Monday, 12 December 2011

Two Europes?

It seems that the veto on Friday has sparked quite a reaction among the other members of the EU. It has to be said that the UK does need to decide which way it wants to go, certainly, in some sections of the press and media, the only way is 'out.' One is left with the distinct impression that Whitehall/Westminster is playing their usual game when they want to make something fail - brief against it in private while publicly declaring you're 100% behind it.

The real problem here seems to me to be the fact that none of the political parties actually want to admit that they have now tied so much of the UK's economy to Europe they can't simply walk away. For one thing, the cuts in Defence have been made, I'm now very convinced, on the back of a deal pre-Lisbon, to 'share' defence across the EU, thus each country only needs to maintain a proportion of the overall defence need. Take a look at who has what equipment and forces deployed in what areas and you will see what I mean. Britain has now cut Defence to the point of no return. Even if they did rebuild the Fleet and the RAF to an 'independent' force level it would take between 10 and 20 years to do so since we've also closed down and sold off all our ship building facilities bar a small handful. As for building our own aircraft - forget it, all we can now build in the UK are bits for assembly in France or Italy.

I rather think that the lies to the British Public by successive governments are starting to come home to roost. They either have to come clean or put their money on the table now. It was interesting listening to the German Finance Minister, who was genuinely saddened as he acknowledged that it looked as if Britain might leave the EU. He stated the UK had always been reliable, had fought its corner well and fairly, but now seemed to have embarked on a self interested and self serving course to the detriment of everyone including themselves. Equally interesting was the debate later in which political analysts from the full spectrum were essentially saying the same thing, that the banks had abused peoples trust and hard earned money. The profits of their shareholders had become the only focus and the losers were the small depositors and customers who had no other options.

Will there be "two Europes" as Mr Sarkozy says? I doubt it as I think the UK may not entirely withdraw, but assume the same status as Norway. Will that 'repatriate the money' as so many seem to think it will? Again, I doubt it, since the whole thing is extremely complex and may be even further bedeviled if Scotland makes a bid for full independence - and opts to remain in the EU as well ...

I can't escape the feeling that the cost of withdrawal from the EU will far outweigh any supposed benefit even in the long term. As Herr Schauble put it last night, Europe will not shut the door on Britain. One thing the UK does need to do is to put behind it the propaganda of the two World Wars. It is time we found a way forward instead of looking back on a glorious past now well and truly spent.

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