Here the town hall is an attractive building the size of an English public library. All of the (few) staff are named, and known, and available at the end of a phone. If you're not happy, you call the Bürgermeister, who will pop round to see you. They provide water, sewerage, refuse, minor road maintenance and a host of local services and the minutae of state administration all for about €350 a year. For a Localist like me, it's heaven.
Simon Jenkins has a pedigree not only as a writer and Localist, but from having run the National Trust, which has around 4.5 million paying members. All the main political parties in the UK together have a paid membership of fewer than 450,000, just 10% of the NT's members. And it's not even the members, but the establishment grandees of those parties that are so pro-European - a tiny minority.
So when Jenkins devotes his Guardian column to recommending 'Leave' he does so from an excellent pedigree. He writes;
" If politics were about truth, Cameron would stun the nation tomorrow by backing no.......Worth a read.
The yes tribe is composed of the insiders, the metro-progressives, the established order averse to change. The no tribe consists of the outsiders, the provincials, the instinctive radicals. On the left this is a divide between the old-style statist socialism and the new left of perpetual dissent. On the right it separates the “natural party of government” and the professional class from the grassroots, the insecure and the dispossessed. Neither tribe is happy with the present EU, as it fails in its core purpose of holding together a disparate continent in the cause of liberal democracy."