Being in Liverpool for a couple of days brought me back into the discussions around British EU membership, which appears to be the subject of a fierce debate in this country. I’m not sure what caused it, but the cynical remarks often heard within the context of the European debt crisis, such as, ‘Thank God we’re not in the euro, otherwise we’d be the idiots paying for Greece’, have led me to the impression that it has to do with a good deal of schadenfreude about the European debt crisis. The idiocy of these remarks, is truly remarkable, because it is the Cameron-government that has catapulted the UK into an age of austerity. The other day I heard a news report about people on benefits being forced out of two-bedroom apartments, because new legislation determines that only a one-bedroom apartment is suitable for them – whether the two-bedroom alternative is cheaper or not doesn’t matter; total size of the apartment is irrelevant as well. Unfortunately such apartments are rather scarce – a proud piece of Liberal-Conservative legislation. Anyway, I want to relieve some frustration, and I’ll tell you today why the UK would be better off without Europe, and, more importantly, why Europe would be better off without the UK (I will attempt this with a bit of irony, of course).
It seems that the strongest argument raised in the UK against secession is the fact that the British government would lose its voice in the formulation of European legislation, while the UK would still be affected by it. Well, that is exactly what I want to see! While the rest of the continent is trying to tax the financial ‘industry’, the Brits are afraid of losing their precious City of London. To speak of an industry in this context seems almost cynical though; it’s almost like a city saying, ‘This new casino is the flagship of our strength’. The worst thing is that the British seem to buy that crap, although the Conservative Party’s links to the banking sector make their claims very authentic of course. What I really hope for is that the new EU of 26 will decide on much tougher visa regulations. Good luck to all those Brits who want to say ‘Let’s get out’ in the future referendum, trying to apply for a Schengen visa every time to want to travel to Mallorca. Well, of course the long beaches of Brighton have their charms as well, and one can always wear a raincoat.
Now, let’s also talk about democracy. The British often complain about the European Commission, which is, of course, unelected, although the European Parliament does have to wave it through (they have actually rejected Commissioners before). Although I dislike the way in which this criticism is often voiced, I do fundamentally agree with it. If the Commission is to become a European government, I would like to see it directly elected and party-based. Well, maybe not. Maybe we should have a shadow-government instead, that say, inherits the right to rule by merit of blood. Oh wait – that was the House of Lords wasn’t it. Indeed, a shadow parliament appointed by the Queen. It doesn’t sound right in principle, and it’s not my idea of democracy. Maybe the total sum of democracy in the EU might thus actually increase with the UK out. Well, there you have it, another reason to spam your British friends’ eMail accounts with anti-EU propaganda should they get a chance to vote on EU membership.
|That on the other hand...rather hard.|
Well, now I have to hurry up a bit because I have to catch a place back to Berlin. However, I think the British government might also benefit from EU students no longer having the privilege of paying home-student tuition fees. So…14,000 pounds it is. I hope that doesn’t backfire though. It might be that European students will shun British universities altogether. You never know.
Now, I want to get serious for a minute. I don’t really want the UK to leave to EU, but I want the British to understand that through their press they have been exposed to decades of anti-EU propaganda. Leaving the EU, while the British economy is already is severe distress will prove disastrous, as half of British trade is done with the rest of Europe. Companies will stop investing in a place that has no access to the common market, and trade between the new EU and the UK will plummet. The irresponsible populism of the current Tory government is extremely dangerous for the British, who should no longer tolerate the rising inequalities within this society. I want to UK to stay, but only if it takes on a more proactive role. Cameron’s blackmailing strategy is unsuitable for a supposed statesman, which Cameron certainly turned out not to be. Anyway, if a referendum does come, and if the UK wishes to leave the Union, maybe Scotland will join, because after all, secession seems to be in fashion.