Little to say for myself

Friday, May 30, 2003

The European nightmare

I honestly can't see what all the fuss is about with the forthcoming EU constitution. We are bombarded with nightmare stories of a Federal Europe, or worse: A United States of Europe. Can someone tell me what is wrong with the idea of a United States of Europe (after all, the U.S.E. has a nice utilitarian ring to it)?

All this guff about loss of sovereignty. At the moment, I vote for someone in Cambridge and end up being governed by someone from Sedgefield/Islington - with whom I have very little in common. Where is my sovereignty in that? How is that different from voting in England and being governed from Brussels, apart from the question of scale? All politics is a compromise, so why would it be so awful to live under a system that compromises across a collection of countries instead of counties? And I'm talking about laws, taxes, the lot. I for one am fully prepared to have my living standards dragged down to the level of those in France, Germany, Holland, Italy etc.

What makes Britain so different from the other European countries that leads so many to the conclusion that the system may work for them but it won't for us? It all seems to stem from a xenophobic conviction that there are two types of people: Brits and foreigners. While a system might work for foreigners (all of them, apparently), it won't necessarily work for us Brits. What bollocks. The same xenophobes have been complaining recently about the insularity and antagonism of the French - a perfect example of how a country enthusiastically wedded to the idea of European union, and one of the stalwarts of Euro-land, can still act as freely and independently within that structure as the xenophobes would claim Britain could do only if it was politically independent.

It seems to me that we face a choice: either we join with our European friends and live collectively with them (and, through the world's 4th largest economy joining the Euro, make Europe much stronger), or we retain our fiercely proud independence and do exactly what George W. Bush tells us to do.

posted by Plig | 15:06 |

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Forget the sentimental notion that foreign policy is a struggle between virtue and vice, with virtue bound to win.
Forget the utopian notion that a brave new world without power politics will follow the unconditional surrender of wicked nations.
Forget the crusading notion that any nation, however virtuous and powerful, can have the mission to make the world in its own image.
Remember that diplomacy without power is feeble, and power without diplomacy is destructive and blind.
Remember that no nation's power is without limits, and hence that its policies must respect the power and interests of others.
Hans Morgenthau

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts
Bertrand Russell

The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one
Albert Einstein

When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative
Martin Luther King Jr.

Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man
Bertrand Russell

I think it would be a good idea
Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization

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Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it
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Always make new mistakes
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