The intertubes have come alive with execrations and epithets directed against the UK Independence party this week during local and EU polling. This frothing at the mouth is uncharacteristic in a population usually so apathetic that I doubt even a small minority could name their MP, let alone their MEPs.
Politics, being the game that it is, would not be complete without a bogeyman figure, and for a cadre of politicians whose popularity levels linger at around that of pubic lice Nigel Farage and UKIP is grist to the mill. In the Guardian earlier this week the Lib-Dem leader Nick Clegg said of Farage, “I think the mask is starting to slip and what has been revealed behind that beer-swilling bonhomie is a really nasty view of the world.” Unfortunately for Mr Clegg (and the other major party leaders) this kind of attack is counterproductive for two staggeringly obvious reasons: Firstly, 99% of the population is rather attracted by, and enjoys, “beer swilling bonhomie” – it’s what we in the underclass call “socializing”; although Mr Clegg should be congratulated on his adept use of alliteration. Secondly, whether or not Mr Farage’s views are “nasty” is immaterial. Any kind of view, nasty or otherwise, will garner a certain level of support when juxtaposed against Mr Clegg’s party, whose core principle is that it shall have no fixed principles. (We will see this play out spectacularly on Sunday when the EU election results are announced).
However, this being a “serious” blog I am not principally concerned with the politics of personal popularity. Rather, I believe that there are a number of sound ideological reasons to support UKIPs cause to secede from the EU; lest we forget that is, ultimately, their raison d’etre. But don’t take my word for it, I am in good company:
Jefferson on Corruption
“Public servants, at such a distance, and from under the eye of their constituents, must, from the circumstance of distance, be unable to administer and overlook all the details necessary for the good government of the citizens; and the same circumstance, by rendering detection impossible to their constituents, will invite the public agents to corruption, plunder, and waste.”
Thomas Jefferson, 1800
Bastiat on the “Acquis”
“…if the law were to be made upon the principle of fraternity, if it were to be proclaimed that from it proceed all benefits and all evils—that it is responsible for every individual grievance and for every social inequality—then you open the door to an endless succession of complaints, irritations, troubles, and revolutions.”
Frederic Bastiat, 1850
Overton on the European Arrest Warrant and the ECJ
“And therefore (sir) as even by nature and by the law of the land I was bound, I denied subjection to these lords and their arbitrary creatures thus by open force invading and assaulting my house, person, etc. — no legal conviction preceding, or warrant then shown. But and if they had brought and shown a thousand such warrants, they had all been illegal, antimagisterial and void in this case; for they have no legal power in that kind, no more than the king, but such their actions are utterly condemned and expressly forbidden by the law. Why therefore should you of the representative body sit still and suffer these lords thus to devour both us and our laws?
Be awakened, arise and consider their oppressions and encroachments and stop their lordships in their ambitious career. For they do not cease only here, but they soar higher and higher and now they are become arrogators to themselves of the natural sovereignty the represented have conveyed and issued to their proper representers. They even challenge to themselves the title of the supremest court of judicature in the land”
Richard Overton, 1646
There are a number of historical political figures and philosophers who speak to us from beyond the grave about the dangers of remote and extensive government, and tangentially, the foundational principles of the EU. For Overton and the Levellers the House of Lords appropriated powers which did not naturally accrue to it. The European Commission is no different. Bastiat recognized that the law would ultimately be subverted by the politically ambitious and Jefferson elucidated the self-evident: if you take your eye off some people they’ll take the piss; observe:
Whilst I may be an unreconstructed bigot, with a portrait of the Queen Mother tattooed onto his scrotum, an IQ of around 75 and a penchant for listening to Pomp and Circumstance whilst flaying the starving piccaninnies he keeps manacled in the potting shed – as we are enjoined to believe that everyone who considers lending their vote to UKIP must be – I also have a working knowledge of European politics, which is far more than can be said for most EUphiles, and an interest in the cultures and history of its people. So there’s 500 million more reasons why the EU must be dismantled. (Just in case the three above weren’t good enough). In British politics UKIP alone recognizes this.
Tally Ho! To the potting shed!