“There is a world outside France and Germany” says Michael Pickles. This is not about being a “little-Englander” Eurosceptic, this is about embracing true, whole globalisation.
A senior figure from Angel Merkel’s ruling party, Volker Kauder, recently claimed that “suddenly Europe was now speaking German”. Perhaps someone should point to him or her out that the World is still speaking English. If that was how David Cameron saw the world (as it is) and subsequently vetoed further EU integration then bravo. Great Britain has maintained its flexibility and independence in keeping the door open to the dynamic economies of the wider world (of billions of people) rather than remaining shackled to a peninsular continent of bad debts and an unstable monetary union.
The question is not, is it to the UK’s disadvantage to leave the EU or oppose further economic integration of the Euro zone countries? The real question, one that is finally being recognised even by Nicholas Sarkozy is, is it to the EU’s disadvantage to keep antagonising and exclude the British? The answer is yes when we consider the following facts.
The UK is the world’s 6th largest economy by GDP. It is the centre of major industries and services of the world. It is one of the great powers in the world. Most European countries do not have that status. When our Europhiles spin numbers of 26 to 1, 1 being the UK, as being somehow a political/economic situation that is stacked against us, it is a paper tiger. In reality only 4 countries in Europe are of relevance to the UK and they are Germany, France, Italy and maybe Spain. The rest are all micro European states that are increasingly becoming tributary states like Greece. They are completely dependent on what France and Germany tells them to do. The UK on the other hand cannot be intimidated. So it is more like 4 or 3 to 1. The 4 countries that are close enough to be acceptable comparisons are also countries with completely different economic outlooks and perceptions to each other – worlds apart. Spain and Italy are the usual countries pegged as the next victims of the “contagion.” Spain’s unemployment is at a staggering 20%. France is badly exposed to that contagion and Germany will one day realise that this “European Project”, whatever that means, will ruin them financially. With that reality in Europe in play can this so-called Merkozy leadership afford to keep antagonizing an important ally that is the UK which is still a large contributor financially to the workings of the EU? No.
Furthermore, the UK has something that most Europeans do not have, but covet enviously. That is our Commonwealth links. No European state apart from Malta and Cyprus has access to that where they may tap into its international economic potential. That potential is huge and completely wasted on by New Labour and their Europhile lackies plus Libdems. We are trading overwhelmingly with EU partners of bad debt and bad credit line when we should be trading with stable Commonwealth realms like Canada and emerging markets like India, Nigeria and South Africa.
Sentiments espoused by characters like the Labour MP Tristram Hunt that post-colonial partnership building is taking us to the past are complete nonsense. All international trade follows the framework of the WTO and various other international bodies of standards and arbitration. If preferential treatments are awarded bi-latterly that stimulates sustainable and environmentally friendly economic growth, then great. That is legal and we should seek preferential treatments amongst all 57 international members of the Commonwealth to combat the global economic crisis rather than shackling ourselves to a small and increasing inward looking regional bloc of 26.
Let us start playing our trump cards internationally rather than devoting all our time to a smaller regional negotiating table that is the EU which is served with bad debts and bad past government policies. Not all EU countries are on board with what Merkozy is demanding, that still remains to be seen. When the Europeans do arrive at a solution, as history suggests over the intervention in Greece, delays only make the debated upon solution obsolete leading to a worsening situation
If the facts and history above still mean anything for our very British defeatists (i.e. Europhiles) within Liberal Democrats, Labour and even some Conservatives then they should muster whatever integrity and shame they have left and remain silent over what are the national interests for the United Kingdom. Clearly further European integration is not. The national interest with the above realities and facts at play are clear. The UK needs to remain an international player that is autonomous from the EU. Repatriating powers is therefore a sensible and reliable policy to be taking. That so far is what David Cameron and the Coalition government is maintaining and that is good (and smart). Now we need to see how the government compensates the intermediate fallout of the veto and in the long-term with some alternative economic way-outs of an international nature. There is a world outside France and Germany. Working with our Commonwealth partners (plus Brazil or China maybe) makes perfect economic and political sense. Great Britain is the EU’s bridge to the outside world. I do not think Merkozy can afford to ditch that and isolate Europe.