Winds of Change 2

Lord Soley

On the 3rd October 2011 I wrote a post on the relationship between the UK and the EU ( ) I think the potential threat to British policy is growing more significant. David Cameron is being excluded from the key decisions in Europe. Germany and France are determined to put the political structure of the EU before the immediate solution of the economic crisis.

After the Second World War the countries of Europe and particularly Germany were very anxious to have the UK fully involved. France alone ( under De Gaulle) was reluctant. I think our reluctance to be a full member has led over the years to a feeling in Continental Europe that if we don’t want to be fully involved then the key members will make progress towards a united Europe on their own. I think they will succeed.

We forget in Britain that the political imperative in Europe is driven by strong memories of nations defeated and occupied in two disastrous wars. Britain alone of the warring nations was neither defeated nor occupied. So the Continental powers do have a more compelling political drive then we do.

I think the Euro will succeed and it looks increasingly likely that we will remain outside. In these circumstances Frankfurt will become the financial centre for Europe and increasingly challenge the City of London. As the other nations sign up to the Euro Britain will be forced to choose between  joining the new super power or becoming an important but much reduced power outside. What happens then will largely be determined by policies in the new Europe. Will they want to erect trade barriers? Will they negotiate for the UK in international treaties like trade and climate change – or will we negotiate on our own? Will they create their own defence structures? Will Britain retain its seat on the UN Security Council of the UN or be replaced by a new European member?

We need to be thinking of these issues because Europe is no longer waiting for us.

12 comments for “Winds of Change 2

  1. Dave H
    07/12/2011 at 7:24 am

    The Euro may survive, but at what cost? Frankfurt will be hamstrung by whatever financial taxes the Eurozone impose, which, under your scenario, London would not suffer.

    As a country we ought to be building up our Commonwealth links (potentially a bigger market than the EU) and looking at trade with the Far East and North America in preference to the EU, because then we’ll be able to trade without all the red tape strangling everything. The whole trade thing is subject to misinformation anyway – most trading by UK firms is within the UK, exports are a relatively small part of the overall picture, so for most UK companies, leaving the EU won’t impact their trade significantly, and the net potential cost saving of the removal of red tape and the money we no longer have to contribute to the money sink in Brussels (demanding ever more money while simultaneously demanding we all spend less) will help boost the economy.

    As for the UN, if we are outside the EU and France is inside, then perhaps it’s their seat that should become the European seat.

  2. Gareth Howell
    07/12/2011 at 8:07 am

    I really don’t agree with that at all.

    Two world wars and one of them to which the leading anatagonists cut their teeth in Northern India. War Studies depts and defence strategists know what they are doing. History repeats itself but not if they have anything to do with it, especially when there are people like Slobodan Milosevich about.

    If you argue like that London might cease to exist at all.

    No. UK is taking a back seat at the moment.

    We should bow to the opportunity to become involved with the ECB, and join the Euro, without delay, even on a 49/51%, as a junior partner.

    London as a financial centre has caused a great deal of excess development in
    its hinterland over the past 20 odd years; a dire and drastic increase of 10m people in a very short space of time, lured by high wages
    and big borrowings

    London, England NEEDS it wings clipped as a financial centre.

    It is only a superficial view that European politics is no longer our concern. It is because their over riding worry IS money at the moment; only at the moment, and we are not in it.

  3. maude elwes
    07/12/2011 at 10:20 am

    You have it right Lord Soley. If we were in the position Europe is in presently, and really has been for some time, would we be interested in worrying about a country who clearly does not want to be part of the club in a full way? I don’t think so..

    Not to mention Europe has continually and still is presented to the people of this country as a carbuncle on the neck. We hear no truth about the real process of that union, or, the honest benefits we have in there is not expressed to the public whatsoever. It is used to cover what the government of the day wants to push on the people but not own up tot. In essence it is a political scapegoat they use as an out for unpopular legislation. And Europe is sick of it. It is childish and idiotic behaviour on our part. We simply don’t want to shake the Hitler theme it’s too good for the two minute daily hate fest they keep going. So now we will be out on our ear, secretly pleased to be free of it.

    Which of course is what the hard right flank of the Tory party want. They want closer ties with the USA. And they believe that is going to make them personally rich. How sad they are. What fools. Still stuck in the past with Margaret Thatcher and her lover boy, Ronnie Reagan.

    They still can’t fathom they were sold a line and now they are selling an even bigger one. How blind can we be? Only the morning we hear the US credit monsters are rushing in here to clean up on the poverty stricken as they have in the US. Short term loans at 5000% plus interest rates. The gangster tactics are in for a field day because our regulations are not as restricting in this ‘market’ as they are in America.

    This government reminds me of the scene in the movie, The Midnight Cowboy, where John Voight’s character asks a stranger in New York City to hold his wallet whist he goes to the john. Of course the problem with that is, it is our people who will suffer the dreadful losses, whilst those in charge, who want these deals, will stand like the Blair creature, with their hands out on their knees to Uncle Sam, who kicks them aside laughing and disgusted at their duplicity.

    What our government should be doing is making deals in Europe to enable us to dictate there. To improve the lives of us all and to strengthen the entire continent which includes us. Not stand back and expect to be lauded by a bunch of repulsive fat yanks whose main aim is to devour us all.

    The whole business is so immaturely considered one has to ask what kind of an IQ these people have?

    Europe must take care of itself. And if we don’t want to be there with that, then that is our downfall. The prospects for us now are better than they have ever been in this negotiating position. To look it in the eye would be the right way forward.

  4. Croft
    07/12/2011 at 1:11 pm

    “political structure of the EU before the immediate solution of the economic crisis.”

    Since the Eurozone is in the catastrophe it is in large measure because it placed politics before economics its an odd argument you make in seeming to feel more uk involvement in a fundamentally broken process is in order

    “that if we don’t want to be fully involved then the key members will make progress towards a united Europe on their own”

    Err Since Britain (the voters) don’t want to be part of a united Europe but that is Europes political class’s view I don’t see how you think we can be involved in such a way as to prevent that other than using our veto.

    “Will they want to erect trade barriers?”

    You know perfectly well how limited such tarriffs can be under WTO rules.

    “Frankfurt will become the financial centre for Europe and increasingly challenge the City of London.”

    Federalists have been saying that since the Euro started and so far it’s not happened.

  5. ladytizzy
    07/12/2011 at 5:33 pm

    I must say that I have assumed that President de Gaulle was piqued by the UK signing up with EFTA rather than the EEC, hence the “Non(s)” when we belatedly wanted to join the Common Market due to its greater success.

    I have a vague memory that a single currency was already being mooted at the time (hence decimalisation) but certainly recall the huge relief when the UK was eventually accepted.

    What I am less clear on is why and how today’s EU is apparently so much more unpopular in the UK than in Europe. Assuming this to be true is there a clue in that the EU has become a bête noire only for the Tory party, and only post-Thatcher?

    • Dave H
      08/12/2011 at 6:20 pm

      You’re assuming it is less popular here than there. The French, when given a chance, voted against a treaty, and I suspect that if the German electorate was given a chance, a significant number of them would express dissatisfaction with what’s happening.

      • ladytizzy
        09/12/2011 at 4:57 pm

        Yes, dissatisfaction is being registered though as with most voting situations, even a binary one, people arrive at their decision based on a variety of factors. For example, in 2005 the French, being French, believed their influence would fade with enlargement and in any case were pretty ticked off with Chirac.

        Not for a moment do I believe they would vote to damage their status, or exit the EU, much like the UK. Except the bit about exiting the EU.

  6. Gareth Howell
    08/12/2011 at 7:28 am

    We hear no truth about the real process of that union,
    What about the real truth of the Union of the USA? Do we hear anything about that?

    How do we crystallize our truths upon the political truths of that sub continent?

    Then how should we be able to do the same with the Union of Europe,the EU?

    • maude elwes
      08/12/2011 at 5:41 pm

      @Gareth H:

      What these anti Europeans don’t want to tell the British public is, they want rid of the ‘social chapter.’ And the social chapter is what keeps the mega poor out of the gutter. The British right want people to work for less than the minimum wage. And they want people to be able to legally work more hours a week than is good for their health. Working 60 hours a week is a killer. Unless you are under twenty five.

      Take a look at this and listen.

      America, America from sea to shining sea. Abject poverty for those who work and billionair status for those who don’t.

      And here are the children.

      This is what IDS and the right wingers who have decided the poor can find work and manage on their own. Whilst they grow closer to the USA. Yet, there are few jobs, just as in America. There is no social chapter in the USA. Food stamps are now being considered in need of withdrawal. And food soup kitchens in there place are giving less than before and it is all left over junk food. Hence the obesity you see in these children.

      If we leave the EU this is what the ‘majority’ of poor people here can look forward to. Diminished health care, the £65.00 per week unemployment benefit, paid for by our taxes, cut in half. The NHS abolished through the back door, with nothing to replace it except thieving insurance policies too high for most to afford.

      Yes, think America and you have what this band of trogues in the British cabinet want to lead us into. Remember, it’s for our own good of course. We are too idle and don’t want to work. Just like those lazy oafs who lay on the beach sunning themselves to a prune, like to enjoy at their workers expense. You know those same workers who donn’t want to toil for £5.60 and hour.

      And Germany for the worker, versus the USA

      What the anti Europe lobby doesn’t want you to know, is, the Europeans are expecting those who make a fortune in the City to pay some taxes on those riches. And because those who run the country make a great deal of income, one way or another, through the City financial machiinations, they don’t want to lose a penny as a result of it. Even those who would not feel an iota of change should their income be slashed in half.

      And a quick side bar: the fine to HSBC bank for stealing the savings of 83 year olds out of millions was £10 million pounds, plus some small compensation to the losers. That, to the HSBC was the equivalent of you or I paying a fine of £1.00.

      The social chapter in short.

      The Lisbon Treaty cut short.

      This is why Europe must go and America must enter.

  7. MilesJSD
    08/12/2011 at 3:22 pm

    The under-lurking, and for us-at-the-plebeian-bottom over-shadowing, democratic-disability is that You (in the Headquarters-Networks or Entanglements) still starve us People of both in-time fullest information and long-term effective improvements to our thinking-and-scrutiny skills.

    Who among the 60 million or so of us comparatively uninformed and ignorant People
    would have guessed there were such active factors hidden away, apparently ‘waiting’ for some clear mind like Lord Soley’s to ‘release’ them to ‘the-thinking-public’

    (Who out there imagines being able to think, even after mastering such a basic skiller as “Six Thinking Hats” by our very own Enblish and world-leading Thinker Dr Edward de Bono, without comprehensively comnplete information ?)

    ‘Leading’ as Lord Soley appears to be here, has he cognitively grasped what (the new) Lord Howard told on TV today, that if by Saturday of this week there is no saving solution such as a new treaty agreed, between the 17 Euro-nations but compatibly with all the ‘outside’ non-Euro EU nations of which Britain is but one,
    then there will not only be a disastrous fragmentation of Global Economics as well as of European, but DISASTER for Britain making any currently-feared loss-prospect look like a pea under the mattress… ?
    (this writer’s fantasy-paraphrasing; sorry (not-really) ).

  8. Twm O'r Nant
    08/12/2011 at 5:14 pm

    UK signing up with EFTA rather than the EEC, But it was a step in the right direction.

    the EU has become a bête noire only for the Tory party, and only post-Thatcher?</p<
    There is no real leadership on the subject on either side. Interesting to see that the UK parliament has permanent representative offices in Brusselles. Precisely what work they do, I can not think, but the interests of the UK may be divergent with those of the
    EU at any given time. (I can hear Maude saying "You can say that again!")

    In that we signed the various treaties and the treaty accession, it is only an appearance that our interests are divergent; until any moratorium on membership is signed, that is all it can be.

    I find the Dame who runs the European News service from Strasbourg, interviewing different EU representative members every week, a very fine exponent of the cause of European Union and of International Law itself.

    I believe that I had a comment deleted the other day by a national e-newspaper, on account of mentioning the
    ecosecretariat for central Asia, according to them a prohibited organisation.

    With such narrow minded pettiness for the building of good international relations, it is scarcely surprising that Lord Soley and the lady, Elwes take the stand that they do, on more local… international matters.

    The next few weeks are useful for catching up with knowledge on the subject.

  9. Senex
    08/12/2011 at 9:32 pm

    The easy answer is for us to leave the EU by referendum but what do we do with the Irish? There are more Irish living or working in the UK than there are in Ireland. They would immediately be bound by immigration rules with the prospect of many of them returning to Ireland.

    De Gaulle seems to have had a nose for English hostility. Whilst French hostility toward the English is noted in René Gervig Hansen’s thesis when he says:

    “The French newspaper Le Monde once wrote: ‘what’s the difference between an accident and a catastrophe? An accident is when a liner full of English people sinks. A catastrophe is if they can swim!’”

    De Gaulle’s veto is analysed in 3.3 onwards where he paraphrases what De Gaulle said in his press conference of January 14, 1963. De Gaulle clearly feels we are too set in our ways to change or too insincere to fully embrace the notion of an EEC.

    The political union that now bedevils was only made possible by our entry. So its all our fault you see, that and the fact that we thwarted the ambitions of powerful French and German dictators to allow the establishment of the EEC. Yes! Definitely set in our ways I would say.

    Ref: Thesis by René Gervig Hansen. The Relationship between Britain and France – in the years of Charles de Gaulle as the leader of France

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