Friday, 11 March 2016

Review of the week: the UK influence in EU is weaker than we thought and the Archbishop wades into the fray

Well, what a week it's been!  If I had no full-time proper job, I'd be (re-)blogging!

With Project Fear and Project Hope in full swing, the underlying test of the public's mental endurance to sift fact from fiction continues.

There are far many sources to assess, but here are some pieces that I thought useful.

Today's most amazing picture is a graph that shows how much more the UK is outvoted (being part of the losing minority) at the Council of Europe: .

In effect, this graph shows that the UK loses ~12% of its votes, against second-place Germany's ~7%.  By contrast - and to alarm all Europeans - France loses nearly none of the time (only two other countries are more acquiescent to the tyranny of the majority than France).

Ultimately, it shows that:

  • arguments about our "influence" in Europe are hollow;
  • the UK has no credible role to play in the wider European project.
On balance, Brexit seems to be better for both EU and UK, strategically and democratically.  The UK won't need to derail EU political integration to protect UK interests, and the EU won't need to slow down its political integration to accommodate the whims of the UK.  A win-win situation.

On a slightly tangential note, the Archbishop of Canterbury has waded into the immigration debate, complaining that branding those with concerns of immigration as "racists" is outrageous.  This could be as toxic to the pro-EU campaign as Gordon Brown's branding of Mrs Duffy as bigoted.  How?  Because it shoots the anti-racist fox that has kept proper debate away for years.  If a proper debate on immigration blends with how the European Union causes a country to lose control over its borders - even by being outside Schengen - it would be very difficult to see how the Remain camp can recover its voice in the debate.

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