Now the repercussions of leaving the EU are more apparent, a second Brexit referendum seems the only democratic way forward. And if the vote went for Remain, then we must endeavour to make changes within the EU that might go some way to satisfying all UK voters.
EU originated out of determination that Europeans should not start a third world war. Political union was part of the motivation right from the beginning. But by the time UK joined in 1973, that idea had seemed to be more on the back burner, the main gain being recognised as economic. That was what the UK joined for. Having a European parliament was never of huge interest to UK.
We should have vetoed creation of the European parliament in 1979. But as new members we failed to do so and it was duly established as a debating and rubber stamping chamber. It lacked the power to initiate legislation, its role being to approve and debate decisions made by the European Council and the European Commission. Enthusiasm for it, measured as voter turnout, has declined in every election since its formation. At the last election, turnout was less than 43%. Next year’s turnout will be interesting.
Enthusiastic Brexiteer, Daniel Hannon, described his experience when he first reported to Brussels as a newly elected MEP. He was given 1st class travel expenses from UK to Brussels irrespective of costs incurred which would enable him to trouser £1000 a week tax free. He was also given €14,000/month to pay staff who might include members of his own family, plus €4,000/month to cover general expenses. He was also provided with free and fully equipped office accommodation in both Brussels and Strasburg.
Given that there are 751 MEPs, it is not surprising that annual costs total over €1.8 billion. A political vanity project which adds little to the realities of EU functioning.
If a second Brexit vote were to go for Remain, then the UK should opt out of the European Parliament and invite other EU members not determined on full political union, to do the same. That strategy should be an essential part of the Remain offering in a second referendum.