, 9 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
Britain never really bought into the idea, but acquiesced in it for economic reasons, and even then only stayed with all kinds of special exceptions. It did so because 1/
Opponents of Britain’s membership ran an energetic campaign against it. Some of their arguments were honourable (different history, different perspective on world etc.) but others rested on myths and self-deception 2/
The biggest myth was that they were only joining a “common market” and political union was subsequently foisted upon an unwilling British public.

In fact the debate in the 60s and 70s involved plenty of discussion of its role bringing peace to Europe 3/
The biggest act of self-deception was the pretence that Britain stayed a sovereign nation as it had been before. It didn’t. The European legal order profoundly changed the relationship between legal and political authority in Britain. 4/
Elements of sovereignty (a difficult concept in a country reared on Hobbes) were transferred to new institutions that drew authority (though EP elections) and imposed power (through commission) bypassing the traditional operation of domestic institutions. 5/
(Though through Council member state govts are involved in creating new legislation, they are not responsible for its day-to-day execution, which is done under Commission’s authority; this was an innovation in UK practice) 6/
UK political debate never really thought of European institutions as “ours”, and preferred to think of European decisions as imposed, rather than it being a collective project that Britain was proud to be a part 7/
Even pro Europeans argued in terms of being “in charge” of Europe. Only rarely as something we all do together. Britain couldn’t break out from seeing the alternatives of either leading or being led. Which means it never really understood what the whole thing was about. ENDS
PS - there’s no sense People’s vote or the rest of the remain campaigns have understood this at all.
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