I have been repeatedly criticised on Twitter this morning by @PaulMBrady65 for saying I am a federalist, but refusing to vote for a federalist party in European elections. Here is a quick explanation why (I can’t easily get the nuance into 140 character tweets).
As a starting point, my commitment to federalism is not in question. I spent 6 years as a volunteer (including two years as President) in the Young European Federalists campaigning for federalism.
But the crux of the issue is what federalism is. For me it is a governmental structure, a way of organising the balance of powers between different levels of government. That is important, but federalism absolutely does not give answers to everyday political questions to do with economic growth, environment, foreign policy, social policy etc. In short, federalism is not an adequate and political ideology, and for me some sort of ideology is a pre-requisite for a political party.
I would of course like it if political forces of the left, centre and right were to espouse federalism too, in addition to everything else they espouse, but a party that makes federalism – a governance structure – its central ideology is not a party that I am going to vote for.