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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Seven alternatives to the EU (in case it all gets too much)

This article of mine appears in The Week/The First Post.

Neil Clark: As German leaders issue heavy-handed threats, here's a timely survey of Britain’s options

A SENIOR German politician has inflamed the great Europe debate by saying, in effect, that all European countries are expected to fall into line behind Germany, Britain included – even over the controversial Robin Hood tax on financial transactions...........

So, it's a good time to ask - would it really be the disaster Nick Clegg and this fellow europhiles prophecy if Britain did the unthinkable and left the EU?

You can read the whole article here.


David Lindsay said...

The nightmare vision of Margaret "Single European Act" Thatcher is becoming a reality, with democracy wholly supplanted by a banking-based technocracy exemplified by the new Italian Cabinet, which has not a single politician in it. All of this was predicted at the time and earlier by pro-Commonwealth Keynesians from Peter Shore to Sir Peter Tapsell. They were right, and Thatcher was wrong, even though, in her own terms, all of this was exactly what she wanted.

Of your seven suggestions, the first three should be dismissed out of hand, but the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh are wholly compatible with each other, and should be pursued forthwith: realignment with the BRICS countries, realignment within the Commonwealth (of which, I might add, Cyprus and Malta are also members, the Irish Republic ought to be, and Portugal and Belgium are historically close enough to us that they probably could be), the implementation of the policies that the sainted Shore advocated while Shadow Chancellor, and the negotiation of bilateral trade agreements around the world. Our foreign and defence policy should also be founded on those same four pillars.

Where existing EU commitments are concerned, neither renegotiation nor referendum is necessary, but only legislation with five simple clauses: the restoration of the supremacy of British over EU law (with the use of that to repatriate agricultural policy, and to restore our historic fishing rights in accordance with international law), the disapplication in the United Kingdom of any EU law not passed through both Houses of Parliament exactly as if it had originated in one or other of them, the requirement that British Ministers adopt the show-stopping Empty Chair Policy in the Council of Ministers until it meets in public and publishes an Official Report akin to Hansard, the disapplication of any ruling of either European Court unless and until ratified by a resolution of the House of Commons, and the disapplication of anything passed by the European Parliament unless it had been passed by the majority of those MEPs certified as politically acceptable by one or more seat-taking members of the House of Commons. Easy.

David Lindsay said...

That said, and following quite a bit of discussion on my own blog, if membership of EFTA could be reconciled with those four, and if EFTA would have us, then perhaps we should also adopt it.

Neil Clark said...

thanks, David. Some very good points. Peter Shore has, as you say, been totally vindicated.

Vladimir Gagic said...

NAFTA is the poster child of the neoliberal race to the bottom for working class wages. It was the Clinton's centerpiece for his economic agenda, and a big reason why the American middle class has all but disappeared.