Why Brexit is not the problem

A chara, – The letter from A Leavy (July 8th) serves to highlight the narrative that underpins the coverage of Brexit – and the EU in general – in Ireland.

The writer declares the EU to be “the most advanced effort at international co-operation in the world”. That’s just not true. That statement more accurately reflects what the European Economic Community, subsequently the European Community, used to be.

Now however, the European Union is a de facto European government. It has its own parliament, its own commission – the leader of which makes “State of the Union” addresses, à la the US president– its own anthem and is well on the way to having its own army.

All of which would be fine if it were done with the democratic consent of the people of Europe.


The opposite is the case however.

The French and Dutch people explicitly rejected the Constitution of the EU back in 2004. It was then repackaged into the Lisbon treaty. Unsurprisingly there was only one country that put the ratification of that treaty to its people. We all know how that turned out.

Now we have Brexit. Another explicit democratic rejection of a United States of Europe. It was the decision of a majority of British citizens, reached after an eight-month referendum campaign during which all the main political parties and media organisations in Britain were on the side of Remain.

Yet the British people voted Leave, and in the three years since, they have been cast as everything from xenophobes to morons. Indeed, your letter writer goes so far as to describe a no-deal Brexit as “a declaration of economic war on European countries”.

Such hyperbole to describe a government following the express democratic will of its people indicates just how warped our thinking has become.

Brexit is not the problem. The problem is that European integration has becoming so self-perpetuating that those who espouse it feel so emboldened that they feel they don’t need the democratic consent of those they govern.

Worse still any democratic expression of dissent towards the glory of the EU is dismissed as populism run amok.

Dangerous – and familiar – times indeed. – Is mise,



Dublin 12.