In the spare-wheel compartment of one author’s car is a fluorescent yellow gilet. It may soon have another use apart from making him more visible if he has to change a wheel at the roadside. But with Paris in flames, Berlin in flux and Rome in financial meltdown it may not be necessary to protest on the streets of Westminster about the true meaning of Brexit, the EU might soon vanish up its own fundamental principles.
Are we still members of the EU? We’re still paying the full fees but are excluded from most Council meetings and are generally being treated like pariahs.
Hearts & Minds
The EU is a fading Continental power of declining economic importance. It’s citizens increasingly notice this but the self-satisfied leadership is too detached to understand why, they think persuasion (or more usually persuasive propaganda?) rather than performance is the way to win their hearts and minds
Did the EU kill our Post Office network? By enabling (mostly foreign) competition to cherry-pick delivery services while service obligations remained with Royal Mail so the latter became unprofitable. By allowing citizens to draw their pensions from banks, tax their cars on-line and all the other changes, the Post Office branch network was undermined. Competition and consumer choice may be good things but it is pretty clear why Jeremy Corbyn is a eurosceptic. But why is the Labour Party so fervently in favour of EU membership and renationalising services? See EU Directive 97/67/EU. (https://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/postal-services/legislation_en)
The railways are another example of this contradiction. Whatever the merits of opening the tracks for access by a choice of operators (not that much ‘choice’ was introduced by the way the Tories introduced “Open Access”) it was done partly according to an EU concept of allowing its member nations to participate in others’ closed markets. If Brexit fails, as most of Labour’s MPs hope, and a General Election brings Corbyn to power in Number 10 his government will face a dilemma – renege on its manifesto promises or defy its beloved Brussels masters.
If we threatened the EU with trade on WTO terms we would have to believe that it is a better path than the present one and we are prepared to take it if necessary, that is if the EU refuses to budge. Probably they would give ground, eventually but possibly after we have left. That would be a shock to our system and theirs but we should have gained confidence that our world had not ended so that we need only do deals that benefit us from that position.
When the UK joined the Common Market in 1973 it still had a substantial manufacturing sector, a relatively efficient agricultural industry and a large fishing fleet. They haven’t exactly flourished since, relative to our neighbours. Yet we are agonising about a trade deal that mainly relates to things that don’t affect most of our workers’ jobs. Powerful voices in the CBI and the City swamp the debate but the majority of our citizens showed in the Referendum that they knew the EU wasn’t doing much for them.
The EU threatens to blockade Britain: no medicines, food shortages and stifled collaboration in science research. Germany won’t threaten as much against Russia for its invasion or poisoning of people in other, sovereign European states. It seems that what Britain has done is much worse, its people have democratically decided to wave two fingers to a beneficent project, or rather one that has benefited Germany.
Or has it? Germans have worked hard to accumulate IOUs from southern states that can never afford to redeem them, they (the hard-working Germans) will be cross when they realise this. Meanwhile Russia gets an almost free pass because Germany needs its gas.
What are the great virtues that offset the harm the EU threatens to do to Britain for frustrating its plan to rule the whole continent? If it guaranteed peace, prosperity, justice, fairness, friendship, safety, health and happiness (or even some significant subset of these) there could be no reasonable argument against membership. In this blog we have shown that the EU offers us none of these things and even threatens that it will undermine them further when we leave its clutches.
The term ‘fundamentalism’ is usually applied to religious fanatics intent on imposing themselves on others by whatever means it takes. That accurately describes the EU, though it is based in ideology rather than faith. It has used devious methods to achieve control over much of Europe’s population and that is clearer than ever since the UK attempted to leave.
Michelle Obama, “Voting does not require any kind of special expertise. You know you don’t need to have some fancy degree to be qualified to vote. You don’t have to read every news article to be qualified to vote.” (at a get-out-the-vote event in Las Vegas ) “You know what you need to be qualified to vote? You need to be a citizen…. You need to have opinions about the issues in your community. That’s what qualifies you to vote.”
The Establishment and the EU don’t agree with Michelle, the opinions of ignorant voters should be ignored. If necessary voters should be re-educated and made to vote again until they show they have learnt what they’ve been lectured on.
“As an artist, I think I probably have a role to play in romancing the idea of Europe and seeing it as something warm-blooded, Europe is a thought that needs to become a feeling and I am, as an artist, in service of that.” Bono
We assume there are no EU back-handers and that the service will be ‘pro bono’. We approve of the idea that Europe is warm-blooded but it should be obvious from the Brexit negotiations that the EU is extremely cold-blooded.
Tom, Dick and Harry (who are they now?)
“Regardless of what path the UK takes in the coming weeks, there can be no denying that a strong European Union will remain in the UK’s interests. Its ability to bring such a diverse group of states together and bind them under law and in support of human rights, free markets and free trade is a magnificent achievement and one that should never be sold short or under-valued.”
Tony Blair, Nick Clegg, Michael Heseltine
We deny it’s been a success! Though the EU certainly has the “ability to bring such a diverse group of states together and bind them under law” (hand and foot) it fails consistently on rights, markets and trade. Only the British have so far been given some scope to get out of the bind.
We bet Die Welt won’t publish our critique.