The Treaty of Rome, which sets out the framework of the European Economic Community, has as its starting point the principle of “ever greater union of the peoples of Europe.”
When we joined the European Economic Community in 1973 and voted to remain in it in 1975, most people in Britain understood it as a Common Market. It was supposed to be a place where trading and other barriers were brought down to enhance commerce and create wealthier member states.
Today, very few people would think that we now have anything like what we signed up for. In fact, many would think that we were misled into joining and remaining in an organisation which was not fundamentally about trade but instead was a political agenda to create a single European nation state.
Over time, people have been increasingly concerned about the flow of powers to what is now the European Union and that the relationship between those who govern and those who are governed has profoundly changed.
I believe that it is for the people to decide upon this relationship, or at least have the opportunity to approve incremental changes after the fact.
The SNP ought not be able to take Scotland out of the United Kingdom or the Liberal Democrats to change our voting system without the consent of the people.
In the 1980’s, there was a national debate about whether the organisation should deepen or widen its reach but it decided that it would do both, meaning that increasingly incompatible countries were brought into the union.
This substantially added costs to existing members and increased the complexity of relationships.
The United Kingdom’s Supreme Court is now that of the EU, we are bound into the Single Market and Customs Union and get to pay massive net contributions but democratic accountability does not seem to go with it.
People do not feel represented by their MEPs or that they are of much use. People have no ability to vote for the various EU presidents who wield so much power and so the British people’s opinion of the EU declined.
It is a view formed over many years by lived experience rather than by political parties or campaigns.
We have seen the creation of the External Action Service which is the EU’s diplomatic and foreign ministry; we see the integration of the British armed forces into EU military structures; and, if we do not leave, it would not be long until pressure builds for us to join the Eurozone and the Schengen Area.
Tony Blair, as Prime Minister, wanted to take us into the Eurozone and that feeling still runs strong within our political establishment.
Theresa May, as Prime Minister, wants to deliver on the 2016 referendum decision but her proposal will ultimately keep us in the Single Market, Customs Union and under the European Court of Justice’s jurisdiction.
This keeps us bound to the EU and its ideological starting value of ever greater union will worm its way into our system.
We will not decisively break free and in the long term end up back in the EU.
Britain’s integration into the EU super state has been running more slowly than other nations but, on this track, the destination is the same.
Just as the Common Market, the EEC, morphed into the EC and then the EU, we can see it rapidly becoming the United States of Europe –a goal which is clear in the Treaty of Rome.
We were deceived about the true meaning of the European project and it is about time we make a clean break and become an independent sovereign nation once again before it is too late.