My father and I were reminiscing today about the 1975 referendum on Britain's continued membership of "the Common Market." We both voted then to Remain. We are both voting this time to Leave. I reminded him that he had said to me at the time, "I am on the other side of every argument to Tony Benn, so I assume he's wrong about this one too."
He laughed when I said Tony Benn was guiding my vote this time. To be precise I am basing my decision on the five questions the late Mr Benn said every generation should address to the powerful;
- What power have you got?
- Where did you get it from?
- In whose interests do you exercise it?
- To whom are you accountable?
- How can we get rid of you?
I can come up with sensible answers for the EU's seven Presidents to give to the first two. I have serious concerns about the answers they would give, if they were honest, to the third and fourth. The deciding factor for me is the honest answer they would have to give to the fifth, which is "You can't".
Benn said that only democracy entitles us to the answers to those questions and "that is why no-one in power likes democracy" and why "every generation must struggle to win it and keep it. Including you and me. Here and now".
For me, that is all my vote this time round is about. I am simply determined that everyone in political power over us should be subject to peremptory removal by - and should therefore respect and ideally fear - the people.