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The Demise of the Free State: Why British democracy and the EU don't mix

David G. Green, April 2014

“The great merit of this brilliant and learned book is that it locates the case for withdrawal in the magnificent British tradition of democracy, liberty and tolerance” – Peter Oborne

As the UK fast approaches a crossroads in its relationship with the European Union, Civitas director David G Green contrasts the ideals that have evolved in the British political system over many centuries – best described as those of liberal civilisation, or what he calls a ‘free state’ – with the unaccountable structures of the EU which seem designed to insulate decision-makers from popular opinion.

In a wide-ranging discussion of the evolution of British democracy and its relationship with the EU, he sets out the powerful political and ethical arguments for upholding the UK’s independence which go beyond economic considerations, considerable though they are.

“Along with the peoples of many other European countries, we developed what turned out to be the most successful way of life so far discovered: liberal civilisation. Its preservation is the great challenge of our time,” he writes.

Dr Green argues that globalisation is making the nation state more, not less, important – particularly its role in protecting the casualties of change. But the EU prevents its members adapting to their unique circumstances or help carve out essential competitive advantages.
The truth is that the EU is bad for democracy, bad for personal freedom and bad for pluralistic civil society.

“The surrender of our sovereignty to unelected bureaucrats and a centralised legislative process has been justified solely in economic terms. But, as David Green points out in this powerful book, even if the economic arguments are good ones (which they are not), the question of EU membership is not primarily one of economics. It is about the happiness and cohesion of our nation, and the civilisation of which we have been, in Europe, the prominent guardians. The true argument is not that it is economically advisable to reclaim our sovereignty, but that it is our moral duty to do so” – Roger Scruton

“Amidst the technical jargon and diplomatic double-talk, the debate over Britain’s future relationship with the European Union is fundamentally about values. In this thoughtful new book, David Green serves a damning indictment on the EU, charging it with a wholesale attack on the principles of liberal democracy and self-determination, in the name of a progressive authoritarianism at odds with British moral and political values. This intellectual rearguard action is sure to strike a nerve in Brussels, and open a new front in the debate on Europe” – Dominic Raab MP

“Since the enlightenment progressives from across the political spectrum have believed their governments should be chosen by the people. The electorate should regularly have the opportunity to throw out the rascals. The creation of the EU removes that right. David Green is doing democracy a favour by writing this important book” – Graham Stringer MP

“David Green’s book is a timely and elegant new perspective on a problem which has been frustrating politicians ever since we entered the European Union. His analysis and conclusions should be read by every politician and citizen who wants to enhance their view on what is the best future for our country as we approach the crossroads of a decision in 2017” – David Davis MP

“This book, historically, politically and constitutionally, hits the nail on the head. This should be the subject of a widespread debate which has been deliberately driven underground by the Euro-cognoscenti, who know that otherwise they cannot win. Failure to have this debate in the light of the undemocratic Leviathan which has been created is simply an irresponsible defiance of the electorate in the United Kingdom and throughout Europe” – Bill Cash MP

About the Author

David G Green is the director of Civitas, which he founded in 2000. His previous publications include Reinventing Civil Society (1993), Community Without Politics (1996), Individualists Who Cooperate (2009), Prosperity With Principles (2010) and What Have We Done? The surrender of our democracy to the EU (2013).

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