The Europhiles still don’t get it

Last night I attended an event in Brussels sponsored by Volvo — and was disappointed to be reminded that Volvo sold their cars division to Ford ten years ago, and are now a truck business.  Indeed they claim to be the world’s second largest truck business, having absorbed France’s Renault trucks, the USA’s Mack trucks and some other businesses.

I recalled that Ford had bought both Volvo and Jaguar cars at about the same time and — let’s be honest — made a bit of a pig’s ear of them.  Ford’s ambition was to create a luxury cars division along the lines of Toyota’s Lexus.  So it didn’t help when they tarted up a Cortina and called it a Jaguar X-Type.  It never caught on.  Ford gave up, and sold Jaguar to India’s Tata (who are doing a fantastic job with it), and Volvo cars to Chinese car-maker Geely.

It was good to hear about the trucks — but it was an unrelated conversation at the dinner table that caught my attention.

Erik Ter Hark – CEO, the American European Community Association was holding forth (to an agreeable Spanish young lady) on the issue of nationality.  “Nationality doesn’t mean anything anymore.  No one cares about nationality.  People only care about prosperity, and jobs, and money in their pockets”.

I leaned across the table and observed that “Nationality is about history, and culture and language and shared economic interests” (hat-tip to Enoch Powell).  “It’s fundamentally about identity and it’s hugely important.  Ignore it at your peril”.

“So”, replied Eric, “If you have to choose between nationality and prosperity, which would you choose?”.  “I hope and pray I would have the courage and good sense to choose nationality”, I replied, “But that’s not the choice.  In terms of EU membership, both national identity and economic prospects argue against membership”.

What planet was this Eric on?  With citizens starving on the streets of Athens, with unemployment in Spain at 25% (and 50% amongst young people) he argues for the economic benefits of EU membership?  With the UK’s costs of EU membership credibly estimated at 10% of GDP, he thinks the EU is about prosperity?  With EU economies in long-term relative decline, he thinks membership is worth the sacrifice of our identity?

Didn’t he recall the grand plans of Russian Communism to expunge the identity of its client states in Eastern Europe — all of which have now reasserted themselves?  Or Tito’s attempt to unify warring Balkan states into Yugoslavia — an enterprise that lasted no longer than the man himself?

The conversation inevitably turned to the €uro, and I recalled that fifteen years ago I had been one of the small and reviled minority who argued that the single currency could not succeed.  “You’re looking backwards!” cried Eric, “That doesn’t matter now.  We have to work out how we resolve today’s problems!”.  I replied “We have a saying in England: Those who forget the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them.  And if you don’t want to know how you got into this mess, you certainly won’t know how to get out of it”.

Arguing that Greece had a choice between decades of grinding poverty and deflation inside the €uro, or recovery out of it, I cited Britain’s “Black Wednesday” exit from the Exchange Rate mechanism, and Iceland’s remarkable bounce-back fro its banking crisis.  But it was clear that Eric simply could not conceive of any future outside the EU.  Indeed that is perhaps the most sinister thing about the European project.  It has created a generation of Europeans who are simply incapable of thinking critically about the EU.

A clean-cut Swedish lad from Volvo asked  what future I saw for Britain outside the EU.  He didn’t actually articulate it, but I could see the underlying thought “Do you want to be the 51st state of the USA?”.  Europeans seem to balk at the idea of freedom, independence and democracy as being ends in themselves.  And given the chance, they will insist that the UK is too small (or failing that, too big) to survive as an independent state.  I pointed out that there are large independent and democratic countries (like the USA) and small ones (like Switzerland or Singapore), all of which are arguably doing better economically than the UK.

We Brits have a choice: to remain tethered to the Titanic as the ship goes down.  Or to take a deep breath, and break free.

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18 Responses to The Europhiles still don’t get it

  1. Charles Wardrop says:

    Your arguments make such perfect goodsense that one wonders how the dolts in charge of our political Parties and Governments ever achieved such responsibilities.
    Yet they are still trusted by many voters, who cannot be interested solely in “bribes.”
    Maybe reflects lack of instilled sense of criticism in the polpulation, otherwise the politicos would never have conned our people into avoidable wars. “Dumbo” Blair is merely the most recent of British examples of this evil propensity, yet he’s hailed by some as a peacemaker.
    Ed Heaths lies about the EU may not have led to wars, but represent the terrible deficiencies of today’s politicians’ attitudes, negating democracy so carelessly.
    Radical changes needed. To me, John Redwood’s suggestions are the best Tory ideas and that Party would not get my vote till these are adopted.
    What about an amalgamation of UKIP and Tories in agreement?

    • A lot of people are talking about a possible UKIP/Con deal. But we won’t contemplate it without a commitment (“signed in blood”, as Nigel Farage said) to an In/Out referendum. And Cameron won’t come to the table at any price.

      • Sean O'Hare says:

        Roger, even if Cameron does come to the table and “signs in blood” UKIP should not do a deal with the present leadership. If they do I for one will resign my membership.

  2. neil craig says:

    I think the Eric had a point. In Scotland the polls clearly show that that if guaranteed that an independent Scotland would be £500 per head beter off the majority would choose independence & if convined of £500 lower very few would.This suggests that even on the most nationalist issue economics trumps nationalism.

    Nor is this necessarily a bad thing. It certainly makes nationalist wars far less likely. The apparent counter-example, Yugoslavia, actually isn’t a counter examople. In both Bosnia and Croatia a major driver for “independence” was German promises that if they applied as separate states Germany would support their entry to the EU but if they stayed together Germany would veto it.

    The real reason there was a war was because the ex-Nazis, Tudjman & Izetbegovic (& later the KLA), were publicly committed to ethnic cleansing & genocide of the non-Croat & non-Moslem populations respectively and that does indeed trump economics. With the assistance of NATO bombers all 3 achieved their aims.

    The saying good fences make good neighbours is true in international affairs and so long as the European countries are agreed that borders are set in stone as we did under the Helsinki Treaty (though Yugoslavia did obviously weaken trust in our word on that) national hatred is unlikely to be a major motivating force in politics.

    This does not mean that national rivalry isn’t either but such rivalry, by encouraging countries to achieve, is a positive force.

    It also encourages the formation of countries of optimum size & having economically competent regimes. I regard Britain as more optimum than either a separate Scotland or the EU & would like to see it have an economically competent regime.

    • Scaredypants says:

      @neil. Dan Hannan’s latest book describes nationalism and how it is the “scapegoat”. I don’t see nationalism being the problem. More and more on a daily basis I see this as a Marxism versus capitalism war and the EU appear determined to take us there which is why the project must go on regardless of suffering. When we have economically fallen the take over is complete. The objective is to make us poorer and eliminate the middle class. Of course I may be looking at it very simply or completely wrong but when you put the pieces of the jigsaw together ( with all the orwellian state control etc) that appears to me at least to be the objective.
      I like this quote “Any man who is not a communist at the age of twenty is a fool. Any man who is still a communist at the age of thirty is an even bigger fool.”
      George Bernard Shaw

      • neil craig says:

        I don’t think it is a Marxism V Capitalism war so much as a Bureaucrat V Capitalism one. “The primary purpose of government programmes is to pay government employees and their friends. The nominal purpose is secondary, at best” – bureaucrats want bigger and bigger government programmes, the more useless they are the more time they have for empire building anmd the EU bureaucracy is very useless.

        Even when they adopt Marxist language, or when they adopt “environmentalist2 language they are not Marxists or environmentalists. The fusion of the 2 proves it because there was no policital philosopher, not even Adam Smith, as committed to economic progress as Marx and none as opposed as the “Greens”. I have yet to find a senior member of the “environment” movement who had ever held a serious job that wasn’t funded by government bureaucracy & ultimately the taxpayer.

  3. Mike Spilligan says:

    This reminds me of a sidelight on these matters. If I remember correctly (correction welcomed) there was quite a shock when we were told that in joining the EEC we would have to apply VAT to retail sales from 1973, with some exemptions. Even though we had recently had Purchase Tax on some items the introductory rate of 12.5% seemed very high as many were expecting 5% or so. The Heath government calmed things down by saying that the rate would be reduced once the efficiencies of scale and the balancing out of the various nations’ economic profiles had taken place. I am still hoping to see this reduction – or am I waiting in vain?
    Neil Craig: I think you’ll find there is no optimum size. Nations do not function that way – there are such intangibles as character; usually formed by history.

  4. machokong says:

    That’s the thing about dinner parties, I always end up arguing with somebody at one.

  5. Albie Inyerfays says:

    Eric appears to be like most “Europhiles” he can’t see reason because he has his head firmly jammed up his rear end.

  6. Albie Inyerfays says:

    In view of the looming cost increases, it’s time the electorate made a stand. We should demand that our MPs hold a referendum on EU membership, and threaten to withold our vote at the next general election if they don’t.

  7. Scaredypants says:

    With Teresa May’s comments about “opting out” but being able to “opt back in” shows me they are either not understanding what the people want OR they are just lying all over again. Wonder which it is, conceit or ineptness.I notice the Swiss are preparing an army in preparedness for EU unrest so the Eurocrats are not letting go lightly- scary times ahead I think

    • Dennis Purvis says:

      Strange that you mention the Swiss preparing an army, in the event of Euro unrest. The Swiss have always been portrayed as a peace loving nation, yet I’ve never seen so many armed militia anywhere, as I saw at Zurich airport, all with machine pistols. Scary indeed.

  8. foxbarn says:

    It’s rubbish that we’re better off in the crumbling EU. We’re not.

    But even it we were, it’s not the issue. Our nation’s self determination, sovereignty and democracy should not be ‘for sale’. Some things are sacred.

    You might be better off selling your daughters. Does that make it right?

  9. mikestallard says:

    I am in Australia at the moment.
    They all talk about Green Issues, about Global Warming and about Gender Issues. The difference is that they make up their own minds and the discussion leads somewhere.
    Also, the politicians do seem to be roughly in touch with the truth: less spin perhaps?
    The dollar is strong and the big issue is, of course, immigration which is, nevertheless, under control. Here in Queensland, it is still a Christian/Western culture which welcomes other people – on Australian terms. If they don’t like they know what to do.
    It is strange that the PM here (Labour) seems very right wing in Britain!

  10. limogerry says:

    Reblogged this on Vancouver Citizen's Voice and commented:
    The most cogent part of Mr Helmer’s common sense analysis of the disaster area known as the European Union is use of the well known aphorism that those not informed by history are doomed to repeat it. The European Union is the spearhead of globalism that has as much chance of succeeding as the Tower of Babel before it. The unfortunate result of the fanatical adherence to an impossible Utopian vision is the suffering we are already seeing in wars aimed at homogenizing the world’s regions, with worse still no doubt to come.

  11. Anthony Siebenthaler says:

    Something that is now commonly overlooked since the euro crisis began, concerns the notion of ‘the periphery’. This is not new, but has always been a fundamental mindset of the continental/EU elite. This is quite unique in global politics and very dangerous for Britain. It is inconceivable, is it not, that China could see Shanghai or Hong Kong as ‘peripheral’, even more ridiculous if the politicoes esconced on Capitol Hill viewed New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco so, do you not agree?

    But like so much else concerning the EU, Europhiles don’t bother analysing such mindsets, or bother to consider the dangerous consequences. It explains why they (Europhiles in general, not just the elites) can sincerely talk about the UK being isolated and why they assume that euroscepticism is about isolationism

    Older visitors to this site will remember how on joining the Common Market Liverpool, Glasgow, etc, where over night determined to be on the ‘wrong side of the country’, there by finishing off the work of dismantling their global roles casued by war and Whitehall post war central planning. The same centripetal forces are now shaping the whole UK’s economy.

    I am sure that all the maps at the Berlaymont, etc, have ‘there be dragons’ at all points beyond the EU borders, and this is just so damaging for the UK, long term.

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