When politicians whine about the sharply declining trust in them and politics generally they have only themselves to blame. Another case in point underlining this has emerged today.
Those who watched or read reports of the EU membership debates, between Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage, will be well versed with Clegg’s claim in the first debate that only 7% of UK laws originated from the EU.
Before the second debate, the factcheckers were rushing forth to explain that Clegg had misrepresented the detail taken from a House of Commons publication by only using the figure for Primary legislation. It was not so much a sleight of hand as an outright attempt to deceive the audience. He had ignored all secondary legislation and various regulations and other instruments arriving here from Brussels for implementation, that all add to the laws we are bound by.
In the second debate Clegg again used the 7% figure, this time in context explaining it related to ‘Primary’ legislation. However he played down the secondary legislation and other instruments to give the impression the amount of it was so trivial as to be negligible. He wanted to convey a false impression that the EU barely impacts laws enacted in the UK, because it suited his purpose in the debate.
If trust in Clegg was shaken among those simple souls who had any in him in the first place, it must surely be laid to utter waste today if they see what has been dug up by EU Referendum.
There we see an article written by Clegg for the Guardian in 2003 when he was an MEP, riding the EU gravy train and indulging his rampant pro-EU obsessions. In it he tells the readers this (emphasis mine):
MEPs are parliamentary giants. Don’t snigger. There are many legitimate criticisms to be made of the European parliament, but irrelevance or lack of importance, the stock accusations, are laughably wide of the mark. Probably half of all new legislation now enacted in the UK begins in Brussels. The European parliament has extensive powers to amend or strike down laws in almost every conceivable area of public life.
How curious that in 2003, when Clegg wanted to talk up his importance as an MEP, he was saying that over 50% of legislation enacted in the UK is handed to us from Brussels. Yet in the debate with Farage in 2014, he wanted voters to think it is a mere 7%. Well actually it isn’t curious at all.
It is just another example of the contempt with which voters are treated by dishonest politicians who lie to serve their own interests at the expense of ours.
Global Governance – the new elephant in the room?
As Richard points out in the EU Referendum piece, on both occasions Clegg’s claims still misrepresent the truth.
In reality the EU is not the origin of all the >50% of legislation enacted here. The reality is a substantial amount of law that is enacted in the UK originates above the EU in the global governance pecking order. Little Europe is just an extra in the cast of the Game of Governance.
The fact is the EU is a sub-regional entity. Perhaps it should be accurately described as the EUSRE.
It is locked in an outdated mindset, based on a structure of centralised control that is only made almost bearable for some because of its internal market. Setting aside the unnecessary, anti democratic and stifling political control, even the membership benefits of that market may be overstated.
The EU is not a global power, it is a mere middle manager, the David Brent of the global governance business. Full of its own self importance it passes on orders, churns out demands and instructions, tries to make itself liked by buying cheap coffee for the kitchen and secures the favour of suck ups desperate to have a similar sense of importance.
Although it convinces itself of its essential necessity, if it wasn’t there it wouldn’t be missed. There would just be one less substantial salary and significantly less bureaucracy. Increasingly the decision making happens above the EU’s head. More and more with each passing year, the EU’s role is cemented as that of errand boy.
The EU’s member states are thus deprived of a seat at the real ‘top table’ where negotiations take place and decisions are made, at the global level. Only through independence will EU member states ever be able to speak with their own voice and stand up for their national interests in the globalised world. This is what the UK should aspire to. Being in the EU is not, as the likes of Cameron, Miliband and Clegg have it, in Britain’s interest. It is a hindrance. It holds our country back.
Instead of the UK talking with the directors and playing a role in formulating the rules, membership of the EU condemns us to a low-brow life as a minion in David Brent’s reporting line. It’s time our politicians recognised and admitted that, our media grasped and explained it and voters took a stand to resolve it.