Dave in Davos
The Prime Minister’s speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos was passionate, lucid and forthright. He firmly nailed his theses to the door, and told his fellow European leaders to desist from the ‘madness’ of their incessant regulations and red tape which are stifling growth. He didn’t quite say they were all as mad as a hatter/fish/march hare/box of frogs, but he won’t have made many friends with his patronising and lecturing tone. Take this, for example:
In the name of social protection, the EU has promoted unnecessary measures that impose burdens on businesses and governments, and can destroy jobs. The Agency Workers Directive, the Pregnant Workers Directive, the Working Time Directive. The list goes on and on. And then there’s the proposal for a Financial Transactions Tax. Of course it’s right that the financial sector should pay their share. In the UK we are doing exactly that through our bank levies and stamp duty on shares... But look at the European Commission’s own original analysis. That showed a Financial Transactions Tax could reduce the GDP of the EU by 200 billion euros cost nearly 500 thousand jobs and force as much as 90 per cent of some markets away from the EU. Even to be considering this at a time when we are struggling to get our economies growing is quite simply madness.His solution?
Look at America. Or the United Kingdom...And there we have the Prime Minister’s incomprehension / unawareness / intolerance of the EU’s Catholic-interventionist-corporatist model versus the Anglo-Saxon-Protestant one of free markets and liberty. Perhaps PPE doesn’t cover it, but you’d think the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom would grasp that the ‘madness’ is not political, but religio-philosophical.
The EU is intrinsically structurally autocratic, cohesive, Catholic and corporatist. It is was inspired principally by two Papal Encyclicals, namely Rerum Novarum (1891) and Quadragesimo Anno (1931), and is consequently concerned with solidarity, the single market and the social chapter. It advocates close co-operation between employers and workers, with the State overseeing wages, working conditions, production, prices and exchange. By eliminating competition, the system is meant to promote social justice and order. This, to any Anglo-Saxon Conservative with a grasp of the Protestant work ethic, constitutes unnecessary regulation and red tape. It is the antithesis of free markets, liberty and a sovereign legislature.
And so, while the Prime Minister spouts on about the need for deregulation and less state interference to fuel competition and spur growth, our EU partners believe the solution lies in more regulation and more interventionism to yield a greater social justice. David Cameron urges a liberal economic model; our EU partners urge ever closer cooperation and the pooling of economic and social sovereignty.
The EU is the answer to everything: the State is the author of not only all that is good, noble, right and true, but of everything. It is the State which must fill the gap, for while the market creates the wealth, only the State can ensure social justice. The UK/US Anglo-Saxon neo-liberal model has manifestly failed, they aver: and the solution is the social doctrine of Europe's social-market economies, which need to be guided by cross-border regulation, which must be subject to the global government of the international community.
This is not ‘madness’ to our EU partners; it is logic. The Mother State is our saviour, and she yearns for her recalcitrant children to return to her breast. She must nurture and care for them, for only she knows what’s best. This is global Socialism – unadulterated, unrelenting, unaccountable and undemocratic. It is indeed ‘madness’, but not at all to those who believe the UK/US economic model is a repugnant, dog-eat-dog world of corporate selfishness with the social ethic of a Vegas casino.
As Margaret Thatcher observed, the EU is about Socialism ‘by the back Delors’. It is a tragedy that David Cameron keeps the front door and all the windows wide open to it. Therein lies the madness.