Thursday, July 04, 2013

Bring powers back from Brussels to Westminster


Under the Lisbon Treaty, the European Parliament has had the power of “co-decision” with the twenty-eight governments of EU member states in many policy areas.  The European Parliament has a direct say in shaping laws concerning economic governance, immigration, energy, transport,  the environment and on many other issues.
This means that the European Parliament has a real impact upon EU policies which directly affect British jobs and businesses, and some of those impacts have been very unhelpful.

Sometimes the problem has been with the European regulations themseles, but we must not underestimate the ability of British regulators to "gold plate" EU regulations when drafting the instruments which implement them in Britain, and often make matters worse.

I support the British Government’s review of the ‘balance of competences’ between our government and the EU and hope the review will recommend the repatriation of powers back to Britain.
To make sure this review succeeds, we need to build as many alliances as we can find with other member governments and in the European parliament. Legislation passing through the European Parliament must be given the most intense scrutiny possible to protect British consumers and consumers from red tape, excessive regulations and stealth taxes.

I don't want the EU taking decisions which would be better taken in national governments such as Westminster: I don't want Westminster taking decisions which would be better devolved to locally elected councils: and I don't want Brussels, Westminister or the council taking decisions which would better be left to the individual family, business, school or hospital.

An example would be that Brussels recently involved itself in local speed limits. As Conservative MEP Jackie Foster pointed out at the time, this was ridiculous. Whether to have a local speed limit of, say, 20 mph in a particular village should not be a decision for Whitehall or Westminster, never mind Brussels, but should be a matter for the local highways authority after discussion with local people and their representatives at parish level.

For every decision taken in Brussels or Strasbourg, we should ask, would this be better done at a more local level?

5 comments:

Jim said...

When? Why remove power from an authoritarian government in Brussels, who, once elected have a free reign to do as they like for 5 years, whilst ignoring the wishes of those they are supposed to represent if your only intention is to pass that power to an authoritarian government in London who, once elected have free reign to do as they like for 5 years, whilst ignoring the wishes of those they are supposed to represent?

Jim said...

*first word should read why?, not when. Kindles and my fat fingers don't mix

Chris Whiteside said...

Handing power to any remote and arrogant authority is exactly what I don't want, Jim, and I thought I'd made that very clear in the post when I said

"I don't want the EU taking decisions which would be better taken in national governments such as Westminster: I don't want Westminster taking decisions which would be better devolved to locally elected councils: and I don't want Brussels, Westminister or the council taking decisions which would better be left to the individual family, business, school or hospital."

jim said...

Not quite Chris, to me your post is stating the need for representative dictatorship. Not free democracy.

Chris Whiteside said...

A very distinguished politician and judge, Lord Hailsham, wrote an interesting and powerful book more than thirty years ago called "The "Dilemma of Democracy" in which he coined the phrase "elective dictatorship" though he added that this was a warning about where Britain was tending rather than "a statement of despair at where we have arrived."

I do think that this is a danger under any party - politicians of all colours should always be watched and as Franklin put it, "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance."

We can argue about how to avoid elective dictatorship, and about what forms of government are more truly democratic, on another thread (and already have!)

However, the fact that over-mighty government at any level is not a good thing is not at issue here. I am in favour of taking decisions at a more local level for two reasons - first that an authority which is closer at hand is likely to be better informed, and secondly that it is generally easier for the electorate to hold to account.

But I reiterate that I do not want the EU, or the national government, or local councils taking decisions that are best left to the people themselves.