EU: The long and inevitable goodbye
Maybe 20 years will be needed for the EU to finally disappear into history, but there is an awesome inevitability about it all
Now that the dust is at least settling after the Juncker donnybrook, the chatterati are fairly unanimous that Cameron’s ‘humiliation’ makes it more difficult for him to take an ‘In’ stance for the referendum and that the UK has edged closer to Brixit.
The one certainty is that he will have no ‘piece of paper’ promising the changes that the British people want – in essence what they voted for in 1975, a Common Market, not ‘ever closer union’. Brussels will show him the same distain as at Ypres.
That’s Dave’s problem.
But he now knows how EU politicians operate: dirty deals at dinner. He has found out who his friends are: nobody. He has experienced at first hand the treachery, lying, and back-stabbing that goes on. No different from the Tory Party, then.
But it is the complete lack of anything resembling statesmanship that should worry him and the rest of us. Where there should be giants there are only pygmies.
The reality is that unless there are seismic changes in the whole structure of the European ‘project’, which are anything but forthcoming, we are now witnessing the early stages of the complete disintegration of the whole corrupt, anti-democratic, bureaucratic tyranny of this rotten construct.
Maybe 20 years will be needed for it to finally disappear into history but there is an awesome inevitability about it, like having a ring-side seat at the decline and fall of the Roman Empire.
Little mention is made of the real weakness at the heart of Europe. Its founders had ambitions for Europe to match or even outstrip America economically. Not only has this not happened but Europe has gone into economic decline relatively and absolutely. The Eurozone economy is sclerotic except in Germany, which continues to prosper on the back of an artificially low exchange rate.
Overall growth stagnates, industrial production is declining, unemployment is at levels that are a threat to the very peace that the EU was supposed to ensure, and living standards are falling.
Already the naysayers are trying to make our flesh creep with misinformation about the economic disaster that would befall Britain outside the EU. They maintain that with more than 50 percent of Britain’s experts going to the EU our industry would be devastated with 3 million unemployed.
There are two things wrong with this argument.
First, it is simple fantasy that Europe would stop buying our goods and services – and we have run an adverse balance of trade with the EU from the start. Does anyone really believe that Europe is going to put that favourable market at risk?
It disregards another key aspect. Outside the EU, Britain would be free to enter into free-trade agreements with the economies that really matter: the US, China, India and the Commonwealth.
Secondly, it isn’t true. The real proportion of exports to the EU is less than 50 percent because a large part of Britain’s export trade is transhipped world-wide via Antwerp and Rotterdam and other major European ports, so they rank as ‘EU exports’. Foreign imports to Ireland via Belfast count as ‘British’ exports when they are actually American or Japanese or whatever.
Meanwhile, it continues with its insane ambitions for an ever-wider EU.
The current chaos in the Ukraine is a direct result of EU provocation of Russia by attempting to bring the EU up to Russia’s borders. Membership for Albania is being seriously considered, a country that appears not to have a single qualification and an economy based on people-smuggling, drugs and stolen cars.
Then there are Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosovo and Bosnia. Just what they will bring to the party is not clear.
This could be revenge time because Cameron can veto every new application, and must unless he gets major concessions on immigration.
It does not need to be this way. The British would be happy with the EU if its main concern were the incomplete creation of a single market in goods, labour, capital and services. (Germany has consistently blocked the latter to protect its own, a contradiction of what the EU is for).
Instead, Brussels has increasingly strayed into territory where it has no business. This will be its downfall without radical change of which there is not the slightest sign.
To plagiarise WSC, “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is the end of the beginning”.
Robin Mitchinson is a Contributing Editor to The Commentator. A former barrister, living in the Isle of Man, he is an international public management specialist with almost two decades of experience in institutional development, decentralisation and democratisation processes. He has advised governments and major international institutions across the world
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