Roger Scruton is a writer and philospher.
The greatest difference between being governed by a national Parliament and being governed by a treaty is that, in the former case, law can be made immediately, in response to every change in the situation of those affected by it, and mistakes can be rectified before their full toll of destruction has been reaped. In the nature of things treaties forbid this. They exist to enforce a particular decision, made in particular circumstances, for a particular goal. And even if they include provisions for amending and adjusting as circumstances change, their immovable goal perpetuates the thinking from which they arose, long after circumstances have made it irrelevant.
Thus the Treaty of Rome included, among its four freedoms, the freedom of the labour force to move across national borders. This freedom, itself backed up by long-since exploded economic theories concerning the role played by the ‘factors of production’, seemed harmless at the time, when there was near full employment and parity of income in the member states. Everything began to change, partly as a result of the Treaty. And when the decision was taken, from which the people of Europe were, as ever, excluded, to extend membership to the newly liberated countries of Eastern Europe, the result was a mass migration from places devastated by communism to places where the rule of law, private property and representative institutions had kept in being the old spirit of Europe. Nothing could be done to stop this, we were told: at best it could be delayed. For a few years our government was able to postpone the influx from Romania and Bulgaria. Now, it seems this influx is to come, and our Parliament and our law can do nothing to prevent it.