This week there was a rare event. The European authorities said the UK had the better of the legal argument with the ECB over whether institutions in the UK can trade in Euros. The ECB was threatening a new protectionism to place more business within the Eurozone.
It looks as if the European authorities have at last decided that a very provocative move against UK business and trade would be a bad idea when an important part of UK opinion already thinks the UK deal in the EU is a bad one. To lose a chunk of the City now would weaken further the pro EU forces in the UK. The last thing the EU wants is to lose the UK’s generous payments into the EU, let alone our big and profitable export market for them.
The unusual good legal result may lead more to conclude that the UK will only be taken seriously and given the occasional support it needs if it continues to complain. The danger in a union is parts of the Union feel they have to threaten or be difficult to get attention and better treatment. The very disobliging things that they have to say or do both damages the union, as it reduces trust and common feeling, and may get results.
We see this pattern in our own Union. Scottish Nationalists decide they will continuously complain and demand more,as making demands in the past has got them some of what they want. In a more extreme form Greece has shown us within the EU and Euro area taking an aggressive stance can bring dividends for the complainer.
Here we have the paradox of unions. If a party to the Union is unhappy, they will demand change and express unhappiness. In doing so they drive a wedge into the Union. The Union will normally accommodate part of their grievance but by no means all. It just sets itself up for another grievance and more disputes