My piece on the referendum.
Although there have been a million different thinkpieces and perspectives on the forthcoming EU referendum, there’s been a lot of people calling the EU undemocratic, so I just want to bring something up.
This vote, when you boil it down, is between two systems — one where a party can get 36% of the national vote and get 51% of the seats, where we have a house of 801 unelected representatives, some who got there by paying (see the Cash for Peers scandal), others by being loyal to their party, and even some who got there simply by being related to aristocracy…and then there’s the EU.
The EU has 3 different houses, the EU Commission, which has one member elected by each member country, the EU Parliament, which unlike Westminster uses proportional voting, allowing voters to actually vote for more than one party and indicate their preferences, rather than just voting tactically, and finally the EU Council, which has one minister from each of the member countries.
I have never been incredibly enthusiastic about the Westminster system, and the most recent election left me feeling cheated, after a party that only got 1/3rd of the vote ended up running the country, albeit with a slim majority. I mean, I got the MP I voted for, but still, not fantastic overall. However, although the EU system definitely has its problems, its a lot fairer than the UK system we have currently, and to hear people saying they want to leave so the less proportional system gets even more power appeals to me even less.
Of course, “taking power back” could mean more investment in the UK, which is a lovely idea, but when we look at the track record, it’s not so great. In 2010, my hometown of Morecambe was set to receive regeneration money from the government through their regional development agency…then it was scrapped by the incoming Coalition government, never to be seen again. However, the EU have given funding to Lancaster, Oldham, Preston, and have shown that they actually care more about the North of England than our own sovereign government do.
One final point — after the horrific IRA bomb in Manchester in 1996, the UK government gave £450k to help rebuild. How much did the EU give? £21.5 million. Actions speak louder than words, and that just goes to show how Westminster sees the North compared to the EU.
Vote for investment in our region. Vote for an actual fair vote. Vote for unity.
(PS: If you want the UK to have a say in Brussels, maybe don’t vote UKIP for your MEPs — they take the money, then never turn up. It’s almost as if they are trying to sabotage it…)