Editorial—The Nation of States

I’ve been thinking about Brexit, lately. It struck me that part of the reason there’s such angst is that the various nations in the EU have never really stood up and said “We’re forming a new country with all of us as part of it.”  Instead, they’ve been sidling up to it, slowly voting, in the name of trade, to agree to more restrictions on each of them.  Now there are reports that some in the EU want it to create its own army.  This, of course has the conspiracy theorists going bananas about dictatorial conquest about to storm across Europe, but when you really look at it, the EU seems to be developing itself into an organization not unlike Canada, with its separate provinces under a federal government, or the United States, with the various state level governments underneath their federal system.

But they’ve never come out and really acknowledged that that’s the direction the EU is going in.  Of course, if they did, as we’ve seen from both the US and even Canada’s attempts at confederation, such a thing can come with a host of difficulties and protests.  After all, everybody likes to think that their country, as it is today, is sovereign and immutable.  But the reality is that we are becoming increasingly interdependent on each other, and at the same time, it seems becoming increasingly separate as well.  Take the issue of BC refusing Alberta pipelines.  Without getting into the whole who’s right and who’s wrong on this, what we see is two governments each acting for their own beliefs, even though there’s a federal government above both, which both recognize as having significant authority, and a Supreme Court that both governments acknowledge is above any of their own courts.

This is an example of two groups maintaining sovereignty while at the same time ceding some of it to another level of organization, and, despite there being some bumps in the road, it seems to generally work to make us better.  (The Alberta Independence Party would likely disagree, but the fact that there’s a single party campaigning for that while some 12 others have made no suggestions of separation means that they’re the outliers on the issue.)  Brexit is little different from Quebec, or Alberta, saying “Hey, we want to go it alone,” and, as Quebec found when they really started to look into the issue, might not be such a good idea after all.

My point, however, is that if the EU stopped pretending and just came out with what they wanted to do, I think it would serve to calm a lot of the fears of many of those stumping for Brexit.  It would also confirm the hardliners thoughts, but that’s not so bad either.  At least then it’s harder for them to claim shadowy conspiracies if what’s on offer is out in the open.

As for this issue, we’re featuring an interview with student Alison Rowney, have a look at some of what the latest Federal Budget does for students, and flip around Wanda Watermans’ article of last week, this time looking at the down-side of the positive emotions.  All in all, it’s a good read, so I hope you enjoy it!