This is one of a series of short posts looking at different aspects of the EU, trying to set out facts to help you decide which way to vote on 23 June. I am a committed 'inner' so I can't pretend that the info is unbiased but I have tried to be more factual than emotional.
A child is desperate to be an adult, to reach the stage where they no longer have to ask if they can go out or have a biscuit, when they get to choose what to have for dinner without having to eat green things that taste horrible. And then adulthood comes and they find that adults are no more free than they were as children. There are chores, and responsibilities, and car repairs, and bills and bosses and all the rest of it.
So it is with the idea of sovereignty. The miserable state of North Korea is sovereign and does whatever it wants without any regard to anyone else. As a result, it has ever tighter sanctions imposed on it. The USA is sovereign and a super power to boot. And yet it is, of course, constrained by responsibility. It has to be concerned about the world's trouble spots, it has to spend money on things it doesn't want to, it has to be part of a bigger whole.
Sovereignty is constrained by our membership of the EU. The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg gets to decide whether our legislation is or is not within the guidelines/constraints set by EU legislation. How different would our legislation be if we were outside the EU? That would depend on international treaties and trade agreements, agreements in tackling crime, our involvement in the world's trouble spots and so on. In short, on what other people do.
Why I'm voting to remain
No man is an island. Britain is, of course, but only in the physical sense. We are part of the international community, whether in our out of the EU. And that constrains what we do – just like responsibility constrains what an adult does.
Britain does not currently have 1/28th the voice it would have if we left. Look at some (very approximate) population figures: Sweden 10M, Ireland 4M, Estonia 1.3M, Malta 0.4M. Germany is the only EU member state with a higher population and higher GDP than the UK. Britain's voice is way more powerful than Malta's, or Croatia's, or Estonia's, and it's made more powerful yet by being an influential voice in a big block.