The recent reactions to Mr Cameron losing a vote in the EU sum up one of the main reasons so many UK people do not like the way the EU works. It is not democratic. Opposition is condemned and public disagreements are unacceptable to the true believers. What we need is an open and active opposition within the EU constantly challenging the need for new laws and the form those laws take. Instead we have a conveyor belt to federal control, a machine for putting all of human life under EU law.
In the UK the Labour minority in Parliament regularly disagree with the government, push it to a vote and lose. The media do not then run endless stories saying “Labour isolated” or ” Labour a pariah”. When Labour do it they are simply doing their job of providing opposition. Often I think them wrong in their view, but I think them right to press it to a full argument and vote. Occasionally I agree with them. Opposition gives MPs choices day by day, and gives the public choices election by election.
The UK’s view that we want to trade, be friends and have scope for political co-operation with other EU countries happens to be our view as a country. No serious party now recommends joining the Euro or stands on a platform of more EU law and more EU control of our affairs. It is therefore imperative that our leaders put the UK view in EU Councils. It does not make us a pariah. It simply means the UK is a democratic country which wishes to be largely self governing. Judging by the comments of others after the Juncker vote we are not alone anyway. There are forces within all the main EU countries that think the EU presumes and does too much, and there are forces within other member states governments that recognise the lack of democratic accountability in the way decisions are often taken by the EU.
I understand those parties peoples and countries that want to create a United States of Europe whose democratic accountability will come from its own elected Parliament. We are not there yet, as member states governments and Heads of government still have more democratic legitimacy and accountability than the various blocs of votes in the European Parliament. We are arguing over how the hybrid structure we have today can work, and how it can straddle the wishes of those who want a United States of Europe and those people and countries like the UK who do not.