Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Tories lose my vote #94

I used to respect William Hague; I thought that he was a great debater—when leader of the Conservatives, he consistently bettered and belittled Blair at PMQs—but now he has come out with a distressing load of tosh which I discovered via Escalate and MatGB.

Needless to say, it is a speech stuffed to the brim with pointless bollocks...
This is an important time for Europe. One year ago the EU Constitution was rejected by French and Dutch voters, in an unprecedented shock to the process of European integration. Treaties have been rejected in referendums before, but never by two countries, let alone by Member States from the founding Six.

Yeah, shocking, eh? Mind you, some of us have never been given a chance to vote, have we, William? After all, when the Danish rejected Maastricht, the Tories had to pull out some pretty hefty stunts just to ratify the bastard through Parliament. They didn't dare put it to the people because they knew that they would lose.

And, of course, we Brits were not allowed a referendum on the Constitution, even though Princess Cunting Toni is on record as saying that we would have one regardless. So, William, where's my fucking vote?
The impact of the shock was matched by the importance of the document the referendums rejected. It was not the first Treaty to signify a great change to the European Union, but it was intended to be a turning point. Quite apart from the changes to voting or EU competences, the attributes it would have given the EU - legal personality, the Charter of Fundamental Rights, a foreign minister, the fact that it was a Constitution, not a simply a Treaty – would have revolutionised the EU. As the German Europe minister at the time described it, it was 'the birth certificate of the United States of Europe', or, in the Belgian Prime Minister's words, the 'capstone' of a 'federal state'.

Yes, William, and no one wanted that.
So the referendums were decisions on the fundamental nature of the European Union. Quite properly, the clear disjunction the referendums revealed between what the peoples of Europe wanted and what many of their political elites thought they wanted deserved serious consideration. So we have had a period of reflection, a period that had been due to end in a couple of weeks but has now been lengthened by a year.

Um, I thought that the Constitution was dead? As a sodding dodo? We have to go through it again...? Oh, no, they are just ramming the Constitution through in little bits anyway, aren't they. The people reject it, so they put it through by stealth; I love our "elite" masters, don't you?
These contributions deal with the basic questions of what the European Union is for and what its future is to be.

It is a supranational, undemocratic gravy-train run by the political rejects of the member countries; it is run by—and for the benefit of—scum like Peter Mandelson (corrupt, lying, self-serving shit), Neil Kinnock (corrupt, lying, self-serving failure) and Margot Wallstrom (lying, self-serving, self-deluded, supine fool).

As for its future: Unio Europaea delenda est.
And the debate is a serious one: Europe is at a crisis point.

Good. So kill it now.
The assumptions of the last fifty years no longer hold true. Where once the priority for Europe was political harmony it must now be economic dynamism, and here, thanks to the radical changes the last Conservative Government brought about in the Eighties and Nineties, Britain is well placed to lead and challenge some orthodoxies of recent decades that are now so clearly failing. We must replace the habits of heavy regulation and rigidity with freedom and flexibility. The attempt to create an ever more politically united Europe was a response to the problems of the twentieth century. Now it is time to advocate a Europe of decentralisation and diversity in the spirit of the twenty first century.

The EU exists only to regulate; that is its only point. If you want decentralisation and lighter regulation then abolish the EU and let member countries work out their own trade treaties.
In 2000 Tony Blair said that Europe did not need a Constitution. In 2002 he said: 'we do need a proper Constitution for Europe'. By 2003 Peter Hain was saying it was just a 'tidying up exercise', and not important enough for a referendum. But later that year Tony Blair said that holding a referendum would be 'a gross and irresponsible betrayal of the true British national interest' – in other words it was too important. Despite that he was soon in favour of exactly such a referendum - 'to resolve once and for all' where Britain stood in Europe, but the French voted no. This vital mission went the way of every previous statement on this subject. Seven different policies in five years, and all of them based on evasion rather than vision.

Yes, yes, William: look, I'm sorry to get all Neil Harding on your arse, but the Tories did no better.
I fear this Labour Government is going to repeat the mistake it made when the Constitution first appeared on the agenda. It has no vision for the EU.

What if it did? It could do fuck all about it. The EU is a monster, a mammoth labyrinth of red tape, unaccountability, corruption and unelected, self-serving fuckheads. Whatever Blair wanted to do, nothing would change. Nothing is changing. Nothing will ever change. Why carry on deluding yourself?
It therefore reacts rather than proposes and concentrates its political efforts on a damage limitation exercise, trying to make sure that nothing politically impossible comes out of the talks. As Derek Scott, the Prime Minister's former chief economic adviser, said the last time the Constitution was on the table, 'the Government never saw the discussions on the Constitution as an opportunity to stand back and think clearly about the appropriate political and economic framework to sustain the EU … the Government's response was tactical rather than strategic', 'reflect[ing] the view that the best Britain can do is to negotiate "something we can live with"'.

In this he was quite right. Seriously, how on earth does anyone possibly think that you can juggle the competing interests of 25 countries and an EU which has almost become a country in its own right, and try to come out with everything that you want? It's just delusional.
The British Government cannot mould Europe's future while it refuses to take a public stance on a question that will be vital to determining it.

The British Government cannot mould Europe's future—full stop. Just look at France, as just one example: do they want to go to the "Anglo-Saxon" economic model? No. That is all that is needed; just one veto.
It is the worst kind of folly not to learn from one's mistakes. Time and again this Government's policy on Europe has met with failure. On the EU budget the Government had three clear objectives: first, to limit its size, secondly, to ensure fundamental reform of the CAP; and, thirdly, to keep the British rebate unless such reform occurs. They failed on every one. We were promised that the rebate 'was not up for negotiation' but it turned out that it was negotiable to the tune of £2 billion a year. The fruit of this costly concession? A review of the EU budget with absolutely no guarantees of reform. As one German paper put it, 'Tony Blair began his EU Presidency as a tiger... and has ended up a doormat'.

And you think that you can do better, do you? Go on, Billy, give it a go. I guarantee that you will fail as comprehensively as Blair did. After all, you are dealing with at least one country who would rather that world-spanning trade talks fail than discuss any alteration to the CAP.
But the Chancellor has been all bark and no bite on Europe. He acquiesced in last year's woeful deal on the budget and CAP reform. He preaches deregulation but this Government has imposed £50 billion's worth of regulatory costs on business. He preaches free trade but even during our presidency the Chancellor backed away from arguing the free trade case. As the Swedish trade minister said at the time, 'the French have been very active, not least in the public debate, while there has really been very little said by the free traders'. The Chancellor has been good at lecturing but has yet to show that he is capable of leading, and certainly incapable of leading by example.

Yes, we all know that the man is a cunt of the very first water: a big, fat, hirsute, sweaty, unwashed cunt with the principles of a particularly untrustworthy stoat. So fuck him.
I am a firm believer that Britain's place is in the European Union, a strong player in Europe, not at the margins.

And that is why you've lost my vote, William. I don't. I see Britain at the heart of the world, as a trading hub of the entire fucking globe, not as a whipping-boy for a bunch of economic basket-cases. Fuck you and your pissy, tiny vision; fuck you and your lack of imagination; and fuck you and your lack of perception. You cunt.
We need a realistic assessment of the EU's successes and failures to decide what the EU needs to do more of and what it should stop doing.

Well, that should be simple. Just don't use a pair of scales or the discrepancy will be just too painfully obvious, my dears.
It cannot be doubted that the EU has been a major force in securing democracy and the rule of law in many countries that were new to those freedoms. We have seen the EU's effectiveness in the last quarter century in the Mediterranean, we have seen it in the new members from central and eastern Europe since the fall of the Berlin Wall and we see it now in the Balkans and Turkey. Enlargement has been a triumphant success.

Are you living in the same world that I am, Bill? Seriously, do you want to give me a quick rundown of precisely how successful we were in the Balkans? You know, right up to the point where we were standing by watching massacres and ethnic cleansing until the US finally decided that it had had enough? Yes, that was, indeed, a "a triumphant success".
EU membership is a sign that you are a decent, trustworthy member of international society. Some countries – Norway and Switzerland - don't need that badge from the EU, which is one reason why they are not members. But to those whose countries in the past have been regarded as corrupt or unstable it is a great goal to pursue.

Um, Billy, me ole china, are you saying that we, Britain, need that badge? Are you? Are you going to say that this is a reason for us being "in the club"? That we need a fucking badge of respect? Yeah? Well, fuck you.
There is also the promise of comparative wealth – the EU requires a functioning market economy – and of new freedoms and opportunities to travel and find work.

Well, ho hum, Bill, that is true up to a point. But remember that the EU, like any other government, only has the wealth that is granted to it by the people who elected it voted for it upon whom it has been unwillingly foisted.

Unless you missed that meeting, Bill, you will have noticed that we, in Britain, are net contributors to the EU club. By about 6.5 billion fucking quid. That is 6.5 billion fucking quid that is stolen from us, the British taxpayers, and given to the other member countries of the EU: and we, the ones who foot the bill, have never been asked whether we think that it is a price worth paying.

WHERE'S OUR REFERENDUM, YOU CUNT! WHERE? WHERE IS OUR DEMOCRACY, WHERE IS THE ACCOUNTABILITY, WHERE IS THE MANDATE FOR THIS HORRIFIC, MURDERING INSTITUTION IN BRITAIN? WHERE THE FUCK IS OUR FUCKING REFERENDUM, YOU FUCKING CUNT?

[I'm going to take a break to calm down before I work my way through the rest of this shit. And believe me, it only gets better—DK]

[UPDATE: I'm back.]

And so is William, ploughing on manfully...
These are powerful incentives to change one's country so that it can join the EU.

Yup: getting lots of free boodle from those who have never been asked if they want to give it...
There are those in the EU who make foolish boasts when they compare Europe to the United States, but one can say that the wealthy countries of western Europe have done better in enriching their neighbours and exporting their democratic values than, perhaps, the US has been able to in its southern near neighbourhood.

Do you see how disingenuous William is being here? Yes, the "wealthy countries of western Europe" have done quite well, but it is they, not the EU, who have done this. All that the EU has done is to hamper and impede trade. As trade and communications become ever more global, the EU continues to become ever more protectionist, ever more isolationist. If you are in the club and paying your dues, well, that's nice. If you aren't, well, fuck you: here's a whole load of surplus sugarbeet that we'll dump on you to put your farmers out of business.

Even I actually find it difficult to articulate how evil the EU is. And what gets me, is that so many people in favour of it espouse the whole "brotherhood-of-man" claptrap and say how wonderful it is that we are helping our neighbours. It's all bullshit.

The EU is akin to some kind of stereotypical secret society, wherein the fat, idle members—comfortably seated in massive leather chairs in front of a roaring fire—all help one another get richer, fatter and idler at the expense of the poor starving in the cold outside. Fuck that, fuck the lot of them.

We could make a bold decision: we could leave the fat, idle men behind and go outside and employ the poor, share the secrets of our technology, help them to become better. We could—if only we could be bothered to heave our overweight, gouty, old carcass outside—Prometheus-like, take fire to man. And we may find ourselves chained to a rock with an eagle eating our liver daily, but I think it more likely that we will realise how stuffy the air in our secret room was; that we will realise how sybaritic we have been; that we will see how stagnant our imagination had become; that we will feel invigorated in the fresh air...
Enlargement's great success in the recent past leads us to some hard policy conclusions. Romania and Bulgaria's accessions are certain, even if the year is not. But, aside from Croatia, there is no consensus on the ultimate goal of including the whole western Balkans in the EU, let alone Turkey, the Ukraine or Belarus.

You can't join our club: piss off.
We want to see that part of the world stable, democratic, rich and peaceful.

But fuck the rest of it. We only worry about those ones because they have armies.
We know that offering EU membership is the best incentive to persuade countries to make the hard political decisions that mark the road to that end. And we know the likely cost of refusing entry to the EU: in the Balkans and the Ukraine nationalism, populism, corruption, criminality and a reorientation away from the West and in Turkey either a nationalist authoritarianism or a rise in fundamentalism. That is why we are in favour of sustaining the EU's enlargement and strongly support Turkey's membership, when she meets fully the necessary criteria.

Modelling the world in the EU's image: wonderful. Even more moribund, stagnant economies, cossetted people and fiscal wastage...
There are those who argue that such an enlargement should be rejected because it would mean the end of the dream of ever closer union. Their kind of ever closer union is not a goal I share, but I would also say that they have mistaken what the European Union is for. The European Union is not an end in itself, but a means to attain common goals and spread shared benefits through a system of co-operation. Blocking further enlargement would be a betrayal of the real European dream.

You see, here's the rub: even those who are in favour of the EU cannot agree on what the purpose of it actually is. Add in those of us that think that it is a pointless organisation and should be dismantled, and suddenly you have yet another multiplicity of opinions. All I know is that I have never been allowed to make my opinion known at the ballot box.
The other area where the European Union has had some conspicuous success is the Single Market. The success can be described in figures - it is widely accepted that the Single Market makes a contribution to the EU's GDP of 1.8 per cent a year, worth £20 billion annually to Britain and an average increase of wealth in a European household of £3,800.

I'm sorry, widely accepted by whom, exactly? And where do those figures come from?

But, hey, I'm not against the Single Market per se: it is, after all, free trade to an extent. You are simply fudging the issue now, William; the Single Market is not the EU. The Single Market was what we signed up for and it was what we had a referendum on (although only once we were actually already in). What we did not sign up for was the EU (even though that filthy, lying traitor, Heath, was aware that a federal superstate was, in fact, the end desire. I hope he died in agony) and we have also never been given a vote on that issue.

The fact is that there were extraordinarily good trading links between the European countries long, long, before the EU existed. It has no reason to exist if all we want is free trade (which we do). Even were we desirous of regulating it, this should be left to the elected government of each individual country (or the treaties that they make with others).
But it can also be described in terms of the real difference it makes to people's lives: whether it is cheaper telephone calls, internet connections and air travel or the ability to work and travel freely across Europe. These achievements are worth cherishing and people's lives are better for them. But we must also acknowledge the significant costs from the burdensome effect of some regulations and tariff barriers.

Well, yes, William; we must. The problem here is that, whilst the Single Market may well have brought cheaper goods, the tariffs, taxes and regulations imposed by the EU itself actually make these goods more expensive than they would otherwise have been.

The Single Market is not an EU achievement. Are we really trying to say that the EU invented international trade? No. So, the EU itself has hampered international trade, and continues to do so. To what extent is that worth "cherishing", Billy?
But the Single Market has still come nowhere near its potential. It is noticeable that intra-EU trade grew faster in the decade before 1992 than the decade after.

Yes, that's right, Bill. And what happened in 1992? Yup, the official formation of the European Union. So, the figures—of which you are so fond—would suggest that the EU is bad for trade, as I explained above. Quod erat demonstrandum.
The Single Market is of particular consequence to Britain because its promise was the central reason why we joined the then EEC and why people voted to stay in it. So it is particularly worrying not just that so much remains to be done but that some Member States seem to want to put new obstructions on the four freedoms.

Yup, back in 1975 we voted to stay within the European Economic Community, a free-trade area. We did not vote on joining the European Union, we did not vote on the Maastricht Treaty and we have never been asked if we wish to be part of this piece-of-shit administrative fuck-up. So once again, Bill, where's our referendum?
There is talk of 'economic patriotism' and 'national champions'. We do not stop our partners' companies taking over their British counterparts, and we benefit from the infusion of investment and expertise. Yet there is too little reciprocity.

i.e. Britain is being shafted by the other EU members.
The Services directive too, which could have done so much to enrich Europe's economies and make life easier for people and businesses, is only making it through in an anaemic form.

i.e. It's all cant.
In global trade some partners have pushed for tariffs on Chinese textiles, footwear and other items.

i.e. Free trade only exists for those in the club.
These are profoundly worrying trends, deeply damaging to Europe's real interests and the purchase they have won shows a failure of political leadership. Politicians talk of European solidarity but forget that the most basic form of solidarity in the EU is the right to work and do business on a level playing field.

But only with those in the club, of course...
If economic patriotism follows its natural course we will all lose the most tangible benefits the EU provides.

Yup. Bummer.
Globally, too, Europe's prosperity depends on free trade. Globalisation creates understandable fears but the EU must be a means to help us all take up the opportunities it offers. The EU as fortress Europe may be able to hold off its changes for a little while, but when the inevitable competitive pressures bite they will all the more painful. Seeking to bring short-term comfort to their voters, protectionists are undermining the EU's prime purpose and merely postponing the day they must face some unpleasant facts.

William, the EU is a major player in this. The EU sets the tariffs and quotas, or rather the unelected Commission does. The EU has a vested interest, because it derives a significant amount of its income from these tariffs.

But if free trade is, in any case, inevitable and "EU as fortress Europe" can only hold it off for a little while, then what is the point of the EU? The EU is fortress Europe: it exists to protect the industries of its club-members. If free trade is inevitable, truly free trade, then what is the point of having a supranational regulatory body?

More importantly, why are we in Britain still pandering to this outdated shibboleth? If, as you are implying, our EU "partners" are, in fact, shafting us, then why are we not acting to steal a march on them? They will tag along eventually, but by the time that they bow to the inevitable, we could already have made great strides. Why are we subsidising their stupidity? Why are we subsidising their superannuated industries when we have already undergone the painful process of dismantling ours? Why are we subsidising their stubborness when we could be reaching out on a global footing and enriching ourselves and those who are in dire poverty around the entire globe? Why are we subsidising the effective murder of millions of people a year?
Europe is in the grip of a slow burning crisis. Many of Europe's economies are performing poorly and the continent is in relative economic decline. According to the European Commission, by 2050 the US share of world output will rise to twenty six per cent, while Europe's will have shrunk to only ten per cent. Much of this difference is down to lower productivity growth and Europe's shrinking working population.

But... but... I thought that the whole point of being in the EU was that it was the only way that we could be a dominant trading force in the world? And now you are telling us that, in fact, this is a lie? Well, we knew it really but it is nice to hear a politician admit it for once.
The Lisbon agenda – the aim of making the EU the world's most dynamic and competitive economy by 2010 – was supposed to be the answer. At the time the Prime Minister proclaims a 'sea change in European economic thinking', marked, he said by 'concrete measures with clear deadlines'. It was yet another bold Blair assertion that does not correspond in any way with any observable reality. Romano Prodi described the Lisbon agenda as a 'big failure'. He was right.

Well, yes, of course he was. I mean to say, Billy, this isn't very difficult, you know. Countries do not drive economic performance, private companies and individuals do. No number of treaties between governments are going to stimulate economic growth. The very best thing that government can do is just stay the hell out of the whole process as much as possible: constant regulations merely stifle both growth and innovation. The EU, by its very nature and through its very presence, depresses economic growth. Dismantle it now.
These figures are not merely abstract numbers of concern to economists. European economic underperformance has had a terrible impact on people's quality of life, in particular through mass unemployment in what one might call the Carolingian core of Europe. In France, for instance, unemployment and youth unemployment are twice as high as in Britain. To have achieved such high levels of unemployment at a time when the world economy has been growing solidly for more than a decade must count as a monumental failure of policy. And European people will see their relative wealth shrink too. The American economy is currently about a fifth larger than the EU, but by the middle of this century it will be two-and-a-half times the size, the most extraordinary loss of a region's weight and influence in peacetime. It will mean that 'at current trends, the average U.S. citizen will be twice as rich as a Frenchman or a German in 20 years'. As the 2004 Kok report on the Lisbon strategy said, 'at risk … is nothing less than the sustainability of the society Europe has built and to that extent, the viability of its civilisation'.

Dismantle it now.
And that ominous assessment is borne out fully when we look at the state of the knowledge economy. Only two of the world's top twenty universities are still in Europe and they are Oxford and Cambridge. Japan has one but the United States has seventeen. More European PhD students at American universities stay there than come back. And the research and development gap between Europe and the rest of the world is widening further. The increase in corporate research and development investment for 2004-05 was two per cent in Europe but seven per cent in the US and Asia. Europe's economies have lost their cost advantages. If Europe loses its knowledge advantage as well to China, India and others its economies will become utterly uncompetitive within our lifetimes.

Dismantle it now. Really. How long can we carry on justifying this body and the money that is pissed away on it? It does not work on any fucking level, not one. It does nothing that countries could not do for themselves, and it comprehensively fucks up everything else.
Serious attention should be paid to the fact that, according to the latest Burdens Barometer, three quarters of costs imposed on business by new regulations since 1998 are European in origin. It may be that some of those regulations are ones that would have been thought desirable in any case and it may be that part of the costs are due to domestic gold-plating, but here surely is proof that the EU's excess of legislation is damaging its economic aims.

Yes, quite. Dismantle it. Or we can leave. Whatever.

Look, this is quite simple: if the EU is of no economic benefit to Britain, then we should leave. Currently, the Single Market is, if Hague's figures are to be believed, worth belonging to (but only just about). If the EU shrinks as much as the figures suggest, then it will certainly not be economically viable to concentrate on the EU to the exclusion of the rest of the world. And concentrating on the EU means excluding the rest of the world, through the tariffs and quotas that the EU imposes.

Fuck that, let's leave. The rest of them can carry on with their Grand Project and the decline into bankruptcy.
And it is not simply the fact that the EU regulates too much, it is also how it regulates. According to no less an authority than the Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson, a trustworthy source if ever there were one [Ha ha! Nice dig!—DK], if European regulation matched best practice, Europe's productivity would grow by 2 to 6 per cent. According to the Treasury, if the EU had the same record as the United States in creating jobs, 28 million more people would be in work in the European Union today.

Here, again, is the fundamental error. The United States does not create jobs; private companies in the United States create jobs. The United States government keeps regulation light so that the businesses are in an environment conducive to growth. The EU does not; the EU regulates very heavily, and loads regulatory burdens upon European companies. This means the European companies must spend money ticking boxes rather than employing people; and, of course, EU regulations make employing people very expensive. Furthermore, the tariffs and quotas hamper European businesses by ensuring that their imports are more expensive than they need to be and, when countries put reciprocal tariffs on European products, they become less attractive to buyers abroad. The countries of the EU increasingly trade with themselves because they cannot trade anywhere else. It is, as they say, a vicious spiral.
These show fundamental weaknesses in the way the EU carries out its business. They are improving somewhat – regulatory impact assessments are much commoner than they were, but they also raise the question of whether the EU should be doing all that it does and what it should be doing more of.

No, it should not be doing all that it does, and it shouldn't do more of anything. Don't you understand, you stupid sod? The EU is a regulatory body: even the political benfits to accession countries that you cited are encouraged through regulation. Regulation stifles business, so the EU should be doing less; much, much less.

Any trade regulation can be done by individual governments, or by treaties between those governments; the EU is unnecessary. Yep, you got it: dismantle it now.
Seeing, as we have, Europe's grim economic prospects the EU's main purpose must be to make the Single Market work better, to lift the remaining barriers to economic growth and cut the costs to business. That, in an enlarged community, should be the European Union's driving purpose.

Yes, and the best way to do that is to abolish the EU and all of its regulations and let countries do it for themselves.
It is not hard to discern what the wrong priority is – institutional self-aggrandisement. Institutional self-aggrandisement or empire building places the EU institutions' interests before the needs or desires of the peoples of Europe. It is a distraction from the delivery of results. Too often when a shared problem arises the question is not 'how can we best solve this' but 'how can we use this to further integration'.

Yes, quite. And how, precisely, are you going to change this attitude?
The current example is the proposal to move intergovernmental decisions on policing and criminal justice co-operation under the European Commission and Parliament's power and to abolish national vetoes – third pillar to first pillar in the jargon. It is not clear that this will improve results but it is clear that this is a blow to sovereignty in an area where people hold their national governments directly accountable. It will be discussed at next week's summit and the Government says it has an open mind. It should have a clear mind – it should be rejected. This move would also, incidentally, be the implementation of part of the European Constitution by the back door and without the British people's consent.

This is one of the only areas that the government should ever be in charge of. Apart from anything else, the justice system in Britain is quite different from that on the Continent. What is the point in electing a government is this goes through?

As an aside, if I were a cynical man, I would suggest that the government might have leaked all the Home Office problems as a softening up exercise in convincing the British people that signing up to this measure would be a good idea. "Look," Toni will say, "Sorry, guys, we screwed up. But, don't worry; we've signed up to this measure and now the EU will run it for us. Now, will you vote for us, please...?"
Equally, those who wish the EU to supersede its Member States as a foreign policy actor have as their prime aim not the furthering of our common interests but the increase of the EU's power. Many of the advocates of that goal seem more interested in creating a counterweight to the United States than the propagation of our common values of freedom and democracy. That is a short-sighted and somewhat petty approach. Britain's view should be clear – warm co-operation on foreign and security policy but a firm opposition to foreign affairs and defence becoming an EU preserve. So the small steps that are being proposed on this journey – an EU diplomatic service for instance – must be unacceptable. The current Government is at fault for not taking a clear stand here.

And the EU is at fault for continuing to propose it.
So what should Europe's priorities be? We are not short of shared problems: the current Doha trade round is deadlocked, energy security is of more concern than at any time since the 1970s, the Middle East is at a new level of instability and the developing world's plight is of greater interest to our societies than ever before, both to our consciences and for its effect on global migration flows.

Yup, well, the EU could just fuck off. That would solve all of the above problems, I think you'll find.
First: trade. It is the motor of economic growth across the world. Doha may fall because, in part, of some European countries' agricultural protectionism.

Well, one country, if we're being honest here...
It may be too late to hope realistically for much movement there. If there is no breakthrough we must, without abandoning the aim of future success, look for other ways to break down barriers to trade.

Yes, leave the EU.
I have been surprised by the breadth of support across Europe for a transatlantic free trade area, first proposed by Sir Malcolm Rifkind. It is a logical extension to the Single Market – if we think that removing barriers to trade within Europe is a good thing removing the transatlantic barriers would be even better.

If it is a logical extension, then why are you surprised, Billy? Several overtures of the sort have come from the US; they have been rejected. After all, the US promised to remove all of its farm subsidies if the EU would do the same. Well, that got scuppered by France an unnamed country too.
As the developed countries' businesses on both sides of the pond come under increasing competitive pressure from new economic powers like China and India we need to maximise our enterprises' access to markets. Rows over tariffs and subsidies for planes and steel have proved economically damaging for Europeans and Americans, as well as damaging international relations. A transatlantic free trade area's benefits are needed. It is an idea whose time has come and should be championed by the Government of the United Kingdom.

Ah, now he is making sense. Yes, do. But why do it as part of the EU, with all of the added complications that that brings? We could be here for decades trying to negotiate that.

Why don't we in Britain do it? Leave the EU, join EFTA and then act as a free trade "bridge" between the EU and the US (or, indeed, any other country in the world). Just think of the fantastic amounts of money that we could make, just think of the markets that we could open up. We could become the global trading hub that I have envisioned.

Look, anyway, you get the drift. However, there are a couple of other points of interest when questions start being raised.
Question: won’t the treaties need to be renegotiated to secure a more flexible Europe?

Answer: In my speech I advocated reasserting national control over certain areas such as social and employment legislation that would require negotiation. The objective is to win the debate over the long term and there is a fresh opportunity to do so, and so when treaties do change in the future, we want them changed in this direction. We don’t want them changed until people are ready for that direction. I think there will be more support over time for those positions then we would ever have thought 10 years ago. I was discussing some of these ideas with German MEPs a few weeks ago, and they said that this was very dangerous. “If you gave speeches like this in my constituency there would be standing ovations. Many people in Europe would agree with this sort of thing. These ideas are really not what we want to be hearing at all.” That was quite revealing.

Yes, yes, it is. What it essentially says is that, whilst the people to whom the EU is supposed to answer say one thing, the "elite" don't want to listen. It sums up the appalling arrogance of these people. It also highlights the lack of democratic accountability in the EU: fuck what the people want, screw them. The EU will forge ahead just as it fucking well pleases.
Question: shouldn’t the British people be allowed to have a say on whether the UK stays in the EU?

Answer: We interpret the information in a different way. The information, which is very disturbing about the economic scene, you have to set along side the other information I have been providing on enlargement, and it would be very strange if Britain was a passionate advocate of bringing new countries into the EU but of leaving itself. I can not possible reconcile that in my mind.

We aren't asking you to. The British people couldn't give two shits about enlargement, and if they did then they would probably be against it. I know that people who are worried about the high levels of immigration, such as Martin Kelly, are.

What the British people do care about is whether they are run by the government that they elect, or by an unelected bureaucratic nightmare outside of their country. But, Billy, what you are essentially saying is that you don't think that the British people should be allowed a say, aren't you. You fucking cunt.
Question: How are the Conservatives going to convince the people of the UK that we are better off negotiating free trade with global partners and constituents on its own basis?

Answer: Improving the free trading of a single market of an enlarged EU is the best hope in the near future for enlarging the free trade which Britain enjoys and in the longer term teaming that up across the Atlantic with North America is the next best hope. We would be arguing for these things even if we were in or out of EU.

Good, that's a start. But the fact is, actually, that we would find it much easier and quicker to negotiate global free-trade ourselves, without the ball and chain that is the EU. Especially France an unnamed country. If nothing else, that is what we should be taking away from the Doha trainwreck.
In an enlarged EU that is what we should inspire to. I have no problem in arguing that to people. Do we have to wait for those things? Well we certainly do because it takes time to convince people of these things.

Quod erat demonstrandum.

Look, I don't care whether the EU carries on or not, frankly. I just think that we should get the fuck out and negotiate in a global setting, not with a bunch of protectionalist losers. Fuck them, let them pursue their own isolationist agenda; it is not one which Britain should follow. We still have time to get out, and we should do so as soon as humanly possible.

In the meantime, we should start secret negotiations with non-countries in order to ensure that all trade agreements are in place as soon as we withdraw from the EU. We must make sure that there is a smooth transition.

More importantly, our politicians must be reminded that they are elected to serve the British people and to do what the British people wish them to do. There must be a concerted campaign to force the referendum that we have never had and the Conservatives will, if they have any sense, ally themselves with the "Let's get the fuck out" vote. If they are even more sensible, they will also be able to have a plan, similar to that which I have described, for what will happen when we leave.

Unio Europaea delenda est or at least let us get the fuck out of it.

7 comments:

Pogo said...

"Where once the priority for Europe was political harmony it must now be economic dynamism..." Yeah, right, like that's going to be achieved by an "organisation" that produces lengthy legislation on the straightness or otherwise of cucumbers!

Jackart said...

I agree with you wholeheartedly, but the answer is not to withdraw. Without us acting as a foil to the french and acting a front for the other EU countries who are broadly in favour of free trade, the EU would become even more ridiculous than it is now. The risk is of economic collapse and (eventually) war that this socilaist superstate entails. We should seek to smash the whole rotten edifice from within by pushing samson like at the rotten pillars holding the structure up. Use the fact that no-one in europe's big economies likes the EU and take hope. Let's not abandon our friends in Europe to the tender mercies of the undemocratic elites who govern them.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Jackart,

Fuck 'em. Besides, once we take the lead, the people of Europe will see how successful we are and start clamouring for the same.

Right now, as the riots over the French employment laws showed, they don't want it.

DK

AntiCitizenOne said...

How about "Support Reproductive Rights: Abort the EUSSR!"?

Chuck the EU where you chucked the con-stitution. IN THE BIN.

Economic Dynamism comes directly and uniquely from personal freedom. Economics is merely the study of how people exchange their own time, and money is only a proxy for other peoples time. How can wasting peoples time, and getting in the way of them exchanging their time possibly aid an economy?

It cannot.

chris said...

It's just posturing, like Howard's promise to repatriate fishing policy. The only way that the kind of not micromanaging, not third world destroying, not anti-democratic, properly federated EU that Mr Hague, Nosemonkey, or MatGB would like to see needs massive changes to the founding treaties, and a complete change of attitude in the eurocracy. Neither can happen without the EU as it is being destroyed, the bad stuff has saturated every fiber of its being and is woven into it's institutional DNA. To steal Thomas J. DiLorenzo's nice little phrase (also used by Hayek) a reformed EU is as likely as a barking cat.

chris said...

P.S. one small error:
back in 1975 we voted to stay within the European Economic Community, a free-trade area.
It wasn't a free trade area, it was a customs union (like the Zollverein that proceeded the foundation of Germany) with free trade area looking bits. Heath may have said it was just a free trade area, but he was lying. EFTA that we left was a free trade area, but the EEC wasn't.

Anonymous said...

Did you go to public schoolor what?

The very model of a modern scientific man

Your humble Devil was thoroughly amused by Neil Ferguson's fall from grace, and is very pleased to have found the time to outline Fergus...