Ask a stupid question ……

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I’m occasionally astonished to reflect that I’ve now been an MEP for fifteen years.  During that time, and especially in the early days, I used to get people saying to me “A single currency works very well in the USA.  So why wouldn’t a single currency work in the EU?”.  Naturally, now that the débâcle of the €uro project is writ large for all to see, I get asked that question rather less often.

But I was always pleased to get the question.  Because if you understand why a single currency, the Dollar, works in the USA, you understand why the €uro can’t work in Europe.  I’ve written about this many times, but in summary the answer is threefold: (1) High labour mobility; (2) Large-scale, on-going fiscal transfers; (3) A common sense of national identity which underpins consent for the fiscal transfers.  All these conditions are satisfied in the USA: none is in the EU.

As the Scottish referendum started to loom on the horizon, I anticipated a similar question on Independence.  “If UKIP is demanding UK independence from the EU, how come they don’t support Scottish independence?”.  The short answer is simple: one size doesn’t fit all.  Membership of the UK offers major economic advantages forScotland, including (but not limited to) a major and credible currency; a Central Bank acting as lender of last resort; and the Barnett Formula.  But membership of the EU does great economic damage to the UK, for reasons I have set out at length elsewhere.

However I felt a more comprehensive answer was needed, which is why I wrote a blog back in March “Read-across from Scottish to UK independence? No!”  .  I have returned to the Scottish question a couple of times since.

Rather to my surprise, however, this question on Scottish and UK independence has not come up a great deal — perhaps because the answer is so self-evident.  It was, however, raised on Twitter a couple of days back by someone calling himself Hashtager.  He writes:  LOL why is UK EU independence a “good” when Scottish independence “bad”…UKIP hypocrisy over dry run for EU ref!  I have, of course, referred him to my blog post on the question (above).

This Hashtager is perhaps my most loyal follower.  I have the strong impression that he has been tasked by some person or organisation with following me relentlessly and whingeing from the sidelines.  (I wonder who might have given him that rôle? Answers on a postcard, please….).  In fact in all probability he’s employed by the European Institutions.  If he denies it, let him come forward and identify himself.

It’s clear at least that this Hashtager is a coward, since he chooses to veil himself in anonymity.  Fair enough, Hashtager.  You can hide your identity.  But you cannot hide your ignorance and folly and prejudice.  It’s very evident in every Tweet you post.

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27 Responses to Ask a stupid question ……

  1. Me_Again says:

    Another black mark against Twitter, as if any more were needed.
    If you weren’t on there then they couldn’t follow you could they really Roger? Even Mike Hookem is tweeting now….where will it all end?

    Really does any serious communicator think that Twitter is a safe/sensible platform to communicate a political statement? Furthermore does anyone seriously think that Twitter sways the crowds to vote in a particular direction? The answer to both I believe is a straight NO.

    Twitter is a fashion and like all fashions it is shallow and unimportant in the grand scheme of things.

    • Roger Helmer MEP says:

      Not sure I entirely agree, Me_Again. First of all, I pick up a number of media opportunities when journalists respond to Tweets. Second, it’s an interesting source of news and information. But third — perhaps most important — it’s cathartic. So often one sees a news story and one wants to throw a boot at the TV screen. But the next best thing is instantly to get a 140-character rebuttal out there.

      • Me_Again says:

        Plainly you are old enough and wise enough to work things out for yourself Roger [in fact I’m quite impressed that you do use media but the issue is always what can you say clearly in 140 characters? There’s no ability to simply say No and justify it, or yes and qualify it. It seems from listening and watching that there’s no end of people been tripped up on their own shoe laces by 140 characters. There’s also your stalker friend, no limit to how many of them there are. They remind me of Remoras that just stick to the underside of a bigger fish, or more truthfully hagfish which are destructive.

  2. Maureen Gannon says:

    Hashtager is a disembler ,as you say put there to disrupt debate, the thing I was told by the police when a friend and I were on the now defunct no10 forum and was stalked , the best thing to do is first recognise them as a disembler and then completely ignore them , they feed on your protestations. we had to call the police as my friend actually got traced and got threatening phone calls, so I pas their advice onto you Roger let him have his say anyone with a bit of common sense will soon realise he has no valid argument.

    Can I ask you a question on UKIP policy please do you believe in a federal Britain and an English Parliament? I do I believe our present system is defunct and should be closed down and a federal system such as in the USA created we have now over 1000 MPs and Lords governing us , the tory idea of English votes on English matters is I believe protection of their cushy jobs and the Westminster village and the labour and lib dems regionalisation surely is a European wish so as to nuetralise England, wasn’t this Hitlers dream of Germany ruling Europe as one nation?

    • Roger Helmer MEP says:

      I agree — perhaps surprisingly — with Sir John Major’s observation that “If the answer is more politicians, we’re asking the wrong question”. I believe that the under-representation of England can and should be solved by the simple expedient of English MPs voting on English laws. This solves the problem without creating new politicians or new institutions.

      • Maureen Gannon says:

        But Roger I have to disagree there would be less admiistration there would be a first and second chamber executive comprised of representatives of the four nations such as the senates in the U.S, thus reducing the expenditure of the westminster village and it’s bigoted mentality they would be there for all national issues like defence etc each nation would then have it’s own parliament for the running of the people of said nations, this whole concept by bLiar and son of bLair has been to divide and rule and the more the English are denied a real voice there will be dissent.

    • Flyinthesky says:

      Reading between the lines, his (her) M.O. is not to pose a valid argument just to poke a stick throught the bars to get a response. Some people don’t want a reasoned agument and even if you give one they’ll poke from another position, they don’t want an aswer they get their jollies from being an irritant. My M.O. is I’ll discuss any thing with anyone so long as I recognise it as a discussion. Once I recognise it as baiting I respond with “interaction terminated”. I will no longer rise to the bait.

      Federalism, I’m going to have to bone up on what that actually means in practice.
      That said we had a system, essentially the same as now, decades ago that seemed to work, back then the political system “seemed” to be more mindful of the democratic position. Even the House of Lords seemed to work, however anomalous it appeared, that is until Blair “mended” it.
      The whole problem, and it is a global phenomenon, is the absense of democracy, the whole world is being steered in a direction that is for someone elses benefit not the ihabitants. It appears, though I may be paranoid but I don’t think so, that the whole world is being sliced and diced for corporate interests. We’ve been reduced from players in the game to pieces.
      Sorry it’s a bit dark Maureen but it’s the way I see it.

      • Maureen Gannon says:

        Fly I agree with you , if you are paranoid then so am I check up on the TTIP that is being signed between USA And Europe you will see just how dark it is. put it this way I am glad I have no grand children because what is being done without our media really reporting the real news for people to become aware of what that goes on behind our backs .it’s blacker than black .

      • Flyinthesky says:

        Muareen, unfotunately I have eight which tends to magnify any potential consequences.
        Indeed the TTIP as illustrated in the MSM is all good, a huge step forward, once one gets to the, always concealed, small print the implications are horrendous, again it isn’t the corporates that are following the rules, the corporates are actually making them, They want to privatise any benefit of said deal but socialise any risk. When we win we win when it goes wrong we want our consumers to underwrite the cost.
        We have certain factions, no names, who are purportedly wanting to escape the clutches of the eu by working within the constraints of the prevailing regulation and agreements, it can’t be done as these instuments are fundamentally wrong and flawed, loaded in the various vested interests directions. For every smart person we field to negotiate they’ll field 10 with a backroom of a further 20.
        To my mind there are only two ways out of the eu, it either collapses on itself by it’s own incompetance and contradictions, it allready has but they can’t and won’t call it, or we declare that all balls are in the air, we’re not playing anymore, leading us to having to find a resolution. Protraced negotiation will lead us down the road where there will be a net loss down every avenue.By making an appointment for a possible confrontation they will allready have a structured and advantageous response to any scenario we posit.
        Anyone who doesn’t think they have a huge working party already attatched to it is a fool.
        We’re at war, it is a war, albeit without bullets but paper instruments. with the desired result being our subsummation. If you declare when and where the battle commences, what weaponry you’re going to field, what you’re tactics are, you’re going to lose, monumentally.
        It’s akin to a streetfighter against a boxer, if you adhere to the marquis of queensbury rules as a boxer, you may be honourable and even right in your perspective but you’re going to lose.
        The “rules” to the eu, deliberately ambiguous, mean what they want them to mean, on the day, tomorrow, whatever is expiedient, it may be something completely different.

      • Maureen Gannon says:

        I can only read your post while nodding my head betrayal, betrayal ,betrayal…….

  3. Flyinthesky says:

    Not being familiar with the workings of tw@er is there not a facility for blocking a contact as in say skype. The problem with twitter is it’s word limited and seems often to be used as a sniping tool and often to express what I call taking offence at a prevailing situation by proxy “Look at me, how good am I at being offended by this”
    The usual solution, I know sometimes it’s irresistable, is zero interaction.

    Back to the Scottish question, my declared position is I wish them to remain, probably for emotional reasons as much as practical, they’re family, a lttle recalcitrant at times, aren’t we all, but family nevertheless. I think they would be foolish to leave but conversely I think it’s abject stupidity to “bribe” them to remain. We are building another set of resentments for the rest of the UK.

    We don’t need Scotland to remain so much for our benefit, the dire consequences inferred and mostly erroneous, are not for our benefit they’re for corporate interests. The inferred currency instability is an unnecessary distraction again for someone elses benefit, megabucks can be made by the shrewd operators for talking up and down currency stability. The currency doesn’t become unstable, it’s talked unstable.
    The country is run by dictatorial politicians, certainly not directed by the electorate, so the enduring question is who is directing the politicians.

    Short of installing a completely new administration, UKIP?, none of this is going to end well.

  4. Roger would you do an article on the EU/USA trade treaty please, how I understand it, it is more way of privatising the family silver, NHS etc. good for big business, but not good for the country. Your views please.

    • Maureen Gannon says:

      Spot on Helena , corporations will even have the power to sue governments not how I want my money spent.

      • Jane Davies says:

        Canada’s prime minister has just ratified a trade deal with China which will allow China to sue Canada if it’s (China’s) investment interests were hindered. It also allows Chinese companies the right to full protection and security from public opposition, and this deal is for 30 years! Also it will give Chinese companies new powers over Canadian economic and environmental policy, as well as our right to speak out about them. Of course the opinions of the outraged public about this so called deal have been brushed aside by this Conservative government and taxpayers could be on the hook for millions and most likely billions if China is displeased about something. What happened to democracy? There has been no debate about this and we should not be forced to forfeit our democratic principles in pursuit of trade expansion. Just what is going on here when the richest countries governments have so totally lost the plot that they make these crap decisions to detriment of the country and the people they are supposed to serve?

      • Me_Again says:

        Now that is downright ridiculous. Where is the public outcry? How have they spun this to benefit Canadians?

  5. Maureen Gannon says:

    Democracy ??? that’s something we learnt about in school wasn’t it I was unaware of that in Canada my daughter lives there .
    that Jane sounds just like TTIP yep looks like we have all been taken down the swanee, war in the Ukraine wars in the middle east subjected to austerity break up of the country who would notice the money men taking over, once again divide and rule, is there anyone in power that can be trusted?

  6. Maureen Gannon says:

    Me Again. That is what is happening to us through TTIP there is no public outcry because they are not told the truth . 38 degrees had a petition I believe there was in the region of 200 thousand signed it, even a poster campaign not a word in our media.
    The silence is/was deafening.

  7. Jane Davies says:

    It was a fait accompli, Me_Again. The outcry came yes, but the deal was all but signed by the time it was out there. As I said, there was no debate about this. Another example of the erosion of the peoples democratic rights and the arrogance of some politicians. We must put up and shut up. Not sure how much longer this will go on until people actually say, enough is enough, and then maybe the revolution starts.

    • Maureen Gannon says:

      From your mouth to God’s ears Jane before it’s to late .

      • Jane Davies says:

        As I’m an atheist Maureen I’m afraid that’s a lost cause! I just wish a thunderbolt would come down and flatten the houses of parliament then maybe the lunatics would flee the asylum for good!

  8. catalanbrian says:

    What is Mr Helmer’s view on TTIP?

  9. Patryk says:

    Hi Roger. I would just like to point out an inconsistency. By saying that High Labour Mobility is not satisfied for Euro to work then you really shouldn’t complain about the scale of migration within the EU. And, no, I haven’t been tasked by anyone to follow you and point this out.

    • Roger Helmer MEP says:

      Not really an inconsistency, Patryk. First, you need labour mobility in a single currency area to make it work, and a single currency works best in a single political entity. But we in the UK don’t want a politically united Europe, nor do we want a single currency. In any case, we need a balance between immigration for people with much-needed skills, set against the pressures of over-population and over-development. Our economy would increase massively if we doubled the population — but there’d be standing room only! Above all we don’t want uncontrolled immigration of the unskilled who have little to offer our economy — which is what EU policy is delivering at the moment.

  10. Mike Stallard says:

    Roger – I do a lot of (unpaid) work for teachers on the Internet. Are they grateful?
    Sometimes, if I am honest, yes.
    However, whenever I get at all controversial (usually lessons on Islam or about people being gay) they go ballistic!
    At first I was really put out with what I saw as their ingratitude.
    Now I feel sorry for their pupils – and them actually.

    Thank you for putting up with us all. There are very few people who bother to keep the British (soon English) people informed about what our Masters and Mistresses are doing. You should be very proud of that.

  11. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Mr Farage explains on LBC just before going to Glasgow on !2 Sept (w/o pub lock in) – Phone Farage

    One question was about street preaching(?) by the likes of Choudary and new laws to prevent that particular life disturbance. Farage said no new laws were necessary because laws exist and the plods could be allowed to do their prime job. Its largely the same with the EU…more layers/laws when sufficient exist to handle most situations.

    I didn’t realise till last week that UK has had to finance the border control system in Calais and by supplying the used security fencing (NATO meeting Wales). Also added patrolling of the North English Channel.

  12. Scott Thong says:

    In a previous post on Scotland, you mentioned the Malaysia / Singapore split. Know that many eyes in Malaysia are now watching to see how the UK turns out, as there are some who feel – now more than ever – that the other two 1965-joining states (Sarawak & Sabah) should also seek independence from the Malaysia project. Particularly as the British were responsible for these two former colonies joining up in the first place.

    (With disclaimer that I am not, by the above, endorsing North Borneo secession which might be considered an arrest-ably seditious utterance!)

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