The Fallacy of National Sovereignty

by Ray_North on November 10, 2017

Reclaiming our nation – they told us.
National Liberation Day – is what Farage described it as.
Finally making the UK independent again – is what they said.

Throughout the debate on Brexit, we were told that a vote to leave the EU was a vote to reclaim British Sovereignty from the scourge of the foreign influences.

And, now, two years on, it is one of the arguments that is still being advanced by the Brexiteers as many others crumble under even the gentlest of scrutiny – ok, they say, even if Brexit does hit us all hard, at least we’ll have reclaimed our national sovereignty.

But, what in the twenty first century does national sovereignty actually mean?

And, is Brexit actually going to bring us any closer to some wonderful UK national and sovereign paradise.

Historically, national sovereignty was, I suppose quite easy to define – the people of a nation were in control of their law and public policy making, the defence of their realm and who ultimately was their head of state. Has our forty odd years in the EU changed any of that?

Well, in many ways it hasn’t made a jot of difference – in terms of our defence, only our government can determine when we use military force; in terms of our Head of State, the position of the Queen has not been diminished in any way – indeed, it could be said that in many ways the Royal Family are in a stronger position now than they were in 1974.

Well, what about our laws? In terms of our criminal law, almost all criminal law is enshrined in Statute passed by our UK Parliament, policed by HM Constabulary and interpreted by a judiciary appointed by the Ministry of Justice in Whitehall.

Ah, yes, but what about other kinds of laws, say the Brexiteers – and, that is true, in terms of our lives in the workplace, as consumers and in most areas of trade and commerce there are EU Regulations that have been introduced – but, these regulations are proposed by Commissioners sent by our elected Government; then debated, amended and ratified by a European Parliament into which we send MEPs; ratified by a Council of Ministers appointed by our Prime Minister and interpreted by the Council of Justice upon which sit British Judges.

The Brexiteers seem to see this has a national inconvenience, an unnecessary meddling that somehow undermines the masculinity of our great nation – what they don’t seem to appreciate is that we are all now effected by international global trade – we either work for, or consume from foreign companies and every so often these foreign companies come into conflict with us or our employers – so, what do they think is going to happen then?

Are French companies going to simply roll over and let the British do as they like? Is your German employer going to carry on and cede all responsibility to Sovereign Britain? No of course not. The European Union will still play an important part of our lives, the ECJ will still have a direct bearing upon British law either directly or indirectly by passing judgements that are ‘persuasive’ upon British courts – the only difference is that now, there will be no British Ministers sitting in the Commission, no British MEPs sitting in the EU Parliament, no British Judges influencing European Law.

The reality is that after Brexit our Sovereignty is unchanged, but our importance and relevance in the World is massively diminished, whilst our ability as citizens to challenge the might of the massive international corporations who have a far greater and more direct say over our lives than the other nations of Europe is hugely compromised.

For the likes of Farage, Johnson and Rees Mogg, National Sovereignty is a misguided and arrogant belief that somehow with a grand dollop of British Grit and Dunkirk spirit the UK can leave the EU and thrive alone and against the odds, whilst for the rest of us it means that our ability to exert some control over the massive powers that dominate our lives in the Twenty First Century has been undermined yet again.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Saska Fitzgerald November 11, 2017 at 7:40 pm

Agree wholeheartedly!


Saska Fitzgerald November 11, 2017 at 7:40 pm

Agree wholeheartedly.


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