Transferred from Comments to main posting. SIG
I have long been sceptical of UKIP’s commitment to a referendum. Suppose the Conservative Party scrapes its way back into office in 2015, gives us a referendum in 2017, and the British people vote to leave. What then? We will be outside of the European Union, but that won’t mean much if we have the same parasitical class of authoritarian social-democrats ruling over us. We will still have the Human Rights Act, the Equality Act, the Communications Act and a vast range of other laws codifying political correctness as state ideology. The Proposed New Independent School Standards came from our own ruling class, not from the marauders of Brussels and Strasbourg. People like Michael Gove and David Cameron are the ones who support the ideological encroachment of the state into private education, and their efforts would persist regardless of our formal relationship with the European Union. There are other EU countries which have no such problem and are not being forced by Brussels to clamp down on true independent schooling.
If the Scottish end up voting for independence and being denied quick accession into the European Union, it will be an interesting case study. Will the severance of ties with the EU (even if only on a transitional basis) transform the SNP and Labour from a group of politically correct pansies into defenders of true civil liberty? I think not. One impetus behind the Scottish independence movement is a heavy resentment towards the Conservative Party because of its perceived desire to cut down the welfare state; this is similar to the anti-Troika rhetoric of the popular socialist movements in Spain, Greece and Portugal, who are raging against “austerity” and all cuts to public spending. The SNP itself views the authoritarian “Nordic model” as an aspirational ideal, which hardly bodes well for Scotland’s prospects if it leaves the United Kingdom. Norway is a good example of a European country which exists outside of the EU, but nonetheless has a stifling officialdom with deep layers of red tape, sky-high tax rates, and a judiciary which is all too happy to imprison people (“Islamists”, “racists” and so forth) for thoughtcrimes.
All of that said, I am no friend of the European Union, nor am I here as its apologist. It is a malicious institution, but it is not the only cause of our woes. I would be happy to leave today, because doing so would deprive our ruling class of its whipping boy and force them to be held accountable for constitutional atrocities like the Human Rights Act. It would also, as mentioned in other comments, remove one layer of government.
By the way, Spiked published an interesting piece earlier this week which touches on the same issue:
“Framing the discussion on human-rights laws simply in terms of Euroscepticism will only avoid or confuse the debate. What happens in the Strasbourg court is far less important that what is happening in courts north of the English Channel.”