James Elles has been a Conservative MEP for the last thirty years and has just published a book titled: The UK and The EU: The Long Term Partnership of which parts can be found under
James Elles has been a Conservative MEP for the last thirty years and has just published a book titled: The UK and The EU: The Long Term Partnership of which parts can be found under his blogs on his website. It argues the all important topic of whether the UK should be a part of EU and why the EU is a vital part of the UK’s future, which is currently a much debated issue, discussed, it seems, all the time and by everyone.
The five part book is split into ten chapters and tackles the main arguments as to why the UK is better “in” the EU rather than “out.” I personally found the second chapter most compelling as it explores, in depth, the economic aspect that must be taken into account when considering EU membership.
There are bold statements made, but these are well supported by reports and surveys which make it difficult to pick holes in the argument which states that the UK has reaped numerous benefits by being a part of the EU, including supporting jobs and growth leading to a rise in living standards. Looking to withdraw, Elles argues, would detract from the bigger picture of strengthening links to emerging and developing markets and maintaining stability.
It is what follows this, however, which is most interesting. The argument which I have come across regularly from those opposing the UK’s membership of the EU is the effect that EU has on British parliament sovereignty.
Elles counters this by saying to argue this is to miss the point completely: “[the EU] does not aim to replace national law-making but to complement it with a governance structure that can deal with issues which are regional (and potentially global!) rather than national.”
Yet, I’m not quite sure if I can quite agree. The statement got me thinking, given that, as Elles admits, ninety-five MPs called for the power to veto EU law earlier this year, does it really mean that British parliamentary sovereignty is not negatively affected by being a member of the European Union? Isn’t EU law supreme in practical terms?
Don’t we, have to adhere to the the Human Rights Act 1998 (which was adopted partly due to EU membership) which can be argued to affect parliament sovereignty? If the answer is still a resounding “no” and it’s not at all up for a debate, then I fear that hose early morning law lectures that I staggered to were a waste of time.
However, the last few chapters explore these ideas more clearly and highlight the main arguments which the opposition use to indicate remaining a member of the EU is not desirable. It is clearly explained under the three main headings of “democracy”, “immigration” and “economy.”
Brilliantly and simply explained, this highlights the arguments of both sides and offers Elles own view on the matter. As well as focussing on these arguments which crop up just about everywhere, there is a prudent look to the future about the importance of the digital economy, the transatlantic market and the rise of China.
Concise and Effective Explanations
Not being an avid follower of everything politics related and admitting to getting confused by political jargon means that I was, at first, wary of Elles’ work. It was a pleasant surprise though, as The UK and The EU: The Long Term Partnership is a concise and effective explanation of the EU, how it works and its institutions, which admittedly weren’t always clear in my head.
It is, however, an opinionated piece, quite clearly supporting the opinion that the UK is better off as a member of the EU and should not consider leaving. Whilst clearly not a neutral discussion of the topic of EU membership, Elles clearly states this in the opening and makes strong and convincing arguments as to why he takes this view.
Those who strongly believe the best move is for us to leave the EU will be seriously challenged, and anyone scared off by the politics language need not be- Elles’ writing style is succinct, eloquent and makes politics sound interesting (which is not always an easy task).
What do you think? Have your say in the comments section below.