or repeal any EU legislation.
It seems to me, too, that much EU legislation is clearly the result of persistent unrestrained lobbying by rich and powerful single issue groups, such as those representing agriculture, energy, construction, engineering and transport industries. Their success in getting the regulations that suit the largest operators, rather than small or medium size businesses, suggests that corruption is rife among the bureaucracy.
Before anyone tells me that it is only in Britain that such scepticism exists, perhaps I can point out that even in France around 49% of voters expressed a sceptical view of the EU by voting in the first round of the presidential election for candidates who were openly critical of it. Even the eventual winner, M. Macron, spoke of major reforms that he believed were necessary in the Brussels set-up. I think we all know in our hearts that any suggestion of reform of the EU’s institutions, if intended to lead to a fairer and more transparent democratic system, will swiftly be buried by those who hold the power.
So though I had no vote, I would have wanted a cast-iron promise of major reform. Since none was promised, and since it was made clear to Mr. Cameron that no reform was possible, and even in spite of the Remainers’ insistence that they could and would obtain reform from within the EU, I believe that if I were a UK resident I would be on the side of the Leavers.
As a resident of France though not a French citizen I have no vote here, either, so not only do I feel detached from French politics, but I also feel free to up sticks and find somewhere else should I become disenchanted with life within the EU. I hope that will never be necessary.