Leaving aside Litobarski’s discussion about the referendum, he makes a glaringly flawed assumption in his argument that Brits aren’t inherently eurosceptic but are really just, in his view, apathetic:
“The latest YouGov poll on UK voter priorities…shows the EU languishing at the very bottom of the table. Only 6% identified the EU as one of their top priorities – just above the oh-so-sexy issue of "transport" at 5%. In contrast, the most important issues for voters were the economy (82%) and immigration (a distant second at 43%). These were not atypical results – the EU regularly appears as the lowest priority in such surveys – and when people vote in a referendum they rarely make a decision based on their least important priority”The fact is that while the EU’s institutions seem remote, their decisions have a significant impact on many of these areas:
• The EU’s raft of economic regulations has had a huge economic impact on the UK; Open Europe’s research has shown that complying with EU regulations has cost the UK £124 billion (£4,912 per household) since 1998. In the context of the perilous state of the public finances this is an exceptionally heavy burden.
• EU initiatives in the field of crime, immigration and asylum, clearly affect UK citizens; as we have pointed out here.
• Another example of how EU regulations can directly affect the lives of ordinary citizens is the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy. The great fish fight campaign broadcast recently on Channel 4 showed how the CFP has simultaneously been an environmental catastrophe, endangered the livelihoods of fishermen and pushed up food prices for consumers; hardly a glorious hat-trick and one that people clearly responded to.
We could of course go on, but this ought to be sufficient proof of the disingenuous claim that Europe is a distant concern to the majority of people in the UK.