One of the reasons the EU cannot be democratic is the inability to change its laws and policies following a General election in any particular member state. Mr Cameron has on this occasion tried to deal with some of this by having a one off renegotiation for us. The EU is very keen this should not become a routine for every country following a change of government, as the EU would do little else. The EU is a strong bureaucracy advancing by making ever more laws and common policies which cannot be changed or can only be changed after great efforts with a majority of member states wishing to do so.
UK voters expect a new government to be able to change any laws and policies of the old government that the voters by majority no longer like or are not working. The UK Parliament could do so, until the weight of Treaty commitments and EU laws became such that a newly elected government found it was unable to make the changes people or the government itself wished.
Mr Cameron won the election with three important popular pledges that are especially relevant vis a vis the EU. He promise to make a major reduction in inward migration to the UK, but has come up against free movement of people and the overriding rules of the EU. He promised to cut welfare benefits, including removing all benefits from recently arrived migrants for their first four years so they pay some tax before gaining entitlement, and promised to remove Child Benefit payments from children of migrants not living in the UK with their parent(s). It turned out both these promises are illegal under the UK’s binding treaty commitments in the EU and under EU law. So Mr Cameron rightly saw he had to try to persuade the other member states to let the UK government regain rights to do these things, or had to change the common policy to make them legal.
We know that it has proved impossible to stand by all three of these important Manifesto commitments. The EU will not budge on freedom of movement at all, so the Uk is likely to continue to experience more net inward migrants from the rest of the EU than Mr Cameron’s world total for net migration. Nor will the EU give the UK back a single power from the Treaties. It has agreed to very modest changes on benefits on a temporary basis, but these fall far short of the policies the Uk government wishes to follow. UK taxpayers will still have to pay some Child Benefit to children not living in the country, will still have to pay benefits to recent migrants and will still have to accept unlimited numbers of migrants under the freedom of movement rules.
There is an even bigger way in which the deal falls short of what is needed. The Conservative party in opposition spoke strongly against the Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon treaties. These treaties surrendered the veto over more than 100 areas of policy., That means in 100 important areas of government spending, policy and lawmaking the Uk can no longer do as it wishes, but has to do what the majority of member states wants. Many Conservatives who will vote to leave wanted us to get back those lost powers. Without them there are huge areas of life where we no longer have a democracy in the UK capable of making the decisions and fixing the problems.