Do we have influence on the EU’s heading? How can we measure that? By looking at votes in the EU Council, maybe. The EU Council is the strategic head or bridge of the EU, where the steering wheel is. We have a hand on the wheel for sure, what effect do we have on it?
This is the bit of the EU where our head of government votes not the bit where the MEP’s sit.
This charts show, of the times we voted, what percentage were we on the losing side. (From data looked at by King’s college London, my alma mater as it happens not that that makes it more credible)
Wow! Something big happened after 2009. Could it be that DC took the seat and started being disagreeable. Good for him perhaps this shows that he has been at least trying to change things.
We are on the losing side more than twice as much as Germany (football analogy anyone?) and an order of magnitude more than the French.
So are the French just getting it all their own way? No, read on Macduff.
France appear to be the winners but that might be because they often don’t vote against what they know will be a majority even if they disagree, preferring to go with the flow. Tactics maybe. Yup, so the French president is the most amenable member of the EU Council. I’m not going to argue with that mes amis.
One interpretation would be that, far from having influence, the UK is indeed side lined and ignored in the EU more than any other member. Hold station, you know there’s always a but. This picture over states things because the vast majority of stuff going through the EU is agreed amicably without even needing a vote. More than 80% (I think) goes straight through which makes it all seem much more harmonious.
So do we have influence? Well it looks like we are at least trying the hardest to change things or perhaps that we are just most different; vive la difference, n’est pas? What are our chances of “reforming” the EU if it doesn’t want to go the way we do? Pretty slim, after all why should the tail wag the dog? Why should we expect to have an unreasonable amount of influence, it’s not our ball.
So regarding our influence within the EU: it seems odd that Remain are trying to convince me that we have a big influence on proceedings, if we did that would be undemocratic. I feel they are trying to convince me that we have something we shouldn’t reasonably expect. Similarly Leave are moaning because we don’t have more influence. That feels wrong too.
Or more succinctly: (deep breath) Remain say we have something that we shouldn’t have while Leave complain that we haven’t got something we shouldn’t have.
Regarding influence through the EU, by which I mean how our desired influence is filtered through the EU to the rest of the world. Yes you could say we have greater influence on the rest of the world on issues where we agree with the EU. But we will have less (and sometimes zero) influence on the rest of the world on issues where we don’t agree with the EU. Obviously we are only talking about the issues where the EU is actually involved.
Do we want to play or not is the question? If we do we must remember we are not the captain.