Friday, October 27, 2006

Conservative MEPs vote for Euro - against Party policy

It is the official stated position of the Conservative Party to oppose the UK’s membership of the Euro. We were told by William Hague, amongst others, that it is ‘thus far and no further’. It is of immense concern, therefore, that Conservative MEPs were whipped to vote in favour of a report on the European Central Bank which included these words (p6, para 9):

"Supports the introduction of the Euro by all the member states."

There was reportedly pressure from the EPP to whip Conservative MEPs to vote for this report. There were a few notable exceptions, but by-and-large they complied with the will of their Euro masters. Ironically, they did so on a day The Times carried an illuminating article on how the Euro is ‘slowly killing half of Europe’. It is worth quoting at length:

The Iraq invasion, disastrous though it has been, may not go down in history as the greatest political blunder of the past decade. That dubious honour will probably belong to an event most people still regard as a triumph: the creation of the euro. What we see today, not only in Italy and Hungary, but also in the other relatively weak economies on the southern and eastern fringes of the EU, is the beginning of the end of the European project. And if the euro project does turn out to be the high-water mark of European unification, then history will judge it a far more important event that anything happening in the Middle East.

But what does the euro have to do with the political troubles in Hungary and Italy? And how can I compare the technocratic financial problems connected with the euro to a moral and humanitarian disaster such as Iraq? These two questions have a very clear answer: democratic self-government — or, more precisely, its denial.

What we see in Eastern and Southern Europe today are the consequences of the EU’s transformation from a union of democratic countries into a sort of supra-national financial empire in which the most important decisions affecting EU citizens are no longer subject to democratic control.

In Italy the Government is on the brink of collapse because of Signor Prodi’s insistence on implementing tax increases and budget cuts demanded by Joaquín Almunia, the EU Economic Commissioner, under the terms of the Maastricht Treaty. In Hungary, the riots began a month ago because the Prime Minister showed his contempt for democracy by publicly admitting that he had “lied, morning, noon and night” about the tax increases and public spending cuts that he had promised Señor Almunia before a recent election — and after the election was over, he naturally felt that his promises to Brussels were far more important than the ones he had made to Hungarian voters.

The resulting budget cuts of 7 per cent of GDP over two years would be roughly equivalent in Britain to closing down the entire NHS. And Hungary, remember, is being forced to do this to comply with the Maastricht treaty, without even being admitted to the eurozone.

There is now almost no chance of Hungary, or any other new European country, being admitted to the euro-zone in the foreseeable future. This was demonstrated over the summer when Lithuania and Estonia was refused permission to join the euro on the flimsiest of grounds. This EU decision attracted little attention in Britain but was hugely controversial in Eastern Europe. It effectively meant that the accession countries would continue to have their economic policies set in Brussels and Frankfurt without even being able to enjoy the modest benefits of using the single currency.

The political consequence of this asymmetry of power is growing disillusionment in the East, not only with the EU but even with the concept of parliamentary democracy. The economic effect of forcing Central Europe to abide by deflationary policies designed for the mature economies of the eurozone is the weak demand growth and mass unemployment experienced by the accession countries. This unemployment has been the main driving force behind the huge flow of labour out of Central Europe. And that flood of workers, in turn, has provoked the hostile and ultimately self-defeating rhetoric of the British Government against Bulgarian and Romanian immigrants.

The Maastricht treaty has turned the Eastern Europeans into second-class citizens. The belated recognition of this fact is starting to have the predictably ugly impact on the politics of Europe’s eastern periphery. But before getting too indignant about the injustices to Eastern Europe, let us spare a thought for the citizens of old Europe who are privileged to “enjoy” full membership of the eurozone. The latest budgetary crisis in Italy may well be averted and the Prodi Government will probably survive for a few more months. But as Signor Prodi’s huge tax increases begin to bite, the Italian economy is almost certain to sink back into recession. Moreover, there will be no chance of Italy tackling any of its real economic problems once unemployment starts rising next year.

What Italy needs today is competition, privatisation of grossly inefficient state-sponsored utilities, deregulation of the financial system and changes in labour laws. Such reforms can be hard to implement even in a booming economy. In a stagnant or declining one, they will become impossible.

To make matters worse, Italy will be tightening its budget at the same time as Germany implements the biggest tax increases in its modern history — also in deference to the Maastricht Treaty, if not under quite such direct compulsion from the EU. These simultaneous fiscal blunders in Italy, Germany and Eastern Europe will almost mean another “lost year” for the euro zone, with economic performance falling far behind America, Britain and Japan. But the long-term consequences could be more far-reaching.

At some point the people of Europe will realise that there is something rotten in a political system that leaves them forever in the world economy’s slow lane — and which cannot be changed by any democratic process, regardless of how people vote.


Why, then, the political schizophrenia? Why do Conservatives have this Jeckyll and Hide personality that agrees with The Times when they speak in the UK, but toes the Euro-line when they vote in Brussels?

25 Comments:

Blogger Serf said...

Why do Conservatives have this Jeckyll and Hide personality that agrees with The Times when they speak in the UK, but toes the Euro-line when they vote in Brussels?

The answer to your question can only be a re-combination of the words:

pigs, greedy, trough, have, the, snouts, in, their, the

27 October 2006 at 09:56  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Anyone who trusts the Conservatives on Europe is demented. All the major treaty fundaments of the EU were signed by Tories who assured us that the results would not be as they turned out.

Margaret Thatcher should be honoured by the EU for her services to convergence

27 October 2006 at 13:21  
Blogger Peter Hitchens said...

Ted fucking Heath
need I say more?

27 October 2006 at 13:34  
Anonymous Ulster Man said...

It just so tempting to trust the Tories - your heart kindof wants to. But they are duplicitous. Even Cameron's pledge to leave the EPP was a ruse to get anti-EU Tories to vote for him, and no, they won't leave in 2009 either. The fact is that all major UK parties are hitched up to the EU bandwagon, wherever it's going, and UKIP haven't got a hope of winning on FPTP, and I can't see the rest of the UK changinf the system to the cumbersome, complex one we've got here, so we're stuffed. Ted Heath was just a manifestation of post-colonial confusion. No-one in the Tory party has conceived of a post-EU role for the UK.

27 October 2006 at 16:52  
Anonymous Colin said...

"Why, then, the political schizophrenia? Why do Conservatives have this Jeckyll and Hide personality"

His Grace's colleague, the Iranian Grand Ayatollah al-Udhma Yousof al-Sane’i, expressed the reason quite clearly:

"Power always involves lying, theft, oppression, and betrayal. Governance requires to dupe humans."

Some illustrations from the conservative side of the parliament:

USA: "Read my lips: no new taxes."

Before the election, GWB said that he wanted to reduce government spending and big goverment. After the election, he did the opposite.

Germany: Before the election Mrs. Merkel said she wanted to tell people the truth, i.e. she wants to increase VAT by 2%. After the election VAT was increased by 3%. Before the election, she said that she wanted to prevent Turkey's EU membership. After the election, she said that she has to honor the EU contracts. Before the election she said that she wanted to risk more liberty. After the election, she practically nationalized medicine in Germany.

The UK:

MI is absolutely correct: "All the major treaty fundaments of the EU were signed by Tories who assured us that the results would not be as they turned out."

In parliamentary democracy, power is gained by promising a majority of voters to fulfill their wishes. After gaining power, the leaders are very busy to satisfy their own wishes before they might lose power again. Hence,

"We lied in the morning, we lied in the evening. [...] It’s obvious that we lied throughout the last year-and-a-half, two years. It was totally clear that what we are saying is not true." A quote from Ferenc Gyurcsany, the Prime Minister of Hungary, in The Daily Telegraph, 18 September 2006

The reason for the omnipresence of lying in politics, and why should conservatives be an exemption, is that

"The masses have never thirsted after truth. Whoever can supply them with illusions is easily their master" From Le Bon 1896 book "The Crowd"

27 October 2006 at 22:47  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Nice one Colin but Voyager said this:

MI is absolutely correct: "All the major treaty fundaments of the EU were signed by Tories who assured us that the results would not be as they turned out."


Voyager said...

Anyone who trusts the Conservatives on Europe is demented. All the major treaty fundaments of the EU were signed by Tories who assured us that the results would not be as they turned out.

Margaret Thatcher should be honoured by the EU for her services to convergence

28 October 2006 at 07:17  
Blogger istanbultory said...

Colin,
I'm not sure that His Grace would necessarily regard Iranian Grand Ayatollah al-Udhma Yousof al-Sane’i
as one of his colleagues. I digress.

The UK Conservatives have, indeed, stayed in the EPP through naked self-interest. But then, if they exit the EPP, where do they go? To be outside one of the EP's parliamentary groupings is to be utterly and completely excluded from the "system". The alternative groupings are uniformly unappealing- loons and extremists of various stripes.

28 October 2006 at 17:57  
Anonymous Colin said...

Istanbultory,

I hope that the UK conservatives will win the next election because conservatives are normally more realistic than leftists.

However, I fear that the British voters will feel similarily disappointed as conservative voters in the US and Germany, at least in regard to immigration and the EU. Normally, there is a certain alliance between business and conservative parties. Most businessmen are in favor of immigration (cheap labor), the EU (large market) and Turkey's accession (enlargement of their market).

Historically, German business demanded a "guest worker" program, which was implemented by the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), a conservative party. In the US, business and the Republican party is in favor of immigration.

Maybe we ought to differentiate between cultural and economic conservativism. Economic conservatives are in favor of the free market including open borders for people. Cultural conservatives such as Cranmer, most of the readers of his blog including myself want to conserve the liberties of the Western culture.

I don't know. Does it makes sense? What is your view in regard to a split in the conservative ideology?

Or maybe MI has a better explanation?

28 October 2006 at 18:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or maybe MI has a better explanation?



Since he doesn't post on this Blog you'll have to chase off elsewhere to find him

28 October 2006 at 18:45  
Anonymous Colin said...

"Since he doesn't post on this Blog"

Really?

28 October 2006 at 18:55  
Blogger istanbultory said...

Colin, thanks. You have raised a critically important point. Yes, at times, (like the present) aspects of capitalism and free markets have been profoundly subversive of the existing social order. Although I suspect only a minority of economic conservatives are in favour of completely open borders. It’s worth remembering though that “economic” and “cultural” conservative principles are drawn from the same body of thought, and based on a fundamental agreement about the importance of such concepts as "the rule of law", a belief in small government, the importance of individual liberties and a wariness of government intervention into the private lives of citizens. Both sides stand in confirmed opposition to the Left.
I doubt if MI has a better explanation.

28 October 2006 at 21:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Colin said...

"Since he doesn't post on this Blog"

Really?


I haven't seen him here - although he does post on other Blogs. After this behaviour of peterhitchens I think he went far away from here

29 October 2006 at 11:46  
Anonymous Colin said...

Istanbultory,

"It’s worth remembering though that “economic” and “cultural” conservative principles are drawn from the same body of thought, and based on a fundamental agreement about the importance of such concepts as "the rule of law", a belief in small government, the importance of individual liberties and a wariness of government intervention into the private lives of citizens. Both sides stand in confirmed opposition to the Left."

Absolutely correct! Thank you for reminding me of these shared values. Sometimes, pessimism seems to carry me away.

29 October 2006 at 13:41  
Anonymous Colin said...

Anonym aka Voyager aka Mission impossible,

"I haven't seen him here - although he does post on other Blogs."

That's OK. All children like to use hide and seek. You may use as many aliases as you feel happy with.

29 October 2006 at 13:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Colin is correct. Voyger is MI !

29 October 2006 at 13:48  
Anonymous Galileo said...

Anonym,

You can't even spell correctly voyager. But I agree with Colin. MI is now thinly disguised as Voyager.

Cheers,

Galileo

29 October 2006 at 14:05  
Anonymous Colin 2 said...

Colin,

You cannot fool me.

You posted as Colin, Anonym, and Galileo.

29 October 2006 at 14:10  
Anonymous Colin said...

Colin 2,

How did you know?

29 October 2006 at 14:12  
Anonymous Colin 2 said...

Colin,

Everyone with an IQ > 80 is able to recognize a pattern he/she has already seen before.

29 October 2006 at 14:17  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Anonymous said...

Colin is correct. Voyger is MI !


Live on in deluded bliss then because you are 100% wrong.

29 October 2006 at 16:33  
Anonymous vikki said...

Colin, I believe you are wrong too.....

29 October 2006 at 18:10  
Anonymous Colin said...

Vikki,

Thank you for your comment. I appreciate you and your views.

It isn't important if MI is still blogging here or not. He should have the liberty to do so without being mocked or insulted by us as long as he doesn't insult others.

My problems with Mr. Voyager arose from a discussion about the laws of logic. That people differ in their view isn't a problem at all. However, he started to use insulting language and it is always a lot of fun for me to parry rude behavior without employing rude language.

Certainly, it is possible that I got carried away.

On the other hand, all these interesting individuals commenting at Cranmer's blog can be easily distinguished by using their opinions and style as criteria. In regard to opinions, the only difference between MI and voyager is that the former voiced very low opinions about women while the latter didn't say anything about his views in regard to women. The reason might be that everybody would immediately have recognized that MI was talking. And the style of voyager's writing is practically identically to MI's. So is his aggression, insults, extreme views, and knowledge of science. MI is a Master of Science. Even more funny is the fact that an Anonymous is constantly stating: MI is not writing on this blog because of Peter Hitchens etc. Why would Mr. Anonymous be interested in such statements and how could he possibly know the motives of MI and his aliases except if he is MI himself?

Anyhow, the entire issue does not belong on Archbishop Cranmer's venerable blog. Therefore, I should like to apologize to His Grace and all the readers I have bored. I promise to not pursue the matter any longer except if Mr. Voyager starts again to insult others similarily as MI did.

29 October 2006 at 20:49  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Colin you are truly pathetic. "Laws of Logic"..........you really ought to study some Logic. It is pointless even discussing it with you since you have absolutely no grasp of Logic or Philosophy so we are on completely different planes.

You are a poseur way out of his depth who has not the slightest intellectual grasp of Logic

29 October 2006 at 22:28  
Anonymous Colin said...

Voyager,

:-))

30 October 2006 at 22:17  
Blogger Rigger Mortice said...

I am Peter Hitchens!!

3 November 2006 at 11:59  

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