Michael Pickles thinks that the only way to recover the UK economy is to be cautious of Europe and diversify its trade to the wider world.
We are the sixth largest economy in the world. That is out of around 200 odd economies. For what could only be described as the deliberate Europeanization of our trade and economic activity we are in a situation where our biggest import and export countries are almost exclusively EU countries. These are the same EU countries with mountains of debt built up over many years of mismanagement. The first question is how did we come to this? However, the more important question is how do we get out of it? If diversifying our trade away from European countries makes economic sense, decreases our exposure to problems in Europe and one that might require us to leave the EU altogether, why not?
It is bizarre how logical British economic policies that reflect the unique needs of the UK are being hooked to irrelevant calls to ‘make Europe strong’. We are blinding ourselves of taking the right economic policies for this country by ambiguous pan-EU political slogans that requires us to make economic policies that take into consideration the economies of a dozen other European states. What kind of a national policy process is that? When we develop our Human Rights position, we do not take into the considerations of Syria, Denmark, Burma or Japan. So why is it when it comes to our economic policy it is always defined and measured by European integration? Just because we trade more with them? As if we cannot trade with anybody else, there is a thing called the wider world out there.
What is most frustrating however, is that those who are blinding us with such meaningless pan-EU rhetoric are actually people from our own like Alistair Darling from Labour, Danny Alexander from the Liberal Democrats and Ken Clarke from the Conservatives just to name a few. We hear things such as ‘making Europe strong is in our national interest’, ‘sharing sovereignty’ or according to Alexander anti-Europeans are “anti-growth.” The EU is growing? Really? In what sense? National debt, yes, that is growing. If we are to follow the rationale of making Europe strong is in our national interest then that would mean sending billions of pounds to Greece and Portugal and billions more to the European Central Bank for good measure. Will any of our MPs dare propose such commitments to make Europe strong, to share sovereignty (cash), to be pro growth via Greece? No.
The Chinese premier Mr. Wen Jiabao said on the issue of economic recovery that, “countries should fulfill their responsibilities and put their own houses in order.” That is absolutely correct. The only way the UK can put its house in order and be responsible towards British citizens is to insulate itself to future crisis originating in Europe by diversifying its trade to the wider world. Here is a wild idea, why not diversify it towards leading members of the Commonwealth like Canada, Australia, India, Nigeria and South Africa? Just those countries we have diversified into three continents with untapped economic possibilities. We need to think what is in our best interest exclusively and pursue it without constantly minding the business of other European and EU countries. We need to desperately re-examine and challenge our economic relationship with many EU countries and start exploring new ones with other countries around the world.