Today I have received a draft chapter for a new book on the thinking of the right in the UK. In the first draft I am accused of being muddled because I both object to the erosion of national sovereignty by the EU and assert that a globalised world makes the EU irrelevant as it demonstrates the great power of international corporations. I have written back to the author with the following comments:
I am afraid here you are simply wrong.
The important distinction that I always make but Euro enthusiasts fail to grasp is the distinction between sovereignty and power.
No single country – not even the USA – is all powerful. Every country has to take into account world opinion, the attitude of neighbouring countries and the world institutions, the approach of larger corporations and the variable ability of people from one country to move to another if they do not like their country’s approach.
The USA is clearly more powerful than Iceland as the USA can project its views and values more widely thanks to its economic, diplomatic and military power. However, both the USA and Iceland are sovereign countries, in that their elected governments can do whatever they like in a democratic way without intervention from other countries/ regional blocs. They have to work within the framework of international agreements they have consented to, but they remain free to remove themselves from such agreements and institutions if need arises.
Both the USA and Iceland are natural government areas, where the governed think they belong to the same nation and wish to belong to it, and where they wish their government to make the best decisions it can within the limits of its powers both internal and external.
Members of the EU are no longer in that sovereign position. In large areas of activity they can no longer pass or repeal the laws they wish to, and in many areas they have to accept the judicial interpretation of Treaty law and Directives from the Federal court. As I do not think most people in the UK regard the EU as their country or natural governing area, I have opposed so much power passing to EU institutions.
At the same time I counter the Euro enthusiast argument about power, not sovereignty, that we need to belong to a larger bloc in the world to have more power to stand up for our interests in a rapidly globalising world. My case is that the regional bloc is too small to regulate or tackle the problems of the global market – international banking requires world wide standards and surveillance, not regional regulation for example. The EU is short of energy, so the solutions to its energy problems lie outside its borders. The EU is in long term decline (its own forecasts say it will decline from 18% of world output in 2000 to 10% in 2050 and that is optimistic). The Uk’s future will be based on the global market, and on working with like minded countries to ensure sensible styles and levels of regulation for the new global industries and corporations that characterise this phase of globalisation.
I am a defender of sovereignty in the UK as I believe our natural allegiance is to UK governing institutions not to EU ones. I am a believer that we need to work with other like minded countries to influence and improve the global regulatory framework for big business, which is too big to be contained by the EU. I am not a "little Englander" but a "big worlder"
<strong>Click on the link below to download John Redwood’s presentation on globalisation.</strong>
<a href=’http://www.johnredwoodsdiary.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/globalisation-2008.ppt’ title=’globalisation-2008.ppt’>globalisation-2008.ppt</a>