More Brexit Blues

by Elias Blum

A further consequence of Brexit is that an EU without the UK might rush further into centralisation. The UK at least acted as a sort of internal brake on the centripedal tendencies of the federalists.

As someone who is pro-EU, but who is at heart a localist democrat and intrinsically fearful of the centralisation of power, this saddens me. I voted Remain, I want to stay in the EU, and if the UK cannot stay in the EU then at least Scotland should.

But this doesn’t mean I want everything decided in Brussels. Far from it. Centralised government is inevitably bad, corrupt and arrogant government, and democracy works best on a smaller scale.

If the EU is to gain and sustain legitimacy, it has to put limits on its aspirations for further centralisation.The idea of ‘ever closer union’ is, frankly, almost as terrifying as the prospect of Brexit.

We need an EU that has limited competencies, and which is competent within that limited range. The member sates, whose governments are responsible to national parliaments, must be the main drivers of the EU. The principle of subsidiarity (making decisions as locally as possible subject to compatibility with the common good), hitherto much lauded but little practiced, must prevail.

But none of this can be contested for unless we are in it. Finding a way to stay in has to be the priority.