Wednesday, 22 June 2016
I'm voting to leave the EU tomorrow. Official Green Party support for the campaign to remain in the EU is thus very disappointing for me. I'm heartened to see good points being made by the Green Leaves group however, such as by Mark Hill here.
Greens supporting remain are not arguing in ways consistent with core Green principles. They have for instance said in one leaflet distributed in Bristol that the 'EU...has enabled us to enjoy the longest period of prosperity in history' when in fact this is not true if one uses the kind of broad measures of prosperity, such as the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW) in the graph above, that Greens are supposed to favour. Only in crude, narrow GDP growth terms - that Greens are supposed to be opposed to - have we been 'better off'; (in the graph GDP rises whilst broad-based prosperity as measured by ISEW goes flat or declines from around 1974).
There are a number of misconceptions in this article supporting remain by Cllr Charlie Bolton, leader of the Green group on Bristol City council. Anything 'EU funded' that he refers to for instance is in fact funded by UK taxpayers since we are net contributors to the EU - we send off our money to the EU and they then send just part of it back and tell us how we can spend it!
The EU is: remote; centralised; corporate; capitalist; corrupt in many places; driven along by 28 unelected commissioners; inextricably interconnected with an at times belligerent NATO; determined to pursue economic growth that cant be sustained (the major underlying reason we have climate change and many other social and environmental problems all round the globe) rather than broad-based prosperity that can be; insular, inward-looking; using barriers to free and fair trading against poorer countries; growing in size (numbers of countries) far beyond what can be sustained...There has always been a very strong Green case for leaving the EU and for a long period of its existence Greens had a policy of EU withdrawl, see http://green-leaves.org/
It could be said that if Boris Johnson became Prime Minister in the event that we voted to leave the EU he would do nothing green - but David Cameron and his successive Governments said they would be the 'greenest government ever' and then far from taking green action they wanted to get rid of the 'green crap'! By voting to remain in the EU you are siding with those that have talked green but have taken little/no green action. In any case this is not an election about an alternative government for five years or whatever its a referendum which fixes things for generations so Greens of all people should be thinking medium and long term and not just short term.
Unelected EU Commissioners could be compared with UK civil servants but this would be far from fair. The two are not on anything like an equal footing. EU Commissioners are very much in a political not a neutral and advisory role, have much more power and act very much as an Executive (ie like UK Cabinet Government does when it puts forward legislation). Unelected EU Commissioners have a mission to drive forward the EU as laid out in the treaties and not as determined democratically by the peoples of Europe.
I'm surprised that the major corruption in the EU has not been a bigger feature of the leave campaign. Former Green Party leader Caroline Lucas herself had to admit concern about corruption in the EU in a recent TV debate here. See this BBC report about EU corruption to the tune of £99 billion a year (the source for this being the EU Commission itself) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26014387