Jonathan Freedland summing up European angst, 2014
“Anger about excessive powers supposedly wielded by Strasbourg judges, Scottish MPs or the European Union is not really about institutional arrangements. It is instead the outlet for a much more visceral rage, the furious sense that the world is not as it should be – and that someone faraway must be to blame.
This is the pool of fury Ukip drinks from, and which the Tories want to channel their way. It imagines a utopia where everything would be well if only we could make our own rules without outsiders’ interference. Some of that sentiment was alive in the yes campaign in Scotland; much of it animates anti-EU feeling, both here and on the continent.
But it feels misplaced, an incoherent lashing-out that frequently hits the wrong target. People have good reason to feel impotent, too powerless to shape their own lives. But that’s not the fault of judges in Strasbourg or bureaucrats in Brussels. It owes more to the vast, borderless forces of globalisation that have upended economic life everywhere. Yet those forces are so much harder to see and harder to blame. So we train our fire on an easier, more visible enemy, like a European court that actually protects us far more than it hurts us.”