From iron curtain to bureaucratic curtains – the plight of Europe

Churchill’s ringing phrase about an iron curtain coming down across Europe proved prophetic. For forty years Europe was split into a social democratic part in the west with considerable freedoms and an economic system that could keep?? within sight of the USA’s rear view mirror, and a communist east which performed so badly it was soon out of sight economically.

Conditions in the east were so bad they had to shoot people?? to stop a mass exodus to the more prosperous and freer west.

??I was proud to play a small part in the great drama of the end of communism as a governing system in Eastern Europe. When I wrote the <a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/Democratic-Revolutions-Popular-Capitalism-Eastern/dp/1870265378/sr=8-2/qid=1168351201/ref=sr_1_2/203-2466118-7917518?ie=UTF8&s=books">Popular Capitalist Manifesto</a> in the 1980s I self consciously modelled it on the far more infamous and better known Communist party manifesto, recommending that countries seeking prosperity and freedom should do the opposite of nine of the ten central tenets in the original Marxist document.(Free education for all paid for from tax was the exception). I advised Margaret Thatcher on the changes that were emerging in Eastern Europe, and had the privilege as a UK Minister to make the first visits to leading Eastern European countries to offer advice on how to establish free enterprise economies and democracies once the Berlin Wall fell.

It is a sadness to me that after such glorious beginnings in those countries, and after such bravery displayed by the people who broke free of the evil empire, we should now be witnessing a bureaucratic curtain or blanket being thrown around the whole of Europe by the EU. We do not want over government, or erosion of?? freedom. We do not need the daily infuriating nit picking intervention in our lives that is the common fare of EU officialdom. We do not want the EU to seek to cut us off from the rest of the world, where many countries are growing more quickly and are more lively.

It is good news that Angela Merkel has said she will place deregulation at the heart of her EU policy as President in the first half of 2007. It is good that some Commissioners now understand just how damaging to our interests this hyperactive lawmaking has become. It is far more worrying that at the same time Angela Merkel thinks she can breathe life into the Constitution. That?? is part of the system which is failing, and should be buried as quickly as possible.We want less central power and freer trade, not further progress to a??forced and unloved EU nationhood.

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One Comment

  1. Tony
    Posted January 4, 2007 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    John, it is extremely preturbing that Frau Merkel even believes in the Constitution. I agree that we should have far less central power and freer trade and deregulation. However I do not think that a halt to further progression towards EU nationhood is enough, rather we should look to repatriate the sovereign powers that we have handed to unelected and incompetent EU bureaucrats.

    I believe it is time to repeal the European Communities Act and withdraw from the numerous treaties that bind us to this ever expanding political project. I also believe the Conservatives should take a lead in this argument to put British interests first and undermine UKIP at a single stroke.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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