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Why Toby Micklethwait is so optimistic about UKIP

Yesterday afternoon, I visited my mother, and elder brother Toby also dropped by. He was a UKIP local council candidate in the recent elections, and did quite well, that is to say about as well as UKIP candidates did in the rest of the non-London southern part of England.

He said a number of interesting things, interesting to me anyway. He said that the EU’s accounts have not been audited for a decade (i.e. it is a criminal gang, financially speaking). He said that when canvassing, you do not waste time by arguing. You just say you are from UKIP and say please vote for us, and leave it at that. (Talk about their flowers.) He said that Kilroy had helped UKIP a lot. He said that UKIP had done well in a great doughnut, so to speak, of places which are not London itself, but which are all around London – the South East, the South West, the Midlands, East Anglia. He said that UKIP people and Conservative people get along really well with each other, and that the Conservatives often now talk and behave as if they and UKIP are on the same side, which for all practical purposes most Conservative activists are. (UKIP gives them a stick to beat their leaders with, and an exit if their beating up of their leaders gets nowhere.)

I found all this pretty interesting, although maybe this was because he is my brother, and we have always got on well, and also because I do not now read the newspapers as avidly as I might, every day.

But the most interesting thing Toby said concerned UKIP’s money. UKIP has, he said, a lot of money. Electoral politics is like warfare. You need lots of soldiers, and you deploy them where they will make the most difference. You do not ask these soldiers to convince anyone of anything. You do that with posters and advertisements, which bombard the public with your message, and, just as important, influence your media coverage, which results in the media also spreading your message reasonably accurately and sympathetically. (Nothing like a few full page adverts in a newspaper to get them to cut out the worst of their lies and sneers about you.) UKIP did a lot of advertising before the last lot of elections – plus there was Kilroy of course – and this meant that whereas, when he canvassed a year ago, Toby had to explain what UKIP was, this time all he had to say was: vote UKIP. UKIP, he said, got massive and excellent media coverage this time around – “more than we deserved” was, I think, the phrase he used. Unlike before, when UKIP got a lot less than it deserved. Whatever deserving means, in this context.

Like warfare, electoral politics takes money. The more you have of it (assuming you spend it properly), the better you will do.

Now here is the interesting bit. In Toby Micklethwait’s opinion (this is all it is so make of this what you will) UKIP has now and is going to have in the next few years a lot of money – more, he said, that the other parties. More than the Conservatives? More than Labour? Yes, he said. More than any of the others.

How come? Well, simply, most of the business people of Britain support UKIP. They hate the EU and they want out. Maybe not the big business people. But in terms of the sheer number of businesses, the majority of them support UKIP. The majority of the people whose job description is “Managing Director” want Britain out of the EU.

And these people, says Toby, between them, when you add them all up, have more politics money than anyone else. People in general do not have much spare cash. Labour supporters make a positive virtue out of not having much spare cash. Ditto the Lib Dems, and the Greens. Even (although we did not talk about this – this is an addition to the point by me) the executives of big businesses do not have much in the way of money which they control and which they can dispose of as they please. Big business people used to have a ton of discretionary money, but not any more. No, it is the “small” business folk, the individual capitalists, the people who can afford weekend boats and fancy houses with garages for three cars, and three cars, who have the money. A few thousand from this guy, and another few thousand from this guy – that is how political money is now raised, and UKIP is, at the moment, better at this than anyone else, because these people, of all people, now hate Britain being in the EU – hate it, hate it – and are willing to spend big money – boat money, car money – to damn well buy whatever it will take to get Britain out of the EU.

Toby’s UKIP-optimism cannot be rational unless UKIP also knows how to spend its money, and in this connection Toby attaches great importance to the fact that one of the things UKIP has spent its money on is a guy called Dick Morris. Yeah, him. Bill Clinton’s electoral strategist. The very same. And Max Clifford, the guy the British celebs or media wannabes/victims all go to when their lives go pear-shaped and they need to handle their media profile with maximum canniness. He has been working with UKIP as well.

Morris and Clifford and UKIP has been (read the final sentence there) noted by the big media, he said. But the simple money thing has not, he said. I said: Can I quote you on all this? Pause. Then: Yes.

I hope he is right. What he is basically saying, to quote Ronald Reagan (and to indulge in a form of grammar that Samizdata’s editors now strongly discourage but which I hope they will forgive this once), is: You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet.

I do not know if Toby is right, but I hope he is (thank you Eamonn Butler – see first comment).

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186 comments to Why Toby Micklethwait is so optimistic about UKIP

  • Good, I hope all of this is true.

    Did anyone see the front page of todays Independent given over entirelt to an attempted smear job on UKIP – “The true face of UKIP” it said, ten things UKIP don’t want you to know.

    Gosh! What can it be I thought, imagining some shocking revelations.

    Just 10 bits of old gossip, none of it relevant, all of which has been written about before. In fact the first “shock revelation” was that all 12 UKIP MEP’s are white men between 50 and 65. Well, I don’t even suppose that this pointless allegation is even true as Nigel Farage looks considerably younger. Another shock was that Farage likes a drink. Oh please. This is without doubt the most cretinous front page of a newspaper I have ever seen. I can scarcely believe the editor ran with this rubbish. UKIP must really have them running scared if they are trying on crap like this.

  • Guy Herbert

    The New Statesman fresh from revealing last week that “these are not racists or xenophobes, they are free market ideologues”–O most damned of all!–has a weird article by Aidan Rankin splashed on the cover. He suggests they are in fact xenophobes, and obsessed with (dislike of) homosexuality.

    It’s not so much running scared, I suggest, as bewilderment that a party doesn’t seem to give a damn about the pieties of conventional political discourse.

  • Guy
    That really is weird about Rankin, he , I think was involved in writing their manifesto.

  • Syon Park

    So Managing Directors support UKIP? Any facts to back that spurious claim?

    I am one MD who doesn’t support UKIP. Anecdotal, but evidence all the same.

    Evidence has also been scarce over the past week when I listen to the smarmy Kilroy Silk. He accuses Brussels of being corrupt – why doesn’t he come up with the facts?

    Will he and his UKIP colleagues take his salary as an MEP? ‘Toby says’ they have so much money they won’t need a salary.

    To withdraw from the EU would be crass. The recent expansion has made Europe the largest stable market in the world. I see those people in the new member states as potential customers. As their economy grows rapidly their ability to buy my products will increase.

    If you support free trade you welcome the removal of (economic) barriers and that’s why UKIP’s position is nonsenical. Isolating the UK by withdrawing from Europe will cut us off from the forthcoming economic growth in Europe.

    As for sovereignty and the constitution – what a rubbish argument. The monarch is a figurehead within our democracy – and no one plans to get rid of her.

    And, so long as we retain control of key areas such as defence and the economy, what difference does it make for the boy who is brought up in Belfast, Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham or Newcastle – whether he is governed from Whitehall or Brussels?

    I work with staff from France, The Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Poland, Ireland and Italy – guess what – they are just like us. You have nothing to fear.

    UKIP is an extremist party… and we know where extremist politics put Europe sixty odd years ago.

  • Julian Morrison

    I analyse the election we’ve just seen as the breakthrough for UKIP. They’ve ceased being a “protest vote” and become something you can plausibly hope will win. That is going to seriously boost their membership and funding.

  • Döbeln

    Syon: If the EU was merely a common market, as once was the case, there wouldn’t be a UKIP. Free trade is quite possible without giving up your independence to a semi-accountable (at best) foreign body.

  • Julian Morrison

    Syon Park: who’s “fearing”? Only those who think surrendering to EU membership is a precondition for trading with them!

  • Oh gee, it took how many comments before some muppet called UKIP extremist and suggested they are similar to BNP and/or the NAZIs. Does anyone who use this cheap device actually believe this? RESPECT have a hell of a lot more in common with BNP than to UKIP.

    I think there should be a new “law” called Dodge’s law or should that be Kilroy’s law: The amount of time it takes for an opponent/critic of UKIP to link them with the BNP/extreme right.

    Have you Syon ever read their literature or talked to a UKIP member? I see no connection between them are true extremism. UKIP merely believe that the EU is bad for Britain. That is a perfectly acceptable intellectual position which has more than enough proof.

  • GCooper

    Syon Park writes:

    “He accuses Brussels of being corrupt – why doesn’t he come up with the facts?”

    What a load of codswallop!

    Brian Mickelthwaite has already raised one of the prime examples of EU corruption and, in the manner typical of myopic Europhiles, Mr. Park blunders on, pretending that what he cannot dispute doesn’t exist.

    So let’s start again, Mr. Park. Specifically, what do you say to the refusal of the EU’s own auditors to sign-off the accounts for the past ten years?

    Do you run your business that way? If so, how did you get access to an internet connection from inside one of HM’s prisons?

    And on rolls the juggenrnaut of EU myth. Next, that we will not be able to trade with the EU if we withdraw? Why not? Have Bosch, VW, Renault and BMW decided they no longer want to sell their products here?

    To counter Mandelsonian myths with facts, both Norway and Switzerland (neither members) do a greater proportion of their trade with the EU than does the UK.

    You’ll have to do better than this load of recycled Euroballs, I’m afraid. The British public has rumbled you.

  • It is a sad state of affairs when it takes a Kilroy Silk to galvanize the British into action. The cavalier attitude of the major UK parties could be the cause of their downfall in the very near future, as the population grows increasingly agitated at the performance of their old boys club. The “we know better” stance of all 3 major parties (actually there are really only 2 now because the Lib Dems are history) may well stand up to detailed economic examination, however this is supposed to be a democracy and emotive factors should have their place.
    Anyone who doubts the corruption and waste which exists in the EU, clearly has never had dealings with any of their tentacles and there is definitely no forthcoming economic growth in Europe. The Franco German hub is in very deep trouble and for the first time their own populations are starting to rebel even though they re write the rules to suit their own economies at any given point in time.
    Wake up Messrs Blair, Howard and Kennedy – so far the electorate has just given you a nip. Next time they will bite your leg off.

  • Snide

    Evidence has also been scarce over the past week when I listen to the smarmy Kilroy Silk. He accuses Brussels of being corrupt – why doesn’t he come up with the facts?

    I take it this is a bit of satire… after all, can anyone who has been reading newspapers or watching the TV for the last 15 years really have any doubt on that front? If you want facts about EU corruption, try here you lazy bastard.

  • Verity

    Cancergiggles – Hush your mouth, sir! Why would we want these malevolent morons to wake up? Let them sleep, dreaming their fascist dreams, while electorates use their backs as stepping stones back to freedom.

    G Cooper, superb and lucid as always.

  • Chris Goodman

    Maybe you could educate yourself a little. Why not start with the findings of the journalist Hans-Martin Tillack – paying particular attention to how the EU responded to his claims?

    “As for sovereignty and the constitution what a rubbish argument. The monarch is a figurehead….nobody plans to get rid of her”.

    You seem to be under the impression that sovereignty is reducible to the issue of whether or not we have a monarch as our head of State. Again, a little more knowledge is required on your part before any sensible political debate with you is possible.

    “What difference does it make…whether he is governed by Whitehall or Brussels?”

    I think you will find that the question of who governs and how they govern matters to quite a few people.

    “I work with staff from France, The Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Poland, Ireland and Italy – guess what – they are just like us. You have nothing to fear.”

    Except it seems from people who assume that if you believe in national sovereignty you must be racist.

    “UKIP is an extremist party…and we know where extremist politics put Europe sixty odd years ago.”

    Given your shaky grasp of politics, I can appreciate why you find it hard to distinguish between Bolsheviks, Fascists, and the UKIP, but before you open your mouth again I suggest you have a good long think.

  • I dont know why the UKIP hasnt adovacated the UK joining EFTA – its a free trade area without surplus rules and comprises wealth countires that trade alot – like Switzerland and Norway. Go to their website and you’ll see a large beaurcracy isnt one of their problems – its run by about 50 people. So this EU or nothing argument is spurious

    Whats more I’m sure if we joined, Denamark Sweeden, and maybe the Netherlands would come too.

  • Chris Goodman

    Add this to the top of my post….

    “He accuses Brussels of being corrupt – why doesn’t he come up with the facts”

  • I don’t think the source of the UKIP’s money is small business men – sure they have money but it takes time and effort to raise the cash. The UKIP seems to have come into allot of money rather suddenly and without much effort.

    Before the election they were also refusing to comment on where it was coming from. So this post overall looks to me like white propaganda.

    I suspect the money came in a very large cheque from one person whose association would not be helpful to the cause. Ergo they are probably foreign. Possibilities include Rupert Murdoch – hates EU, some obscure baby eating right wing American billionaire or possibly a Russian refuge Plutarch who’s worried about a EU arrest warrant.

  • Syon Park

    Firstly you don’t have to ‘surrender’ to EU membership. Thankfully we’ve stopped fighting our mainland cousins, although clearly some of you UKIP supporters see other Europeans as ‘the enemy’ and they refuse to ‘surrender’. Very sad.

    Secondly, companies submit accounts, not parliaments. ENRON submitted accounts annually – did that stop corruption? Corruption is a human fault, with no geographical boundary. It is just as rife in Westminster, although less so since 1997. Would you call for a withdrawl of your local MP in protest? I think not as you’d be left without influence.

    Peddling myths about EU corruption is the major weapon of UKIP when persuading ignorant sections of the UK electorate. They should consider the following, which is reality, not myth:

    Each year, the European Parliament has to assess how the European Commission has managed the EU’s budget. Parliament votes on a resolution each April to decide whether to sign off the budget, a procedure known as “granting discharge”. In this way MEPs can show their approval or disapproval of the way EU funds have been spent. The Commission must act upon any comments or recommendations in Parliament’s resolution. If Parliament concludes there are serious issues to be addressed, it will postpone the granting of the discharge. The Commission then has to take swift action to remedy the problems.

    The repeated refusal of auditors to sign off accounts is largely due to the CAP. Fraud on the part of EU farmers is apparently rife and the CAP has long needed to be reformed. Asides from the fraud, paying farmers to have empty fields is ludicrous.

    Our UK farmers currently (albeit reluctantly?) rely on this system. UKIP propose pulling us out of the EU, so Whitehall would then be expected to provide farm subsidies – otherwise our farmers couldn’t compete with the subsidised EU farmers – the result would be a complete squeeze on UK agriculture.

    Pulling out of the EU is not sensible – getting in there and changing the system is the only sensible approach. The UK currently has some influence, UKIP would leave us with none, competing against a trading block whose collective powers would leave the UK in a disadvantaged position.

    Like many other businesses I trade extensively in North America, Australia and Asia. Being based in the UK facilitates this (language, cultural similarities, history) and EU membership facilitates trade in the Euro zone (increased labour pool, increased consumers who are more affluent and important here folks…POLITICAL STABILITY) where the English language and influence is becoming increasingly influential.

    You’ll no doubt still be cynical, but consider this…if you are suspicious of fellow Europeans now while we’re in the EU, think how unco-operative they’d be towards us once we decided we no longer needed them.

    Not good poitics is it?

  • “Whitehall would then be expected to provide farm subsidies ”

    Why – the experince in New Zeland shows that when governments stop subsidizing farmers they become more profitable.

  • Verity

    Syon Park – I blanked out after getting halfway through the second paragraph of your boilerplate. Yawn-o-rama. Your arguments have already been addressed 85 million times.

  • Syon Park

    OK Giles I agree. Then let’s get in and change EU agricultural policy in that direction. You can’t do it if you’re out of the loop.

    And as for the dogmatic UKIP fans above – we don’t need a patronising lecture on constitutional rights from a pompous pseudo academic. The man in the street is only interested in what it means to him. Biased sources will always tell tles of corruption. I’m not naive enough to say there is no corruption within the EU – it happens everywhere and should be stamped on everywhere.

    For the man in the street reforming the CAP would mean safer, better quality, more affordable food produced by more efficient farming methods. You can’t reform the CAP if you’re outside the EU.

  • Guy Herbert

    I doubt, Syon Park, many people here are suspicious of fellow Europeans (not that every habitué is British, or even European), but we are deeply suspicious of European forms of government.

    Libertarian insticts and an Anglo-Saxon jurisprudential style fit well together; rechtstaat makes me retch.

  • Guy Herbert

    As for: “The man in the street is only interested in what it means to him.” Then the man in the street would probably be perfectly happy to repatriate the direct cost of the EU, never mind any more subtle benefit of freedom.

  • GCooper

    Mmm… to a heaping of codswallop, add a seasoning of utter piffle.

    You simply cannot daintily stick your nose in the air and dismiss the steaming pile of EU corruption in your path, with an airy: ‘there is corruption everywhere’.

    The fact is that the EU is riddled with corruption – you do rememember Edith Cresson, presumably? She was just one of the few against whom action was taken. Far, far more comfortable, as has been pointed out above, to condemn those who blow whistles than those who suck at the teat.

    Europhiles seem to come in two kinds. Those (Kinnock, Patten etc) who have their snouts so far into the trough that it suits them to act as if graft doesn’t exist, or those so purblind, so in love with the adolescent dream of pan-Europa that nothing , absolutely nothing can be allowed to blight the vision. Not even facts.

    And still you fail to address the reasons why a trading block which is in our debt would seek to curtail that trade with us. Instread you try to scare us like errant children with dark threats of economic reprisals if we dare take back our self-control. If these European politicians are quite as lovely as you pretend, why on earth would they act like that?

    Don’t tell me. I can guess.

    Finally, the insult added to injury – the spectacle of a businessman happy to sell out his own history and culture, the government of his country because it makes it easer for him to carry out his trade. In other words, for his own personal gain.

    Frankly, it that weren’t so pitiful it would be disgusting.

  • “Then let’s get in and change EU agricultural policy in that direction. You can’t do it if you’re out of the loop.”

    I’m afraid thats whats so pitiful about people like you – you see other countries like France and italy want to keep subsidies as their attached to the “idea” of cute little farms. Should we stay in the loop just so we can impose our will on them? Why not get own so that we can all run around in a loop of our own choosing?

    You also fell for the idea that if we left we’d no longer be freinds – but we dont have a free trade agreement with Canada/Australia or New Zealand – and war against Canada still seems a little way off.

    Any way Syon, keep coming – you’re giving all of us here great confidence that the stock BBC arguements in favor of the EU are the best you’ve got. IN which case its going to be a bit of a slam dunk next election!

  • Gasky

    GCooper – I tip my hat to you. I fear however your aguments will be in vain, There are none so blind as those who will not see.

  • anyway to those interested here’s some slides from a talk I gave a few months ago on what the EU means to trade

    http://www.econ.umn.edu/~giles/docs1/Joining%20the%20European%20Union2.pdf

  • Verity

    Giles, yes. It’s going to be a slam dunk.

    What a bizarre argument Syon Park has: we can only change CAP if we’re in there fighting. Why not be outside, not fighting and not giving a merde?

    Oh, I saw today that T Bliar, with his always outstanding dearth of originality, stated, on a (thankfully) rare visit to Britain, that Britain had to be at the heart of Europe. Tired. Exhausted. Drab. Stale. Pointless. Lies. He doesn’t even seem to understand that people are laughing at him.

  • Chris Goodman

    The first step of a wise man is to appreciate their ignorance. May I humbly suggest “Syon Park” you go away and find out a little more about the European Union before you make any more pronouncements on this issue? An effort to understand the concept of political sovereignty, some awareness of European political history, and a little knowledge of the differences between English and European legal practices would I am sure bear some fruit. In the meantime will you kindly refrain from saying that those who oppose a single European State 1) Want to have a European war, or pronounce that 2) Corruption is rife in Westminster [clearly untrue – although you could argue that Blair has “corrupted” the functioning of our national institutions by abusing his power [an argument too subtle for you to comprehend at the moment but I am sure there will be books in a few years that will explain it to you]]. As for the “We must be in the European Union because they are a bunch of bullies” argument and the “We must be in the European Union to influence the workings of the European Union” argument I think you will find that if the EU is heavily subsidised by the United Kingdom, and that if it decides to launch a trade war on the United Kingdom many of their economies will collapse – I can see you like to think of the world in lurid terms. I am not sure where this leaves any moral argument for the EU? As for the argument about influencing the EU from inside, I would interested to know how you think this would be possible in a system based on majority voting. As a way of illuminating your answer maybe you should make a special study of what happened to UK fishing rights. I appreciate that you may have more pressing matters than finding out about such things, but in the meantime I suggest that before you slander those who are sceptical about the desirability of being members of European Union you do them the courtesy of knowing something about their arguments. I think it is still possible to be members of the EU if there are radical reforms, but if the advocates of European Federalism are as ignorant and complacent as you seem to be, the chances of achieving such reform are slim. You may not have realised yet but the ball lies in your court.

  • Syon Park

    You can save your pity – it’s not needed.

    You accuse me of selling out my country’s history and culture – absolute rubbish. You question my patriotism and credibility just because I favour co-operation with the world’s biggest trading block, of which we are geographically part of.

    I’m European and British and English at the same time. For any businessman it makes no difference whether the law makers were in London, Brussels or on the Moon – so long as they are democratically elected and accountable it makes no difference. And it makes us no less English or British.

    I’ll wait for the ‘slam dunk’. It may effect the Conservative vote at the next election.

    In the long term it will burn out like the Scotish Nationalist Party or Plaid Cymru in Wales – a delayed death throe of English nationalism that has stepped into the ‘none of the above’ void on the ballot paper, aided by a chat show host and a football tournament.

    The fact you didn’t come back on my specific points illustrates why this chest beating bandwagon won’t survive long term – its’ ideaology and policies don’t stand up. It’s xenophobic rubbish.

    The EU is far from ideal and there is a lot of room for improvement, but the sensible approach is to reform it from within.

  • GCooper

    Syon Park writes:

    “For any businessman it makes no difference whether the law makers were in London, Brussels or on the Moon – so long as they are democratically elected and accountable it makes no difference”

    But that is precisely the point many of us are making. How can you possibly advance it with any pretence of seriousness?

    The EU is profoundly undemocratic. Its ‘parliament’ is a sham, the real power residing with unelected bureaucrats and stooge-like ‘commissioners’.

    They are, to use your very own words, neither democratically elected, nor accountable. On what possible grounds can you support this principle?

    You’re not one of these roving plants by the EU propaganda office by any chance, are you? Your obfuscations, avoidances and refusal to tackle any point directly are curiously remniscent of the tactics used against the likes of Christopher Booker and other journalists who dare to ask awkward questions.

  • couple of specific points

    EU isnt the world largest trading block – NAFTA is larger.
    UK is not geographically attatched to the EU, like Iceland but unlike Switzland which is. So the geographical point is

    “it makes no difference whether the law makers were in London, Brussels or on the Moon” yes it does becasue you need a British lawyer for British legal contract, a belgian lawyer for a beglian contract and a martian for a moon contract. I understand that the lwayers on the moon are pretty darn expensive si yes it does make a difference

    “as long as they are democratically elected and accountable it makes no difference”
    The EU commision originonates legislation and is not elected nor is it accountable. And why do businessmen care how legislation is enacted – they only care about the effect of the legislation on their profits etc.

    Frick three complete idiocies in one short phrase – this is turning into the Brussels Trukey shoot.

  • The fact you didn’t come back on my specific points…

    I think they did actually, if you include amongst your specific points that:

    Then let’s get in and change EU agricultural policy in that direction. You can’t do it if you’re out of the loop.

    Giles answered:

    Why not get own so that we can all run around in a loop of our own choosing?

    Or in more words, we would not need to reform CAP at all if we were outside the EU. We would be able to adopt the New Zealand model for agriculture, or the Icelandic model for fisheries without any need to negotiate an agreement with other European governments.

  • “The recent expansion has made Europe the largest stable market in the world. I see those people in the new member states as potential customers. As their economy grows rapidly their ability to buy my products will increase.”

    I’m not so sure that “their economy” will grow rapidly. France and Germany’s economies haven’t been doing that well, and without them the rest of the EU can’t do anything — and let’s not look too closely at Portugal, Spain and Greece, either.

    Frankly, I’d be in favor of NAFTA changing from “North American Free Trade” to “North Atlantic Free Trade”, with Britain in that NAFTA rather than in the EU.

    So, I suspect, would a lot of Brits (especially those guys with the boats and cars), because our restrictions on business are far fewer than Britain’s, and exponentially fewer than the EU’s.

    Don’t even get me started on taxes.

    The sad thing is that Labor and the LibDems would pull the plug and sink the island rather than ally the UK with a country which has lower taxes and a less-malignant business environment.

    Too bad — we’d love to have you aboard, again — just as long as you stopped carping at us about our guns and capital punishment.

  • Oh, and Brian, your post made me feel that there may yet be hope for Britain — far more than if you were nailed to the EU’s rotting corpse.

    Thank you.

  • Syon Park

    Er, yes Andy(?)…

    Giles answered:

    Why not get own so that we can all run around in a loop of our own choosing?

    (?????)

    Yes the pompous wannabe clever chap above is right – I don’t know enough about Europe to understand this. Not convinced by your ‘unique’ form of logic, I’ll leave you lot to your fantasies.

  • For any businessman it makes no difference whether the law makers were in London, Brussels or on the Moon – so long as they are democratically elected and accountable it makes no difference.

    Well speaking as a businessman, it matters very much what laws I am subjected to and to be honest that is not the only reason why I oppose the EU as I am only slightly less antipathetic of the British state… I dislike the ‘democratically elected and accountable’ laws in Britain as much as the undemocratic and unaccountable directives that come out of the EU. I loath the EU because it is even more in the thrall of anti-economic stasist regulators that the British state, which is at least a bit more amenable to possible reform than the wanna-be superstate (for which I once worked).

  • Syon,

    It’s quite straightforward. If we leave the EU, we can get rid of the CAP without having to seek the agreement of everyone else. No need to reform it.

    What’s the problem with the logic there?

  • Ral

    If we get rid of CAP they’ll just replace it with CAP 2 the return of the butter mountain. If we leave the EU we’ll replace it (and all the other EU policies) with our own messy versions of the same old.

    What is needed is not a false panacea of pulling out but reforming the EU into what most people want a free trade area, that’s all.

  • If we get rid of CAP they’ll just replace it with CAP 2 the return of the butter mountain.

    But they’d be paying for it, not us.

    If we leave the EU we’ll replace it (and all the other EU policies) with our own messy versions of the same old.

    Possibly. But the New Zealand experience, c1984, shows that it’s not inevitable.

  • Chris Goodman

    It matters very much what laws we have, whether they are the result of a democratic process or not, I want a legal system that upholds the liberties that my ancestors have fought to preserve.

    The reason why Continental Europe has the liberties it has is because the Anglosphere not only defended itself from a series of Authoritarian Euro federalists in the past (my direct ancestor Thomas Goodman was like numerous others directly involved in the defence of England against the Spanish Armada!) in more recent times it actually had to use military force to impose free societies on Continental Europe in both hot and cold wars!

    In most of Europe even today the concept of a free society is relatively unfamiliar. To assume that European politicians understand the subtle and complex ways in which a free society works, or for that matter to even assume that they, some of which [especially the French!] are deeply resentful of the Anglosphere, even desire the United Kingdom to prosper, is crassly naïve.

    You may decide to throw away the liberties that generation after generation of our ancestors [another relative John Goodman fought in the Civil War in defence of the rights of parliament!] gained after so much struggle and sacrifice, arguably our greatest contribution to the civilisation of the world, without even bothering to wonder if we are doing the right thing, but it would indeed be a sad and contemptible day.

    There have always been advocates of a free society in Continental Europe. There have always been elements in British society opposed to a free society (another John Goodman who appears to be a relative sailed on the Mayflower in order to seek religious freedom!) but so far they have always lost the argument. It is time once more for European politicians to make up their mind. Of course I hope that the EU can secure and uphold a free society for everybody in Europe, but if the EU political establishment continues on its present course, it is a question of when not if the [money bags] UK withdraws.

  • GCooper

    Chris Goodman writes:

    “You may decide to throw away the liberties that generation after generation of our ancestors [another relative John Goodman fought in the Civil War in defence of the rights of parliament!] gained after so much struggle and sacrifice, arguably our greatest contribution to the civilisation of the world…”

    I’m glad someone has said this. It’s high time it was put on the table.

    By his own admission, “Syon Park” couldn’t care less about what your ancestors have done. Nor mine. Nor (it appears) even his own.

    As long as it helps him make a fast buck (I mean Euro), he doesn’t give a damn. The apocryphal story of Bernard Shaw in the railway carriage with the “lady” seems very appropriate. Just what is Mr. Park’s lowest price? How much loss of self-determination must we endure so that he may stay in business? How many fisherman must lose their jobs to keep his tub afloat?

    Mercifully, self-styled ‘businessmen’ like this are in a dwindlng minority. A growing number have seen the statist, federalist mess the EU is in, have despaired at the sclerotic economies and have realised that the UK’s interests are better served by trading with the entire world as an equal partner, not being shackled to the Museum of Socialism, bound by its rules framed to favour Franco-German monstrosities like Alstom, Thomson and Siemens.

    Some, the worst kind of multi-nationals and those businesses that live like parasites, sucking-up subsidies from EU bodies, rolling around like dogs in dung among the ‘competencies’ and ‘compliances’ still like the idea – why wouldn’t they? It is a scam run by and for their own kind.

    The rest eye the world at large, as British businessmen have always done. And fear for the future where they are forced to dance to a tune written in Berlin and Paris, played by a puppet orchestra in Brussels.

  • Nate

    I second the “North Atlantic Free Trade” idea.
    I can’t believe there isn’t already something like this.

    What/who is the hold up? Of course I’m not certain,
    but I’m nonetheless rather confident that the Americans
    would be in favor of the idea. What’s the general British
    opinion of such an agreement?

  • GILES

    Nate
    I think there is support for a North Atlantic Free Trade Club – but not phrased as such. As Cooper says, British business wants to be able to trade with the world – so that means the right to negotiate agreement not just with Nafta, but Australasia, singapore, India, south Africa, Argentina etc.. Perhaps the biggest cost of the EU is not CAP, social polcy and the like but the way it restricts the ability of Britain to negotiate just these sorts of agreements.

  • BC Monkey

    If you are correct about UKIP getting much more money from private donations in the future than the other “major” parties, you can expect that your media elite will start to deplore the unfortunate effects of private poltical contributions.

    The hue and cry will be raised that allowing the wealthy to donate will lead to a parilament that can be bought by contributions. Sure enough, one of the governing parties will eventually bring in legislation to make the parties almost completely goverment funded, to make sure that the parties are independent of any possible influence.

    Speculation? Nope, it’s already happened here in Canada.

  • Julian Morrison

    Forwarding something posted by Eamonn Butler to Adam Smith Blog: now its the mainstream that’s the loony fringe

  • Thon Brocket

    SP: “Not convinced by your ‘unique’ form of logic, I’ll leave you lot to your fantasies.”

    Ah, French generalship: “I’ve won. I’m leaving.”

  • Wild Pegasus

    Isn’t Syon Park just following the common conception of the Conservative and Libertarian – “make a buck, damn everything else?” When people accuse us of being uncaring or profit-centred, most of us laugh and say that’s life (or business). Yet someone else comes to a different set of policies than us believing they will help him, and all of a sudden we’re going to talk about saving culture, the nation, the flag, etc.? Please, if the gentlemen is going to vote selfishly and thinks the EU will help him, argue why it won’t help him. Appeals to God and Country aren’t going to work. Do they work on us?

    – Josh, not an EU supporter

  • Syon says: So Managing Directors support UKIP? Any facts to back that spurious claim?

    I am one MD who doesn’t support UKIP. Anecdotal, but evidence all the same.

    I see your MD (mine votes UKIP), raise you another (my wife, an MD, votes UKIP) and throw in a company secretary for good measure. Just for anecdotal evidence of course.

  • Poo, first two lines of the above should be in quoted italics.

  • Patrick W

    This news of UKIP financial muscle is both wonderful and terrible at the same time.

    Wonderful because there will be some real meat and power behind a drive to rid us of the coming abomination that is the EU supersate.

    Terrible – really terrible – because it will split the eurosceptic vote at the next general election. UKIP will be to anti-EU Brits what Ralp Nader is to lefty Americans. The Tories are this country’s only realistic hope for an exit. A strong UKIP showing will let that fucker Blair back in (or even worse Gordon Brown). I myself am an FD rather than an MD – I gave a small amount the Tories recently. They’re not perfect and I didn’t vote for them last time round but they are now my only hope of salvation.

  • Julian Morrison

    The solution to splitting the vote: trashcan the Tories. They’ve had their shot, and show no signs of getting it any more right the next time around.

  • Julian Morrison

    Also, I suspect this whole business will, paradoxically, push Labour leftward. If another major player is staking out political territory on the right, Labour will have to differentiate left or look like it’s losing the initiative. So Labour could actually split their own vote. The tories meanwhile get libdemmed in the middle. Heh.

  • Verity

    Syon – You haven’t had the courage to declare those of us opposed to the totalitarian state of the EU “little Englanders”, but that is what you’re implying.

    If you’re familiar with Samizdata, you will surely be aware that some of the people commenting live in European countries and watch its workings from within, aghast. We do not want this jiggery pokery for our own country. This does not mean we are opposed to French or German or other European peoples, languages or cultures. It means we have a British distaste for dictatorships.

    Patrick W – The election results will have served to concentrate Michael Howard’s mind. He must, as was mentioned in The Telegraph today, understand that, actually, the UKIP vote demonstrates that there is no mass Europhile Tory vote that he has to placate. Most Tories are Euroskeptics. He can stop caving in to dinosaurs like Kenneth Clarke and Michael Heseltine. Nothing either of these men say strikes a note with Tory voters, so they can be safely abandoned.

    It should not be beyond the wit of Michael Howard, Lord Saatchi and other extremely bright Tories to devise a way of slaying this Blair-promoted “the Tories are tearing themselves apart over Europe” meme. And the UKIP vote should have given them the spirit to do it.

  • Albion4Ever

    If the EU can be reformed down into a customs union with a few bells and whistles of co-operation in other legitimate spheres (e.g. pollution), well and good. But it’s unlikely. Giscard and the federasts have the bit between their teeth. They’re convinced that if they endow the EU with the trappings of a nation state– flag, anthem, constitution, foreign ministry, army– the citizens of its member states will learn to think and act Euro.

    Some continental countries which cannot stop fighting each other might submit to this discipline. An offshore archipelago with a 1,000-year heritage of semi-detachment from the Continent will never swallow becoming a fraction of a European “demos”. But if we pull out at once, unilaterally and without consultation, it may do us more harm than good for quite a while.

    The middle course is to make it plain that Britain has not, and never will, sign up to the federastic “project” of “ever closer union”, and further that we insist on immediate withdrawal from some areas of EU competency, such as agriculture and fishing. We should uphold De Gaulle’s “Europe des patries” and insist on running our own foreign policy.

    The official Conservative position makes no sense because it rules out withdrawal under any (as opposed to any foreseeable) circumstances. But most Tory campaigners and sympathisers lean towards UKIP, knowing that Britain must retain withdrawal as a fallback option. There are no eternals or inevitables in diplomacy. The EU is only a very expensive, elaborate, corrupt and pompous treaty alliance. It has as many divisions as the Pope.

    UKIP’s position is more honest, but it dismisses the possibility that an EFTA-style EU might emerge from the clash between the old Six and the new members which are much more sympathetic to the British outlook. The time when the choice is between withdrawal and federalism has not arrived. Anybody who pretends these are the only options is playing at politics.

    Hence the optimum message from the electorate is the one it has given: Eurosceptic, with a strong tilt towards eventual withdrawal, but only if renegotiation fails. Not for the first time, voters have taught politicians a lesson in reconnecting with reality. The politicians’ first reactions suggest they are so enmired in “the project” that they can only interpret the vote as a mark of their failure to get the EU message across. So the gadfly effect of UKIP must be applied to their complacent rumps again and again. The voters won’t hesitate. As Boss Gettys said to Charles Foster Kane: “You’re going to need more than one lesson. And you’re going to get more than one lesson.”

  • Julian Morrison

    Verity: I’m not so sure. I reckon Howard can’t move the party towards euroskepticism, UKIP’s locked him out of that option. He’d look weak and fickle, like he was playing follow-the-leader. You can’t let the opposition set the pace. It’s exactly the same reason Blair has to take a harder pro-europe line. Watch them and see, I’d lay money on it: Howard stays put and Blair swings left.

  • Verity

    Albion4ever – I agree. I don’t know any Euroskeptics who harbour a dislike of any European peoples and I think we all want to get along with them and live and let live. The EU project has an appeal in France and Germany, but other countries seem to be being dragged along in the wash. Why not let France and Germany fill up their dance card with each other’s names, and the rest of Europe dance around them, as close to Franks and the Huns as they choose, or waltzing around the periphery. Why this iron-fisted insistence that the entire landmass of Europe, and islands like Britain and Iceland, dance to the Franco-German tune?

    By the way, before anyone quotes Switzerland and Norway again, they are not living in a state of happy freedom from the EU. They both maintain full time structures in Brussels that ensure compliance with most EU “directives”. (Don’t you love that word? Doesn’t it just reek of democracy?) The EU has commanded Switzerland to give up its banking secrecy laws, for obvious reasons. They were too attractive to rich Europeans who are enabled to avoid paying crushing taxes, thus “robbing” the Brussels exchequer. So this must be stopped. Switzerland is fighting it, but they will not win, because a lot of its trading privileges will be withdrawn. So they are not free. Their “informal” association with the EU is actually very formal indeed.

  • Verity

    Julian, that’s an interesting reading, but I’m not persuaded. Voters have short memories. If Howard inches quietly towards Euroskepticism, by the time the election rolls round, people will take it for granted that the Tories are broadly Euroskeptic – as people persist in believing that is their natural position anyway. Of course, the socialists would keep the issue alive, but consider the brainpower in the Tory front ranks and the wattage in Labour’s front ranks … a comforting thought, isn’t it?

  • Rich

    I heard the UKIP man speaking on the Lesley Riddoch talk show on Monday. Everytime anyone of a different political view tried to speak, he broke across their transmission to prevent them from doing so. What little I could make of his largely incoherent contributions sounded frankly peculiar. In the end, after ignoring Riddoch’s repeated requests to play well with others in the sand pit, the sound engineers had to fade him out, to the general relief of all I suspect.

    It’s just a pity more people didn’t get to sample his particular style of reasoned debate before the election. No doubt they will now and can make their own minds up.

    So not quite “leave it at that”, Dale. But to the extent that they did “leave it at that” – I didn’t quite catch their views on education, health, policing, etc. I’m sure they must have some. I mean, we are voting for those who would rule us, not the next prom queen, so I’m sure folks will have thought this through.

    Or – and I’m just spitballing here – didn’t I miss them? Was it that they just didn’t have any? Then perhaps I’m being naive to think that a manifesto which has as its only material component the promise to “wreck Europe” (how attractive) doesn’t contain quite enough of the detail necessary to keep the lights on that an intelligent person might expect to see.

    And isn’t it rather sad that the only talismans they have – aside from dependable but tawdry British Bulldog jingoism – is a bag of cash and an unctuous telly celeb sacked for his predilection for rendering entire cultures down to single character types.

    A compelling, principled, positive case embracing all of the major apparatus necessary for organising the functioning of a country would have been good, here. But to be fair to them, they have never claimed to be pitching this as an intellectual or principled debate. A large swathe of the populace are perfectly happy to have the whole issue of European policy rendered down to a single, negative issue (as Silk did with appalling ignorance for “Arabs”) that they can vote against, rather than go through the difficult, boring business of trying to understand the issues and making a workable counterbalance to US hegemony.

    The nation, as always, gets the politicians it deserves. Those on the international scene who would divide us and then pick over our bones are loving it.

  • Like JohnJo I am an MD, and further I am one of those apparently mythical MDs who put their hands in their pockets to fund the UKIP campaign. Not quite enough to buy a car, but a few bob.
    Unlike Syon I understand that there is a whole world of difference between our continental friends and the EU. The EU is not Europe, it is a political construct and one which has an enormous democratic deficeit. I am particularly angered by the lies of those who tell us how many jobs will be lost through withdrawal – as though withdrawal from the political construct means that we sever all trade relations. Ridiculous.
    Even if the above were true – is our country, sovereignty, independence and right to selfdetermination really for sale?

  • Julian Morrison

    Verity: not easily without being overshadowed as “UKIP lite”. They’d have to cut into UKIP’s momentum first, perhaps by poaching back earlier converts.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    My impression, thus far, is that Tory leadership still doesn’t fully grasp the implications of the UKIP vote.

    I overheard some funny stuff in my office the other day. A colleague of impeccable “Guardianista” views was ranting about how vulgar and boorish the UKIPPERS were, even swigging English wine in celebration. Ugh! How common!

    Syon Park, your comments have already had the sand kicked out of them, but I would add that it is extremely hard to fathom how things like the CAP can be reformed given the EU’s likely structure. Given the huge demands likely from the new as well as established members, the possibility of unravelling the morass of subsidies looks remote by “reforming within”.

    I wish we could turn the clock back to when we had the old “common market” (remember that?).

  • Syon Park

    Please read what I said as it seems I’ve been misquoted within all the hot air and union flag waving. Let me stress I DO CARE ABOUT THE LEGISLATION AND THE PROCESS (I accept it has flaws at the moment) IT’S JUST THAT IT MAKES NO PRACTICAL DIFFERENCE TO ME WHETHER IT WAS ENACTED IN A ‘FOREIGN’ COUNTRY OR ON A DIFFERENT PLANET.

    Wild Pegasus is correct. Appeals to flag and country don’t cut any ice here despite GCooper and Chris Goodman’s impassioned chest beating. I’ll carry the ideals of freedom and fighting tyranny like previous generations, but what happened 200 years ago has no direct bearing on 2004. Look forward not back!

    In fact given your purported illustrious family history (apart from all the fighting your ancestors did, they no doubt oppressed mine at some stage) you must be a huge disappointment to the family name – all you have done is support the lunatic policy of a fringe party on an oh so pretensious web site.

    Talking of lunatic policies I must comment on Verity’s so called wisdom. If the Conservatives were so intelligent they would have resolved tearing themselves apart over Europe. They’ve been doing it since 1989. Within which time they signed us up to the ERM. A profound lack of intelligence I think. The divisions are gleefully pointed out by Blair, but he didn’t create them contrary to what you may misguidedly believe.

    Julian given the Tory divisions and the UKIP surge Blair doesn’t have to change policy. He merely has to hold his course, see continued economic growth, let Iraq fade in the electorate’s memories and the splits in the opposition vote will see him win a third term.

    And why? Because the loonies like the one’s above are so rabidly anti European that hey have become obsessed with this one policy and have squabbled in a manner that suggests they are mentally unstable.

    I agree with Albion4ever’s comments – a cautious Eurosceptic approach within Europe is the best way for Britain. The sad thing is UKIP are beginning to have that influence but they’ve stupidly said they won’t use it.

    And as a footnote to some of the silly posts above. My business has never taken subsidies from Brussels or London and I hold myself in no way whatsoever personally responsible for the loss of UK fisheries jobs. It strikes me that overfishing has lead to these job losses, in a similar way that if there is no more ‘economically viable’ coal in the ground you must ‘get on your bike’ and become an MD.

  • Guy Herbert

    Actually, for those paying attention to him Howard has moved the Tories very sharply in the euroskeptic direction only this week, but done it in a way that isn’t immediately obvious and while Clarke & Co. were too busy vapouring about the UKIP to notice and complain. (No I’m not going to give you a clue.) At the same time he took the trouble to tell his squabbling backbenchers: “Nobody cares what Conservatives think.” (Translation: no one cares what you think, so shut up and let me get on with strategy.)

    Another piece of impressive political management. He’s very good at the game.

  • Ron

    I thought Howard should resolve the situation by allowing the policy to be devolved to local parties, by making each local party association and candidate publicly commit to one of 3 euro-policies:

    1. Pure Europhile
    2. “In Europe not run by Europe”
    3. Pure UKIP

    I predict he’d get 5% for the first, 35% for the second and 60% for the third.

    Whatever the result, he wouldn’t have to lose face over any change of direction – and UKIP would have to withdraw their candidate for any constituency that chose “3” – or be seen as ego-tripping wreckers more interested in seeing their name on the ballot paper than achieving an Independence result.

  • Verity

    Syon – I must comment on Verity’s so called wisdom. Who referred to my comments “wisdom”? This is an adolescent debating tactic.

    The Tory party is not “tearing itself apart over Europe”. This is the oft-repeated lies, lies and more lies mouthed by the highly honourable Peter Mandelson, the suave and debonair Alastair Campbell and the great puppet himself, Toneboy Blair. I’ve never met a single Tory who felt torn apart by Europe. On the skeptometer, most register between mildly skeptical to very skeptical indeed. The notion of ferrets fighting in a sack that the socio-fascists promote is just old fashioned class hatred and naked ambition.

    (Alastair Campbell, as we know, would never dream of shouting down anyone else in a debate. Only crude people like UKIP candidates would engage in such behaviour, so shocking in a politican.)

    Guy – I agree with you. Michael Howard is a very astute, canny political operator. And he has the willpower to hold his tongue now in order to get an advantage later. This is a very adult characteristic and one not widely shared at Westminster.

  • Syon Park

    Verity wake up! You’ve missed two landslide election victories for the Labour party.

    Why?

    Economic mismanagement 1989 – 1993

    Sleaze

    and of course

    Tory infighting over European policy. Remember the ‘bastards’ in the cabinet? They are still alive – but now they have nothing to lose. If there is any prospect of Michael Howard becoming a euro sceptic PM they will attempt to stab him in the back like they did to Major, Hague and Duncan Smith. Just wait – Heseltine, Portillo, Clark et al are well camouflaged now, keeping their powder dry.

    The period from 1993 to present has mirrored Labour’s own nightmare with the Militant tendency during the 1980’s. Successive leaders have tried standing up to the euro sceptics and got knifed.

    Now it seems Euro scepticism is winning the day and Howard is prepared to move in that direction although he dares not say so. Why? Because although it will unite the majority of the Conservative party it will at a stroke make them unelectable as a government. You see when the public sniping from party insiders starts. John Major knew that and that’s why he tried to fight the ‘bastards’.

    Unless the Conservatives win back the centre right electorate from Labour they are without a hope. Lurching further to the right doesn’t help the cause.

  • It strikes me that overfishing has lead to these job losses…

    But the overfishing is a consequence of the fact that the EU rules do not provide secure property rights in fisheries. If we had a better set of rules, such as what the Icelandics have, the overfishing would not have occurred.

  • GCooper

    And still not a single word addressing the rampant EU corruption which Syon Park tried to claim was a figment of our collective imaginatons.

    Not a fact. Not an argument, but an attitude dressed up as a policy.

    What we get in place of any cogent arguments why this authoritarian, undemocratic, corrupt, federalist behemoth is suposed to be desirable, is the ‘New’ Labour party-line, with the mandatory working class chip-on-the-shoulder and a dash of the Guardianista sneer at anyone crass enough to believe Britan has a future governng itself.

    If people find the UKIP reductionist in its arguments (which it is) they should consider the state of politics in general. All parties have to boil down their ideas to soundbites. Why is UKIP’s soundbite any more banal than Blair’s endless refrain: ‘schools ‘n hospitals’?

    Does who governs the country matter less than fiddling the exam results and hospital waiting lists?

    In passing, it’s hard not to note the Gramscian pride in the irrelevance of history and the Stakhanovite pose, with the eyes set fixedly on the future.

    Ah, the joys of a modern ‘education’! The old Italian communist was right, after all!

    Tell me, Syon Park, what Euro exchange rate do you get for 30 pieces of silver?

  • Verity

    Syon – There is no Tory in-fighting over Europe. There are two silly old men chuntering away in their corner in the snug. Ken Clarke and Michael Heseltine do not the Tory Party make. They are an irrelevance. Yes, Labour will try to pump them up (Labour being the only people who listen to them) but so what? Two dissenters are not “the Tory party tearing itself apart” over Europe.

    Oddly enough, I caught that Labour had twice won the election under false colours and lies. And they’re still lying. Exam results, hospital waiting lists, roads, trains, ever-higher taxes, same old, same old.

    You say “unless the Tories win back the centre right from Labour …”. I would contend that Labour has never had much of a hold on the centre right. The centre right has simply declined to vote in the last couple of elections because the Tories weren’t providing a manifesto or a leader they could vote for, and Labour and Blair made them heave.

    You unwisely advertise your political proclivities and the paucity of your ability to express yourself with originality when you speak of “lurching to the right”. Why not go the whole hog and say, “Swivel-eyed fanatics with their hair on fire lurching to the right”? Could you explain to us how regarding the EU as a totalitarian dictatorship is “lurching to the right”, please? It seems to be part of the human condition not to want to live in a dictatorship.

    I do agree that the Tories need to woo back the centre right, who have been declining to waste their time voting these last seven years. Interesting, Syon, that UKIP stole an equal percentage of the vote from Labour, what? Does this mean the Labour party is engaged in a suicidal “lurch to the right”?

  • Syon Park

    GCooper if only you were as clever as you think you are. More rhetoric with pretensious pseudo academic references (and even biblical analogies thrown in!)

    Let me boil it down for you again as you’ve obviously failed to grasp the points first time round.

    I’ll start by repeating that I agree there is corruption within the EU (- more direct evidence of this would in fact be helpful). And as I said previously, corruption is not exclusive to this institution.

    As a member of this institution we can get in there and ‘sort it out’. We’d then be on a level playing field with the economic benefits of being within the institution (I can still trade outside the EU).

    or

    We can do as UKIP advocate and leave the institutuion wholesale. Leaving us to compete against a system on our doorstep, that we agree has ‘unfair’ advantages due to their ‘corrupt’ practices.

    Hardly a choice. This will be the one presented to you and other members of the electorate who struggle on this issue – and it will seriously blunt the euro sceptic argument.

  • …’unfair’ advantages due to their ‘corrupt’ practices.

    The people who suffer the consequences of the corrupt practices are the people who live under the regime. Those outside the regime can escape most of those consequences.

    Hong Kong did very well for several decades, despite being on the edge of a state that was far worse than anything the EU has been.

  • Euan Gray

    Syon:

    What, SPECIFICALLY, are the concrete economic advantages to being a member of an integrated EU as opposed to, say, a member of EFTA but not of the EU?

    EG

  • GCooper

    Syon Park writes:

    “GCooper if only you were as clever as you think you are. More rhetoric with pretensious pseudo academic references (and even biblical analogies thrown in!)”

    You know, if you’re going to try to patronise someone and pretend you’re a lot cleverer than you are, it really helps if you learn to spell ‘pretentious’.

    Meanwhile, still you harp on with the same old Europhile lie about Britain having ‘no choice’.

    Competing ‘..against a system on our doorstep’? What sort of system might this be? One composed of an outer ring of hungry, post-Communist free market states surrounding an inner core of decrepit, socialist command economies? And how long do you think that little nest of vipers is going to last?

    And as for the risible non-argument that you have to be inside to change it, let me put it simply for you.

    We’ve been in it. We’ve tried to change it. It will not change. Too many vested interests within the Franco-German core like it just the way it is. In fact they want even more of the same.

    But, of course, no small island can survive on its own, can it?

    I just hope someone warns the Japanese.

    As I said before, the product of the Gramscian plot reveals the deftnes of the plan. No faith in his own culture, no loyalties. How easy to bring down the system when you have reared its young to know nothing and be proud of their ignorance, to believe in nothing and think it smart. How easy, then, to sell them the statist dream.

  • Lets face it, the EU needs the UK more than the other way round. The UK is one of the largest contributors to the EU and would be giving even more if hadn’t been for Thatcher’s opt-out. If the UK were not in the EU that money could be saved.

    The two countries who didn’t join the EU are doing rather well…ie Switzerland and Norway.

    It is, of course, possible to pro-European (ie Europeans) and anti-EU. In fact, there is an argument that if you really want to help Europe you would be anti the current drive to be superstate. I personally think the EU will implode sooner or later…

    I think the UK joining NAFTA would be an extremely good idea.

  • Syon Park

    10 new countries have just joined as they will see immediate benefits. The UK will continue to be a net contributor short term but will have long term business benefits due to membership.

    Countries want to join on the basis that it’s better to be working inside it, than outside marginalised. EFTA doesn’t provide the stability provided by the EU – AND NOWHERE HAVE I SAID WE HAVE TO TRADE EXCLUSIVELY WITHIN THE EU.

    The widely accepted benefits of EU membership include:

    1 Economic growth. Enlargement of the EU will generate economic growth in both ‘old’ and ‘new’ member states: in the new states the reform of economic systems to a market economy will generate increased productivity and efficiency and allow them to be able to take advantage of the Single Market through increased trade; in the old states as trade and investment opportunities increase with the new states. Estimates suggest that job totals could increase in old member states by 300,000.

    2 Political Stability. Such stability is important in generating investment not only from within the EU but from outside it, thus contributing to further economic development.

    3 Global Presence. The EU has a stronger global voice, as its enlargement has brought the population to over 500 million (more than the USA and Russia combined), so giving more weight in international negotiations such as trade policy.

    4 Business Confidence. Companies in existing Member States will have more confidence with those in the new Member States, as they will be operating on a level playing field in terms of EU legislation. Again, business confidence is an important factor in generating investment and encouraging enterprise and initiative.

    5 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Membership of the EU will increase the amount of Foreign Direct Investment in the New Member States.

    6 Structural Funds. The regional aid which attempts to redistribute funds from the wealthier regions of the EU to the poorer ones will be made available to the New Member States. This will help develop these countries and improve infrastructure. Improvements in infrastructure will again be a benefit to trade and in theory, all countries involved will benefit – the new member states from improved internal infrastructure and the old member states from the extra revenues earned from new trade.

    of course there are disadvantages and in the interest of balance, htese include:

    1 Migration. Enlargement could produce high levels of migration as workers move from the new member states such as Poland where unemployment is high at 16.7% to those old member states where it is low such as the Netherlands at 3.6%. It was anticipated that workers would be able to move freely as the EU operates on the principle of the Single Market – one of the ‘four freedoms’ inherent in the Single Market is the free movement of labour. However, the old member states have created restrictions on the entry of labour into their countries for at least the first two years of enlargement.

    2 Common Agricultural Policy. The CAP includes measures such as subsidies and income guarantee schemes for farmers, which could prove to be hugely expensive if extended and a drain on the economies of old member states.

  • Verity

    G Cooper – You’ve nicked most of the points I was going to make, including that such lofty dismissiveness loses a certain je ne sais quoi when the writer can’t spell pretentious. He has misspelled it twice, so it wasn’t a typo. He can’t spell an everyday word in his native language.

    Yes, island nations cannot survive alone. I mean, just look at Australia. At the other end of the scale, just look at the mega economy in tiny Singapore, population around 4.5m and with one of the highest standards of living in the world. And, you rightly point to Hong Kong, which is still blazing away.

    Frankly, Syon, I adore the idea that the giant state of the EU would be on our doorstep as a competitor! Bring it on! Do you have the faintest inkling of how non-competitive countries in the EU are? How statist? How very, very uncustomer oriented? Indeed, how the notion of competition puzzles and distresses them? This is why they need all their little fidgety, micromanaged rules and regulations. To make sure that everything comes out equal, to the advantage of the state owned industries.

    Syon has yet to make mention of one advantage accruing from membership in the EU. If he is imagining that the streets and homes of Europe are crammed with British products, he could not be more wrong.

  • Verity

    Syon, you are a good little euroweenie as you have bought into the entire programme.

    Let me give you a brief anecdote about euro-statism. The EU opined a couple of years ago that France really, really should allow some competition in their electricity industry. Customers are tied to the infamously overpriced EDF. They gave France until 2004 to allow companies to compete with EDF.

    It – uh – hasn’t happened. And it won’t. Why? Because the state, through EDF, is has an enormous, horrifying pension commitment. It cannot allow its revenues to drop by one centime. Every sous is committed through the year 1 Billion. The French will live with their overpriced electricity in order to meet the generous pension obligations of others. This is how the EU works. It’s a roiling mess. But by god, they close for two hours for lunch, they work a 35-hour week, they get six weeks annual leave and no one addresses – because they’re afraid to think about – the pension apocalypse, when millions retire and there is no money to meet pension obligations.

    Do you really not understand that they have their beady eyes on British N Sea oil and on the productivity of Eastern Europe? Are you genuinely that unworldly?

  • Syon Park

    GCooper writes

    “You know, if you’re going to try to patronise someone and pretend you’re a lot cleverer than you are, it really helps if you learn to spell ‘pretentious’.”

    YES, YOU DID IT GCooper

    Verity writes

    “Swivel-eyed fanatics with their hair on fire lurching to the right”? Could you explain to us how regarding the EU as a totalitarian dictatorship is “lurching to the right”, please?

    IT’S CALLED XENOPHOBIA VERITY (DID I SPELL THAT RIGHT?) AND IT BORDERS ON RACISM WHEN YOU CONTINUE WITH CRASS GENERALISATIONS SUCH AS THE FOLLOWING SHITE:

    Verity continues,

    “Do you have the faintest inkling of how non-competitive countries in the EU are? How statist? How very, very uncustomer oriented? Indeed, how the notion of competition puzzles and distresses them?”

  • Syon Park

    Gosh I’m pleased we in the UK don’t have a pension crisis like those poor French. Our free market (mis) selling of pension schemes must have averted it (not). They may pay a bit more for electricity, but the French do get their pensions as promised.

    And the French must have wished they had the free market de-regulated (and regularly de-plugged!) Californian energy system, or better still another ENRON providing their energy requirements rather than EDF (again, not). They may pay more for electricity, but the French do get, erm, electricity.

    And if they want to steal our north sea oil (that we cleverly stole from the Scots and Scandies) they’d better be quick as it’ll be gone soon.

    GCooper and Verity you deserve each other. Shame you can’t get your own little island and selfishly float off on it.

  • Verity

    But of course! Xenophobia! I live in France, but I’m scared of the French! That’s it!! They terrify me! I’m scared to even go out my door in case a villager nods and says, “Bonjour, Madame!” and I may not know what to say in reply! The French are like that. Always pretending they can’t speak English – bunch of Frenchy ponces. Makes you sick, it does. And all the bloody street signs in French! Can’t even sit down in a bar or restaurant but they’re hanging around waiting for you to say something to them in French.

    I don’t understand the racism bit, though, Syon. Could you explain? Most people in Europe are Caucasians. How can one be racist about one’s own race? You are one fuzzy thinker.

    And whether it fits in with your ignorant preconceptions or not, European businesses are not exactly on the cutting edge of competition and customer service. You’re contributing to a blog on which most other commentators are somewhat more familiar with Europe than a school trip to le continong years ago and a Club 19-35 holiday to Greece.

  • Euan Gray

    Syon:

    1. Economic Growth

    How come the least integrated member state, the UK, has one of the highest growth rates of the EU nations? Why do the most enthusiastic and integrated states, France and Germany, have the weakest growth and biggest economic problems? Doesn’t seem much of an advantage to me.

    2. Political Stability

    The UK has been politically stable for a few centuries now. The same can’t be said for most of continental Europe, what with their occasional desire for totalitarian insanity, but there seems little immediate prospect of this now. Whether Britain is in or out will not affect this. However, one might argue that if the remote arrogance of the EU elite continues to grow without any meaningful peaceful safety valve, then the prospect of civil unrest is not exactly unimaginable.

    3. Global Presence

    The EU is widely ignored when it comes to real-world diplomacy and power politics. The views of Britain and America together, if they agree on something, will generally prevail. Where the EU has attempted to pull its international weight, it has resulted in disaster and required either the US or NATO to put things right again. Big advantage, eh? And of course that says nothing about Franco-German cosying up to dictators in the interests of commercial payouts. Britain has a very large global presence due to its high level of outward investment, close links to the US, free economy and the imperial legacy. We don’t really need the EU to “help” us with that.

    4. Business Confidence

    So confident is EU business that large swathes of it can’t wait to bail out of France, Germany, Belgium et al and get into the low-tax environment in the East. Heavy and petty regulation do not encourage innovation or investment, quite the opposite in fact. The UK has, amazingly enough, one of the less-regulated EU economies and manages to attract more investment. So this is no advantage either.

    5. FDI

    Investment goes where the return is potentially good. It makes no difference if that is EU or non-EU. Western investment in eastern Europe after the end of Communism has been huge, and would be there even without the EU. It just doesn’t make that much of a difference, except for companies wishing to sell into the EU market – and that’s only because the EU’s protectionism would hurt them if they remained outside. As for Britain, we manage to get huge amounts of FDI, especially from the US and the Far East, and this would still be there without the EU because we have a reasonably sound economy and a taxation policy more friendly to outside investors – precisely because we DON’T sign up to all the EU stuff.

    6. Structural Funds

    Wealth redistribution by administrative fiat is not usually good. The EU’s implementation of it is riddled with fraud and corruption, so I don’t see the advantage.

    The real advantage, at least theoretically, of the EU is a free internal market. Any country which can secure a mutual free-trade agreement with the EU will enjoy these benefits. Membership of the EU is NOT necessary to get the benefits. Conformity with EU norms and standards then becomes a necessity only for the companies selling into the EU, and those selling elsewhere can comply with less pedantic requirements. Those selling to both make their own judgement as to how to balance things, but the point is it ceases to be a blanket suffocating every company.

    I don’t think you said what your company does, but if you sell manufactured goods into both the EU and US markets, you must be aware of the regulatory differences between the two markets. You are, after all, a company director and it is your job to know these things.

    EG

  • Syon Park

    I don’t care if you have been on a Club 19-35 holiday to Greece!

    Making generalisations about people within a country (as you did earlier) is racist, regardless of the race of people in that country.

    If you dislike France so much you could always make a unilateral withdrawl (UKIP style), maybe to that island I mentioned earlier?

  • Julian Morrison

    To counter S.P.’s numbered points

    1. Economic growth. Right now it’s us who’re pulling the weight fot their sorry asses. Market reforms in new EU states will boost their economies? Good. But this sort of thing assists us via trade regardless of whether we’re in or out.

    2. Political stability: is a non-issue. The EU’s more likely to lead us into a war than to prevent one. Our political stability’s fine, thank you very much, and would not degrade after going it alone.

    3. Global Presence. For what? In peacetime, a small nation with a big economy would have more “global presence” alone. In wartime, the EU goes running to NATO or the UN (read: the USA’s military) to cover its ass anyhow.

    4. Business Confidence. Yeah right, a level playing field of quagmire up to the eyebrows. If we’re the only ones playing in the neighboring dry meadow of low-tax, business-friendly policy, confidence will hardly vest in them.

    5. Foreign Direct Investment. Not sure if you mean state handouts or business investment here. We can earn business investment, and they can keep their handouts, we won’t need ’em.

    6. Structural Funds: now that’s damn laughable. Somebody nicks your tenner, gives you a fiver with enough strings attached to weave a rug, and you thank him? This is just dole for governments, with all the same bad side effects. Screw that!

  • Euan Gray

    Making generalisations about people within a country (as you did earlier) is racist, regardless of the race of people in that country

    No it’s not.

    It’s hard to be racially biased against members of the same race as yourself. Racism and xenophobia are not the same thing, whatever you may think. Anyway, I hardly think our cosmopolitan Verity would be racist. Even if she was, I don’t think she’d be terribly xenophobic, otherwise it’s hard to imagine her living in France when she isn’t French. And I don’t even know the lady, but these things are fairly obvious.

    EG

  • …free market de-regulated (and regularly de-plugged!) Californian energy system…

    The “de-regulation” of the Californian energy system was largely mythical. Click here(Link) for an explanation.

  • Patrick W

    It seems that the central drive of the EU is to harmonise everything and to ring-fence the EU with protective trade barriers – thus protecting member states (or should that now be ‘administrative regions’?) from competition. A statist, socialist Nirvana.

    Only spanner in the works is that elsewhere in the world there are countries that believe in hard work and open, even aggressive competition. How can the EU as envisioned possibly compete with China, the USA, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, the UK, India, Canada, Australia, etc? There is still some chance of averting the impending train wreck. In another 10 years I think the EU will have lost any economic advantages forever. That will spell commercial death for many big companies within their home markets. The result will be national bankruptcies, plumetting living standards, anger, resentment, violent demonstration – possibly war. Really. I think there will a major war or violent revolution in Europe this century because of and not in spite of the EU.

  • Verity

    Syon, Syon, Syon. Sweetie. As it happens, I like the French and am very kind and friendly terms with all my neighbours. I like most Germans I’ve met, too. And Danes. I have a loathing for the EU. The structure. Geddit? It’s not democratic. It’s totalitarian. How many times do we have to tell you?

    You say: Making generalisations about people within a country (as you did earlier) is racist, regardless of the race of people in that country.

    To hell with science! To hell with language! You’re just running around on a little hampster wheel, going nowhere.

  • Bugger, someone played the racist card. And this was such a promising thread.

  • Patrick W

    …and this is the most amusing comments section flame war I’ve seen in a while. Fisking Syon Park is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel. Credit due though for sticking to his views despite having lost the argument several times over…

  • Syon, Just going back to the begining to reprise your arguements

    Firstly. Well, ‘surrender’ suggests a fight. So if there is no fight, what with red lines and rebates and every discussion that ever goes on in COREPER, or COREPER II for that matter then there are no victors. How is it that every European politician, (and by that I mean EU based politician that supports the project, all the integrationists in the European Parliament, the superannuated civil servants that make up the Commission, the Committee of the Regions, ECOSOC, the politicised and activist European Court of Justice, oh must I go on) talk about ‘winning the battle’ against Euroscepticism. They are definitely fighting for what they believe, so yes the term ‘surrender ‘ is highly appropriate here.

    Euro myths, hmmm. Where does that phrase come from. Ah yes the European Commission’s website. The mouths of every integrationist institution, yup same list). Right take a look at your evidence shall we.
    I interviewed (Link)the Chairman of the European Parliament’s Budgetary Control Committee about this only a coupe of ,months ago. Diemut Theato, a German Christian Democrat’s job is hold the Commission to account in much the same way that the Public Accounts Committee is supposed to in the UK. What she told me was illuminating. “MEPs have a duty to the idea of Europe, not just to their constituents”. It is important to be “responsible when discussing fraud”. As to bring down the Commission would “damage the project”. “MEPs must have the courage to say No to their constituents”, when they want people to take direct responsibility for their actions in Brussels.
    Much of the fraud is as you say attributable to the CAP, but what about Eurostat(Link), OPOCE(Link), the MEP (Link)allowances(Link) scandal(Link), or how about the one that ripped apart the Committee of the regions(Link) – these are just some of the corruption scandals that have come to light in the past three years – lord alone knows what else is there.

    As has been mentioned above by others, the UK farmers might well look at the experience of the New Zealand farming system that successfully cut subsidies a few years ago. Agricultural subsidies are like heroin. They feel good to start with, give a great feeling of Euphoria, but after a while become debilitating and damage your ability to act in any way without them. Most user of subsidies recognise the harm they do to themselves, but cannot think of a way to wean themselves off.

    Pulling out of the EU is not sensible

    Nonsense on stilts, in this the 200th anniversary of the birth of Cobden, I think we can look to the example of the repeal of the corn laws. Continental firms, and the EU National Champions would never allow the EU to embark on a sanctions regime against Britain, for fear of loosing markets. This is fear wrapped up as principle, fear which I ardently believe to be unfounded.

    Never noted political stability in those regions you mention you trade with. I hear that there have been a number of recent coup attempts in Australia, Japan, and North America. As above I see no risk to the markets that you talk of, nor indeed a problem with the use of the English language both within and without the EU.

    I am suspicious of the Eurocracy in Brussels, Strasbourg and elsewhere. I am not suspicious of the citizens of Europe. In fact I live with them, and amongst them, work with them everyday and enjoy their company. For that matter I work with, drink with and socialise with Eurocrats every day too. Its fun, but would I trust them with my freedom and democracy, NO.

  • …the 200th anniversary of the birth of Cobden…

    Alas, even Cobden had his flaws.(Link)

  • APL

    Syon Park:”Within which time they signed us up to the ERM. A profound lack of intelligence I think.”

    I rather thought the ERM was the favoured EU methodology intended to get the UK into the Euro. Supposedly in as painless a manner as possible. If the ERM was a trial run for the EURO, just imagine what a disaster it would have been if we had gone straight into the EURO … and NEVER have been able to get out?

    Syon Park:”(apart from all the fighting your ancestors did, they no doubt oppressed mine at some stage)”

    Surely, the point is here, it has all been settled we need not go through it all again. We can afford to forget the differences that caused our our ancestors to fight and kill each other, unlike say, Bosnia or Belgium for example. Throwing away the constitutional settlement that we have been fortunate enough to have enjoyed for the last three hundred years strikes me as an act of gross stupidity.

    Syon Park: “It strikes me that overfishing has lead to these job losses..”

    Before common fisheries policy, no overfishing, after CFP, overfishing and declining stocks. Cause and effect?

    Syon Park:”Countries want to join on the basis that it’s better to be working inside it, than outside marginalised.”

    If you choose to coach the options in such a prejudical manner… Could it be that they want to join because of the lure of the CFP? That they will actually be disapointed because the benefits to the French and German, Spanish, Greek and UK farmers will be too expensive to extend to the new entrants? Isnt that rather a fraud, to promise something, or give the impression of promising something that you have no intention of delivering?

    Anyway, why is the EU a protectionist trade area?

  • Chris Goodman

    I appreciate that for Syon Park 64,000 repetitions of the mantra “Anybody who supported the UKIP party in the European elections is a lunatic xenophobic racist” renders it a moral truth, but from the little I know about her I would bet the equivalent of an EU Commissioner expenses account that that Verity is more fluent in European languages than you, knows more about European politics than you, and already has more European friends than you are likely to have in your entire life. As for myself I spent a large chunk of my childhood in France – a country I love – and my sister lives in Italy and has married and had a child with an Italian, and my uncle was for many years a senior figure in the EU. It ill behoves you therefore to assume that people who happen to know a little bit more about European politics than you, and have views about European political life, and the EU in particular, with which you disagree, are xenophobic racists. Your passion it seems is not for Europe, about which you seem to know little, and care about even less, but wallowing in your own prejudices, hatreds, and ignorance.

  • GCooper

    Rats! It always happens. I toddle off to earn my living and someone goes amusingly bonkers in my absence.

    Still, I like spluttering cries of ‘racist!’ and ‘xenphobe!’ – no junior common room would be the same without it.

    Must remember to tell the Chinese and Italians I work with (and much admire). Am I allowed to say, ‘they like a good joke, too’? Or does that count as ‘racism’?

    As that great sage Bugs Bunny would say: what a maroon!

  • Which reminds me. Didn’t some EU commissioner for something-or-other recently try to claim that opposition to membership of the euro was “monetary xenophobia”?

  • Susan

    “Libertarian insticts and an Anglo-Saxon jurisprudential style fit well together; rechtstaat makes me retch.”

    Guy brings up an important point: how can Anglo-Saxon common law be fully integrated with the code practiced by most of the Continentals?

    Frankly I feel Anglo-Saxon common law, for all its faults, is a big reason why the Angospheric nations are so successful, politically and economically.

    Speaking of trade blocs, an Anglospheric trade bloc with the US, Canada, Britain and Australia-NZ would comprise 420 million people — nearly as large as the EU trading bloc and with plenty of geographical space to grow in all of those nations except for Britain. And with a much more dynamic political and economic tradition.

    Just a thought.

  • GCooper

    Susan writes:

    “Speaking of trade blocs, an Anglospheric trade bloc with the US, Canada, Britain and Australia-NZ would comprise 420 million people — nearly as large as the EU trading bloc and with plenty of geographical space to grow in all of those nations except for Britain. And with a much more dynamic political and economic tradition. ”

    It’s a very attractive idea – and perfectly feasible.

    Of course,the very notion fills Europhiliacs and Leftists with horror because one of the least discussed(yet most powerful) motivations behind the EU is as a vehicle for anti-Americanism.

    This is the real common ground between the English chatering classes who so adore the EU and their new lords and masters in Brussels – they hate American culture and are both terrified and envious of American power.

  • Guy Herbert

    Syon, in your list why’s immigration supposed to be a disavantage? I’d hope when we leave the EU we’d keep freedom of movement of people as well as free trade–unilaterally if necessary. We could open up free entry to people from everywhere in the world richer than Britain as well without political problems. (Even the xenophobes and racists are only really worried about stereotypically poor foreigners scrounging and hanging around on street corners being maliciously funny-coloured.)

  • Susan

    GCooper, yes I’m aware of all that. The EU “counter-balance” to the US hyperpower and all that.

    But that is not the way things are shaking out, and if the EU follows that path, it will lose. The counterbalance that’s really needed is against the nascent economic and military behemoth of China, and the growing threat of Radical Islam.

    And a united Anglosphere would have a better chance at that than a united EU.

  • before people start bandying about population figures as a jsutification for anything- wits worth remembering that of the 10 countries in the world with populations over 100 million, only 2 of them US and Japan are developed.

    AS the USSR disvcovered, size does not automatically lead to economic strength.

    So arguments made solely in terms of population/market size potentialy dangerous – it is more important to be a member of a free trade club that is open to the rest of the world (unlike the USSR ) and that has common business values (unlike the USSR which included tracts of entirely seperate cultures).

    And this commonality is the most important point – trade agreements, some what counterintutively seem to bring the greatest benefit when made between countries that are most similar – in rescourses as well as cultures.

    And this is the main reason why joining the EU is pointless – it involves very disparate cultures for which it is effectively impossible to create a level playing field.

  • Susan

    And this commonality is the most important point – trade agreements, some what counterintutively seem to bring the greatest benefit when made between countries that are most similar – in rescourses as well as cultures.

    This is obviously important, and I didn’t mean to neglect this aspect as well. (Although hinted at it when I pointed out the similarity of judicial systems in the various Anglospheric countries.)

    But that only embellishes the attractiveness of the Anglosphere — it has the population numerical strength AND the commonality of culture, values, judicial systems and language.

  • gasky

    Ah, the old race card, do the people who play the race card imagine it to be like playing the joker in it’s a knockout, that it will somehow double the force of there argument. It might give Stuart Hall a good laugh though.

  • Ian

    My conservative estimate is that about 70-80% of this discussion is empty posturing and straw men (on all sides). I wonder if there will ever be a real discussion insted of s**t slinging?

  • Rob Read

    Susan,
    A united Anglosphere would have the most important attribute for mobility, namely a common language.

    Forcing the EU “demos”, from the separate diverse peoples of Europe will just create a civil war. No demos, no democracy.

  • Verity

    Chris Goodman, thanks for the kind words, but I’m not nearly as intellectually accomplished as you present me. (To get someone that good, you have to step up to the level of the formidable Helen Szamuely).

    But you do prove the point I made earlier: there are people commenting on this blog and this thread with far wider experience of everyday life in Europe – and the rest of the world – than Syon, angrily spewing out the propaganda he’s been taught, yet having no reference points of experience in the world outside the island he hates with such sputtering intensity. He’s angry because his tiny world is all awobble with the force of some of the opinions he has encountered here. I think the phrase ‘farting into the thunder’ just about covers Syon.

  • Susan

    Rob: I agree.

    It took a very bloody Civil War to create a fully federated nation out of the US — and we didn’t have the added irritants of language and culture differences that Europe has.

    A lot of the issues I see trying to be settled in “The United States of Europe” project are milestones that occurred along a road that the USA has already travelled. Pity no one on your side of the Atlantic seems interested in studying our history to pick up a few pointers.

  • Verity

    Susan – Plus Americans came together perforce because they had to band together to create a civil society in a new country (yes, I know the Native Americans were there first, sparsely) and cooperate. Europe has been settled for over 2,000 years. We don’t need to band together, except by treaty. There is no such thing as the United States of Europe, and there can never be, without destroying the identities that have developed family by family, town and village by town and village, shire by shire, country by country over more than 2,000 years. Valery Giscard, with his ‘Philadelphia moment’ is an ignorant pompous, self-regarding prat.

    British Common Law developed organically and has been a long term and constant benefit to the Anglophone world, as Susan notes. We should build on this stable structure of law and language and let the people on the continent of Europe go their own way unhindered by Toneboy’s “red lines”. Forget the risible “red lines”. We don’t want any of it. Toneboy wants it because he wants to be (unelected) “President” of Yoorupp.

  • Susan

    Verity, Toneboy is such an opportunist, he would probably get behind the Anglosphere the minute it appeared more advantageous for him than “President of Yurup.”

    We could make up some grand-sounding position like “Chief High Poobah of the Anglosphere,” with fat perks and salary but no real power, and wave it in front of Toneboy’s face, and whaddya wanna bet? He might just jump! His prospects in Yurup are slim anyways when you consider how unpopular his association with the Bushitler is.

    Then we could all live Englishly — and prosperously — together ever after.

  • Susan

    Verity the main problem with a federation is deciding how much power the central authority has vs. how much power the local authority has. The US Civil War very bloodily seems to have settled the question in favor of the central authority, and that’s why some historians often call it “The Second American Revolution.” But really, the question is still viable and is still fought over to this day.

    One of the main reasons why the US legal sector has grown so tremendously and bureaucratically is the constant frisson between Washington and state authority. Constitutional battles are fought continuously and furiously in federal courts all over the land.

    I think that deep down, most Europeans do not really understand that signing onto a federal constitution makes that constitution the supreme law of the land, and that no laws can be made locally that conflict with it.

    If Britain wants to make a law contrary to the Euro-constitution — you will have to literally take up arms to defend your right to make that law. Scary thought isn’t it?

  • Rob Read

    “you will have to literally take up arms to defend your right to make that law. Scary thought isn’t it?”

    Nope inspiring! I’m hoping the pacifist core mindset will have set in and a little push will make them scamper!

  • Verity

    Susan – funny you brought that up, because I think Toneboy has abandoned his impossible dream of Prez of Urrop. I mean, please, what could be more suited than the nuanced hair of Dominique de Villepin for going through airports escorted by functionaries? The flounce, the bounce, the cheekbones, the height, the slender, slightly pained, attitude?

    My guess, Toneboy has been moving on for at least six months. Target: job at the White House. Maybe over Donald Rumsfeld’s dead body, but let us assume that the intriguing Mr Rumsfeld will continue to be immune to Tone’s charms. Tone wants to be Bush’s roving ambassador – never mind being heartily opposed to every single one of Bush’s policies – to Republicans throughout the US. Speeches, with Tone hissing away in his peculiar English accent. We’ll see.

  • Susan

    Verity, Toneboy could never constitutionally aim for the top spot in the US, but he could realistically aim for the de facto number 2 spot in the US as Governor of California — which would be a G-8 nation on par with Italy or France if it was its own country.

    We’ve already got an EU citizen in the statehouse now so it wouldn’t be that much of a stretch. And Toneboy’s English is considerably better than Arnie’s — not that that matters much in a state where 30 percent of the population is foreign-born.

  • Susan

    PS — for the sake of the Anglosphere, I would be willing to suffer through eight years of Tonee and Cheree in Sacramento. They can schmooze the tranzi loons in San Francisco and Beverly Hills all they want, while the rock-ribbed conservative farm lobby who REALLY run this state would keep them from doing too much real damage.

  • GCooper

    Ian writes:

    “My conservative estimate is that about 70-80% of this discussion is empty posturing and straw men (on all sides). I wonder if there will ever be a real discussion insted of s**t slinging?”

    Dunno. I thought you were about to start one. Then I realised I’d read all you had to say.

  • Susan

    Nope inspiring! I’m hoping the pacifist core mindset will have set in and a little push will make them scamper!

    Naw! Tranzis like the ones in Brussels are only pacificistic when it comes to defending individual liberty against tyranny. When it comes to defending fascism and collectivism, they are happy as hell to bomb away with the best of ’em!

  • The bit I don’t get is people who want out of the EU getting themselves elected as MEPs. I mean, I don’t understand why anyone would want to be one in the first place, but people who want to get out of it ?

  • Thon Brocket

    SP: Making generalisations about people within a country (as you did earlier) is racist, regardless of the race of people in that country.

    ObOldJokeRetreaded: Definition of a racist: a UKipper who’s winning an argument with a Euro-weenie.

  • Verity

    Sylvain, hello and welcome, as your English, as a Frenchman, is a considerable improvement over mal-educated, propagandised, brainwashed (although I suspect there wasn’t too much to sluice down in the first place) Syon.

    UKIP wants to put a brake on the EU, as you know, and let’s face it, there aren’t any avenues left to do this. They have all been thoroughly bunged up. Whatever national parliaments and national voters vote, it is now irrelevant.

    So UKIP’s going with the only option – MEP.

    Literally, that is all that is left, so tightly has “Europe” been sewn up.

  • Racism…hrm how does this not work. Well lets see…in many places from the Caucuses to the Atlantic are the Caucasian race.

    Secondly, I am Anglo-Norman and even closer I am Quebecois (1/4). Therefore I am of the same racial stock as the French so I am not being racist.

    It is absolutely pathetic that the minute Syon loses ground to rational arguments she plays the race card. Europhiles do this all the time and it just does not work. The English are made up of mostly Anglo-Saxons (ie Germans with wunderlust) and Normans (French-speaking Norse)…just a tad European extract no?

    Being anti-EU is not nor has it ever been a racist point of view. To say so shows a severe lack of intellectual and rhetorical ability.

  • Döbeln

    “Making generalisations about people within a country (as you did earlier) is racist, regardless of the race of people in that country.”

    Most swedes speak swedish!

    Oh, dear – I made a generalization!

  • Susan

    Where I live, anybody who is even vaguely Caucasian-looking and speaks English as a first language is called an “Anglo.” We have Polish Anglos, Scandinavian Anglos, Irish Anglos, Russian Anglos and on and on. Heck, we even have some Anglo Anglos.!

    The idea of various shades of white people calling each other “racist” is hilarious.

    Yurup — what a place!

  • Ian

    I have – in the search for information and understanding of what passes for the libertarian view these days – dropped into numerous sites.like this one. I rapidly found that it was foolish to expect a discussion – all any of you seem interested in is having a dust up and venting your prejudices! Serious questions, asked with serious intent were almost universally ignored.

    Thats fine – its your blog – but all it achieves is give you the chance to pat each other on the back and say how clever you are. It does bugger all for getting your ideas into circulation – unless of course you are happy to be associated with fools like Kilroy-Silk .

    Strange as it may seem, despite my background, I used to believe there was something in the libertarian philosophy – unfortunately that has long gone – hijacked by a half baked mix of Rousseau and Mill, with a few gun-fetishists thrown in for seasoning.

    And please fix the bug in your anti-spam code – anything more than a couple of lines and it expires – OK for those with a short attention span I suppose.

  • Rob Read

    Ian stick with trans-national socialism the yew-row volk idea will make you happier; just let a bEUrocrat do the thinking for you.

  • Verity

    Playing the ‘race card’, as with Syon, translates as, “I am intimidated by the fact that I cannot answer any of your points. However, my confidence in my own moral superiority is undiminished by the arguments and I am therefore now going to shut down the debate by using the word ‘race’. I may also use the word ‘xenophobe’ and even also go so far as ‘little Englander’, as this magic mantra makes all my previous points irrefutable.”

  • Sandy P

    –And the French must have wished they had the free market de-regulated (and regularly de-plugged!) Californian energy system,–

    Partially dereg’d SP. Which is why there was a problem. Residential was not dereg’d. Babs and Steven, Tom, Tom, and their ilk didn’t pay their fair share and they’re the ones who could afford to.

    and don’t know about the current EU Fisheries agreement, but this is from 10/02 via freedomandwhisky:

    We are the masters now
    It looks as though EU plans could result in the Scottish fishing industry being wiped out at a cost of 20,000 jobs. In an earlier report in Tuesday’s Daily Mail, I read that EU proposals for deep-sea fishing off our North-West coast would give France 80% of the quota, another 18% split between Ireland and Spain leaving 2% for Scottish fishermen. And Scottish taxpayers would have to fund the policing of this arrangement which covers areas that are entirely within UK territorial waters. Will our politicians do anything about this? Of course not.

    Mark my words. It’s only a matter of time before the EU lays claim to North Sea oil.

    You want the bennies of trading w/the rest of the EU? Make yourself attractive. Lower tax rates, lower costs, and they’ll come.

    Besides, you might have 500 m, but you’ll only be king for a short while. China and India are coming up fast. That’s why a NAFTA makes sense.

    You will rue the day you let yourself be run by frankenreich.

  • Sandy P

    And just to let you know, we just added most of Central America – CAFTA. South America will be left to wallow in its’ scloeric (sp) socialistic EUtopia vision.

  • Verity

    Sandy P – They’ve been trying to get their hands on our N Sea oil for 20 years and make it into, in Eurospeak, “a common European resource”.

    Didn’t know you’d added Central America! Interesting, although what do you have to gain? Guatamala’s pretty poor. The only one that would seem to make sense is Panama, but what is your opinion?

  • Syon Park

    Thanks to Julian and Euan for attempting to mainatin debate and countering the points I made. Esp thanks to Gaiwan for countering them so well and knowledgably. Now Gaiwan (if you’re British) I’d like to have someone like you (not the buffoon Kilroy) representing my interests within the EU. Your knowledge would rid the EU of its bad apples and bad policies double quick. People like you representing all Europeans interests within the EU would make Europe a better place.

    Your style contrasts greatly from the other clowns on this thread, who despite their attempts to hide it (“Some of my best friends are French / German / etc” – its a classic racist sentence) are motivated by a fear of being governed by people who they regard as foreigners.

    To refresh on what the ‘cosmopolitan’ Veruty said:

    “Do you have the faintest inkling of how non-competitive countries in the EU are? How statist? How very, very uncustomer oriented? Indeed, how the notion of competition puzzles and distresses them?”

    She believes those silly little foreigners, they are so stupid, can’t even understand business. She needs an attitude check, and contrary to her “to hell with language” follow up, she needs to check that too – for one who thinks she is so clever.

    And shame on all the people who attempted to defend her by denying racism could occur between and within Europeans because apparently “we are all Caucasians”. (What world do you live in – in your head????)

    Both are downright lies. You’ll be telling me next The Holocaust never happened.

  • APL

    Syon Park: “You’ll be telling me next The Holocaust never happened.”

    For anyone who might have been giving it the benefit of the doubt. Be aware we now have a confirmed TROLL alert!

  • Verity

    Oh, god! How could we have forgotten the Holocaust card! I’ve noticed that this bonkers accusation has been gaining currency among the lefties over the past year. Anyone who is leery of the EU is a Holocaust denier.

    Syon – Consult a dictionary, look up race (as it pertains to humans) and run your forefinger along the type. If this is too complicated, call the anthropology department of your local university and ask them to define race for you. Except for immigrants from Africa, almost everyone in Europe is Caucasian. I suspect you have unjwittingly soaked up ignorance from people who told you Germans were a race (they’re a tribe) and Celts are a race (they’re a tribe) and Franks are a race (they’re a tribe).

    Racism is the act of judging another human being, and finding them wanting, based solely on that person’s race. The notion that anyone would judge a member of his own race on racial grounds is too drenched in ignorance to even attempt to address. I hate Tony Blair because he’s a Caucasian! Hmmm. Doesn’t have the right ring to it.

    Correction: None of my best friends is French or German. You see, you keep trying to attribute misstatements to what other commentators write and then sneer at them. This is very childish.

    Well, in your mind-free, intemperate way, you’ve certainly given poor Gawain heavy burden to carry! “Your knowledge would rid the EU of its bad apples and bad policies double quick. People like you representing all Europeans interests within the EU would make Europe a better place.”

    You’re a hoot!

  • martin m

    So were the Irish being racist when they rejected being ruled by Britons they “regarded as foreigners”?

  • Euan Gray

    its a classic racist sentence

    Why are you obsessed with racism? Why are you determined to see it where it does not exist – simply because you have lost an argument?

    She believes those silly little foreigners, they are so stupid, can’t even understand business

    Haven’t actually answered the question, though, have you? They do understand business, they just don’t want to have to compete with it, since perfectly understandably they prefer their current system of protection, subsidy and regulation. Now, YOUR job which you have so utterly failed to achieve, is to explain why it is better for any given country to sign up to a system of protectionist subsidies and petty regulation. Why is this good, or desirable, or necessary? WHY?

    Both are downright lies

    Just because you say so, doesn’t make it so, however much you may wish it to be so, and however much you may stamp your little feet in disgust at the inconvenient reality of life. Please explain how a member of a given race can be “racist” in the pejorative sense towards other members of the same race, assuming for the sake of argument that this person is not in fact schizophrenic. You can’t, can you? No, so stop uttering such inanity.

    Having said that, there are enough libertarian people around here of the none-so-blind-as-will-not-see variety who seem to have difficulty in accepting that reality doesn’t necessarily conform to textbook theories of economic activity, but there it is.

    EG

  • GCooper

    Verity writes:

    “You’re a hoot!”

    Indeed he is. But I reackon APL is right – having calmed down and wiped the froth from his lips following yesterday’s little hissy fit, SP has blown his cover. He’s a troll.

    Still, I’m off for my goose-stepping lessons. Mustn’t disappoint expectatons, after all…

  • Syon Park

    I’m a hoot and I know what you and your ilk are.

    Protesting too much otherwise merely makes you look more like one. Particularly denying the existence of racism between Europeans – thats absurd.

    Inferring that other European nations couldn’t fathom business like you did is an ignorant generalisation with racist overtones.

    Gawain stuck to policy arguments and i respect that.

    It’s ignorant people like you who will destroy the credibility of the eurosceptic lobby, with your ‘ignorant generalisations’.

    Maybe your just down about Tone boy signing up to the EU constitution.

  • A_t

    What I don’t understand about this NAFTA idea is, all you folk are rueing the influence the French & Germans will have over us, & yet are simultaneously willing to sign up to a structure in which there will clearly be one dominant player, which can easily set the agenda if it wishes. At least we have parity with France/Germany, & would have equal clout if we applied ourselves. We know for sure that we cannot really influence the US. I know that currently NAFTA has no uber-state ambitions, & is unlikely to in the future, but even within the limited scope of the current EU, France & Germany are seen as overly influential, & my understanding is that many ‘junior’ partners in NAFTA feel similarly about the US.

    (note: i agree about many of the doubts expressed over the EU, particularly anything related to establishing central government, but I’m not sure that just ditching the whole idea & running away is the best tactic. For a start, despite the fact that many Brits would probably enjoy crowing at failed France & Germany, it would probably not be good for us to be sat right next to economic basket cases, & it makes sense to try & steer them onto a more sensible path if they are currently on a foolish one. Also, I for one like the idea of not having to get a visa in order to go & work in most countries in Europe, & would be most resentful of anyone who managed to revert the situation back to one where I had to obtain a visa etc. Brown’s speech yesterday seemed fairly spot on; tell the others to get their asses in gear. Also, remember that the EU’s hardly just France & Germany, & if they *are* having a disproportionate influence, it’s only because they’re making an effort; nothing we couldn’t do in the directions we’d like if we tried.)

  • Syon Park

    I’m a hoot and you’re ignorant.

    Its’ people like you who will destroy the credibility of the eurosceptic lobby.

    Protesting too much (particularly denying you can be racist to fellow Europeans -we’re all together when it suits you) just makes you look more ignorant.

  • Verity

    G Cooper and APL – I’m not so sure. I sense not a troll’s smartypants attitude, but genuine ignorance and indignation. This is someone, in my arrogant opinion, who was brought up with lefty received wisdom and is shaken to discover there is a world out here where everything he holds dear is judged comedic.

    Trolls usually address questions with lofty knowing (who can forget the late, unlamented Kodiak, for example?), but this chap just gets angry and frustrated. He can’t quite get a handle on the argument.

    He hasn’t even looked Caucasian up in the dictionary! Of course, he may not have access to a dictionary where he is.

  • A_t

    Euan:
    “Please explain how a member of a given race can be “racist” in the pejorative sense towards other members of the same race,”

    hmm… considering we’re all basically part of the human race, with some minor differences in facial shape/skin colour etc…. surely this means that according to your logic no-one can be racist, no?

    “Race” is as much a social construct as anything else really, unless you subscribe to the same silly concepts as the fools who got banned a month or so ago. Therefore of course it’s possible to be racist towards Germans or anyone else… Whether the UKIP is motivated by such racism is another question entirely, but to deny that it can even exist is pretty dumb, & doesn’t help the credibility of whatever you happen to be supporting.

    (if you still believe there can be no such thing as european-on-european racism, please explain what you would call the opinions of someone who would beat up a German person because they were German)

  • GCooper

    A_t writes:

    “What I don’t understand about this NAFTA idea is, all you folk are rueing the influence the French & Germans will have over us, & yet are simultaneously willing to sign up to a structure in which there will clearly be one dominant player, which can easily set the agenda if it wishes”

    It’s the difference between an economic grouping and a political one.

    That there would be friction in an enlarged NAFTA is unquestionable, but at least it would only be economically based friction.

    The EU was fraudulently sold to us as a free trade alliance. As those who were around at the time will recall, anyone who dared suggest that the real underlying motive for the EU was to form a single political entity was accused of ‘scare-mongering’.

    It turns out we were sold a pup, but it seems from what you’ve sad, that you are aware of that.

    NAFTA wouldn’ be perfect (and I’m still undecided about its potential) but it simply could not be worse than a centralised government run in the interests of those in power – often specifically against those of the UK.

  • GCooper

    Verity writes:

    “G Cooper and APL – I’m not so sure. I sense not a troll’s smartypants attitude, but genuine ignorance and indignation.”

    You could be right, Verity. The latest carbon copy postings could suggest a wheel is falling off, or a trolling exercise, so I’m damned if I know.

    Either way, life’s too short to waste arguing with the SPs of this world.

    So I shan’t.

  • Verity

    A_t – I would call such a stupid person a nationalist. As in “and English nationalist”. You cannot bend the anthropological definition of race (and I grant you, of course, that we are all members of the human race). But there are three major sub categories of human (no, Syon, it doesn’t mean I think any of them is sub human, so get your finger off the trigger) race: Caucasian, Mongoloid and Negroid. Then it gets down to more specific categories like the Anglo Saxons, etc, who are tribes who share physical characteristics and history.

    In fact, football hooliganism overseas should rightly be referred to as “warring tribal factions”.

    By the way, Syon, font of all humour on a slow, baking hot Thursday afternoon, if a French Jew takes an active dislike to an English Jew, does that make him a racist? An anti-Semite? A Holocaust denier?

    I have a question, though: Is Aryan a sub-category or a race? Because, as we know, Aryan includes Iranians and N Indians – who clearly aren’t Caucasian. Does anyone know?

  • APL

    A_T: “What I don’t understand about this NAFTA idea is, all you folk are rueing the influence the French & Germans….”

    As far as I know, NAFTA does not forbid membership of any other trading block, I believe the EU does. The EU would (does) restrict our ability to trade at advantageous terms, whereas membership of NAFTA would promote such ability.

    If we were to leave the EU, and join EFTA (deja vu ah, happy days!) then we could have access to the US market and the European market and run our political system the manner we have been accustomed.

    Then all we in the UK would need to do is join the South East Asian trading block, the South American trading block and negotiate a few bilateral trade agreements with anyone else who cares to for tarif free trade around the world.

    A_T: “..will have over us,”

    In actual fact, “has over us”.

  • Rob Read

    I’m voting for the APL party!

  • Sandy P

    –Protesting too much otherwise merely makes you look more like one. Particularly denying the existence of racism between Europeans – thats absurd.–

    It’s not “race” it’s “ethnicity.” There’s a difference. If white people are a race, how can they be racist against each other?

  • Sandy P

    Verity, CAFTA signed last week, IIRC.

    What do we get out of it?

    Hopefully in the long run, not as many unskilled, low wage immigrants.

    If we can make it more attractive/profitable for them to stay home, they will. That’s my personal opinion. If we don’t get a handle on this, we’ll balkanize and we know how well that worked in Europe’s neck of the world.

    Mexicans send back about $15 billion a year to Mexico, it’s considered a nice piece of their budget.

    Also, hope for a better future. Look at Viet Nam afte Nike went in. 15 years after the fact, they’re affording cars which means others have to learn how to service those cars and it ripples out. If people are working, they’re too busy to cause mischief.

    Idle hands are the devil’s playthings – hope I don’t turn you off writing that. Look at the ME.

    No one thinks the ME to the next level. Ok, we find alternative sources for fuel. All they really have to offer is oil. You think they’re going to be mad that the one and only real gravy train stops? You think they’ll want to attack us? SA already stated that if we find alternatives, massive wealth transfer must take place. People just don’t realize that. They have no skills, nothing to offer the world other than oil to support themselves at this time. They can’t compete in mfg against China and tech against India. And when 50% of your population can’t be “educated” drive, or participate, you’re not going anywhere except down.

  • Verity

    Sandy P – You don’t know what you’re talking about. Caucasians are a race. They are one race. They have the gene match-ups. End of story. A French individual who hates Swedes in not a racist. The race of both is Caucasian.

    I know it’s hard to bear, but applying the word racism to people who have taken against a member of their own race is absurd. Do not try to subvert the English language to California-Nulab-Speak and do not try to subvert science.

    It’s important to hold the line here, because the left in CA and Britain are into Caterpillarspeak, “Words mean whatever I want them to mean.” We must hold the line, or we don’t have a language. Or we have a diminished language at the service of the brainwashers.

  • Verity

    Sandy P – I must apologise at once as I misread your post – which I think you will agree, if you reread it, was not clear about your thoughts. But ethnicity is another way of saying race. They are not two separate things. Let us not have a kumbaya moment over such an important subversion of language.

    The people keeping the word “race” on the roil are the commies/socialists/labour to further their agendas. And they have expanded its remit. Now, if you are white and have a complaint about your white neighbour across the street, you are a racist (and a Holocaust denier).

    This is sinister. Because it was promoted by the British government as an ends to a means the British have no stomach for.

  • Susan

    And just to let you know, we just added most of Central America – CAFTA. South America will be left to wallow in its’ scloeric (sp) socialistic EUtopia vision.

    Except for Chile, no? Haven’t we just finished signing a free trade agreement with Chile?

    Lots of Chilean wine in my local supermarket!

    Because, as we know, Aryan includes Iranians and N Indians – who clearly aren’t Caucasian. Does anyone know?

    They are generally accepted as Caucasians in the US. As are Arabs and Afghans.

  • Julian Morrison

    Verity etc, no use countering SP’s accusations of “racism” so literally. It’s obvious from context that what SP means is “countryism” (that’s a word I just made up, btw) or perhaps “jingoism”. Specifically, the irrational prejudice that foreigners are not quite civilized, not quite as bright, and really do need to be told what to do by an Englishman. This is the image left-raised people have of euroskeptics.

    The counter to that accusation is: we aren’t against the EU because it’s foreign. We’re against it because it’s a bad idea.

  • Chris Goodman

    It was Humpty-Dumpty who said words mean what I chose it to mean “neither more nor less”

    Iranians and Northern Indians generally speak an Indo-European language (the originally meaning of Aryan) and are Caucasian (although not in the narrow sense of white European).

    Some people in Europe have, and still do, view their nationality as a superior racial group.

    Since the British [or the Anglosphere] do not view themselves as a race [in any sense other than mongrel Caucasian] this argument does not apply.

    I have yet to hear any British person make an argument against the European Union on racial grounds, although it is possible. Since nobody here is making that argument it is irrelevant.

    This is NOT to say that distinction are not made between different parts of Europe on the basis of cultural practices, NEITHER is it the case that people in the UK or in the Anglosphere do not or have not sought to make racial discriminations. In this debate however the “race” issue [the racism card] is a “King Charles Head”. (See David Copperfield).

  • Verity

    Actually, Julian, when I wrote the word ‘nationalism’, it was because I couldn’t think of the better word ‘jingoism’. You redefined it as “countryism”. Why? What is wrong with nationalism? Why do you seek a new term in order to counter the Syons and other thought facscists? You are allowing the battlefield to be defined by them.

    One – jingoism – is a distaste for another society because it’s not sufficiently like one’s own.

    The other – racism – is a distaste for different racial characteristics. Thick lips. Or “slanty eyes”, etc.

    Duh.

    Verity etc, no use countering SP’s accusations of “racism” so literally

    Wrong! Those ignorant accusations are meant to be taken literally, and I believe the accusers are serious. I find this dangerous. Blair & Co have already succeeded in subverting the language of the moron class, and it’s creeping upwards.

  • GCooper

    I thought the Eurosceptic position was rather nicely summed-up in a letter in today’s Telegraph from the South East Counties Organiser for the UKIP, Lt Cdr Stephen Harris:

    “We have no problem with the E in the EU, just with the U.”

    Well said!

  • Sandy P

    Don’t agree, I’m not french. They’re white and part of the race, but that’s not my ethnic background.

    Should we use cultural?

  • Julian Morrison

    Verity, you said “those ignorant accusations are meant to be taken literally”. I reply: I think the problem is whn someone is misusing a word, and you counter their use of a ord, it looks like you’re evading the thrust of the indended accusation by defeating what is in practise a straw man.

    Also, when I invented the word “countryism”, I deliberately didn’t use the word “nationalism”, because I meant “unreasoning nation-based prejudice”. Nationalism the word is seriously blurry in definition IMO. It doesn’t specify whether the person is thinking of people or government (or conflating the two). It doesn’t specify whether other nations are “not as much preferred” or actively despised. It doesn’t specify whether the opinion is based upon reason, or preference, or is pure bigotry.

    For these reasons, I think that the word “nationalism” itself is a problem. It conflates reasoned preference with nazi grunting. I think that the concept of “nationalism” is a reason why left-raised people are so reflexively “internationalist”. If you’re one sort of “nationalist” you must be a lite version of the other, so runs their thinking, because the word defines the concept to them.

  • Julian Morrison

    Verity, you said “those ignorant accusations are meant to be taken literally”. I reply: the problem is when someone is misusing a word, and you counter their usage while ignoring or wilfully misreading the argument, it looks like you’re evading the question.

    Also, when I invented the word “countryism”, I deliberately didn’t use the word “nationalism”, because I wanted to clearly mean “unreasoning nation-based prejudice”.

    Nationalism the word is seriously blurry in definition IMO. It doesn’t specify whether the person is thinking of people or government or tradition (or conflating them). It doesn’t specify whether other nations are “not as much preferred” or actively despised. It doesn’t specify whether the opinion is based upon reason, or preference, or is pure bigotry.

  • Julian Morrison

    Ack posted twice, older version and newer, heh. anyhow both apply.

  • Julian Morrison

    Oh, btw, here’s the guardian reading folks’ answer: Threat to curb pollsters after overestimate of Ukip

  • Luniversal

    There is a good deal of confusion evident in this thread about “race”: not surprising, since the word is indiscriminately used to mean homo sapiens, a major subspecies thereof (e.g. Negroid, Oriental/Mongoloid) or, more colloquially, a fairly homogeneous national population: “the island race”.

    May I direct your attention to the work of Cavalli Sforza’s team at Stanford on population groups, using the most extensive DNA analysis yet attempted. This graphic shows the genetic distance between 42 of the world’s “population groups” (bien pensant anthropological term) and how they cluster in four, not three, major “races”: Caucasoid (white), Negroid (black), Oriental (NE Asian) and SE Asian. The Asian boundary divides China, broadly on the rice/noodles line; thus China is a multiracial empire, not a monoracial nation state. (Some ethnic groups, e.g. Arabs, Jews and Roma/Sinti, have not yet been mapped):

    http://home.comcast.net/~neoeugenics/GeneMap.htm

    There is much debate about how significant these groups are. “Races”, major or minor, are clinal, i.e. fuzzily demarcated; but they are more than “social constructs”, as any Japanese drinking distilled liquor, black person eating double cream or doctor deciding which blood group to use in a transfusion is all too aware.

    Of course the real hot potato is whether mental as well as physical differences, such as average IQ, can be detected. The brain is an organ like others, but in the West it is not PC to talk about subspecietal variations in mental function, except to assert that if they exist at all they can be levelled by social pressures and interventions to “change the culture”. Libertarians, like marxists, tend to subscribe to blank- slate theories of human nature and to uphold a Cartesian, quasi-mystical distinction between mind and body.

  • Julian Morrison

    Luniversal : I’d suspect that most libertarians would subscribe to the strict-individualist view on “race”, namely that racial averages, existent or non-, are relevant only to statisticians. One judges individuals on their merits.

    I’d add: persons obsessed with such matters are probably scum nazis trying to convince themselves they’re “scientific really”. As if that were any excuse.

  • S. Weasel

    Libertarians, like marxists, tend to subscribe to blank- slate theories of human nature and to uphold a Cartesian, quasi-mystical distinction between mind and body.

    I’m not sure that’s so. It’s more that libertarians realize, with relief, that their beliefs mean they don’t have to get near this nasty, smelly issue at all.

  • Verity

    Chris Goodman – I agree. But I think G Cooper’s pointing to the letter in The Telegraph saying we have no problem with the E in EU; it’s the U which we loathe, is apt and answers people like the whiny, thick Syon Park.

    I don’t believe I’ve ever met an anti-EU person who thought the Germans, French, Danes, etc were stupid or inept. In fact, we seem to be somewhat in awe of German brainpower and education and French contributions to Western civilisation, Danish bravery and so on.

    Julian – “the problem is when someone is misusing a word, and you counter their usage while ignoring or wilfully misreading the argument, it looks like you’re evading the question.”

    Well, I hadn’t thought of that, but even if I had, I think I would have still fought to maintain the correct deployment of language because Syon Park is an example of the horrifying fact that the socialists are winning in the subversion of language and meaning.

    Before Syon Park shone a light on his own towering ignorance, I had thought that British children attending state schools were being poorly taught. If he was “educated”, for want of a more appropriate term, in a British state school, he is proof that they are not being badly taught, but are being intentionally taught lies.

    In other words, language is being subverted so these children, as adults, will have no powers of comprehension (especially of what government ministers and officials are saying) and no means of expressing themselves and no means of understanding their rights. Brainwashed from infancy and kept ignorant.

    That’s why I banged on.

    Thanks to those who responded re Aryans and Caucasians. It’s very interesting. I know Iranians become very exercised if one refers to them as Arab.

  • Effra

    Verity: If you look up the HGDP chart to which I linked, you will see that there is little genetic distance between Iranians and Greeks, Italians, Danish or English. Iranians are not Arabs.

    “Aryan” is a 19C linguistic term which was misappropriated by early racial theoreticians.

  • A_t

    Before you go any further with these weird race discussions, i think the word you’re all looking for is Xenophobia, no?

    “Fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign.”

    sounds about right.

    You may not think so, but I believe that some adherents to both the pro-EU and “eurosceptic” lobbies are driven primarily by emotional considerations; fear/dislike of the idea of collaborating with dirty continentals on the one hand, some wishy-washy idea of pan-European brotherhood/USA-challenging power on the other. I’m not applying this to anyone here, because I believe you’re more intelligent than that, but I think it’d be hard to categorically deny that both these considerations fuel significant proportions of the electorate.

  • Verity

    Effra – Thanks. That is interesting. I know that Iranians are not Arabs, which is why I made my comment. I used to have an Iranian friend who would bounce off the walls if anyone referred to him as an Arab. But what you say is very interesting.

    A_t – “I’m not applying this to anyone here, because I believe you’re more intelligent than that.” Well lah-dee-dah. How posh of us! (I hope you’re excepting Syon Park….)

    Face it, most of the continental countries do not have a good record. That doesn’t mean we like them any less, but I think it is unwise to get too hooked up with them. Let’s have an affair, but not get married.

    Second, the (other) elephant in the living room. Language.

    Third, there is absolutely no reason to impose this giant superstructure on 25 countries that already have their internal governing infrastructure. It’s mad.

  • A_t

    “Face it, most of the continental countries do not have a good record. That doesn’t mean we like them any less, but I think it is unwise to get too hooked up with them. Let’s have an affair, but not get married.”

    Hmm… call me a fool, but I see no reason why France or Germany in their current incarnations are any more likely to turn fascistic than our good selves. You may speak of the superiority of x or y legal system, but the best guard against totalitarianism is the vigilance of a country’s citizens. Meek UK citizens are currently putting up with far more CCTV coverage than anywhere else in the world with nary a whisper of protest. Our government has implemented all sorts of restrictions on personal freedoms, & instituted various measures to weaken the democratic process, & no-one seems particularly bothered. Individuals i’ve met from our continental neighbours appear, if anything, rather more conscious of how valuable their freedoms are than us (possibly because they’ve been endangered recently? who knows), so I don’t share your suspicion.

    I will not judge the current populations of Germany etc. on the basis of their ancestors’ performance. The UK has a lot to get over… today’s Germany for instance has very little to do with the Germany which started the 2nd world war. I think your suspicion is unjustified & irrational.

    Furthermore, despite having French friends etc., I would say you have a certain predisposal towards getting outraged at least at the French; witness your bizarre rant at the French preference for French cars a few weeks back (name me one nation with a healthy car industry doesn’t disproportionately buy domestically produced cars), & your outrage that Vauxhaulls were nowhere to be seen (for your information, they’re all over France, only they’re called Opels; Vauxhaulls are basically German cars which are successfully rebranded to appeal to foolish British ‘patriots’ who believe they’re buying a British car thanks to a simple badge change).

  • A_t

    As to the language thing… English, innit? ‘Cultural institutions’ may get all uppity about it, but young people in most countries know where the action’s at. I’ve met very few well educated young Europeans who didn’t have a grasp of English.

  • Verity

    A_t – I didn’t rant at the French for preferring their own cars. I drive a Renault. But France, in case you didn’t know it, is an export economy. It imports very little. I rarely see an Opel, no matter how it’s branded. Ninety-five percent of cars in France are Citroen, Renault or Peugot. You see an occasional Mazda for some reason.

    You have a strong point about the bovine nature of the British right now. The passivity takes my breath away. The Americans would have had a revolution five years ago. Although, of course, it sincerely would not enter the head of an American congressperson that behaving in the dictatorial, authoritarian, controlling, freedom-despising manner of T Bliar was a possibility for an elected representative.

    One of the many things that sticks in many craws is, the EU has been dishonest from the outset. It has lied and manipulated in secret. Another thing that sticks in many craws is, British prime ministers have been complicit.

    But yes, the French do drive me crazy, despite my friendship with some and despite my friendly and nice neighbours. They have no concept of customer service. Try to get a bank to correct (or even acknowledge an error). Or the phone company. Or the (state-owned) electricity company. All big organisations here are jammed with bureaucrats whose dream it is to toil unnoticed, never making a single decision, through to early retirement on a fat pension. There is no pride in their work. (This doesn’t apply to small artisans, who are in the main extremely good and painstaking. My quarrel is with the big organisations, which all mimic big government.)

    And those small artisans, no matter how good their reputation is, will never grow their companies. Most have one apprentice. End of story. The red tape involved in employing someone in France is a nightmare, and once hired, they can’t be fired. It’s not worth it for a small businessman to take the chance.

  • Verity

    A_t – Young French people are not all well educated, believe me. I seldom encounter anyone where I am who speaks English. Even realtors. In my experience, the number of young French who can speak even barely adequate English is roughly equivalent to the number of young Brits who can speak even barely adequate French. Tiny. I have found far more young people in the SW US who are fairly able in Spanish than French who can speak English.

  • Johan

    Before you go any further with these weird race discussions, i think the word you’re all looking for is Xenophobia, no?

    “Fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign.”

    Wariness of strangers has been a sound evolutinary stratigy for humans for millennia. Since you appear to be saying it has become a redundant strategy in the last half century, reasonably the burden of proving it to everone’s satisfaction should be yours.

    I rather like the “speak softly but carry a big stick” dictum; or to put it another way,give someone the benefit of the doubt but if necessary be prepared to hit them hard.

    Now, from my point of view the EU reverses that strategy, military spending in the EU is probably the lowest in the World, yet the rhetoric is at its loudest.

    And who could disagree with your last point? in any grouping, there will be a distribution of opinions and views. What point are you trying to make?

  • A_t

    Verity, saying “young french people are not well educated” is plain dumb. Perhaps they’re not round where you are, but then to be ruthless about it, they’re not the important ones. They’re not the ones who can potentially grow Europe’s economy anyway; they’re clearly not about to be entrepreneurs, and don’t need to be able to speak to people in other countries, although they may prove useful waged drones if the French get round to making it easier for small businesses to employ people. There are clearly plenty well educated young people in France, else they’d have no doctors & all their various engineering industries etc. would fall apart. If you’re not living in a big city, this is understandable; the same happens in the UK; the talent gets leached off, principally towards London… the way of the modern world.

    As to the car percentage… i agree that a majority of French cars are French-made, as would be the case in the UK if we still had a car industry to speak of…. I think you exaggerate somewhat though… i was driving (a Renault) down a French motorway last weekend, & saw a fair number of at least German & Japanese cars… a few Italian ones (as everywhere except Italy, only a few will brave the interesting phenomenon which is the Italian car).

  • A_t

    Johan, “Wariness of strangers has been a sound evolutinary stratigy for humans for millennia. Since you appear to be saying it has become a redundant strategy in the last half century, reasonably the burden of proving it to everone’s satisfaction should be yours.”

    Hmm.. ok, why according to your logic, should I trust a Frenchman any more or less than the majority of Englishmen, who are equally strangers to me?

    The construction of some notional “national identity” doesn’t actually make them any more or less likely to rob me, murder me or defraud me than said Frenchman. So why make a point of being more suspicious of foreigners than your fellow compatriots? I’m curious to see if you can come up with a reasonable explanation.

  • Verity

    A_T – the German cars you saw on the autoroute were driving down from Germany to look at property. Or they were towing caravans headed to the Med. I don’t know of a single French who drives a German car. They just wouldn’t.

    Your point was that English was going to be the lingua franca, so to speak, of the EU.

    My point was that that is not possible because most of the French – as in, probably, 85% – can’t speak English and have only been taught it in a desultory sort of way for a couple of years, because it’s required.

    Of course there are highly educated people in France! There are wonderful doctors here, and wonderful vets (who speak English) and very clever, canny lawyers and research scientists and engineers (they engineered the TGV, for god’s sake!) and so on. Their health system is highly intelligently organised and impeccably delivers 100% of what it promises.

    But the average person does not speak English and doesn’t have the faintest interest in learning. So, according to you, the lingua franca of the EU would be the language of the European educated and elite (and the Scandinavians and Dutch, most of whom speak better English than we do).

    You didn’t answer my other point: why have it?

  • Johan

    “I’m curious to see if you can come up with a reasonable explanation.”

    Simply put, If you know a Frenchman as well as know an Englishman, you should not trust the Englishman any more than the Frenchman just on the basis of your common nationality. All other things being equal, a sensible person would use clues other than the nationality of each individual to make decisions as to trustworthyness.

    What I think you are deliberately trying to do, is confuse the behaviour of individuals and the behaviour of groups of individuals.

    In the scenario you seem to obsess about, I don’t have any doubt that the manifestation of the French as a group, i.e. their government, is decidedly racist (to use your favorite term) in it’s persuit of the French national interest, equally I recognise the british are supine and next to useless in the persuit of our national interest.

    Off the top of my head, I cannot think of one instance where the French government has given up an advantage or accepted territorial right for the benefit of the ‘community’, where the british have for example handed over the terrirorial fishing grounds and watched as the british fishing industry has been destroyed. All the time paying nearly £10bn per year for the privilege.

    They protect their banking industry, car industry, wine industry Engineering and because the British don’t, while paying our EU danegeld, we are actually subsidising their protectionist policies.

    The point is not that the French are bad because they are French, but we are foolish to beileve that we are engaged in an endevour (the EU) of mutual benefit, we are not.

  • Ms Fagan

    There is a rag bag of benefits:

    Single market competition rules mean the price of air travel from the UK to the rest of Europe has halved in the last ten years. Competition in the liberalised EU telecoms market has led to 50 per cent cheaper calls. A 3 minute call to Italy cost £1.86 in 1989 but only 91p in 1999. In 1999, 59% of the UK’s trade in goods was with EU partners (up from 35% in 1973)

    63.6% (£5.9 billion in 1998) of UK food exports to EU, up from 25% in 1970 In 1999, the UK produced 1.9 million cars: over 90% of those exported went to EU Member States. People are free to work across Europe, as well as those with professional and other qualifications. Thousands of Britons take advantage of this benefit bestowed by the EU every year, from professors to construction workers. All food products must carry “best before” markings, price indicators and a list of ingredients, colourings and additives which they contain. Europe wide standards on mobile phone communication – hence allowing Vodafone to become so large. Note that the EU didn’t create Vodafone, it created the framework which enabled it to grow so large so easily.

    According to economics theory, a trade deficit (or surplus) should be self-correcting through the action of the currency markets. If you are running a big deficit, the value of your currency should fall, making your exports cheaper and your imports more expensive (the opposite applies for a surplus). As with so much economic theory, this doesn’t entirely apply in the real world: for much of the last 20 years the US and the UK have run big trade deficits, Germany and Japan big surpluses. The consequence of running a constant trade deficit is not that you are ‘losing money’, but that your foreign currency reserves are depleted. These can be replenished through the international capital markets, through foreigners buying your currency or government securities. This is particularly true of the US, where the dollar is the international reserve currency and the currency oil is priced in, this requires all foreign states to buy dollars, financing the colossal US trade deficit. Whether this is sustainable over the long term is open to question, but if foreign states stop buying Sterling (or dollars), then the value of the currency will fall, acting to correct our deficit.

    The idea that we are somehow ‘losing money’ on our international trade is one of the more ludicrous Europhobe suggestions I’ve heard recently. Perhaps we should stop all international trade, like North Korea for example?

  • Verity

    Johan – couldn’t have said it better myself. No apologist for the EU can actually tell the electorate why we “need” an EU.

    Does anyone seriously think Germany will ever attack France or Poland? Seriously?

    Europeans, it seems to me, rub along pretty pleasantly together.

    And Johan is right. Britons are subsidising French protectionist policies. I wouldn’t be so mad as to suggest that French supermarkets should carry Chilean Merlots or New Zealand Chardonnays, but, uh, shouldn’t they routinely have shelves full of Italian and German wines? Not a token bottle? Shouldn’t they have at least one British cheese? A wonderful sharp Cheddar (which the French don’t make, so it wouldn’t even be competition)? Are you kidding? Around 100 cheeses on display, and none of our wonderful cheeses from Britain.

    As I said, France is an export economy and it is protectionist to the nth degree. And I will throw down a challenge using Johan’s point. Name one money-maker, job-provider the French have ceded to the EU. The French, mes amis, look after their own. The British do not.

  • Albion4Ever

    If Britons are “xenophobic”, that mistrust is not directed against French, Spanish, Italians etc but against the mysterious tribe of Eurocrats who seem to have repudiated their widely varying national heritages and identities in favour of a allegiance to a synthetic Europeanness.

    A geographical definition has been flammed up into a nation state in waiting. But we don’t want to move there, and neither do most Frenchmen, Germans, etc. A self-selected few whose habitat is the conference centre, the airport lounge and the hotel room just love being EU-ropeans. Count the rest of us out.

  • A_t

    Johan,

    I believe the main point of what you’re saying is that our government have sold us short by not representing our interests. This doesn’t necessarily mean the EU is a bad thing; it means our past few governments have been useless.

    as for “The point is not that the French are bad because they are French, but we are foolish to beileve that we are engaged in an endevour (the EU) of mutual benefit, we are not.”

    The idea that an endevour in which two or more parties only seek self interest is a *bad* thing smacks of socialistic thinking; in most capitalist transactions, neither party is acting out of any sense of altruism, yet usually everbody gains.

  • Verity

    Hmmm – “Ms Fagan” reads remarkably like the dreaded Becky, prolix troll of this parish, around a year ago. The same superior attitude. The same lightning response crammed with facts and figures. The same dense text…. I think Becky’s back. Next, Kodiak.

  • APL

    Ms Fagan: “There is a rag bag of benefits…”

    Which turn out to be nothing to do with the EU at all, suggesting that the fall in international telecoms costs is a result of the EU is risable. Compare the cost of calling the USA now as opposed to thirty years ago, you will see a price drop similar to, if not in excess of that quoted by Ms Fagan as a benefit of the EU.

    As to air travel, Freddy Laker was offering cheap no frills transatlantic air travel decades before Ryan air or Easy Jet had one leased aircraft between them.

    Forward to today, the EU competition commission has ruled that the cheap no frills airlines that were modeled on Freddy Lakers skytrain, are in breach of European competition law.

    A classic example of the EU realising there is some competition going on in the ‘single market’ and stamping it out, PDQ.

    As to the quoted statistics regarding import and export of food, before we joined the EEC as it was then, we had a thriving import and export buisness with our commonwealth partners including Australia and New Zealand. That was shut down overnight, in my opinion in an attempt to force us to find markets within the EEC.

    But anyway, trade statistics are actually irrevelant to the benefits of the EU, if the EU wants to trade with us we (the UK) will trade with them, if the EU wants to put impediments (tarrif barriers) in the way of our trade, we will go and trade somewhere else.

    By the way, too right the EU didn’t create Vodaphone, Vodaphone took over Mannisman in the teeth of German opposition to the merger. The Germans used every trick to frustrate the emergance of a European wide Telecoms company because it was not German. So much for the European ideal.

    I would love to take the time to demolish the drivel that Ms Fagan attempts to pass off as economic theory, but I am afraid I can’t be bothered.

    One last thing.

    Ms Fagan: “Perhaps we should stop all international trade, like North Korea for example?”

    Which is of course what the EU tries to do, it is a tarrif protected trading block. Doh!

  • GCooper

    APL writes:

    “The Germans used every trick to frustrate the emergance of a European wide Telecoms company because it was not German. So much for the European ideal.”

    Well, yes. And arguably even worse was the way in which deregulated utilities in the UK were allowed to be taken over by (mostly) French interests, whilst barriers not only were up against UK companies, but still bloody well are!

    Verity’s ever-sensitive antennae might well be right about the identity of Ms Fagan (‘leftistangel’ my Aunt Fanny!) but I’d (ever so tentatively) suggest an alternative explanation. The EU actually employs people (at our expense) to cruise the newspapers, writing rebuttals, pushing propaganda and so on.

    Is Samizdata sufficient of a thorn in their backsides to warrant attention from Eurodrones?

    Oh, I do hope so!

  • Susan

    Iranians are not Arabs.

    And amongst their near neighbors, the Afghans, one can commonly find folks with auburn hair and green or blue eyes. Such as the famous “Afghan girl” who posed on the cover of Natonal Geographic during the Soviet invasion:

    Afghan Girl With Green Eyes

  • Verity

    G Cooper – You could be right. It could be Brussels. If it’s an undercover ministry of propaganda, though, I would tend to suspect the Blair regime – taxpayer funded, of course, to persuade the soma people to vote for suicide.

  • Ian

    “The EU actually employs people (at our expense) to cruise the newspapers, writing rebuttals, pushing propaganda and so on.

    Is Samizdata sufficient of a thorn in their backsides to warrant attention from Eurodrones?”

    When do we start talking about the black helicopters?

  • Chris Goodman

    The latest figures show that over the ten-year period 1993-2002 the UK paid a £104 billion to EU institutions (of which it received back £64 billion via spending by European bureaucrats in the UK). Our contribution to Europe is thus on average £4 billion a year.

    The European Union has an propaganda budget which is listed as 105 million euros a year e.g. roughly the same as Brian Micklethwait spends on cameras each year.

    No mention is made of black helicopters.

  • pforster

    Having just entered and read this entire thread, it seems to me that Syon Park has de facto become the straw man (woman). Surely someone can come up with a stronger argument in favour of the EU? As my views are also EU-sceptic, though, I’m not the one!

    Some more grist: the death of geography. As electronic commerce and services become an increasingly big part of the world economy, geographical proximity becomes less and less important for trade. Witness the massive growth in outsourcing of services, such as call centers, to India (the opposite side of the planet in the case of the US). At the same time, transport costs of physical goods comprise a decreasing proportion of value added. So, the fact that Britain is geographically tacked on to Europe is becoming a progressively weaker justification for giving priority to that economic zone.

  • Hi
    I`m new here and I just read the entire thread so I`ll just make a few points

    1. You accuse Syon of being a troll. I am still confused by the meaning of this but heres what I got from google:

    An outrageous message posted to a newsgroup or mailing list or message board to bait people to answer. Trolling is a form of harassment that can take over a discussion. Well meaning defenders can create chaos by responding to trolls. The best response is to ignore it. Also, the person who posts such messages.

    So if Syon is a “troll” you`ve done exactly the wrong thing by playing into her hands after she called you a racist and changing the subject to talk about all this race crap which is completely irrelevant.

    2. Chris Goodman- That complete crap that you wrote about your ancestors fighting for England. What a load of bullshit. Not only is it completely irrelevant to an intellectual debate but its also totally counterproductive. It makes us eurosceptics look like flag waving baffoons which is the whole reason were in the EU to start with.

    3. Syon goes on about not caring were our laws are made. Well thats fair enough, however Syon may not care but everyone else does. So as most people in Britain disagree with a superstate it is therefore wrong to take us into one. People should be governed by who they want to be governed by anything else is undeomcratic and therefore wrong. For example if the majority of Scots want an independent Scotland you cannot make an arguement against one, you cannot democratically stop them from having one, it would be wrong. Where people are not governed by who they want to be governed by violence irrupts witness: NI, Basque.

    4.If we were in NAFTA and had a free trade agreement with the EU wouldn`t America be able to export goods through britain to the EU thereby destroying their tarif barriers? Isn`t it also annoying that you never get disscussions about other options like NAFTA outside of obscure web forums? I mean on TV

    5.I also think you shouldn`t go on about the failings on the continental economies so much and should talk about the failings of the EU institutions more. Because if all the eurosceptic arguement is is that our economy is superior where would that leave us if the contintal economies resurge like in the 70s. For example did you know that if you dont turn up to vote in the EU parliament then you are automatically counted as voting for the proposal. How undemocratic is that!

    6.See my weblog for more of my dumb opinions: http://rogersanchez.joeuser.com/

    7.Vote UKIP