By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
With sadness and tortured by doubts, I will cast my vote as an ordinary citizen for withdrawal from the European Union.
Let there be no illusion about the trauma of Brexit. Anybody who claims that Britain can lightly disengage after 43 years enmeshed in EU affairs is a charlatan or a dreamer, or has little contact with the realities of global finance and geopolitics.
Stripped of distractions, it comes down to an elemental choice: whether to restore the full self-government of this nation, or to continue living under a higher supranational regime, ruled by a European Council that we do not elect in any meaningful sense, and that the British people can never remove, even when it persists in error.
For some of us - and we do not take our cue from the Leave campaign - it has nothing to do with payments into the EU budget. Whatever the sum, it is economically trivial, worth unfettered access to a giant market.
We are deciding whether to be guided by a Commission with quasi-executive powers that operates more like the priesthood of the 13th Century papacy than a modern civil service; and whether to submit to a European Court of Justice (ECJ) that claims sweeping supremacy, with no right of appeal.
It is whether you think the nation states of Europe are the only authentic fora of democracy, be it in this country, Sweden, the Netherlands, or France - where Nicholas Sarkozy has launched his presidential bid with an invocation of King Clovis and 1,500 years of Frankish unity.
My Europhile Greek friend Yanis Varoufakis and I both agree on one central point, that today's EU is a deformed halfway house that nobody ever wanted. His solution is a great leap forward towards a United States of Europe with a genuine parliament holding an elected president to account. Though even he doubts his dream. "There is a virtue in heroic failure" he said.
do not think this is remotely possible, or would be desirable if it were, but it is not on offer anyway. Six years into the eurozone crisis and there is no a flicker of fiscal union: no eurobonds, no Hamiltonian redemption fund, no pooling of debt, and no budget transfers. The banking union belies its name. Germany and the creditor states have dug in their heels.
Where we concur is that the EU as constructed is not only corrosive but ultimately dangerous, and that is the phase we have now reached as governing authority crumbles across Europe.
The Project bleeds the lifeblood of the national institutions, but fails to replace them with anything lovable or legitimate at a European level. It draws away charisma, and destroys it. This is how democracies die.
"They are slowly drained of what makes them democratic, by a gradual process of internal decay and mounting indifference, until one suddenly notices that they have become something different, like the republican constitutions of Athens or Rome, or the Italian city-states of the Renaissance," says Lord Sumption of our Supreme Court.
It is a quarter century since I co-wrote the leader for this newspaper on the Maastricht summit. We warned that Europe's elites were embarking on a reckless experiment, piling Mount Pelion upon Mount Ossa with a vandal's disregard for the cohesion of their ancient polities.
We reluctantly supported John Major's strategy of compromise, hoping that later events would "check the extremists and put the EC on a sane and realistic path."
This did not happen, as Europe's Donald Tusk confessed two weeks ago, rebuking the elites for seeking a “utopia without nation states" and over-reaching on every front.
“Obsessed with the idea of instant and total integration, we failed to notice that the citizens of Europe do not share our Euro-enthusiasm,” he said.
If there were more Tusks at the helm, one might still give the EU Project the benefit of the doubt. Hard experience - and five years at the coal face in Brussels - tells me others would seize triumphantly on a British decision to remain, deeming it submission from fear. They would pocket the vote. Besides, too much has happened that cannot be forgiven.
The EU crossed a fatal line when it smuggled through the Treaty of Lisbon, by executive cabal, after the text had already been rejected by French and Dutch voters in its earlier guise. It is one thing to advance the Project by stealth and the Monnet method, it is another to call a plebiscite and then to override the outcome.
Read the rest here.