I recently attended an event organised by the Foreign Policy Centre in partnership with the European Commission’s representation in the UK. The title could hardly be more topical: “Examining the EU’s democratic legitimacy”.
It really was about Brexit, like nearly every political debate in the UK for months if not years.
Hilary Benn delivered an eloquent keynote speech about the need of parliamentary oversight of the divorce process. After him, other articulate voices from both Chambers expressed their thoughts about the value of democracy, the history of Britain in Europe and the meaning of national and parliamentary sovereignty. Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and SNP had at least one voice in the panel; so did UKIP with its only MP (to Nigel Farage’s eternal sorrow), Douglas Carswell.
“How did we get to this point?”
Judging by the interventions during the Q&A, had the referendum been held only in that room, Britain would have never chosen to leave; in fact, Conservatives would probably be a marginal force. Continue reading