1 thought on “EU referendum: the Catholic case for sitting on the fence”

  1. Posted 23/06/2016 at 16:16 | Permalink

    Given that we haven’t had referendums very often (and it’s not obvious that any British government would be keen to have another any time soon), it seems sensible to cast one’s vote on the basis, not of what conditions seem to be today, but what one expects them to be in, say, fifteen years time. This involves guessing what the European Union’s intentions will be in future (for example, will the EU be prepared to modify its ‘principle’ of freedom of movement?) as well as trying to judge how competently it will manage its affairs (where, in my opinion, so far the record has not been very satisfactory). It also involves guessing what conditions would be like with an ‘independent’ United Kingdom (or, perhaps, England or some other combination of ‘home nations’). On this latter question I am less confident than I was when casting a vote to Leave in the 1975 referendum. Like Hayek, over the course of a fairly long life my opinion of politicians has steadily gone down. One’s answer, of course, also depends on one’s criteria. I haven’t found the concentration in the recent campaign on economic and trade aspects and on immigration very helpful. I simply don’t attach much weight to economists’ guesses about what might happen fifteen years into the future, nor do I think either side in the campaign has been very credible on immigration. So personally I put weight on sovereignty, democracy, independence etc. which means I am hardly likely to vote to stay in the EU. It is worth reflecting that we are only having a referendum because politicians, under our system of parliamentary democracy, have failed properly to represent their constituents. Whether the final decision is to Remain or the Leave (or, as I rather expect, somewhere in between), let’s hope they can do a better job in this respect in future.

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