Letter: Power plays

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The Independent Online
Letter: Power plays

THE LETTERS on the European Union from MJ Knight and Heon Stevenson (4 July) reflect a clarity of thought rarely evident in the muddled media mumblings of the politicians they rightly criticise. However, M J Knight commits a similar offence when she/he mentions "Britain's" influence in the EU. What can this phrase mean?

Britain is a piece of rock and soil and I don't think that can have political influence. Could it mean the influence of British citizens? Well, my influence on any decision of the British Government - calculated through the size of a constituency electorate and the number of MPs in the Commons, with a conservative allowance for the anti-democratic "noise" in the system - is about 1 in 100 million. On decisions at EU level, it would go out to 1 in 870 million, plus more noise. Double the size of the EU and it is 1 in 1,740 million.

All of these numbers are sufficiently close to zero that the difference between them is of no significance. In practical terms, none of us ordinary voters has any influence on either the British Government or the EU.

Could the politicians be talking about the influence of the British Government on the EU, rather than the influence of the people? If so, I've no reason to believe that this Government's influence will be any more in favour of what I consider right than that of any other EU government.


Draycott, Derbyshire