Yesterday I spent the morning being interviewed by Danny Finklestein at an event at One Birdcage Walk discussing the economic future and the future of Wall Street and London as world markets. I joined a panel in the afternoon at the FT/You Gov conference on the future of the EU.
We had before us the polling from You Gov which shows that a large majority of UK voters now wish to see a return of powers from the EU in all the major areas. It shows majority opinion is against any further integration of the UK with the EU, and in favour of a new looser relationship of the kind I have been arguing for. I was asked by Irish and German representatives why I did not argue for the UK playing a more central role in the EU, and introducing our famous democracy into it. Even strong protagonists of EU integration are sensing the absence of proper democratic accountability is a growing threat to the fabric of the Union.
I explained that most UK people had no wish to be drawn into a deeper EU Union, and most of us wished to have many powers back so we govern ourselves again. I explained the irony in their remarks. The very cause of damage to our democracy, the EU and its growing power, is now urging us to sacrifice even more of our remaining self government in order to introduce democracy to the EU! I can’t see how that would work. If you want a democracy first find a demos. Who is the demos in the EU? Haven’t they noticed the sharp differences of opinion between countries, and growing tensions between countries that the Euro is fostering?
During the course of the exchanges I explained that the big majority of the UK electorate is now Eurosceptic. Some wish to leave the EU immediately. Others wish to negotiate a new relationship, taking powers back, but retaining common trading arrangements and the capacity for some joint action where it is volunteered by all parties. Very few wish to join the Euro. All understand that joining the Euro is the big step, the one which requires a country to join a political union to back up the ailing currency.
We were asked to forecast what might happen. I would be interested to hear your views on what might happen, rather than on what you would like to happen.
1. How many members of the Euro will there be in 2020?
2. What relationship will the UK have with the EU in 2020?
3. Will the EU move to an elected President?
4. Those who want the Uk simply to exit might like to tell us how they think this could come about, given the present parties and voting patterns.