The referendum is over, the Leave campaign achieved its outcome and all of us must now settle down while our democratic representatives focus on achieving the best Brexit outcome for the nation that they can. As someone wrote to me on facebook . ‘Im glad you’re not rejecting the result but wouldnt it be better if rather than ‘wishin n hopin’ for a way that Brexit won’t happen, we got together and made a Brexit we can somehow all get behind?’ I personally can’t see a mechanism for doing so and in any case believe that as Ian Hislop put it on Question Time on Thursday (from my home town) ‘Remainers are entitled to go on making the argument’. However irrespective of my personal point of view and actions, the story of the EU and our part in it continues to run its course, at least until Article 50 is enacted which will serve 2 years notice on our membership of the Union. One of the elements of the Leave campaign that I recall with some certainty was the extent to which some of those whose voices were heard, derided the EU as a whole and more importantly (in my view) the European Parliament for its lack of democracy and accountability. It is too big to be effective and we never win any votes is how I recall some of the speakers talking. The fact is that when these speakers are our own elected MEPs we are left assuming that they must know what they are talking about. In the case of many of them, they have been MEPs in the Parliament for 17 years!
A funny thing happened yesterday which throws all of what I have just recounted into a rather strange light. One of my fellow Liverpudlians, Paul Andrew Nuttall who was born less than 5 miles away from where I was born announced that he is standing down from his role of deputy leader of UKIP. However he also announced that like the Leader who is also standing down, Paul will remain as an MEP within the European Parliament. He explained his reason for doing so, that he intends to use his role as an MEP to hold the Prime Ministers feet to the fire as the Brexit process is undertaken. I am not as aware of the power, or impotence of the European Parliament as Paul Nuttall. He is a relative newcomer to the EP, having been an MEP for a mere 7 years. However if after 7 years as an MEP he believes he can hold our elected Prime Ministers feet to the fire, then surely we cannot continue to treat seriously various comments by Pauls fellow MEP, Daniel Hannan. Dan is the MEP for the South East (my region) and has made many similar comments to this where he wrote ‘…….given the way the EU is structured. Power is vested in an appointed bureaucracy which, astonishingly, combines executive and legislative power.’ Now to be fair Dan has been an MEP for 10 years longer than Paul, but even so, there cannot be a simultaneous holding to the fire, the feet of national leaders by MEPs if the power of the EU is all vested in the 26 appointed Commissioners that Dan was referring to. Perhaps between these two powerful and well connected politicians, there could be some clarity as to which of them is telling us the truth and which has attempted to deceive us regarding our democratic choices?