Why do some people and many politicians want to stay in the EU on current terms?

 

Two arguments are constantly recited by the defenders of our current EU entanglement. Today I wish to deal with the more serious, the proposition that the EU is necessary to prevent wars in Europe.

This argument looks to some  at first to be attractive and well based. After all, say its proponents, Europe was torn apart by two long and damaging wars in the first half of the twentieth century. Who wouldn’t want to avoid that again? They go on, emboldened by the general agreement that European wars are a bad thing, to point out there has been no recurrence of major European war since the EEC and the EU were formed.

This is rather like arguing that we need to belong to the EU to keep horses and carts off our streets. In the nineteenth and early twentieth century our streets teemed with them, but since joining the EU they have disappeared.  The obvious rejoinder to both arguments is that membership of the EU has nothing to do with much of Europe being at peace, nor with how many horses and carts there are.

After 1945 the European world was radically changed in many important ways. West Germany was created as a democracy and decided to become a peace loving country with no aggressive military machine. Occupying forces also remained in Germany for the first 45 years after the  Second World War  to make sure the new Germany was a peace loving state with no means to invade others. The US army above all else acted as the new guarantor of European borders. It was also there in case any other country  decided against peaceful co-existence with Germany.

Gradually the major western countries all became democracies. They wished to pursue policies of peace and trade with the neighbours. They also had to live in a  world where the UN and the US acted as policemen for agreed borders drawn up after 1945. Plucky Belgium was never likely to invade France nor did the Netherlands have military ambitions in Germany.

With the UN, the US presence, NATO, and peace loving western governments, there was no danger of war in western Europe. The UK has not had territorial ambitions on the continent of Europe for more than a century. The UK did not need to join the EEC to remain peace loving nor to ensure it was free from invasion threat. Its membership of NATO and the UN gave it additional security, though this  was not needed against the members of the EEC.

I would turn the argument about the EU and war around and say there is more danger of a European war with the EU than without it. If the EU is about a peaceful Europe, why then does it wish to arm itself? What need has it of an army, unless it envisages military action? How could we be sure this force would only be for interventions outside Europe’s borders? After all, the EU has already attempted through member states to intervene in Balkan wars, and has expressed strong views on how the Balkans should be settled. Some would say EU interventions in  the Balkans did not always assist the peace.

I would be more willing to accept the argument that the EU is a force for peace if the EU stopped preparing for war.  I would find it less absurd as an argument if the EU refrained from wanting a military machine, and if it kept out of sensitive European political issues which stir up tensions over belonging and nationhood. It needs to  soothe them down, not stoke them up by injecting more division and another layer of split loyalties . Inserting a new and clumsy power into the old cauldron of  identity politics on the continent is far from helpful for the peace.  We see how the Euro, one of the drivers of more integration, is becoming a force for disharmony and tension between the member states.

 

 

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127 Comments

  1. lifelogic
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    Why do some people and many politicians want to stay in the EU on current terms?

    Well civil servants and politicians always welcome any increase in, the levels of government, its complexity, regulations and change. This, as it creates many additional pointless jobs for them and excuses far more interference in and regulation and taxation of everyone’s lives and at every level.

    The, largely parasitic, legal profession and the BBC likewise. The legal profession thrives on uncertainty and many conflicting laws and court levels. The BBC, it seems, is often actually paid by the EU.

    It also gives them all the chance to travel and dine rather better and at public expense.
    There is also, as you correctly say, the irrational “it will prevent another war angle” that much of the Denis Healey generation fell for after their war time experiences.

    I also think the pretentious, subsidised “Arts” industry like it because again it gives them opportunities to travel and get their hand on tax payers money without having to indulge in the dirty trade of getting them to buy tickets for their “entertainments”. While also using their GCSE French and Spanish to meet new like minded friends and lovers.

    It is mainly the 80% in the private sector who have to pay for all the nonsense with their taxes, the lack of jobs, the undercutting and loss of any democracy who, understandably, do not like it much.

    • lifelogic
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 5:58 am | Permalink

      There is also the understandable desire of larger companies to legislate smaller competition out of the market or to gain a competitive advantage by – shall we say, “lobbying” the right people in the right places. The usual ruses to justify this are: health and safety, global warming or the environment.

      Also simply the common desire to, legally or illegally, gain consultancies, remunerative or other advantages from your “connections” in government at all levels. Diverting taxes directly into certain peoples pockets – as with wind farms.

      • Alan Wheatley
        Posted June 4, 2012 at 10:31 am | Permalink

        I agree – the more and more-compplex the rules the harder it is for SMEs. Large companies want to have more market share, and if you can’t get it from other large companies then smaller companies are happily made less competitive.

        • zorro
          Posted June 4, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

          It’s the logical progression to the corporate state…you know what will come next.

          zorro

    • lifelogic
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 6:17 am | Permalink

      Baroness Warsi seems pleasant enough (and by current low standard has not done very much wrong it seems) but is it not time she spent more time with her spice company.

      She is clearly out of her depth anyway. Surely she is only in her position (one assumes) because Cameron foolishly decided he wanted a female, Tory, northern, Muslim, as chairman of the party and she was all that he could find. Is not recruiting in that way illegal?

      The attempts to associate UKIP with racism were particularly obnoxious.

      • lifelogic
        Posted June 4, 2012 at 10:15 am | Permalink

        I just heard our delightful anti business secretary, Vince Cable on Woman’s hour saying of Francois Hollande appointment of 17 women to his 34-member government was “great”.

        So, anti male discrimination and ignoring, genuine merit and having less able ministers is just fine by him it seems.

        It was a typical BBC debate with one person on the mad side of the argument and the other contributor (this time played by the great BBC thinker Janet Street Porter) even further on the mad side. The presenter somewhere in the middle of the two absurd positions.

        But what are these people going to do about chess (one woman in the top 100 I understand) or about getting men to be better at languages, living longer and saying far more words each day I wonder.

        Government targets or at least lighter chess pieces are clearly needed.

        Perhaps one day Woman’s hour will come down and finally decide if men and woman exactly are the same (and so any discrepancy is due to discrimination) or if, as they also often claim, they do have different motivations, multitasking and language skills, empathy skills and so it is not discrimination at all. Other than against men perhaps as clearly with the M. le President above.

        • Bazman
          Posted June 4, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

          If riding a heavy or light push bike on the flat uses the same energy and is no more difficult than the other, then why would a lighter chess piece be more easy for a woman to pick up?

          • lifelogic
            Posted June 4, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

            The weight of chess pieces was a joke.

            But as I say, on a level road and at an even speed, the weight makes very little difference to fuel economy in a car. In fact it can even improve it. This as a heavy, and thus perhaps lower, car can have less wind resistance (and this is more significant than the rather minor increases in friction and rolling tyre resistances at high speed).

          • Bazman
            Posted June 4, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

            Ever peddled a light or heavy bike? Just silly.

          • lifelogic
            Posted June 5, 2012 at 7:19 am | Permalink

            As I say there is a slight increase in friction and tyre resistance but at any steady speed it is not significant on a flat road (as compared to wind resistance).

            Bikes go more slowly (and have worse suspensions) so this tyre resistance is more significant but the same applies. Your tires need more air in for the extra weight and clearly it takes more energy to get going initially but once going at a steady speed the rule basically applies.

            Science is about the world as it actually is – not how politicians and people might like it to be, pushing their caring sharing, PV, Wind and public transport agenda. The laws of physics will not change, whatever politicians and voters might like to believe.

          • lifelogic
            Posted June 5, 2012 at 9:46 am | Permalink

            @Bazman

            Silly? Well perhaps that is in the mind of the beholder – but certainly true regardless.

        • Bob
          Posted June 4, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

          @lifelogic

          This equality nonsense has gone too far already.
          If women can fight on the front line, then why can’t they compete against men in sports?

          Which is more critical, performance on the battlefield or at Wimbledon?

          • lifelogic
            Posted June 5, 2012 at 7:24 am | Permalink

            You ask “Which is more critical, performance on the battlefield or at Wimbledon?”

            Clearly to the EU, Cameron and Cable political correctness (and the evil politics of envy, “unfairness” and discrimination and quack greenness) is what matter most to them – well above efficiency or the scientific reality.

      • Bob
        Posted June 4, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

        @lifelogic

        “The attempts to associate UKIP with racism were particularly obnoxious.”

        Yes, she should have been sacked for that alone.
        The Tories are becoming very nasty when it comes to UKIP.
        Why is that I wonder? are they frit?

        • lifelogic
          Posted June 5, 2012 at 7:26 am | Permalink

          “Frit” of UKIP letting labour back in, not of them ever taking over though.

          Mind you Cameron seem determined to let labour back anyway.

          • Bazman
            Posted June 5, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

            You are seriously telling us that the heavy push bike is only more tiring to ride on flat ground than a lightweight racing cycle as this is all in the mind? Has anyone informed the Olympic cyclists? I’ll have to tell myself that when riding a heavy bike and when pushing a large motorbike I’ll pretend it’s a moped. Maybe this is the same reason my six year old daughter on my back makes the walk to the pub harder and longer? Interesting view of the world. Makes me wonder what else you believe to be real?

          • lifelogic
            Posted June 5, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

            I was talking about cars not bikes. But it also applies to bikes when ridden on the flat at a steady reasonable speed the weight makes very little difference just a little bit of extra friction in the tyres and bearings.

            It is the wind resistance that is the main force the “engine” has to over come and this is clearly independent of the weight. It only applies on the flat and at steady speed as I said all along.

          • uanime5
            Posted June 5, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

            “It is the wind resistance that is the main force the “engine” has to over come and this is clearly independent of the weight.”

            No the main force the engine has to overcome is inertia, which is dependent on the mass of the car.

          • Bazman
            Posted June 5, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

            At speeds below 30 mph the air resistance is negligible and the forces would be the same in a bike or car. Silly science. In a frictionless vacuum your points would be relevant. Silly like your politics.

          • lifelogic
            Posted June 6, 2012 at 8:27 am | Permalink

            @uanime5

            At a steady velocity inertia is irrelevant.
            Inertia is the resistance of any physical object to a “change” in its velocity look it up.

          • lifelogic
            Posted June 6, 2012 at 8:37 am | Permalink

            @Bazman

            I was talking about usual car speeds – but even at lowish speeds on a push bike the rule is still true. The weight on a level road and at a steady velocity is not very significant to the energy needed to keep it going at that steady speed. Providing you have good low friction bearing, suspension and pumped up tyres it just give a slight extra friction in them and this is not large relative to wind resistance. As you will know if you have ever cycled into a strong wind.

            End of physics lessons please.

          • lifelogic
            Posted June 6, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

            Bazman

            “In a frictionless vacuum”

            Well in that case you need no power do you after just an initial small push.

            The friction increases, caused by the extra weight, is simply not very significant relative relative to wind resistance at normal steady car velocities.

            Silly perhaps but clearly and demonstrably true – like my politics – just look it up.

          • Bazman
            Posted June 6, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

            Clearly you have never felt the difference e between a mountain bike and a light racing cycle with your pumped up tyres and efficient bearings nonsense Have you? Would you say there is any great effort between the two machines in the real world? Interesting to view you carrying out a test for us over say 40 miles. Not far for a bike ride in my mind. Then you could tell us about your theories with some experience. Slight extra friction on a bike with suspension? The suspension seems to take up all the peddling! You need to get out more and I don’t mean for a great lunch.

          • lifelogic
            Posted June 7, 2012 at 8:33 am | Permalink

            It is not the extra weight of the mountain bike (on the flat) that matters much it is the different tyres, seating positions and gearings etc. that make up most of the difference.

            Look it up please.

          • Bazman
            Posted June 7, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

            Why do I have to look up a problem I have experience at first hand? The riding position is the same with straight bars and so are the gears, though the tyres are an energy absorbing factor, they are necessary on the heavier machine. Have a go instead of just reading about it. Reading about swimming or cycling does not really help once on the bike or in the water. Get real!

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      ‘lovers’

      Ha ha !

    • Posted June 4, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      In a brief summary, the EU is “Jobs for the Boys”, beloved by all those who are employed by the government or in receipt of government subsidies.

    • BobE
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      It also pays big pensions and offers the political class jobs for nowt.

      • lifelogic
        Posted June 5, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

        And “special” tax arrangements too needless to say.

  2. Posted June 4, 2012 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    EUROGENDFOR might be worth keeping an eye on, although Britain isn’t a member of this armed EU gendarmerie force yet. Internet rumour says it is showing an interest in Greece.

  3. norman
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    If only the northern African / Middle Eastern states in such turmoil had been in the EU last year. Sure, some dictators would have remained in place (but we have ways of removing unacceptable governments), and granted there’s now rioting on the streets and widespread disaffection with the ruling classes across the EU, but what a dream!

  4. A.Sedgwick
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    The nuclear deterrent is the only reason the USSR did not invade Western Europe post 1945.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      I think you are right.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      …..and as Denis Healey said, all they needed was boots!

      We still need to be careful and vigilant, because with Putin, there’s another bear roaming the woods.

      Seems like a good reason for keeping our nuclear deterrent, and it needs to be independent, not controlled from Brussels. That in turn implies we need to remain master of our own destiny, not subserviant to the EU. The two are mutually exusive.

      Tad Davison

      Cambridge

      • lifelogic
        Posted June 4, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

        Can I recommend Mr (98%) Denis Healey on the desert island disc podcast. A double first but he still seems to have leaned little, still knocking Mrs Thatcher and describing the IMF as claiming on an insurance policy. Supporting G Brown still and much other nonsense about Labour and the economy – broadcast in 2009. Most entertaining, as are many of the others, worth the licence fee alone.

        Best to avoid actors, those too young and sports people I have found.

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/desert-island-discs/castaway/ae1bc0b3#b00kwftg

    • uanime5
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      It nearly backfired in 1962. It also didn’t stop the proxy wars in Korea, Vietnam, or Afghanistan.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted June 5, 2012 at 11:05 am | Permalink

        Uanime5 – I can’t help thinking that you resent the fact that the West won.

        I can’t help thinking that you are comfortable with the EU because it is a Left wing construct and that you will utterly hate it when (innevitably) it morphs into a Right wing one.

        This highlights a big difference between you and me. I’m a Right winger.

        I will have an intense dislike of the EU whatever its political inclinations. ESPECIALLY when it becomes Right wing.

  5. Atlas
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Quote: “We see how the Euro, one of the drivers of more integration, is becoming a force for disharmony and tension between the member states.”

    Indeed John. I worry that when an apparently immovable force meets an apparently intractable object then the eventual breakdown is explosive (cf Earthquakes).

    Roman emperors feared with good reason ‘the mob’ when the mob was hungry. It seems that Brussels has not read the history of the empire it wishes to emulate.

  6. Pete the Bike
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    If you follow developments in security and law enforcement around the world you can see a pattern of Orwellian state control and paranoia. The US is increasingly militarizing it’s police and planning for it’s armed forces to deal with internal dissent. Many other countries are following. These EU armed forces are seen by the elites as a tool for keeping order inside EU borders. If the EU has control of it’s own or member states soldiers it could make sure suitable units were stationed around likely flash points. Probably it would make sure that Greek forces weren’t used against Greek people, Spanish against Spanish etc because not having the same ties with locals foreign troops are always more likely to use deadly force. If they are not required for internal control then they can always be used to distract the population with a convenient war along the lines of the Libyan farce.

    • Jeremy Hummerstone
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      “Probably it would make sure that Greek forces weren’t used against Greek people…”
      Yes, like the USSR bringing in the Mongols to invade Hungary.

  7. WG
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    One also wonders why they need a paramilitary police force, the Euro Gendarmerie Force – EuroGendFor.

    • zorro
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      EuroGendFor….It even sounds Orwellian.

      zorro

  8. Boudicca
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    The EU – particularly in its determination to use the Euro crisis to gain control over national democracies – is going to cause wars, not prevent them. They may be small-scale insurgencies and civil wars like the NI ‘troubles’, but they will rumble on causing conflict and misery for millions.

    WHEN will the European Federalists understand that Europe is not a nation and you cannot make people into something they are not, by depriving them of their democratic rights. The Euro crisis has demonstrated that the old distrust and emnities between various European nations are still there: that doesn’t inevitably mean war, but it does mean that national democracies, cultural attributes and their histories must be understood and respected. The EU has NO respect.

    The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee pageant yesterday showed that the British people have confidence in our Sovereign and pride in our history. We want our Sovereignty returned and our Independence restored. We have more in common with our friends and kin in the Commonwealth than continental Europe.

    It is only our cowardly Whitehall Establishment and Political Elite who have no confidence in the UK. We need a Patriot running the UK, not the privileged but weak ‘College Kids’ who have no understanding of our desire for freedom.

    • Robert K
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      well put

  9. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    I have long held the view that far from preventing future conflict the EU will provoke it. Removing the democratic rights of the people of the member states, usually without their agreement and by stealth, may seem a good idea to the so-called political elites who want to dictate to us, but eventually it will lead to uprisings and conflict as oppressed people normally see this as their only way to achieve their independence. Other than internal conflict, as you point out, that same political elite has shown its desire to use its power around the world. This will go further if they force their way by having a country called Europe with its own army and foreign policy. The fact that the leaders of your party are encouraging the formation of such a European political union without popular consent in the eurozone offers no hope of salvation from the Conservatives.

    • uanime5
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      Given that this occurs in national Parliament and involves democratically elected MPs I wouldn’t call this stealthy.

      Who is this elite and which country do they belong to?

  10. Mike Stallard
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    “I would turn the argument about the EU and war around and say there is more danger of a European war with the EU than without it.”

    You betcha!

    Why? Nigeria had a civil war when Biafra tried to leave the union. The Confederate States of the USA tried to leave and it was this, not slavery, which caused Lincoln to fight. Ireland has kept on trying to leave the Union and war has been the result.
    England wants to leave………

    • uanime5
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      There wasn’t a civil war when Albania left the USSR because it became too ‘liberal’ after Stalin died.

      • zorro
        Posted June 4, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

        Albania was never in the USSR……It was a communist state under Enver Hoxha after WW11 (having been ruled by King Zog before the war). Besides, how would the USSR have been able to invade Albania physically without traversing through Yugoslavia. I seriously doubt that Tito would have allowed that!….Another uanime5 classic!

        zorro

        • uanime5
          Posted June 5, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

          Albania joined the Soviet Union in 1948 after it broke away from Yugoslavia. In 1955 they where a founding member of the Warsaw Pact, in 1961 they annoyed the USSR and had all Russian support removed (though China provided them with assistance), and in 1968 they withdrew from the Warsaw Pact.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People%27s_Socialist_Republic_of_Albania#Albania_and_the_Soviet_Union

          Next time do some research before declaring that someone is wrong.

          • zorro
            Posted June 6, 2012 at 9:04 am | Permalink

            I did the research. Even in the Wiki page it does not say what you claimed. It did not ever leave the USSR, it never joined it. It cooperated closely as a COMECOM member, and as an insurance polcy against Tito.

            Zorro

          • lifelogic
            Posted June 6, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

            @uanime5

            “Next time do some research before declaring that someone is wrong.”

            Might this not apply to you and your complete misunderstanding “inertia” and the basic physics of motion above?

  11. Geoff M
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    So people like Mrs Ashton the highest paid unelected politi

    So they can become and remain the worlds highest paid unelected politicians.

    • lifelogic
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 5:06 am | Permalink

      Indeed, lots of work experience with CND, charities and in the state sector and very little in the real world – as is fairly standard for such bureaucrats.

  12. Elaine Turner
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    NATO has kept the peace since its inception and we must never forget that.. despite the fact that the majority of the EU have been happy to have the cost born by the USA and haven’t paid their fair share. I would argue that the way things are going with the EU through the FU demanding fiscal constraints on Govts and nations that don’t want it imposed, the chances of demonstrations leading to death and poverty and a general lack of democracy is likely to create the scenario that the EU was set up to avoid.

  13. NickW
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    George Soros has some penetrating insights into Europe; he introduces the concept of “Political bubbles”, which like financial bubbles are based on misplaced optimism and unreal expectations;

    “I contend that the European Union itself is like a bubble. In the boom phase the EU was what the psychoanalyst David Tuckett calls a “fantastic object” – unreal but immensely attractive. The EU was the embodiment of an open society –an association of nations founded on the principles of democracy, human rights, and rule of law in which no nation or nationality would have a dominant position.”

    It is far too long to quote in full, but here is the link; a thoughtful read.

    http://www.georgesoros.com/interviews-speeches/entry/remarks_at_the_festival_of_economics_trento_italy/

    Political bubbles burst; just like financial ones.

  14. NickW
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Sorry to go off topic, but a thought on Government spending;

    Now that UK Treasuries are at record low interest rates, why shouldn’t the Bank of England agree with the UK Government to surrender its portfolio of Treasuries, (which is around £300Billion) in exchange for the same quantity of new Treasuries at the current low interest rates?

    A bit like operation Twist in the USA but the key factor is interest rates, not maturities.

    It might help the U.S. as well.

    • Mark
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      There is no economic gain, since gilts with higher coupons are priced well over par, so there is a projected capital loss that offsets the higher coupon. Moreover, low coupon gilts (especially longer dated ones) are high risk with regard to capital loss should yields return to more normal levels.

  15. zorro
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Indeed, some might say that certain European countries meddling in the Balkans helped foment the conflict in the 1990s…….When you refer to a ‘new and clumsy power’, are you referring to the Euro? It is clear to me that by its actions, the EU has undeclared ambitions.

    Zorro

  16. Electro-Kevin
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Quite clearly the EU has ambitions to become an undemocratic Superstate dedicated to its political elite and with desires to oppress its own people – we’re almost there already.

    It’s no coincidence that those who support secret court hearings are also the most ardent supporters of the EU and its harmful single currency.

  17. fox in sox
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Dear John

    I know that you do not like links being posted but you may find this one by David Smith of the Sunday times interesting. One of your followers was asking for a counterargument to Paul Krugman: http://www.economicsuk.com/blog/001676.html#more

  18. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Quite. It is becoming clear that we in UK are in grave danger of having a European Federation of at least 17 Member States on out doorstep. Why should we expect it to be benevolent? Militarisation always was an objective, as anyone who read the speeches of Franz Josef Strauss in the late sixties will be well aware.

    We can’t afford such a federation to form. All our foreign policy and much of our economic policy should be orientated to undermining it. The sick Euro is the best opportunity that we have had for a long time. We should be encouraging the fiscally weaker nations to leave one by one and should propose practical measures to help them. These would include help with financing the change back to new versions of their own currencies (fairly small beer) and allowing them to convert their Euro debts to local currency (that’s a much bigger concession because local currency would depreciate). A beneficial side effect is that these nations could experience export led economic growth through devaluation.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      Correct; the existence and continued expansion of the eurozone is clearly a long term threat to our vital national interests and we should be trying to break it up, and not do anything at all to help keep it together.

    • uanime5
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      Why would a weak economy want an unstable currency which will increase their borrowing costs? Also export led economic growth only occurs if you’re a net exporter. Net importers generally suffer from devaluation due to the increased cost of their imports.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted June 5, 2012 at 12:34 am | Permalink

        Ever heard of the J curve effect? After a while they stop being net importers.
        Being a net importer or a net exporter is not a permanent condition, provided that you remember to include services.

        • uanime5
          Posted June 5, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

          You can only stop being a net importer if you can produce imported goods domestically or use less of these goods. As Greece cannot produce oil they either have to use less oil or pay a higher price for it with their devalued currency. Devaluing isn’t always the best solution.

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted June 6, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

            For Greece, tourism is an export, which can be boosted by devaluation. Already, British holiday bookings in the Greek islands have doubled this year, no doubt because the prices are cheap – and they haven’t even left the Eurozone yet. They can also buy cheaper and more economical cars and trucks than German ones. All the Greeks need is Freedom and Reality.

  19. David Kelly
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Personally, I give more credence to a view that peace has prevailed (for the most part) across western Europe since WWII despite the presence of the pan-European project, not because of it, than to the view that peace has only prevailed because of the EEC/EU.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      …so good they named it twice.

      (EEC/EU to the tune of New York, New York)

      Why Wasn’t it called the European Union in 1975 ? Did the words ‘European’ and ‘Union’ not exist then ?

      No. They called it an ‘Economic’ Community. This gave the impression that it was just a market place.

      If you want proof that the people were deliberately decieved then there it is.

      • uanime5
        Posted June 4, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

        Originally it was called the European Coal and Steel Community and was very different from the European Economic Community.

        Also the EEC, now called the European Community, still exists; it’s part of the EU.

        • Electro-Kevin
          Posted June 4, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

          Uanime5 – I gather that the ECSC, EEC and EU is part of that maginificent organisation called the USER but that we just haven’t been told of its existence yet.

          (USER – United States of the European Republic of course)

  20. backofanenvelope
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    What I find irritating is that we had a much better model for the EU. NATO; an alliance of independent nations committed to collective action when needed. Of course, the fly in the NATO ointment was France. The EU would be much better if France was expelled and the EU was led by an Anglo-German alliance.

  21. Local Tory
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    John, I am not in any way advocating violence but it was once said that “there are many things more horrible that bloodshed, and slavery is one of them.” (Patrick Pearse – Dublin, Ireland in the years before 1916).

    If Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland ever wish to leave the UK and the sterling area then no one should stop them. But England has as much right to national self determination as any other nation.

    We should be firmly inside the EU bloc for: business, trade and financial regulation (not taxation) but in my opinion we need to extricate ourselves from the political side of the European Project as soon as possible.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      What do you do if what you would firmly like to be inside is not a practical proposition?

      Me thinks the European Project is all about politics and partial extraction is undoable.

    • David Kelly
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      In other words, we need to rejoin EFTA, but only on condition that we leave if France or Germany ever joins it.

  22. roadrunner
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    I think that nuclear weapons played as big a part in keeping the peace in Europe as much as Germany’s peaceful intentions .The EU has however not dimmed their ambitions for a European empire but emboldened it by financial means.

  23. Leslie Singleton
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Post hoc ergo (not) propter hoc

  24. Alan Wheatley
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    If you want to sum up in a word why there has been peace in Western Europe since 1945 I would suggest “Stalin”. Faced with someone who could be judged the most despicable dictator of all time the foe without made friendship within NATO the obvious course.

    • uanime5
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      How do you explain peace in Western Europe after Stalin died in 1953?

      • Alan Wheatley
        Posted June 5, 2012 at 8:10 am | Permalink

        Apparently one word is not enough for you.

        The Allied leaders had the war to see Stalin in action, and in the immediate aftermath of the war he set the nature of world relationships by the ambitions and actions of the Soviet Union. The partitioning of the world into “East” and West” that he brought about was continued by subsequent Soviet leaders.

  25. Alan Wheatley
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    While being empathetic to almost all you say, JR. I would add a comment in relation to “preparing for war”. It has oft been said that if you want peace then prepare for war, and I think this is still an absolute truth. However, the preparation would be far better done at the national level rather than under an EU leadership, which has all the hallmarks of bluster and impotence.

    As for peace, it takes two to tango. No matter how peace loving you may be, if someone else is set on war with you then they are unlikely to desist because you ask them politely not to. Of course, in such circumstance there would be no war, just defeat.

    A vital party of nationality is a belief that it is worth fighting for.

  26. oldtimer
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    There is no doubt that post war peace in western Europe was secured by the continued presence of US forces and NATO. It is also clear, I believe, that the USA has supported the formation of the EU and that the UK should play a part in it. They have had no problem with the idea of a United States of Europe that I am aware of. I believe they saw significant economic benefits for US businesses in the emergence of a single market. If Europe was to become a super state then the creation of a European army would be a logical extension of the idea. It would enable the USA to reduce its own military commitments in Europe.

    My belief is that a primary urge for the UK to become involved was economic – the EU, as it then was, growing faster than the UK. In the pre 1970s days of fixed parities it was difficult for many UK businesses to compete in Europe, a point confirmed once currencies were allowed to float during the 1970s. In 1970 £1 = c8.7 DM; by 1980 £1 = c4.2 DM.

    But I do agree that the formation of a European army, ahead of the the formation of a political union in the EU/EZ is, like the introduction of the euro itself, putting the cart before the horse. It is entirely possible to imagine the present tensions and imbalances inside the EZ resulting in even more severe civil disturbance than we have seen to date, to the extent of civil conflict and war.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      I am sure the USA would be happy with an USE, thinking of themselves as the model rather than Yugoslavia. But the artificial construct of the USE is going to go the way of Yugoslavia, not the USA.

      As for the UK, I am sure the USA would entirely happy with a successful UK on its own.

  27. Alan Wheatley
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    I have been increasing against the EU once it dawned on me that it was not a free trade area that the UK had joined but a political ideology heading in a direction that could never work. It has to end in tears: the only question is when and how and how big a bust up.

    The EU stands in stark contrast to the Commonwealth, where we do have a group of nations enjoying that which they can share and benefit from together in a manner of their choosing. That is the future for the UK. If ever there was a tipping point for a change of direction, surely these celebratory few days is it.

  28. Posted June 4, 2012 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    A timely post to say the least, and an excellent one too. The europhile camp blames the EU for nothing, and gives it all the credit for everything good that happens.
    Sadly, I’m afraid that – as Greece and Ireland have shown in particular – the EU works through blackmail, using welfare dependancy as the bait/threat: ‘do what we say, or the money will dry up’.
    This morning is a classic of its kind from Berlin: ‘We’ll budge on eurobonds if you give up all your powers, rights and gold to Brussels’.
    Many of us have seen this coming for a decade or more. I am genuinely concerned that, once the full force of Crash 2 hits, we will see extremism in the Clubmed region, and even violence here.
    http://hat4uk.wordpress.com/2012/06/04/euroblown-as-the-lights-go-out-all-over-greece-now-at-last-berlin-moves-towards-eurobonds/

    • uanime5
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      Well if Greece and Ireland had run their economies better they wouldn’t keep needing EU bailouts.

      • Bob
        Posted June 4, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

        @uanime5

        “if Greece and Ireland had run their economies better they wouldn’t keep needing EU bailouts.”

        Or UK bailouts!

        • APL
          Posted June 6, 2012 at 6:36 am | Permalink

          Bob: “Or UK bailouts!”

          Neither of which are ‘bailouts’, they are in fact ‘bailins’, that is scooping a bucket of Greek debt* and slopping it into the British economy.

          *Greek debt is actually Greek obligations and French; BNP, Credit Agricole ect., liabilities. In bailing out the Greeks, we are doing nothing for the Greek people, but a lot for the French megabanks.

          Which may go in part to explain why the French are so upset about the prospect of a Greek default.

          On that event three or four of Frances biggest banks would be vaporized.

  29. Barbara Stevens
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    I noticed on the news the ‘EUSSR’ unelected boffins were in Russia, and Ashston seated as well with the ‘wet rag’ and Barroso. I thought, they do not represent me, I have William Hague paid to do that? I resent these people taking the lead, and hope Mr Cameron won’t let these people overshadow, foreign policy, they do not represent the UK. I for one will never accept these unelected boffins or what they agree to or say. They are developing a United States of Europe under our eyes, and we have not voted for it.
    As for the scaremongering about war in Europe, its foolish bantering, and we’ve fought on their behalf twice already and got no thanks for it. Just remember all those lying in France who died for Europe’s freedom and ours; I watched yesterday and was proud at all the flags and responses, for the celebrations. We all know reality is different, but freedom is the same as in 1945, we won’t let the EUSSR take that away. If yesterday didn’t teach our politicans anything they should retire, we want our country back, and the sooner they realise it and act the better.

  30. Elliot Kane
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Totally agree, John. An excellent analysis of the situation, IMO. Very well said.

  31. Tad Davison
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    So far it seems most of the comments have been about possible conflicts between nations, but the likelihood of civil insurrection on the streets throughout the EU is now greater than ever!

    Some achievement that is!

    It was said by it’s champions that the EU would give unparalled peace and prosperity to the people, yet it has delivered just the opposite. That would have been bad enough on it’s own, but given that Eurosceptics have been predicting this mayhem and breakdown all along, what possible reason is there for anyone to believe their poor judgement in the future?

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

  32. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    “The UK has not had territorial ambitions on the continent of Europe for more than a century.”

    I’d not sure what JR means by this, because I can’t think of any British territorial ambitions on mainland Europe since the loss of Calais in 1558.

    Plenty of large scale territorial ambitions elsewhere in the world, but for Europe it was offshore islands to ensure control of the seas – Gibraltar, Minorca, Malta, Corfu, Cyprus, and I think the last to be possessed was Heligoland, ceded by Denmark in 1814 and given to Germany in 1890.

    Hanover came with George I but went with Victoria’s accession, Salic law requiring the throne to be passed to a male, Victoria’s uncle Ernest.

    Of course there were repeated involvements in wars on the mainland, but I can’t think of a case where England or Britain sought to take permanent possession of any part of it as a war objective.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      Oh Denis, I am so glad you found this Blog and became a regular contributor, keeping us all on the straight and narrow. Life would not be the same without you.

    • Robert K
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      Interesting point. The key issue here is that the British Empire looked far beyond Europe. You can argue the rights and wrongs of the Empire – I can see as many downsides as upsides of it, but it is sad that instead of seeking bonds of cultural union within the Anglosphere our leaders have frog-marched us into the sinking boat of the EU.

  33. Derek Emery
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    The reason some want to stay in the EU is a that political preferences are determined by personality traits. See http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100609111312.htm as one example.

    The EU is a left liberal invention so its concerns are those embraced by the left liberal mind – equality and an open society etc . Therefore it is powerfully attractive to those with a liberal mindset.

    It is not attractive to those who are conservative with a small c who prefer orderliness and support the current social structure.

    The power structure of the EU has been set in stone form day one such that liberal principles dominate and there is real no place for conservative thinking.

    I suspect the continual sustained bias to liberal thinking is why the EU is in economic difficulties. Liberals are definitely not interested in competition which has very negative connotations when your ideal drive is for equality.

    I doubt a liberal society can be a competitively driven society where private sector wealth creation is seen as important or relevant. Hence GDP growth has been lower than in the Far East for decades allowing them to catch up from their third world status. There is little chance of the EU changing from being strongly liberal.

    The far east are unlikely to change from their present competitive culture so the EU is likely to increasingly trail behind them in the future in economic and technological terms. I’m not sure that trailing behind is seen as very important to the liberal mind. The price for not falling behind is to be driven by competition – too high a price I suspect for the liberal mindset.

    • zorro
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      I would say that it is very squarely social democrat/socialist in its ethos….anathema to any proper liberal/conservative/libertarian.

      zorro

  34. Derek Emery
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    The news is that the EU is considering full fiscal union as a solution to its problems (i.e. more Europe) see http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/04/us-eurozone-union-idUSBRE85207J20120604

    Merkel is pushing for a fiscal union with a central authority with control over labour markets, social security, etc as the price for access to German money. This has to mean a massive loss of sovereignty. In effect it will be the German economic model that will have to be followed to stay in the EZ and at the price of a total loss of sovereignty.

  35. AJAX
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Q: There’s been no war of scale in Europe since the 1950s because of the existence of the EU?

    A: There was a large scale war in Europe from 1945 to 1990 called the Cold War, with the USA acting as Western Europe’s aegis against the threat of the Soviet Union.
    That’s what “kept the peace”, the EU was a cosseted irrelevance.

    Q: ‘West Germany was created & decided to become a peace loving country’

    A: West Germany was established as a puppet state by the Anglosphere in 1945 & had no choice other than to be peaceful as it was an occupied buffer state between the Anglosphere & the Soviet Union

    Q: England has not had any territorial ambitions in Europe for a century

    A: What territorial ambitions did England possess in Europe – other than the maintenance of Gibraltar – a century ago exactly?

    Q: England did not need to join the EU to maintain the peace in Europe

    A: England – LED BY THE TORY PARTY at the time – joined the EU project because it was exhausted from leading the defeat of 2 great German assaults upon the globe in the 1st 1/2 of the 20th Century, the Empire had collapsed, & thru 50 years of free tradism its economy was in semi-ruin & divided against itself by the enemy within (you remember the origin of that phrase still Johnny??), i.e. Socialist dogmatists; in short it was scared & sought security by hiding in a group, even tho there was little mutual accord within the group it threw its lot in with

    Q: The EU could be a martial threat itself to peace?

    A: I don’t see any aggression in the EU, the new Eurocratocracy wants an armed forces element to the new state it’s attempting to construct in the same way that the Greeks have those soldiers in Athens with pom-poms on their boots, or the French have females in their ‘Republican Guard’ wearing Cuirassier brest-plates & helmets at the doors of diplomatic events, i.e. militaria panoply & frippery

    • Robert K
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      Good arguments, but I wouldn’t be so confident about the lack of aggression within the Eurotocracy. These maniacs will do anything to keep their project going.

    • zorro
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      The EU is like the Borg. It assimilates countries over time without the need to fight. It entices them in, and then crushes their effective independence as can be seen now.

      zorro

  36. Posted June 4, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    It is civil war that is the danger in EuroLand. And it has been arranged to force “integration”. All the worst of US lessons have been well learned. Watch as the emergency is used to take power & establish “integration”. The Greeks are very useful pawns.

  37. Normandee
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    A very simplistic comparison with the previous wars and the “war” that is going on is that the last 3 serious attempts to “unify” Europe have all foundered at the white cliffs where we have provided the first serious opposition. Together then, with our allies, we stopped the creation of a European empire, we are now at the forefront of resistance to a more subtle invasion that has been stopped if not seriously slowed down by us, to enable the rot that is created at the centre of these conquest attempts to start to destroy it’s own castle from the inside. This may prevent the new conquest attempt from succeeding, and actually it will die and wither on a vine of it’s own creation. There will of course be the usual casualties, but hopefully there will also be a “Nuremberg” at which numbers of our own ruling classes will also make an appearance.

  38. Posted June 4, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    A thoughtful article John Redwood, but I despair at the naivety of our present Politicians. They really think the European Union is about PEACE? How many billions has this Country paid into the EU in Contributions since 1972/3? How many Aircraft Carriers could this Country have bought with that money? With ‘planes on too?

    Because of the of the previous Governments agreeing to the Lisbon Treaty, this Conservative Government, instead of repudiating the Treaty (Remember no Government shall bind?) they are filling full details of this sovereign nation to the EU, and even to a requested “Indepth Report”.

    Has peace come to those Countries from when the European Neighbourhood Policy was first proposed by the Commission in 2003-2004 as a framework policy through which an enlarged EU could strengthen and deepen relations with its 16 closest neighbours. (Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Syria, Tunisia and Ukraine) with a view to counteracting risks of marginalisation for the neighbouring countries which had not participated in the historic 2004 enlargement and therefore ensuring the strengthening of a shared area of prosperity, stability and security. (From Commission Communication: A new response to a changing Neighbourhood . Foreign and Commonwealth Office 20, June 2011 European Council). Exactly what has happened to some of those Countries where Heads of States have been changed?

    A promise was made after the last war-which I remember the bombing of this Country very well-and there was not supposed to be another war after the First World War either- this Country should always be prepared at all times to defend itself and the other Countries in the Commonwealth, plus the Falkland Islands.

    Sadly, I find British Governments since 1972, WANTING.

    • uanime5
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      Your forgot Turkey, which has been trying for over 60 years to join the EU, and Kazakhstan, which is partially in Europe.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted June 12, 2012 at 1:27 am | Permalink

        Are you seriously trying to call Kazakhstan and Turkey European? Why not go the whole hog, include Ukraine and Russia, and call it the Eurasian Union? I think that you might find QMV and German domination a little difficult to enforce, though, let alone the idea of Eurasian Law.

  39. Bert Young
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    Developing markets and the internationalisation of business is what has kept Europe free from conflict . Germany benefitted substantially from cheap loans and re-built its economy on the back of USA influence – the UK , in contrast , paid heavily for its part in the 2nd. World War and lost much of its ability to compete ; the USA gained much from both of these factors and it was in their interests to maintain a reminding presence – hence , NATO . The thread of any sort of a United Europe is now wearing very thin including a waning NATO , so , a break-apart is on the cards . European countries now have to stabilise themselves through the International Banking system and fight for their new individual position . Those best positioned are the ones able to borrow at the cheapest rate and able to stimulate enterprise . Politicians must get this message across and not allow themselves to be drawn into inconsequential matters . As a nation we have good credentials and can do it ; our success can , once again , be a stabilising influence in Europe and our society richer .

  40. NickW
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    I have an answer to the Greek problem.

    All the EU politicians and officials from all the member states should be taxed at 45% on their currently untaxed (huge) salaries and allowances, and all the proceeds should then be sent to Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Cyprus—-

    It would be unfair and grossly insufficient say Barroso and Van Rompuy; That is precisely the German point of view too.

    Politicians and official who have exempted themselves from tax need to start setting a proper example to those they condemn for tax evasion.

  41. Ian Har
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    I suspect the most likely type of war in a sovereign EU would be a civil war as nationalist groups gain power when their countries fail to compete successfully against more successful states and seek to reestablish their independence.
    There is a long history of such disintegrations of unnatural federations, e.g Yugoslavia, Soviet Union, possibly soon the UK.

    The EU is unlikely ever to become a true democracy; if it did, smaller nation states would face being outvoted by larger ones, most probably to their disadvantage. This is an obvious potential source of tension in such an arrangement.

    At present it is being suggested that fiscal union is the solution to the Euro crisis; I doubt it will solve the problem. Greece will still be a failed economy in such a union because Greeks will not behave and work and pay taxes like Germans; they have their own way of life and why shouldn’t they? The same applies to the Italians and Spanish, and probably us as well. The point is that poorer performing countries should not expect to be rewarded as well as those which work harder and smarter.

    Since such tensions as these are inescapable civil dissension is always likely as the strains become too great to contain.

  42. David Langley
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Barbara Stevens i agree with your dit on the pompous windbags of the EU pontificating with the likes of Putin being totally laughable, what children compared with that prince of darkness. How dare they represent us, we have provided Europe’s bulwark so many times What makes them think they can tame the Russian Bear? Who are they selling out now? I suppose it fits in with their idea of themselves as our political leaders speaking for us as of course we must now defer to their supranational authority. I can hear Putins laughter as they return with puffed out chests back to their castles in the sky. Certainly that bloodstained dictator trying to hold down Syria won’t worry about the EU jobsworths influence in his part of the world.

  43. libertarian
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    On this no war in Europe since 1945 I guess the war in Yugoslavia and the ethnic cleansing of Bosnia etc don’t count then?

    I guess the Greek uprising, the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and the two Chechen wars don’t count either. In fact since 1945 there have been 37 wars, uprisings and conflicts in Europe and that doesn’t count things like Al Qaeda IRA and Basque ETA terrorism or the Cold War.

    Full list here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_conflicts_in_Europe

    More Euroballs then.

  44. uanime5
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    Given that the EU has done much to prevent wars and foster cooperation it has contributed to peace to Europe. So your comparison to the horse and cart is inaccurate.

    I’m fairly sure that military forces remained in West Germany to prevent an invasion by the Communist East Germany, which was part of the USSR. Odd that you never mentioned the USSR or the threat of a Communist invasion in you history of the EU.

    I wouldn’t say that the major Western countries gradually became democracies give that most were democracies before WW1 and had all returned to being democracies by 1950.

    Your comments about the EU are muddled and unhelpful. It is stand practise to arm yourself to prevent being invaded (Si vis pacem, para bellum). Given that the UK is current building 2 aircraft carriers it is the EU should be worried about British aggression, rather than the UK worrying about the EU.

    Finally there was intervention in the Balkans to prevent genocide, ethnic cleansing, and attacks on civilians. Are you claiming that the EU should have sat back and watched these people be killed?

    • zorro
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

      ‘Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum’ (Vegetius)…..Get the quote right.

      zorro

      • uanime5
        Posted June 5, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

        Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum: Therefore whoever desires peace, let him prepare for war (Vegetius Renatus).

        Si vis pacem, para bellum: If you wish for peace, prepare for war. A variant of of Vegetius Renatus’ sentiments.

  45. forthurst
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    “Finally there was intervention in the Balkans to prevent genocide, ethnic cleansing, and attacks on civilians.”

    As in Libya and no doubt soon in Syria. If you want to swallow MSM grooming, don’t bother to comment because your premises will always be incorrect.

    • zorro
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      The irony of the uanime5 comment is almost too much…..

      zorro

    • uanime5
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      Given that you were able to rebut my argument it’s clear that you don’t have any evidence that this was the wrong thing to do.

  46. Max Dunbar
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

    Has NATO ever been put seriously to the test?
    The EU has been put to the test and found to be wanting. Would a Euro Army be feasible? I suspect that it would be not only a costly failure but a great embarassment. What soldier with any sense of self respect would want to be a member of it?
    Perhaps the playground bully could be used effectively to intimidate countries who vote in the “wrong” government as the Austrians did a number of years ago although that is unlikely. Doubtless the new “army” would be formed on the basis of equality and diversity rather than military imperatives.

  47. Derek Emery
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Why do some people and many politicians want to stay in the EU on current terms?

    See 5 personality traits that divide individuals http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36325869/ns/health-behavior/t/key-moral-triggers-polarize-politics/#.T828dMX4J65 and http://www.livescience.com/6329-.html

    The 5 moral triggers used to judge right from wrong are:

    Harm/Care
    Fairness/Reciprocity
    Ingroup/Loyalty
    Authority/Respect
    Purity/Sanctity

    Liberals only care about Harm/Care in moral terms whereas conservatives with a small c care about all 5.

    There is a biased perception of facts because people process data so that it fits with their views according to personality. We don’t all see the world in the same light.

    The EU was formed as a left liberal idea and there is no place for any in the EU elite who do not fit this pattern.In contrast the Far East is culture is more conservative with a small c.

    It’s noticeable that the left liberal US and the EU were for financial deregulation which had been in place for many years. It’s noticeable too that both the EU and US are big borrowers to fund lifestyle whereas China believes in savings and runs a surplus.

    The liberal views is more limited and only one of the five factors is seen as important. Perhaps that is why the EU is failing economically? Its very noticeable the liberal thinking does not engage with economics or finance (e.g. eurozone formation). I suspect this stems from the the fact that only one of the 5 triggers is seen as relevant in the liberal mindset.

    Another example is Green energy which is seen as far more important than jobs (i.e. than wealth creation). Economic growth is secondary to liberal principles.

    I suspect that the left Liberal EU is incapable of being competitive in today’s world markets because of the limited outlook and thinking of the liberal mindset.

    If I am right it will be very apparent in a decade’s time when the EU will be noticeably behind China and other Far Eastern economies.

    If so this will mean even paymaster Germany will be struggling in world markets as they are left behind by the higher economic and technological growth in China and other Far Eastern countries.

    • uanime5
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      I noticed that you didn’t use any of the 5 moral triggers to determine whether if was right or for the UK to be part of the EU and instead had a rant about how bad liberals are. Should I assume that right wing thinkers ignore all 5 moral triggers when deciding something?

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted June 12, 2012 at 1:22 am | Permalink

        There is only one moral trigger that matters and has legitimacy: “Do as ye would be done by.”

  48. javelin
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    As I have posted many times here. I have always claimed Italy will bring down the Euro. Specifcally Italian Banks, (words left out-ed) Specifically a clerk waking up one afternoon and telling (a -ed) board they are bust.

    Bridgewater (the worlds largest hedge fund) is reminding us all of this fact today .. unlike Spain who still has some LTRO dosh left over …

    “In fact, at negative €48 billion in residual LTRO capital, Italy flat out has no additional cash with which to plug ongoing debt funding needs. ” – Bridgewater.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/and-now-courtesy-bridgewater-its-italys-turn

    This will be Europes Balck Swan event – I have no doubt about it.

  49. Posted June 5, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Wow! The truth is coming out at last. A United STATE of European Union of which we cannot possibly remain in. Freedom at last and a time when our own Politicians have to actually start to learn how to Govern this Country according to its long standing Common Law Constitution. To start to earn their money and vast expenses at long last.

    Right from the very start it was always meant to be one STATE OF EUROPEAN UNION, it was only our very own Governments over the years that have been AFRAID to tell the people and why deliberate lies have been told-right from the beginning by one Edward Heath in that, “There will be no loss of essential Sovereignty”.

    The deeper our Governments took us into the EU the harder it became to hide the truth of our involvement in it. I suggest this is why Labour repealed most of those Treason laws. However the one matter they forgot was that violation of that solemn Oath of Allegiance all make before they may take up their seats in that wonderful House of Commons, even though they have been freely elected by the people. Violation of that Oath is indeed the greatest betrayal of all. Many before them have walked the long walk never to return. Sadly, many of our forces gave their lives for their Crown and Country and gave it willing rather than be governed by foreigners, and never forget that because they may have been relatives of you all. For the truth of exactly what the EC/EEC/EU was to become, is all written in the early 1960’s bound books of HANSARD, although the people could not access them in those days, plus they were still coming to terms with a life after the war and had other matters on their minds.

    This present Coalition Government knows well enough we cannot remain in the EU. To bring credibility back to any British Government, any respect they have lost-for that lack of respect lost them an outright vote of confidence to LEAD this country on their own. THEY have to decide to take this Country OUT of the European Union. A British Government took us into the EEC/EC/EU without having the chance to vote, the Government, if it is to have any credibility, respect from the people, it has to take us OUT without any need of a vote and it has to do it soon.

  50. sm
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Power, delusions (one sided risks for them) and multi-billions of other peoples money.Pensions,salaries,perks, tax free this and that, whilst severe austerity (Greece and soon others) is meted out.

    If only we had referenda, like Switzerland, we would not have allowed the politicians to create such a mess!

    PS who is on the hook for all those EU bills, liabilities to EU institutions etc etc pensions anyway? and which taxpayer is guaranteeing them? Who gets the short end of the stick again… let me guess….the proletariat.

  51. i.stafford
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    You say that the UK has no claims on Europe. Indeed! However two European countries have had claims on the UK in the post-war world – Ireland on Northern Ireland and Spain on Gibraltar. The EU has done nothing to defeat those claims. Why then do people assume it has been so successful in defeating unidentified territorial claims in this period?

  52. Alexis
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 1:02 am | Permalink

    The idea that the EU has kept the peace since 1945 would be laughable, if it was less indicative of revisionist history.

    It is an erroneous correlation-as-causation argument, very aptly illustrated by the horse-and-cart metaphor. How it is possible to airbrush out the Soviet Union, NATO, and many decades of Allied occupation is hard to say – but it is a remarkable feat.

    The ‘nationalism causes war’ idea is also a false argument. I’d contend that aggression, and only aggression causes war: and that resentment tends to precede it.

    In view of that, I’d agree that the conditions being created in the EU today are more likely to lead to aggression than prevent it.

    The EU is trapping people in a useless currency union which is bringing suffering to many – and its main purpose is to force them out of having individual nations into one uber-nation….. because a Frenchman and his friends thought nations were a bad idea, some time in the last century.

    And now, to ‘make it work – and very simply speaking – we’re meant to appropriate Germany’s money and give it to Greece etc….then appropriate Greece’s sovereignty and give it to Germany.

    It might look logical on paper, but to be truthful, I can’t see that working out well…..

    !

  53. peter
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Someone commented above re peace in Western Europe the word ‘Stalin’ – This probably had more to do with peace than anything else by the focus of USSR threats and nuclear weapons.

    When people have a common cause they tend to pull together so NATO and the US are the vehicles to thank for that stability not the EU.

    I served in the Balkans 20 odd years ago when it all kicked off, the former Yugoslavia was locked into a single false state with a single currency (if I remember right) which was enforced by Tito until his time passed – and we all know what happened.

    The political classes across Europe including the UK really do need to wake up and smell the coffee, as Thatcher once said (even though she signed the Single European Act) Europe is strong because Germany is Germany, France is France and Italy is Italy (may not be the quote but it was along those lines)

    This European nonsense is an absolute mess and falsely locking countries into an expanded Deutch Mark is something I just can’t understand unless you go the full way and merge economies (and how many countries have been asked this question?) so the poorer parts are looked after by the richer parts as in the US.

    Who knows Greece might get a new government which sees this and plan for a withdrawal which should put them back on a sustainable footing after a couple of years then the others can follow – probably better to take a hit now and put things right and devalue their currencies to their natural levels to help recovery – I fear the alternative is a long period of austerity for many people.

    The UK needs to seize this opportunity and plan for an in/out referendum – if the tories want to get back in then they MUST put this on the table, no

    ‘cast iron false promises from Dave’

    A simple question is all that is needed,

    1. Do we want the UK electorate to stay in the EU
    2. Do we want the UK leave the EU political arena but retain free trade arrangements which are mutually beneficial.

  54. PG
    Posted May 24, 2013 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    People still want the EU to remain mainly because of personal interest , ie politicians , civil servants , lobbyists , and of course big business .
    The EU was based on certain ideas and country sizes , today this is all outdated and unworkable .
    Also the EU is totally undemocratic , with unelected people taking decisions and with no legislation to make them legally accountable.
    The EU has destroyed many citizens lives , given them bad health , no jobs , taken away their savings and there will be no work for future generations with all the FTA’s that are being signed with countries where cheap imported labour is used

  • 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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