Whenever people become aware of the devastating damage membership of the European Union is doing to our economy, democracy and way of life one of the first questions they ask is "As it is so obvious to any informed and intelligent adult that this is a disaster, who is to blame for us joining and remaining within this organisation?".
In my many years in the anti EU movement I have heard every conspiracy theory under the Sun rolled out in explanation, with every possible shadowy, and not so shadowy group being accused of responsibility. I have been told in all seriousness that it is the Nazis or the Communists, the Catholic Church or the Jews, the Freemasons or the CIA. One person even insisted it was all a front for Lucifer himself.
Unfortunately the truth is rather more prosaic, but much harder to deal with than it would be if we could really identify a group like that around Guy Fawkes, the removal of whom would solve the problem. In reality the driving force is the self interest of a number of different groups who benefit personally and do not raise their eyes to see the larger picture. The overwhelmingly mass of these people are not part of any conscious conspiracy but their combined influence, and position within society, is such that all our valid arguments for withdrawal struggle to be heard against their self deceptive rationalisations.
Who are these people? First there are the bureaucrats who dislike the need to be held accountable to elected representatives and prefer an environment where they dictate the agenda and, since we joined, have churned out over a hundred thousand regulations which we must obey without reference to our own parliament. Then there are those who run the large businesses who much prefer to deal with the European Commissioners, whom they can lobby without caring overmuch for the opinions of elected bodies in the separate member states. Finally, and worst of all, are the politicians, who see in the EU a wider stage for them to strut their little hour, a stage that offers them enhanced career opportunities and the possibility of lucrative posts once their careers as elected politicians are over.
This is not to say that there were not, and are not, people like Jean Monnet who deliberately, and as a matter of cynical policy, deceived the electorates of Europe as to the ultimate aims of the European project.
However, all these groups could be defeated but for the largest group of all, those ordinary men and women who will not stir themselves to take an interest in what is happening, but would rather concern themselves with the activities of ephemeral celebrities and attach more importance to trivial matters than to the destruction of their nation. It is this apathy which may yet allow the selfish few to achieve their aims so perhaps when many ask "Who is to blame" the answer may come back "It is yourself".