October 9, 2000
And They Still Go Thundering
The EU does not wait for such vulgar things as their
AIN'T NOTHING LIKE A DANE
people voted against the Euro, and the
rulers of Europe took heed. Actually, I was joking about the
second bit. To listen to some of them you would really have thought
that this was just a badly attended protest at a provincial town
Cook showed his usual responsiveness and good political sense
by saying that the Danish referendum made "no difference" as to
whether Britain should scrap its currency. A
country voted against all the main political parties, the Trade
Unions, the business pressure groups and all but two of the country's
48 newspapers. Does this not make any difference to calculations
in the far more evenly divided Britain? Not to the political genius
Robin Cook. (Robin Cook also said that the majority of exports were
with the EU when did 40% make up a majority?) Wim Duisenberg
said that the only people who were hurt were the Danes themselves.
Only the Danes? Let's remember that this is the only time that a
referendum has been allowed on monetary union in Europe. And they
lost. Now every Eurosceptic, both inside and outside the Euro-stagnation
zone can ask "But why can't we have a vote on it?" The pro-Euro
elites can now be challenged on this every time they talk of the
Euro's "success", which now consists solely of the fact that Europe
has not spiraled into economic collapse. But one of them got it
Solbes the Eurocrat in charge of the "Economy" said that it
was " not a great disappointment". No, Pedro, I wasn't disappointed
WE FORGIVE YOU FOR THE VIKINGS
in Britain are cock-a-hoop.
They never really expected to win. The establishment was on the
Euro's side, and there were not really the big differences that
Denmark would notice as it was already in the Exchange Rate Mechanism,
the waiting room for the Euro. Besides, few dared hope for a win.
But Denmark struck out. Now the main arguments for the Euro that
it is inevitable and that every one else is in it, have been knocked
back. One of the symptoms of this was the remarkably upbeat Conservative
conference. Although helped by the Petrol
blockade, the party was ready to cheer anything Danish. This
was shown most forcefully with the debate on foreign policy. A Danish
conservative who had been active in the "No" campaign was asked
to speak. As soon as it was announced that he was Danish, he got
a standing ovation; this was before he even spoke! He then went
through a competent but not inspiring speech (far better than a
speech by me in Danish, though) and was constantly interrupted by
applause, and rounded off by another standing ovation.
arrogance of the elites should never be underestimated. This brings
me to the speech
made in Warsaw by my wonderful Prime Minister, Tony Blair, modestly
titled "Europe's Political Future." This has been hailed by the
State owned British Broadcasting Corporation as the most important
speech on Europe since Margaret Thatcher's Bruges speech. In a way,
I hope it is. It was so bland and inaccurate that it reminded me
that the angels have all the best tunes in this fight, if that is
the best that the federalists can do. Lets take some easy pot shots
who considers how the European Union has underpinned peace and
democracy in the reconstruction of post-war Western Europe can
doubt the benefits that enlargement will bring to the post-Cold
War Europe and the Balkans.
as someone who has "considered" the European Union's underpinning
of peace I must be a nobody. I always thought that the real reason
that we were at peace was because we were all scared witless of
this big hulking Soviet Union on our borders, and didn't think it
a good time to fight. I also thought the sheer terror of nuclear
annihilation stopped there being too many shooting wars in Europe.
(Apart from Greece, Northern Ireland, the Basque country and France
in 1958 and 1968 but none of these happened, Europe was at
peace). As far as democracy goes, an institution that insists on
replacing pounds and ounces with metric measurements, against the
wishes of 90% of the population, does not really deserve the democratic
label. Of course the European Union did help hold the
Continental European line against the Soviet Union, but lets
not get carried away, Mr. Blair.
who considers the role that open markets have played in generating
wealth and prosperity in the European Union can doubt the benefits
of creating a market of half a billion consumers.
I must be a nobody. When the Single Market has meant that we have
the highest tariff barriers in the developed world and that we are
being regulated on the permitted curvature of cucumbers, then I
must voice some doubts. Whenever a politician says "as everyone
knows" or "only a fool would disagree", they are not only betraying
a weak grasp of facts, but little tolerance of dissent. Truly, Mr.
Blair, language worthy of Moseley.
STILL AND WIDER
main point that he makes is on the issue of expansion of the European
Union. The main point that this will border a fractious and
nuclear armed Russia is not made. This is both surprising
the implied security guarantee is the main objection to eastward
EU expansion and perfectly predictable since when
has Mr. Blair ever let an objection get in the way of a good plan?
To be fair the issue of eastward expansion has not been dealt with
by the Conservative Party either, it is merely dismissed as a "scandal"
whenever its asked why expansion has not gone further. That Britain
is now to be thrust in a position where she will be standing toe
to toe with Russia for interests that are at all not vital is a
scandal. It is even more scandalous that this is not to be done
with at least the backing from America that NATO expansion brought.
The Conservative case that expansion will mean that the EU will
dilute its power is wrong, immoral and strategically inept. Going
toe to toe with Russia shows the ineptness. The immorality of sacrificing
other nations' independence in the hope of deflecting the sovereignty
hunger of the Belgian Empire rather than standing up for oneself
ought to be obvious to all but a politician. However, the idea that
a wider empire will mean a less intrusive one is also simply mistaken.
European Union was once six states, now it is fifteen. In that time,
has the EU become less integrated? Has the pace of integration even
slowed? This ought to warn against pinning ones hopes on expansion.
However, if one wanted more positive proof one should look at the
speech by Mr. Blair. He makes it clear that he has no truck with
the idea of a European Superstate, he wants a superpower which is
somehow less integrated (don't ask me, I'm a nobody). So what sort
of non-federalising measures does he put forward? Well a European
Senate for a start, then a presidency that is free no longer national
and an unwritten constitution. Apart from the last of the suggestions,
there is actually nothing new there. Even if these have already
been suggested, will they loosen the federation? A second chamber
of Parliament taking the scrutinising role of national parliaments?
The presidency of the commission no longer being run by a single
government on rotation but by a collection of governments? An unwritten
constitution that lays no limits for the various pan-European agencies?
Is this really an alternative to a federal state or alternative
real view is on the United States, the kindly godfather of European
integration. To portray Blair as merely an American poodle has always
been simplistic. His longer-term vision is the same as most British
who view their destiny as on Europe, to supplant
a world with the power of the USA; with new alliances to be
made with the neighbours of Europe like Russia; developing nations
with vast populations like India and China; Japan, not just
an economic power but a country that will rightly increase its
political might too; with the world increasingly forming powerful
regional blocs – ASEAN, Mercosur; Europe’s citizens need Europe
to be strong and united. They need it to be a power in the world.
Whatever its origin, Europe today is no longer just about peace.
It is about projecting collective power.
I am not a believer in fighting every war that Uncle Sam is inclined
to embroil himself in, I am less inclined to fight him for no reason.
This country spends more on armaments than the rest of the world.
Is he mad? On the other hand, is the United States, which has funded
and promoted European Union, even to the point of war, more mad?