Winds of change

Lord Soley

We are living through a time of rapid and dramatic political and economic change. The financial crisis that hit the West has done enormous damage not just to the world economy but also to the reputation of the West as economic managers. Britain suffered additional problems because of the central importance of London as an international financial centre.

Now we have the crisis in the Euro zone. This is also affecting the reputation for sound management by Western powers but perhaps the most important aspect of this is its implications for the UK.

If the Euro zone countries do what is necessary to rescue the Euro then it inevitable means much closer fiscal union within the EU. Does the UK stay outside for ever or does it indicate a long term willingness to join subject to proper controls and democratic procedures? The implications are enormous. Stay outside and we will be on the periphery of a Europe that will eventually become a super power. The UK has always been deeply divided on the issue. It is not just the coalition government that is divided. The divisions run throughout British society.

These are epoch forming times. Would you vote for a truly united Europe or would you vote to stay out? The options are narrowing.

38 comments for “Winds of change

  1. Dave H
    03/10/2011 at 6:53 am

    I would vote to stay out. The EU does not conform to my idea of democracy, with that awful party list system for electing MEPs in the UK and the wholly unelected EU Commission in charge. They have a distressing way of refusing to take no for an answer, as shown by the way various countries have had to re-run a referendum when the result was against what was wanted. It’s noticeable that the possibility of a re-run of a positive vote is never considered, the people can only change their minds to in favour and are never given the opportunity to change the other way.

    The whole EU institution needs to be reformed before it would be even remotely acceptable, and I’m not prepared to accept promises of change, they’d have to put a better system in place before I’d even consider voting to remain as part of the EU.

  2. MilesJSD
    03/10/2011 at 8:33 am

    A hidden scenario already ‘dictates’, not merely to Britain and the EU, but to the USA and the whole-world, and is coming from China,

    to ‘whom’ the USA is so deeply in debt that the interest alone supports not only the Chinese Armed Forces but the continual strengthening of them too.
    (“After America: get ready for Armageddon” (Mark Steyn);

    and when Steyn adds that the Chinese are not fit to become world-governors, one does not need a PhD in Strategic Studies to realise that such unfitness will prevent neither us from continuing to slide under the insidious increase of Chinese Power, nor the Chinese themselves from taking over world-dominance.

    Since publication of “After America”, China has announced to the world that it will continue to support the Euro; but I did not hear them promise to support any other currency.

    For Britain to “go it alone” may seem traditionally “British World-Leadership”, and “heroic”; even “go-for-broke”, and “the Captain must down with his ship”
    but for Britain to be separated-off from Europe (as well as de facto from the USA –

    and a different Sten chapter deals with the established Factor of the World slowly ceasing to be “Anglophone” (historically first under UK English colonialism and second under USA English ‘world policing’);
    and the mere “default” use of the (“) increasingly crappy(“) American-English and English-English language around the world will not maintain it “anglophonistic” –

    Europe on the other hand has a spread of languages, and minds – and of course nitty-gritty productivities and infrastructural and historical Wealth – which at present does also seem to strongly include Englishism …

    (but that’s all I have and all there’s time for today …

    yet if pushed, I think I know already which way my vote is likely to be sent)

  3. Gar Howell
    03/10/2011 at 10:02 am

    I was thinking of the real effect of the IT revolution, and whether the use of the word revolution in that context is a particularly useful one, in our own time.Are we really an evolutionary species which is now Sapientia thanks to the externalization of Memory to various pieces of software and hardware? Computer memory is defined in half a dozen different ways.

    If we are “sapientia”, then economic and financial crises should be much easier to deal with, and even a thing of the past,but then not everybody is as optimistic as I am.

    The revolution has been in the understanding of the “mind” of man.

    There is no reason for not joining the Euro and acquiescing to the wishes of the ECB(European central Bank) even though it is
    controlled 51%(?) by the German national bank.

    It is mere foolish affectation not to be involved with it, and foolish also to imagine that local(ie Greek or Portuguese and so on) banks can not also opt out of it, and print their own notes when the going gets bad.

    A LETS(Local Exchange Trading Scheme)serves very well to remind people of their own local values. The Greeks, a sea faring nation, perhaps the finest of them all, may need to
    re-emphasize their local value for some years, after over trading and over valuing, in my opinion, since the late 90s;far, too expansive for many years. So it is back to the “drak” for the Greeks.

    At much the same time it should be forward to the Euro for the UK.

    We live in a powerfully evolutionary world, in which Germany is the senior European commercial partner. NATO and SHAPE worldwide(yes worldwide) will continue to guarantee peace and security, whichever bank, and whichever money system is used in the countries of the North Atlantic and beyond.

  4. Allie
    03/10/2011 at 11:41 am

    I would never be in favour of a more closer Europe – the current trauma in the Eurozone is is exactly what I always wondered “what happens when the bigger countries have to start propping up those with more debt and less concrete income” and low and behold, we will end up paying to support markets that cannot support the ongoing cost of running their country.

  5. 03/10/2011 at 11:44 am

    Intrinsically, I am in favour of a larger “federal state” for Europe as it is the only way the larger country can compete in the long term against the other large trading/political blocks that are emerging.

    The USA has awesome powers of spending, simply because the Federal Government can take a few cents from each person and spend it on something huge.

    Europe as a collection of individual states could never land a man on the moon, but a Federal Europe could.

    What happens to European competitiveness when East Africa is a single block, ASEAN, Mercosur, GCC etc.?

    That said – the current structure of the European Union is utterly unsuited to such a Federal system and I would not support closer ties with the European Commission until those problems are sorted out.

    In fact, I would propose scrapping the current system and either moving back a bit to a more relaxed trade body, or advancing towards a Federal State, with a totally revamped “government” in Europe.

    The problem with a debate about Europe is that sadly it rarely focuses on the long term goals, and is subsumed in debates about sovereignty and how its a battle between “them and us”.

    Sovereignty is not a fixed entity that cannot change depending on the political situation at the time, so we should be more flexible in that area and open to suggestions of closer ties with other countries – when it is to our mutual benefit.

    Give it a hundred years and school children might read about the UK and France being separate countries as being as quaint an idea as today’s schoolchildren look upon the hundred years war.

    • maude elwes
      03/10/2011 at 4:53 pm



      And who do you believe the scientists behind the NASA space programme were?

      Werhner von Braun a German Nazi who the USA stole from Europe after WW2.

      • Frank W. Summers III
        03/10/2011 at 5:59 pm

        Von Braun was of course perfecting work done by an American which was neglected in part because of the influence of Europeans who undermined his efforts decades earlier:
        “At the time, Germany was highly interested in American physicist Robert H. Goddard’s research. Before 1939, German scientists occasionally contacted Goddard directly with technical questions. Wernher von Braun used Goddard’s plans from various journals and incorporated them into the building of the Aggregat (A) series of rockets. The A-4 rocket is the well known V-2.[17] In 1963, von Braun reflected on the history of rocketry, and said of Goddard’s work: “His rockets … may have been rather crude by present-day standards, but they blazed the trail and incorporated many features used in our most modern rockets and space vehicles.”[8] Goddard confirmed his work was used by von Braun in 1944, shortly before the Nazis began firing V-2s at England.”

        The Nobel prizes in science are named after a European who did some chemical work but mostly imitated American chemist and (in an admittedly dirty struggle got them to back down)while Nobel was ruthless he was more successful mostly because of the location of special kinds of diatomaceous Earth and his access to those places. While these were later discovered in America at that time no reserves had been found. So America used its many dead sons as an excuse to even out the science race with Europe for a while. But not more than that..

        • Frank W. Summers III
          03/10/2011 at 8:14 pm

          I somehow omitted the link and cite to Wikipedia for the long quote above…

          it appeared in a section on his career…

        • maude elwes
          04/10/2011 at 8:44 am


          Could have fooled me. A Cousins father worked at NASA, Redstone Arsenal, when von Braun was there and so we have first hand knowledge of the ‘real’ situation.

          • 04/10/2011 at 5:51 pm

            Maude Elwes,
            I have personal contacts almost across this planet but still find the historical record, first person writings and the memoranda of institutions useful in determing the truth. There is no dount Goddard was vastly more the originator of rocketry than was WVB. There is no doubt that WVB perfected it far better than Goddard. There is little doubt that WVB and men like him won better treatment for other political Germans in the American sectors than they would have been likely to get had there not been such valuable persons to humor. My own feelings about whether Nazis can really have been stolen is another issue entirely. What exactly the DOD felt it owed the Nazis I am not sure but WVB was a party member and despite it being “a single party state” that made him different than most Germans. The US was far kinder to the Nazis that surrendered than I would probably have been in their stead…

      • 04/10/2011 at 4:24 pm

        I am aware of who lead the team – in the USA, funded by US taxpayers based on the ability of the US federal government to tax a vast US population to secure a single US political objective.

        None of which is possible in Europe at the moment.

        • maude elwes
          04/10/2011 at 7:33 pm


          It is possible and it already happens’ Which is why I put up the Ariane link.


          No mention of any great American Space Rocket scientists helping out von Braun here.

          However, he remained dedicated to the German Deutschland Uber Alles whilst he worked for NASA at Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville and played his 78’s as loud as he could at weekends, with the windows wide open. He also kept all his Nazi memorabilia in a locked safe, which was opened and viewed only on special occasions.

          And here they tell us he alone was the master of US Space.

          • DanFilson
            04/10/2011 at 8:33 pm

            All this is scarcely relevant to the future of Europe, the subject of Lord Soley’s initial posting.

            Haydn should not, by the way, be blamed for his gently concerto being given the words of the Deutschlandlied nor the later oompah brass renditions.

            The father of the rocket is really Tsioljkovsky, not Braun or Goddard. As to Goddard being vastly more the originator of rocketry than was WVB, the issue is that WVB perfected it far better than Goddard, and in the world of inventions and exploitation of them that is what counts. I recently found that a British patent for a typewriter was filed in 1714 in the reign of Queen Anne. Not much merit in that if it was not developed to a useful product which certainly did not occur in the lifetime of the patentee!

          • Frank W. Summers III
            04/10/2011 at 10:05 pm

            Dan Filson & Made Elwes,

            Indeed this is not so relevant as one would wish to the original posting. It never was so very relevant nor is it entirely obtuse. The real father of rocketry and his son and his grandson and his great grandson were Chinese, Dan Filson — were Chinese operating in well defined scholarly world. Iain Visits made the point earlier in this thread that America developed the fullness of modern rocketry with the use of its national capacity for social organization after World War II:
            “I am aware of who lead the team – in the USA, funded by US taxpayers based on the ability of the US federal government to tax a vast US population to secure a single US political objective.

            None of which is possible in Europe at the moment”

            All of this relevant in some ways, however all though honestly we continue these trends for intrinsic rhetorical reasons, IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO DRAW CLEAR LINES BETWEEN NATIONS IN ALL ASPECTS OF SCIENCE, ECONOMICS AND TECHNOLOGY. How exactly the issues will be resolved is always controversial.Lord Soley’s post raised issues of this kind and Maude Elwes chose to bring up the WVB issue. It is an important issue. It is timely withe relative crisis of US heavy lift rocketry currently.

            German culture and people play a vital role in both human & Western History and in the Nazi period the worst of that element grew to poison the element. Similar things have happened in other traditions. WVB was a great mind who really got his tart on almost everything from Goddard not implicitly but explicitly. The propaganda war against American intellectuals has always been unceasing. Europe is important & relevant &the rocket stories illustrate that as well.
            This is getting cramped in an effort not to be too long. If Dan Wilson recognizes my comments at all you may know that I am very devoted to Louisiana as an idea, a polity and a society and Louisiana has a strong and important German element which I value. I would not likely have coddled Nazis in the fifties & perhaps they were not so coddled as it seems. A policy in Europe will always be important & on that I think Lord Soley has every reason to be emphatic. That says little about the EU however… I do not doubt Maude Elwes that WVB was the greatest rocket scientist alive & working and thought himself twice as great as he was…. We have few facts in debate between us really…

          • Frank W. Summers III
            04/10/2011 at 10:20 pm

            Maude Elwes,
            Here is a link that does not show how Goddards papers were studied in Germany and not in the USA but does show what the results were as admitted by WVB.

            Dan Filson,
            This link also shows the military connections of all this. WVB was comparable to Handel in that he really desired something noble and great & was better in being arrested by the Nazis once. But he was also a knowing part of a political machine much worse than most. I am a man of few illusions 7 I say that without hesitation.

          • Frank W. Summers III
            05/10/2011 at 12:20 pm

            Yet again I lost a link between saving my own copy and this posting:

  6. Croft
    03/10/2011 at 12:17 pm

    “Would you vote for a truly united Europe or would you vote to stay out? The options are narrowing.”

    I’ve not rechecked relevant votes LS but I wonder what the chances are that if I look at the amendments to have referendums on the various recent EU treaties I find you voted to prevent the public having a say?

    “The UK has always been deeply divided on the issue. It is not just the coalition government that is divided. The divisions run throughout British society.”

    I’m not aware of an EU treaty which the polling suggests ( you can check the various polling websites for past polling) would have been passed by a referendum in some decades. Which is why the previous Labour government, the LDs and the pro-Euro wing of the Tory party have prevented any such vote taking place.

    “willingness to join subject to proper controls and democratic procedures?”

    Is that the present idea of democratic procedures where the public indicates in polling a clear view and parliament votes to do the opposite without a referendum?

    “Europe that will eventually become a super power.”

    And the evidence for that is? China is poised (particularly as its been growing while the west is contracting) to pass the US depending on how you calculate the figures in 2016 (IMF) or more conservative estimates in the 2020s. India and Brazil as powering ahead and likely to pass the EU in the decades following that. Compared with the EU which has had sclerotic long term growth by comparison and is busy piling on costs onto their businesses, the EU is losing ground relatively not gaining it. I’m not sure how you think that puts the EU in the position of a super-power – particularly when you look at defence spending comparisons.

    You post rather reminds me of the manifest destiny EMU discussions of the late 80s and 90s where it was suggested by the europhiles in parliament that failure to join would cause permanent damage to Britain’s economy and how unstable the pound would be outside the protections of the stable Euro. Events have proved otherwise.

  7. Chris K
    03/10/2011 at 12:21 pm

    Keep well out of it.

    I can’t wait for my opportunity to have a say on the matter. It’s long overdue.

    I look forward to you pressing for a referendum on the issue, Lord Soley.

  8. Frank W. Summers III
    03/10/2011 at 1:01 pm

    Lord Soley,

    I wonder if Your Lordship attended the Labour Party Conference. If so or by other medium you doubtless heard Ed Miliband’s principal speech.There were themes in it related to the UK alone and those related to international matters of all sorts. It seemed to me that audience response was only energetic when those in the armed forces were mentioned out of all international matters. Otherwise the energy seemed to gravitate to the domestic issues.

    All of this is very unscientific and based on a viewing on C-SPAN. However, if it is even partly true its significance is magnified by the fact the that this speech was given at the LPC….

  9. Sue
    03/10/2011 at 2:09 pm

    The EU is a dictatorship. We want no part of it. We were not asked if we consented to this particular flavour of socialism and if we had been asked, we would have said no.

    • DanFilson
      08/10/2011 at 12:01 am

      Beg to differ. Not a dictatorship, and you debase that word by calling the EU one, and to describe it as socialistic is pure fantasy alas. It is, if anything a serious attempt to provide an archetypal classic economic liberal free market with a level playing field for business. It is however flawed in its structures which have not kept pace with the changing nature of the EU.

  10. maude elwes
    03/10/2011 at 2:58 pm

    This is a complicated issue, one that the UK has for so long not faced up to in the responsibilities of and duty toward our country. Its entry into Europe as a whole has never been set with any kind of conviction. You have all pussy footed around and not, as you should have done, taken up the reigns and the power to bring it to fruition.

    Europe with ‘us’ in it creates an enormous potential to be the greatest civilization and democracy the world has known. With our common history, it’s people and accomplishments made by us for centuries are astounding. This must and should continue. If we come out, what then? On our own and playing around like Hawaii to the USA?

    However, it cannot be that unless the UK and other leaders of this union decide to be, in real terms, democratic. It has to be as Angela Merkel sees it, a democracy based solely on the will of the people. A union on the Swiss lines of openess and freedom of expression in real terms.

    This idea of forced policies pushed onto the public by what appear to be the musings of children has to end. We are a people who should be and must be proud of our heritage and expect those, who are part of it and part of us, to be proud and accepting of our values, along with us.

    It has to begin in ernest though with our entire Parliament being committed to the rise of this pheonix from the ashes of our past, with a gusto unseen since our warriors fought for it so long ago.

    And that has to be up front with a commitment to combat the negative perception given to all the people of this continent and most especially to ours. We are, after all, one blood, which makes us one people and that is what has to prevail.

    Of course it will not be easy to convince a weary public unless you are prepared to stand up and fight for us as one nation. For it is us who will have to sacrifice for it in real terms.

    How could it be other?

    The idiot policies coming from Brussels have to be curtailed. Far too much unecessary interference in what is acceptable to the majorty is ignored. Why? It has been allowed, and in many cases, encouraged, by you to go so far from any kind of acceptance of what is right for the people, that you have little credibility left. And the reason is, lack of a sense of tradition by the major states. Without the protection of our socieites and an honest acknowledgement of preditors you have lost the loyalty and acceptance of what people feel comfortable with. And somehow managed to turn it into what now appears to be rule by Euro Quango. No people will accept this madness to live by. People, no matter what age, are, in the main, traditionalists. Family, culture and good will toward each other is paramount, but we will not adhere to what we see as destruction of every sense of order that our ancestors fought for.

    Presently, throughout Europe this threat to our well being is deeply felt and rejected. The level of degradation we have come to, placed at the door of Brussels, who have turned a once magnificent concept of amazing proportions into the laughing stock of the world.

    What we need is a true leader, one with vision for the future that we can all aspire to, and not this mad ideological chicanery we have, that is obsessed with playing a game of perpetual, social molestation.

  11. DanFilson
    03/10/2011 at 5:31 pm

    Sadly the tide of opinion is so hostile to Europa and all her works that any vote in Parliament or by referendum would give a resounding no to any further surrender of powers to European wide institutions.

    This is one of the great tragedies of our time. China is indeed poised to become, if China has not already become, the dominant economy of the 21st century. The USA is in undoubted difficulties owing to the imbalance of the federal government budget since the 1980s (amazingly under Carter there no such deficit, perhaps as he inherited Vietnam War tax levels without the concomittant military expenditure). Russia is far from off the ground as a free democratic world economy, having failed to spot the nexus between freedom and a vibrant economy. India has a dynamic growth but internal gulfs of wealth and poverty that need addressing. Latin America, Africa and the rest of the world have in varying quantities mineral or oil wealth or other resources, but none can yet aspire to be world economies in the same league as China, the USA, Europe, Russia, and India.

    Yet Europe shows every signs of remaining a disparate collection of individual nations states, each suffering the same potential for being picked off in economic terms as the nations of pre-war Europe had the potential for being picked off by a military aggressor.

    The serious mistakes were made half a century ago, in not joining in when the Iron and Steel Community was established, in not joining in when the European Economic Community was established, in not pulling the mostly economic European Free Trade Area into a union with the more political EEC, and above all in not seeking a change in the fundamental structures of the EEC when we successfully joined in 1973. That failure above all is key. We joined a club whose rules had been made by the existing members and whose guiding purpose did not exactly mesh with our purpose in joining. As a result we had years of rowing about the common agricultural policy when actually it was the political answerability question that should have been top of the agenda. But we were too weak economically to argue from any sort of position of strength.

    And so we blundered on – Maastricht, Lisbon and the rest. Europe undecided whether to have a common foreign policy. Europe with a central bank that was not accountable to Europe. Europe with the cancer of tax havens dotted about but no will or institutions to deal with them. And Europe with 15, 18 or whatever it is now separate Treasury departments all trying to “run” their national economies, always assuming that any government can “run” an economy. You cannot buck the markets.

    Into this soup of chaos we pour novel financial instruments that even the practitioners are hard pushed to describe, let alone ascribe any real function for existence, bank lending run by quasi-schoolboys, banks run by looters on a grander scale than we saw this summer, banks run by casinos who did not know the odds of the tables they operated. And add in also a global economy where a cold wind from America can blow over a ship at 3,000 miles distance. You have the perfect formula for an inability to cope with a crisis, or even with normal governance.

    The tobin tax may or may not be a good idea, and is the first idea of recent times to make full use of the capabilities of IT to manage tax revenues. Personally I think it is a good one, provided those nations who raise it keep the proceeds. If 80% of the financial transactions to which it would apply arise in the UK because we host the most vibrant financial centre in Europe, I’m damned if that’s going off into some euro-pot. And if the nations of Europe are going to have to bail out one of their number for the common good, we need Europe-wide institutions we all trust to see that the money is put to sound use.

    It is a bit late, as the wisest of the Three Little Piggies could tell you, to start building your brick house after the storm has already started.

    Yes I would love us to be in the Euro, and deep at the heart of the EU, but a reformed EU which commands the respect of Europe’s population including our own. But by inactions over 50 years, Europe is condemned to be like the Holy Roman Empire of the period before the Treaty of Westphalia 1648, with hundreds of separate princely states and other nations benefiting from being united with clearcut accountability systems. Britain prospered from the European chaos of the 17th century, and sadly acquired the “Very Well, Alone” attitude which no longer works in our global world.

    • maude elwes
      06/10/2011 at 2:49 pm

      @Dan Filson:

      I think the resounding ‘no’ would not exist if the truth was allowed to out.

      And I am not so sure you are right on that altogether. My reason for feeling this is, if the majority really wanted out, they would vote overwhelmingly for UKIP. And they don’t do that do they?

      Additionally, so many have to go to the European Courts to find Justice. Would they really want to give that up and leave themselves wide open to the abuse that would so quickly encompass us all?

      And I am not referring to the Human Rights abuse we see used by our politicians to frighten our public into believing this would be the result of a true European Union.

      Everyone who has any knowledge on the matter realizes the British government directive is to stick rigidly to the asinine in order to keep the general public in the dark as to the real advantages we have within it.

      • DanFilson
        07/10/2011 at 1:21 am

        I hope you are right that if the British people were given a direct vote on this issue they would not vote for British withdrawal from the EU, but I’m less confident that you are. And for slightly different reasons.

        Firstly, people do not vote for UKIP in great numbers at a general election because they are voting for a UK government and there is no prospect of UKIP forming one, quite apart from the public having serious reservations of either Lord Pearson of Rannock or Nigel Farage being Prime Minister with goodness knows who in their cabinet. On the other hand, where the outcome of the particular constituency was not really at play, the public did vote UKIP in worryingly high numbers.

        Secondly, the British public is most unlikely to vote to remain in the EU so as to retain access to the European courts.

        The main reason I believe the British public might, only might, vote to remain in the EU is not the economic liberal one of retaining membership of one of the larger tariff-free common markets with a guiding principle of trying to ensure level playing fields for traders. The reason the British people might vote to remain in the EU is that they might recognise that with globalisation there are issues which transcend national borders and which Europe-wide decisions, and that they might accept some surrender of sovereign powers along with other nations also surrendering some sovereign powers in order to achieve Europe-wide solutions.

        But my sense of political realism tells me that the pressure of media nonsense about the wicked ways of the European institutions always batting against Britain’s interests combined with a national blue water world vision and xenophobia would actually produce a vote against continued EU membership even if the gap closed as the campaign wore on.

        • maude elwes
          07/10/2011 at 4:16 pm

          @Dan Filson:

          I agree with some of what you say. Most assuredly the public being clubbed to the point of breathless over the deadly Europeans taking over our country. If they are not careful they will be under the rule of those dastardly Germans, is the run of the daily papers.

          However, I feel that perhaps you are playing down the amount of travel and the many second home brigade, who are the main voters, coming into their own.

          Many older voters spend their winters in Italy, France, Greece, Portugal and Spain, do you really believe they want the freedom of movement to dry up?

          Add that to those who do rely on the Human Rights issues, mainly those who have difficulties, and again you have a different outlook.

          Globalisation is not seen as the panacea you think it is by the ordinary man in the street. That is a City buoyant. The average Joe associates that with mass immigration and does not like the idea one bit, let alone would give a second thought to voting because of it.

          You have the attitude of too many middle class, Fulham Road and Primrose Hill diners. The only reason the Labourites are popular with the man in the street is, because they see them as less harmful when it comes to housing, welfare benefits and care for the sick and elderly. They couldn’t give a second thought about Globalisation and the money markets. All they care about is whether they can make ends meet and have enough to go on holiday next year.

          However, don’t underestimate their sense of what would be good for them. And when they do go on holiday, and they see the lifestyle and expectation of the Europeans in their family commitments they wonder how our country lags so far behind them.

          Many, many people are simply waiting to leave this country on the sale of their house or when things turn around. They feel there is little left of what they once felt was their place called home. There is hardly any pride left in even their local football team. Which is why Rooney is such a big hit. He is, after all, an Englishman like it or not.

          In the main, immigrants do not see the UK as their home, they never did. They identify with the country of origin and plan for a life back home.

          So, the ties get weaker and the more removed our politicians become from what was once an English way of life, the more they are side tracked and disliked.

          Hence I am not as sure as you, they will vote us out of the EU. They didn’t in the seventies and the ties there are much stronger now.

          • DanFilson
            08/10/2011 at 12:23 am

            Some bizarre non-sequiturs and misconceptions here.

            1. Few people seriously think of “deadly Europeans taking over our country”.
            2. Who said the the freedom of movement of older voters who spend their winters in Italy, France, Greece, Portugal and Spain will dry up?
            3. I’ve never met anyordinary man in the street who thinks globalisation is any kind of panacea but it is a fact of life.
            4. I agree the average Joe associates the EU with mass immigration and does not like the idea one bit. Xenophobia is, alas, a naturally occurring human phenomenon.
            5. You have no idea of my dining habits, but if you invite me to a meal in Primrose Hill I’ll be happy to enjoy a new experience.
            6. I agree that Labour is popular with the man in the street because the party is seen as less harmful when it comes to housing, welfare benefits and care for the sick and elderly.
            7. To say ‘All they care about is whether they can make ends meet and have enough to go on holiday next year’ ignores the fact that for many people a holiday is an impossible dream, and even making ends meet is impossible. I can speak from experience as a pensioner.
            8. If and when they manage to go on holiday, and see the lifestyle and expectation of the Europeans in their family commitments they do indeed wonder how our country lags so far behind them. This was not the case 50 years ago. We have fallen behind in many ways – our public transport creaks by comparison with some countries, though London improved markedly when we had a GLC committed to improving it, and Transport for London has at long last begun to achieve a coordinated integrated system.
            9. Only a small proportion of our people are “simply waiting to leave this country on the sale of their house or when things turn around. They feel there is little left of what they once felt was their place called home.” Those that are resemble in their make-up those who emigrated to Rhodesia and South Africa after the war, noisily slamming the door as they went, because they could not abide the thought of a society where people were moving to equality. What they wanted was a country where there was an underclass who would wait upon them. Sure enough when that underclass got independence, they came streaming home again, and looking to an NHS, to which they had not contributed taxes for so long, to give them health care in their old age.
            10. Your conclusion does not seem to follow from what went before. I fear the public might short-sightedly vote us out of a Europe from which they benefit more than they recognise. You think they won’t despite their dislike of much of what the EU has done. Who knows?

  12. Gar Howell
    03/10/2011 at 7:47 pm

    Brilliant! “Chaos soup” to be on the menu forthwith!

    Europe as a collection of individual states could never land a man on the moon, but a Federal Europe could.

    And the EU (European Union)?

    What happens to European competitiveness when East Africa is a single block, ASEAN, Mercosur, GCC etc.?
    Ian is so interested in Federations that must surely be why he mentions a new projected East African federation, which will themselves be extremely poor all together, quite apart from extremely poor separately.
    Not a power to be reckoned with at all, but the power founded by Qaddafi will surely be so. The OAU(Organization for African Union) was it not

    The 21st may well be the century of Africa, but not without the desperate suffering across the continent, which has been seen in Somalia in recent months.

    But what has that got to do with the political, democratic and financial structure of the EU?

    Chaos Soup? I doubt it. All the best civil service brains have been drafted to Strasbourg and Brussels for a good many years now from all the main EU countries. There is little to fear with the monetary and economic systems of Europe in their hands.

    Greece does have other international political institutions to consider, and belong to, in the Eastern Mediterranean, but I can’t think which they are, at the moment, unlike Turkey which has magnificent choice of partners from the Chinese border to Morocco, the furthest West.

    IN to the Euro for the UK! Out for 15 years or so, for Greece if that is what they want.
    May they exchange trade locally and more successfully!

    • DanFilson
      04/10/2011 at 2:40 pm

      ‘All the best civil service brains have been drafted …’ : that thought fills many with fear!

      I really doubt, though, that civil service brains – without an accompanying political guuiding will to change governance – will be able to come up with a smooth way through this crisis. I fear the hard grind of an austerity decade is becoming increasingly likely.

      After all, the present coalition has repeatedly rubbished the handiwork of those same brains in ‘saving the world, er, saving the economy’ under the previous government. Don’t believe that it was GB alone who saved the world. The candles burned late because able civil servants were, amongst other things, bullying Lloyds into paying billions for a worthless bank – there’s something even a cardsharp politico would not dare.

  13. MilesJSD
    04/10/2011 at 1:59 pm

    One has to wonder, agonise, soul-search,and try to “guesstimate”, firstly how fit the Earth itself will continue to be in lifesupportiveness’ for human-civilisations

    – and majorly, probably ‘deal-breakingly’, within that in Wherewithal to support the burgeoning “Affluenza” of the Western world (author Oliver James 2007) –

    secondly how Purpose-True each ongoing human-civilisation’s Self-Identification. Constitution, Law, Workplace-Skilling, and Lifeplace-Enablement are and can be kept up-to-date, and similarly how fit-for-purpose are each of the prevailing and future-planned branches, organs and arms of these variously current human-civilisations
    e.g. how fit-for-both-present-and-longterm-future-purpose are the constitutional, social, political, economic, educational, and spiritual organisations to which the Peer-poster of this “Winds of Change”, and (~&) each Commenter hereto, now & in-future aims to belong ?

  14. Gar Howell
    04/10/2011 at 4:02 pm

    Of course; “austerity decade”. Probably about that; what will happen in the Balkans, including Greece, during that time is anybody’s guess except for the fact of generally competent NATO strategies to pre-empt real trouble.

    The talk at conferences is : Labour Government to blame for recession
    Cons/alliance wanting “growth” when it is plain for all to see that trade cycles will be on a stagnating path for about the amount of time that Dan specifies.

    That’s CS brains for you!Heh! Heh!

    • DanFilson
      04/10/2011 at 8:20 pm

      It worries me that NATO is outside the political control mechanisms of Europe because it is a Europe-USA alliance. But I don’t see NATO as being any kind of key to the economic mess. I cannot work out if you were being ironic when you said “There is little to fear with the monetary and economic systems of Europe in their hands”. The idea of Greece looking east is interesting. Perhaps Roumania and Bulgaria could do so too.

      I doubt that a Eurozone without Greece will be any stronger than one with it. Speculators will simply work out who next to undermine.

      What is missing from this debate is any reaction to the USA endlessly trying to urge China to revalue (upwards) its currency. In my view, a nation cannot force other countries to revalue upwards – all it can do is devalue its own currency. That frankly seems a more likely outcome. To do this, the USA would lower its central bank rate, so inducing a movement away from the dollar. It would of course be necessary not to resist this (as Lamont so unwisely tried in defending the indefensible a decade or two ago).

      What is worrying is that the USA is threatening retaliatory tariffs to protect goods from competition thought unfair by virtue of that over-high Chinese currency. This could presage a tariff war from which nobody will emerge stronger.

      Your post suggests I disparage civil service brains. That wasn’t my intention. Their instincts – so far as I can discern the vibes – were in the right direction when the crash unfolded but what undermined them were the political pulls in the opposite direction from 2010 onwards.

  15. Lord Soley
    Lord Soley
    05/10/2011 at 4:07 pm

    Some interesting comments here. I am pleased people are recognising the importance of the issue and giving it careful thought.
    On the issue of referendums I have generally been opposed to them but I accept they have (sadly in my view) become part of the normal political discourse. I think they get used as a way of avoiding the responsibility of Parliamentary democracy and the questions are often difficult to get fair and balanced.

    • Dave H
      05/10/2011 at 6:11 pm

      The big problem with Parliament is that we have all ended up voting for the least-worst. If all the candidates in your area say no to leaving the EU, and that’s your main issue, then there’s not much you can do. We just keep voting for the system and the system is seriously broken.

      Perhaps we need to take a leaf from the American book and replace all the top civil servants when there’s a new government. It has the problem that a government might change at short notice with a vote of confidence or a party leadership election, but it would certainly keep them on their toes.

      • maude elwes
        06/10/2011 at 4:44 pm

        @Dave H:

        Soounds good that change all the players and you change the game.

        If you take a good look at the US administration, like ours, it makes no difference at all who takes over. All you need to do to show that is, look at the end of the Bush administration and their policies and how much has changed under Obama?


  16. DanFilson
    07/10/2011 at 1:24 am

    I omitted a couple of words and the sentence should have read: The reason the British people might vote to remain in the EU is that they might recognise that with globalisation there are issues which transcend national borders and which require Europe-wide decisions, and that they might accept some surrender of sovereign powers along with other nations also surrendering some sovereign powers in order to achieve those Europe-wide solutions.

    • maude elwes
      17/10/2011 at 7:33 pm

      @Dan Filson:

      I almost fell on the floor laughing when I read this post about those wanting to leave the UK as being akin to the South African Boers. Or, those British who went there in the 50’s/60’s to find a life where they could have their own version of US style plantation slavery.

      The people who want to leave, with whom this was discussed, also included mixed race African decent individuals from Camden. Whose family came to the UK in the 1970’s. As well as one or two from West Indian heritage. They are not looking for slavery, they are looking for a country they can flourish in.

      These people wanted to emigrate to Europe, a few of them, Brazil, and Fiji, to begin an oyster farm, and on and on. LOL.

      What they found unacceptable was, no proper education for their children, unless they work day and night to afford independent schools. The constant pressure of politically correct policies sent down from idiots with an inane fixation on intensive control of their lives. ie: bins with spying eyes, mad town hall directives filled with clowns on four times their salaries. Insecure jobs. The lowering of their present standard of living, as well as no foreseeable improvement. They wanted to leave to be free of what they feel is mind control and torment.

      They don’t want their kids to grow up here. Some wanted a European way of life. Which they felt was far more civilized than the harping madness we have. And a government filled with people they saw no connection to.

      A few had friends they went to school with already living in these places, who tell them when they visit, that life is better where they are. And have the proof first hand. Sao Paulo, I’m told, is where it’s at. Too far from family, was my ‘retort.’

      These are nice people. Not crazy upper class zealots you wrote of. You don’t get out enough.

      • DanFilson
        18/10/2011 at 12:07 am

        That last point is partly true – I don’t get out enough, as a consequence of not being able to walk very far.

        I NEVER compared those wanting to leave the UK to Boers, but to those who left the UK in the late 40s and the early 50s who could not abide the thought of a society where people were moving to equality and who wanted was a country where there was still going to be an underclass. And they were not upper class zealots but the kind of people who in the 1930s had a single servant who in did more than you should ask of one person. Quite a different proposition to the Boers, as the Boers were actually very hard-working even if they treated the native Africans like dirt.

        In more recent decades there have indeed been some immigrants from the Caribbean who have returned ‘home’ preferring more disciplined education etc. They are, however, vastly in the minority of that social group. It’s interesting you mention Europe, as people are hostile to immigrants from Europe without recognising an equal or greater number flow the other way taking one year with another over the last, say, 40 years. Recent years may have shown a net inflow, but that will level off I suspect migrate to Europe. I really doubt any significant % emigrate to Brazil or Fiji, and even fewer to begin an oyster farm. Judging by the average rugby team I see, I suspect we are net importers of people from Fiji, most of them of formidable size and strength!

        The myths about local government salaries never cease to amaze me. I was a local councillor for 12 years, and whilst the very senior staff were well paid for demanding jobs, most staff were not really that different paid to most other white collar workers. And many frontline staff are paid pitifully.

        I’ll end on this point. Lord Soley, whom I know well as Clive Soley as he was for a couple of decades my MP, asked about the EU. I can only draw attention to the difference in the United States before and after the Civil War. Before the war, people would say “the United States are … ” and after it they would say “the United States is…”, i.e. the issue of states peeling off had been resolved and it was now one nation, indivisible, with a single currency – the greenback dollar – across the nation. From that unity, the USA grew to become a world force for most of the 20th century, although I see China as the world force of the 21st century. I think it will very much harder for Europe to achieve this unity or world status, not least as language continues to separate us all (and I’m conscious of Lord Tebbitt’s remark to the effect that people do not want to be governed by those whose language they do not speak).

        A lot of idiotic claims are made about the EU, that it is bureaucratic, wasteful, corrupt, obsessed with petty detail, undemocratic, overblown etc., and that is before we bring in mythical tales of rules about cucumber and banana shapes. I remain convinced that we are better off in the EU than out of it, and would be better off in the Eurozone (entering at the right exchange rate of course) than out of it. But the institutions do need reforms to make them worth respectively giving any further powers to or joining. I am utterly convinced a referendum vote to leave would be a disaster although if I read the runes aright that is what the great British public might vote for if given the chance.

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