In terms of assessing the evidence and expert opinion, I am neither intelligent or nor perceptive enough to know whether – in practice – Britain would be better off in or out of the EU.
They say that, as a rough guide, there as many different economic theories in the world as there are economists, so how the hell I am supposed to know whether Britain would be better off standing alone in the modern and future world or – if it is a case of just these two simple alternatives – playing a full and enthusiastic part in a fully-integrated European single market?
However, two things about the EU do concern me.
The first is its (lack of) democratic legitimacy.
I tend to subscribe to the widely-held view that the EU is a faceless, unaccountable-to-the-people, dictatorship hatched and operated by a self-appointed political elite, not dissimilar to a pan-European version of the Freemasons. Only lip-service is ever paid to votes and democracy. Indeed, on those (thankfully, from their point of view) rare occasions that countries’ voters have to be consulted upon some aspect of policy – or indeed instrument of further control imposed from above – if they don’t like the answer received, the vote is either declared invalid, or the referendum is ordered to be held again … until the answer they do want does come in.
The second is the EU’s lack of accountability.
Against a background in which 2013 will be the nineteenth year in succession in which the European Court of Auditors has declined to ‘sign off’ the EU accounts because of material inaccuracies, not least the fact that expenditure of more than 4.5 billion euros is effectively unaccounted for, here’s a report featuring on the website of the Daily Telegraph today – EU CORRUPTION