Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Medicine and the swallowing thereof

If you did not catch Nick Robinson's Europe: Them or Us? last night, I highly recommend catching up online. The programme set out Britain's turbulent history leading up to joining the Community in January 1973. 

Could we have built a better Community if we had joined when invited to in the 1950s? Joining at the start would certainly have avoided the embarrassment of having our membership vetoed by Monsieur De Gaulle in 1963. The British establishment view in the 1950s seemed to be that the continentals would fail, so why waste time on silly projects? By the time we did join, the six had been building institutions and processes for twenty years. Might the organisation we have been part of for 40 years have been significantly more "British" if we had embraced the European Dream fully and wholeheartedly? Would the ECB be headquartered in Canary Wharf?

+++ Spoiler alert +++

At the end of the show, interviews with Ted Heath and a member of his cabinet recalled the Parliamentary antics needed to get the legislation through and, in the immediate aftermath of entry, the suggestion by the French of setting up a single currency. Heath's reaction: a shrug.

If the end result of a tightly-knit European union is regarded as a long-term inevitability, should Britain just swallow its medicine and get on with taking part? Should Britain learn to live with the lack of perfection of the project, the lack of direct democratic accountability, and get on with shaping the institutions as best it can? Or do we continue to assume that eventually the whole thing will unravel, or even prompt that unravelling by leaving?


Bloke in North Dorset said...

I've heard it mentioned a number of time that one of the reasons we lose out a lot in Europe is that we don't send our brightest and best civil servants so they don't get to network. The French and German civil servants can't reach a high level without having done time in the EU.

Nick Drew said...

but we do send some of our very best; and we don't particularly 'lose out in Europe'

we have 'won' on a whole range of open-market initiatives, to the distraction of the French in particular, who hate it and the degree of influence 'we' have

the problem is, the excellent people we send mostly believe in the 'Project' !

Anonymous said...

Our rulers know exactly where we are heading and have done so since (and prior to)we entered the 'Common Market. 'The simple fact is they will not tell us the truth and indeed hide it. Dr North and Christopher Booker published the 'Great Deception' some years ago now and I daresay a sequel written today might be called 'The Continuing Great Deception' or something equally as catchy but nonetheless accurate.

Electro-Kevin said...

The British people should have been told the truth from the outset. They might have voted for it. They might not.

But they should have been told the truth. Lying is never a good start for any relationship and will nearly always lead to divorce.

I like this site.

James Higham said...

It was always to be a superstate. See docs of the Club of Rome at the time.

Blue Eyes said...

According to Nick Robinson, the words "Federal Europe" put off the caninet in 1955.

I am not sure who has been lied to. Sure the government keeps telling us that the EU is not planning full political union, but as we don't believe what the government says, is anyone really being duped?

Weekend Yachtsman said...

"The Tories have been indulging in their usual double talk. When they go to Brussels they show the greatest enthusiasm for political union. When they speak in the House of Commons they are most anxious to aver that there is no commitment whatever to any political union."

Quote is from Hugh Gaitskell speaking in October 1962.

I suggest that neither their views nor their morals have changed much in the last 54 years.

Electro-Kevin said...

Blue - In '75 the people thought they were voting for membership of a common market with only a few members of similar wealth - not a federation including countries bordering the third world.

Electro-Kevin said...

This isn't minor imperfection we're talking about with the EU.

You only swallow a bitter medicine if it is going to make you better and the EU has made a pretty poor doctor. Its record on making things better is not good.

Its flaws are so bad that a sizeable chunk of our population has demanded a referendum to quit and there seems a 50:50 chance that it will happen. (No one demanded the referendum to stay.)

Immigration has been the trigger. A highly tolerant people are very worried about it being uncontrolled and - having been ignored - are conducting themselves in the most civilised way they can, through the ballot box.

It hasn't helped that successive governments have blamed their failure to control immigration on the EU so it is the EU that is bearing the brunt.

Stronger In said...

Glad to see Nigel's f**ked after being seen as marginal to any Leave campaign.

Odious man and odious people.

You know your better off in.

Blue Eyes said...

Yes, strangely the authorities opted for the more professional, less angry-mob organisation. Did I see he now wants to delay the referendum?

EK as you think that this country is worse than it was in 1972, it is going to be difficult to respond to your points. Not everything that has improved in Britain since 1972 is attributable to EU membership; then again not everything that has got worse is, either.

A think tank today suggested that leaving the EU won't even reduce immigration. I suppose that rather depends on who is elected to lead after a Brexit... hint: it won't be UKIP.

andrew said...

The privilege of setting a policy that changes the course of the country for better or worse falls to very few politicians.

Churchill (WW2)
Bevan (NHS)
Eden (Suez)
Thatcher (The unions)

Joining the EU does not really fall in that list. Just not that important.

IMO leaving the EU will make things a little worse, but not much, so not that important.

What about something important like the ongoing deconstruction of the NHS, or the state of the balance of payments.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

Blue Eyes is 25 years old and doesn't remember the 70s when this was still a free country and you could say what you liked, buy a house and bring a family up on one salary.

Any improvements since then are down to technological change and Thatcher. Everything that's worse tends to have 'Euro' in front of it.

Blue Eyes said...

What is it that you would like to do or say that you feel is restricted?

I don't think the EU caused the housing crisis, that is generally down to old farts and miserablists telling us we can't build anything within 20 miles of their back gardens.

Thatcher was behind the single market. She campaigned for In in 1975. You can't have it both ways!!

Anonymous said...

I don't think the EU caused the housing crisis, that is generally down to old farts and miserablists telling us we can't build anything within 20 miles of their back gardens.

Bed blockers in the NHS and home blockers prior - something needs to be done about the "me, me, me" baby-boomers. Remove income tax so those that do contribute to the wealth of the country keep it. And tax the curtain-twitchers who sit and wait for house prices to go up.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

Not that old Canard about Thatcher again. You clearly are about 12, Blue Eyes. Let's take your points one by one.

She was ejected from office because of her "no, no, no" to Jacques Delors' plan for a European superstate. She was opposed to the single currency because she could foresee the currrent crisis. So the Europhile scum on the Tory left got rid of her. In the late 90s she was explicit in oppposition to Europe. Why? Because she was smart. The EU developed in a way she opposed and which was not to our advantage, so she changed her mind between 1975 & 1990, just as I and many like me did.

Freedom of speech. In the 70s you wouldnt be forced out of a job as a registrar if you opposed gay marriage. You wouldnt be barred from foster pareting if you were UKIP. You wouldn't be arrested and charged for so-called hate speech for preaching Christianity and opposing Islam like the nutty fundamentalist preacher in Northern Ireland, or arrested and banged up for 8 hours by Staffordshire Police if you made a tasteless joke about calling your computer 'Nelson Mandela' because it was taking so long to shut down, or warned by Police Scotland to 'think before you tweet' because they're watching what you say in public. We now have state approved speech in this country on subjects as varied as abortion, climate change, LGBT-and-whatever-the-hell-else-we're-supposed-to-call them, immigration and Islam and the pressure of state organs is brought to bear to shut you up if your opinion is not the state approved one, from public sector workers disciplined for "misconduct" to councillors barred from offiice. We are un-free today in a way we were not in the 70s. The left - and Islam for that matter - likes to win the argument by preventing it in the first place.

As for the housing crisis, if you don't think allowing several MILLION foreigners in due to EU obligations has an effect on house prices, then you're a cretin. Combine that with some homegrown idiocies, like allowing the banks to inflate the money supply in a reckless credit expansion; permitting floods of foreign funny money into the London residential housing market; not building houses; sending out search parties for non-EU immigrants to vote Labour and causee the emergence of TB in London for the first time in 60 years and you have the perfect storm. If you want more of the same, vote remain.

Anyway, sorry to intrude on your safe space.

Electro-Kevin said...

Blue Eyes @ 6.45 - No. I didn't say anything about 1972 being better. But the country has certainly got markedly worse since Maastricht and it seems to get worse the closer we get to full union.

Stronger In @ 5.56. Farage should realise that his mission is accomplished. He got the referendum he wanted.

The Out's are healthily diverse and offer many reasons for leaving.

'Odious people'

Yes. We know that's what a lot of people on the Left think of the regular English bloke.

Electro-Kevin said...

"I don't think the EU caused the housing crisis, that is generally down to old farts and miserablists telling us we can't build anything within 20 miles of their back gardens."

Maastricht - the timing in housing (un)affordability is exquisite.

Prior to this people took for granted that they would be able to buy a family home or rent one affordably in London on a modest income. I don't remember it being of the slightest concern to me when I married.

I've also forgotten to mention the fall of the Berlin Wall.

These are what have caused our housing crisis. And the Blairism which this government follows to this day.

Yes. We will relax planning laws eventually.

Then the economy will collapse with the house prices. Because the point has been missed entirely.

Y Ddraig Goch said...

E-K @ 11:11am

"Stronger In" is doing us all a favour. He has concisely summarised the whole Remain argument, which is ...

1. Nasty personal abuse.
2. Wild claims, unsupported by any evidence or reason.

The British people may vote for that, but if they do, then they will deserve what they get.

Electro-Kevin said...

Y Ddraig Goch

I think I used an aberrant apostrophe in 'Out's'.

I'll deserve what I get too !!!

Blue Eyes said...

I realise it's terribly clever to mock a view on the grounds of immaturity because it means you do not have to actually argue the issues, but clearly *experience* has worn down your logic cells. Serial Outers keep telling us that the government lied in 1975 when it said that the Common Market was just a common market. If that is the case, then former education minister the late, great Mrs T knew perfectly well that the lie was a lie in 1975. She knew that Europe was heading to full federation when she negotiated the Single European Act, when she pushed through single market reforms. The treaties were already just as federalising and supranational before Maastricht. As we know, the words Federal Europe were in the original documents shown to the UK cabinet in the 1950s. So to say that suddenly the Project became federal suddenly in the early 1990s is, well, a bit silly.

When the UK votes to stay in, the debate will be over, once and for all. The reason that Cameron did not negotiate any changes is because he wanted to win a referendum based on the current arrangements. Basically the referendum is to get the Outers and UKIP off the agenda for ever more.

After that, there is nothing to play for. George Osborne is about ten years older than me. The 12-year-olds are in power now. My generation and the one after are liberal, global, and feel at home anywhere in the world but especially in Europe.

A few years ago I was virulently anti-EU, but the more I hear the ridiculous arguments of the people who would take the reins under a sovereign Parliament, I get more and more pro-integration. Maastricht responsible for NIMBYism and the ageing population? OK, good effort lads.

Kevin Peat said...

I'm not particularly keen on Thatcher but she saw the light in the end.

Everyone I speak to of that era thought they were voting to join a common trading block.

To fail to mention several millions in mass immigration when discussing the housing crisis is cretinous.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Interesting letter in one of the papers last week.

Someone had actually kept hold of a copy of the propaganda leaflet issued by H. Wilson esq in 1975 when the last referendum was held, and it contained various promises by HMG about the things that wouldn't happen, couldn't be foisted on us without our agreement, stuff we would be able to veto, and so on - in other words, "don't believe all these scare stories, it's not as bad as they're telling you".

And guess what? Every single one of those promises has been broken, every single thing that would never happen, has happened, and everything we'd be able to veto, it somehow turns out that we can't after all. Every one.

And you plan to believe them this time?

Fool me once, etc.

Out now!

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adham said...

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adham said...

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adham said...

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