January 18, 2007

A speaking crab

The crab has emerged from his burrow to tell us all why we need his expenses the EU.
The same principle is true in dealing with the economic superpowers of Asia
well the EU's dealings so far have been switching between pointless trade wars and reckless leaking of military secrets which means that the UK might not be able to get the JSF, and selling them a stake in Gallileo at a cut down price so their precision munitions are nolonger reliant on the US NavStar system.
or for our armed forces to share more and do more together under European defence
Thanks to the the 'buy european' strategy that means we get inferior goods at much higher costs. Rather like the rest of our relationship with the EU.
How, post Iraq, can we establish a more equal relationship with the US except by putting more effort into building common European positions,
Maybe by saying 'no' occationally? Rather than slavishly going along with everything. Even an atlanticist like Margaret Thatcher was able to said 'no' (such as over the Grenada invation) more than Labour have and so had much less abusive relationship.
as we have done on Iran?
Iran, ah yes a great victory. The Iranians took everything they wanted then ignored the EU troika once their usefulness as a delaying tactic was expended.
But globalisation is not just about using the EU as a multiplier of diminished national power.
Power is only a tool for getting what you want. If something consistently works against your interest (as the EU does with CAP, CFP, the stupid trade wars, over regulation, forcing us to have VAT with its complexity and fraud etc.) it is better not to lend it your support. It is not better to shoot yourself in the foot with a shotgun than an airgun.
It also forces us to decide what our values are and who we share them with
That would be the Anglosphere more than the EU.
Britain is approaching the levels of public spending of a European social democracy
And our growth has also reduced to the level of a European social democracy, no improvement in services has yet been spotted though
which the Cameron Conservatives are claiming they will not fundamentally reverse
while it is politically expedient
At the same time, following enlargement, the rest of the EU has become more "British" in its attitudes towards market reforms.
Maybe, the question is whether it can be reformed. Since this will take a major new treaty and with every treaty since masstrict at least one contry has refused to ratify because of a referendum (on the first vote anyway) this looks unlikely.
This experience demonstrates three things:
which are?
the relevance of the EU to the 21st century's global agenda;
As a fading protectionist block in a globalised world
the constant need for member states to supply strategic political direction to EU affairs;
which then gets ignored if it does not align with the interests of the undissmissable bureaucrats
the indispensability of the European commission in converting strategy into policy - and sticking to it.
Yes Commissioner Mandelson, and by the way how is the Doha Round of trade talks going? Or the Lisbon Agenda?
Another lesson is for Labour itself to ponder as it debates its future: without an effective and accountable EU,
and we are currently without an effective and accountable EU. Its finances particually are not accountable, as the accountants have shown for 12 years now.
with Britain at its heart
When has Britain ever been at the heart of the EU rather than anything other than a cash machine? It hasn't been under Mr Mandelson's friend the Europhile Blair despite his promise to put it there at the start of his term in office, or under any Prime Minister before him.
the party's capacity to fulfil its progressive ambitions will be severely diminished
Why? For the last decade they have had an overwhelming majority in Parliament. It could pass any law it liked, as can be seen in some of the crap that has been passed; RIPA, SOCA and the various other Crime Acts, the various Terrorism Acts etc. But perhaps he means that because so much of British law originates in the EU it is there, and not the British Parliament, that Labour needs to gain influance if it wants to see it's full agenda implemented. That's more like it.
In Britain, progressives should be more vocal about what New Labour has achieved
Such as RIPA, SOCA and the various other Crime Acts, the various Terrorism Acts, removal of Habeus Corpus, ID Cards and national identity register, hugely more CCTV cameras, more speed cameras, the automatic numberplate recognition system, double jepardy, internment, the shoot to kill policy ...
and about the scale of the challenges we still face, along with our European partners. To recognise these commonalities is not to argue for centralised action from Brussels
Good, because centralised action from Brussels doesn't work. As has been shown by the Common Agriculture Policy, Common Market and Common Fisheries Policy
We ought to recognise that, as modern social democrats, we are Europeans with shared values. It is time for the progressive left in Britain to develop a stronger case for Europe.
Any case for the EU based on the facts of how it is rather than intentions and vague promises of how it could be would be nice.
A new push for Europe should focus on the need for collective, progressive policy responses, before engaging in a technocratic debate about Europe's institutions
Translation: more centralisation and more done at the EU level rather than reform and devolution.
It is important to judge the need for institutional change not for its own sake, but on the basis of what changes are necessary to strengthen Europe's capacity to act in meeting shared globalisation challenges.
Yes, and the need is pressing.


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