Sunday, October 04, 2009

Why Irish Ayes are Crying

In the 14th June 2008 my post entitled "Why Irish Noes are smiling" opened:

The result of the Irish referendum on whether or not to
ratify the EU Lisbon treaty was a resounding "no" to more big government and
"yes" to more national democracy.

The mandarins of Brussels dsapproved so the citizens of Ireland were urged to vote again and come up with what Brussels deemed should be the 'right' result ie a 'yes'; which alas they have just done.

My own enthusiasm some years back, about joining the EC and the Euro has been diminishing in proportion to the increased involvement of the EC in individual private and professional lives.
A couple of years ago after many interesting discussions with a British FO friend his arguments against the UK joining the Eurozone prevailed in my own thinking and I switched from being pro to being agin the Euro. Now I'm fast reflecting on whether UK membership EC itself should be brought to an end. By all means let us have a club of nations with the common aim of exchanging and developing trade, education, arts and charity links with each other and the world at large but let not that club spawn huge bureaucracies and out of touch big government.

If the EC delusions of grandeur begin to manifest themselves in a highly paid pointless post
such an EU president, for some former political grandee, then the time will have come for dissolution or at least a graceful withdrawal by the UK.

EDIT: Post title altered to mirror "Irish Noes..." post of June 2008.

Also to add that a good yardstick for measuring meaningful more mandarin free democracy in the EC, would be whether any EU President is appointed undemocratically or elected democratically after an EU-wide poll.


  1. Jerry, your title is brilliant and your post well argued but I cannot agree with your conclusion. Agreed about the bureaucracy but is it so much worse than our domestic brands? Ditto corruption. You write about the "increased involvement of the EC in individual private and professional lives". But the term "nanny state" was coined to apply to the UK, not the EU! Also, Britain leads the way when it comes to security cameras placed in the street.

    Heaven knows, I am no great fan of the EU but I just feel we have nowhere else to go in the years ahead.

  2. Jerry, I've been thinking a lot about your post. I think part of the problem with the idea of Europe is that at best it inspires allegiance solely at the intellectual level. I can't think of anyone willing to lay down his life for "Europe"! But in certain circumstances he might be for England, France, etc.
    On the other hand, can we, the countries of Europe, survive as a loose economic group in the modern world? If I thought we could, then I agree there's not much point in seeking further integration. For me this is the key question, and I honestly don't know the answer to it. I just have this gut feeling that we may need to "huddle closer together" in the years ahead.

  3. Thought provoking comment Barnaby.

    It is interesting though how so many people prefer small national groupings to large ones. The United Kingdom is begining to reflectt this preference not only with devolved quasi governments in Celtic counties but also with elected mayors and more local powers. Even though my main politics are not of the Labour variety it was great to be a Londoner with red Ken as mayor and equally Boris gives the city a feeling of je ne sais qua. I have little enthusiasm for continental municipal planning and organisation however economically efficient it is. EG to build a TGV line from Paris to Marseilles a straight line is drawn and lo the rail line appears there. In England everyone can object and judicially review if necessary. That I regards as a virtue whereas I surmise that many Brussels' mandarins would want the individaul rights to be subsumed in the State's

    The Basque nationalists and Swiss do not seem to be losing enthusiasm for local independence either despite the supposed blandishments of the EC.
    Also for the UK when the chips are down eg in the Falklands our neighbours rarely want to know whereas the USA somehow managed to give support. Anyway NATO has worked well. The ways in which the EC shares out pivotal roles either by buggins turn or secret wrangling leading to some past it politicians being handed the well paid influental posts is unnnattractive. Is it not also true that so much creative accounting has taken place in some central EC offices that accountants refuse to ratify the accounts on audits? Why too the trundling of parliament around two sites?
    If there was more enthusiasm for Turkish membership of the EC then I would be more hopeful but entrenched nationalism in some quarters seems to be prevailing to keep Turkey out thus increasing rathather than diminishing the risks of conflict.

    Integrations at continental level ultimately seem to depend on iron rod type rule - China - or on outsiders taking over and more or less vanquishing the indigenous populations as in Australia and USA. The European development has neither of those two attributes nor would they be at all desirable for us. Possibly the EC will prove to be a new way to integration but the
    examples I mention above (appointments accounts trundling parliament, Turkey) still persist. If even these individual examples cannot be resolved what hope is there for integration on the grand scale?

  4. It's difficult to argue with much of what you say, Jerry. France and Germany basically want "fewer but deeper" while Britain and others want "more but shallower", i.e. Turkey yes, but greater integration no. In any event, it'll be interesting to see what happens in the next few weeks. All eyes on the Czech Republic!


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