the corner office

a blog, by Colin Pretorius

You say isolation...

... I say liberation. I didn't think Cameron would have the stones to do what he did but I think it was a brilliant outcome. These are my thoughts:

  • the euro is doomed - always was, always will be unless the EU becomes a Greater Germany surrounded by funded protectorates (not because Germany is doing anything wrong, but largely because it seems to be doing the most right). New treaties won't make the fundamental problems go away. The new treaty will solve the wrong problems and leave countries lashed to the mast of a sinking ship.

  • there are two good things about the EU: the open market and open borders. Cameron has pointedly said yes to the open market and no to the open borders. I'm disappointed about the latter but the former is good enough.

  • people will say that Cameron is just in the City's pockets, and they may be right, but even if he did it for the wrong reasons it's still a good outcome.

  • it isn't really about the City and financial services - remember Bastiat: the real cost of the EU is to all the nameless industries, and the jobs never created because of bureaucracy and red tape and burdensome regulation and the heavy taxes which go to funding the EU behemoth.

  • having said that, the UK's financial services industry is important to the country and a lot of EU regulation (existing, recently imposed and due to be imposed) comes from people who don't know how financial industries work and from people who have not-very-well-hidden agendas. It's like the people of the Shetlands trying to tell the Greeks how to run their summertime tourist industry (and hoping to pick up a few more hotel bookings along the way).

  • if you don't like the idea that the UK is dependent on financial services (and service industries in general) then you need to have a good explanation for why it is you don't work in a factory and why it hasn't been your life's ambition to work in a factory.

  • the idea of 'economic isolation' is tosh. Yes the EU counts for 40% of UK exports, but (a) the Swiss and Norwegians seem to do just fine and (b) as just one example, the Italian economy hasn't grown in a decade. See also my first point. The EU market will continue to dwindle, stagnate and deflate. If the UK has stuff to sell (services or otherwise), the world is a big place.

  • I've never understood the Lib Dem position on Europe. On the one hand they (rightly) complain about the shortcomings in the UK's democratic systems, and then on the other they favour the UK surrendering sovereignty to an effectively unelected and unaccountable bureaucracy. I don't know how they reconcile these two things.

  • the bigger point is this: when people in power say that the solution to a problem is 'give us more power', be worried.

I don't know how things will play out now but if the UK becomes increasingly "isolated" I hope that translates into it becoming more emboldened in opting out of things which keep Britain poorer than it should be. I guess we shall see.

{2011.12.09 21:57}

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