What is the point of the British legacy media? It is incapable and where capable unwilling to report on reality. It exists only to lie to you.
Sure, for the most part, the hacks are just clueless keyboard thumpers who know not what they do. But why should ignorance be an excuse when these people are being paid?
Everybody makes mistakes. But the extent of the deception and self-deception which bubble journalists evince is on another level. If these people are ill-informed, it is because they want to be. If I type “EU referendum” into a search engine, the top site is EUReferendum.com.
So, by that somewhat circular route, do we come to the focus of this post: this condescending and inaccurate Evening Standard article written by Anthony Hilton. I shall not rebut the entire piece, just a few illustrative examples. If you really must read it in its entirety, follow the link.
EU laws are essentially of two types.
There are three types of EU legislation: Decisions, Regulations, and Directives. A minor point perhaps, but it is indicative of the slipshod manner in which the British press report on EU issues, only to then put themselves at the front of the queue wailing about an absence of facts.
Those aimed at creating the single market — which is most of them — demand that member states respect the free movement of goods and services and require that the products which are to be traded be produced to common minimum standards.
The Single Market (EEA) acquis is one quarter the size of the total EU acquis—roughly 26 percent (based on the latest updated figure) of all EU legislative acts in force are “EEA relevant”. Of those more than 80 percent of the legislative categories covered under the EEA acquis fall within the ambit of international standards which the EU is obliged, under the terms of the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade, to use as the basis for technical regulations within its Single Market.
All trade blocs and trade treaties have these kind of laws.
It is this kind of statement that causes one to doubt Mr Hilton’s honesty. No other trade bloc anywhere else in the world has an executive Commission which proposes and enacts laws that bind its Member States and are judiciable in a supranational court. Mutual recognition of conformity assessment and common regulatory standards do not demand political integration. ASEAN does not pass laws. NAFTA does not pass laws. Even TTIP, should it ever come into force, would not have a legislative function with primacy over and above that of participating nation-states.
People tend not to appreciate that the bulk of EU law has the sole purpose of making the single market work better, which is what British business wants.
What business wants is not relevant in matters of constitutional importance. How and by whom Britain should be governed is a matter for the British electorate. Moreover, as I have just explained, the assertion that “the bulk of EU law has the sole purpose of making the single market work better” is monstrously, maddeningly false.
There is no reason other than political union for Britain’s trade, fisheries, agricultural, energy and environmental policies to be subject to the majority vote of foreign governments. In the land that Mr Hilton inhabits, however, taking decisions further away from the electorate, lengthening lines of accountability, and introducing additional complexity and unnecessary duplication of effort which runs counter to the multilateral harmonisation agenda is more democratic than self-governance and proper global engagement.
This incoherent view hinges on a fundamental misunderstanding that is all too common among the Bubbleteers. In a democracy, the power lies not with the politicians, but with the people. The ultimate back-stop is not Parliament, but the British electorate.
A vote to leave is a vote to take that responsibility unto ourselves, to begin to act like the engaged and active citizenry that we like to think that we are.