no way José

of the infamous Frankfurt Group writing in the Guardian intended for a British audience he makes the argument that economics, politics and the idea of globalisation and geopolitics is changing fundamentally he draws five conclusions

Firstly “we either unite or face irrelevance. Our goal must not be to maintain the status quo, but to move on to something new and better.”

secondly “the speed of the European Union and the euro area can no longer be the speed of the slowest or most reluctant member.” Nor “should Europe veer backwards to the 19th-century type of politics when peace and prosperity were supposed to be guaranteed through a precarious balance between a limited numbers of powers

Third “the crisis has shown that we need a deeper integration of policies and governance within the euro area.”

Fourthly, “all member states need to support and trust the common supranational European institutions…to ensure that decisions essential to maintaining economic stability are not held hostage to political bargaining based on narrow national interests.

Lastly, “deepening convergence and integration of the European Union must also involve deeper democracy.” He is “fascinated” by accusations that the EU officials are taking over elected politicians when, “Bodies like the European commission and European Central Bank have a duty to act in the common interest, especially when the political and economic stability of the EU is endangered.  European governments take the final decisions and that national parliaments and the European parliament guarantee democratic legitimacy.

In her article in the telegraph Janet Daley argues“this dream of a “modern” Europe is just the latest model of utopian ideology to leave wreckage in its path”

Her article is quite sound, but the situation we are dealing with as can be seen by Barroso’s op-ed is more  dystopian than utopian,as  the past week testifies. Barroso and his ilk are  culpable of practising what George Orwell termed double-think in the extreme:

“to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic”  

The believers in the  ideology of the EU are like followers of a cult or religion any differing views or divergence from the rule book are seen as treachery, they are like worshipers in adorance to the EU icon and cannot see reality that is staring them in the face.

Janet Daley ends her piece by saying “I doubt that we – or the peoples of Europe – will get any say in it at all.

I disagree, the people will eventually get their says, whether it be through the conventional measures is what is in doubt.

matter of time

Throughout the eurozone crisis, time has been of the essence, while EU leaders have been fighting against the markets, they have been fighting time which they cannot preserve. Each summit, meeting or plan they have produced has been solely to buy themselves time, for a variety of reasons, not least for the stronger currencies of the eurozone to get their own houses in order.

George Papandreou’s call for a referendum was a lost cause before it even got off the ground. The idea of democracy ‘coming home’, sounds all well and good, until you realise that Papandreou is a politician not unlike those in Westminster. Do not be surprised if David Cameron is holding his own ‘get out of jail free card’ close to his chest in the form of a referendum on Britain’s place in the EU, for the security of his own premiership is not guaranteed but unstable.

Papandreou’s supposed show of strength in calling the referendum, had been diminished by his summoning before Merkel and Sarkozy. It is obvious that even were the referendum to be held whatever the question, EU politics dictates that a vote against the EU’s wishes will be dismissed.

The fact that exit of the eurozone has now been talked about by EU leaders, is not an end in itself, it was always possible if events required. Merkel and Sarkozy using it as a threat was only to bring  Papandreou into line.

The endgame is just a matter of time, for now I think that the eurozone in whatever composition will survive for some time longer, like trying to keep a  bicycle with two flat tyres going, those with much to lose if it fails will keep the show on the road for as long as possible.

 

ground control to Major (John), you’ve really made the grade

The (insane) oddity that is John Major reared his head again in the FT print ed yesterday to give his opinion on the euro crisis and where he thinks it is going.

Major says “hindsight is often graceless” and so it is with that he tells us that he kept Britain out of sterling because “I had a political objection as well: that entry into the euro, and the abolition of sterling, would remove key policy options from the British government. That is why at Maastricht, I opted out of the euro” *cough*

Take that as you will. Major also believes “We are drifting towards full fiscal union: only the timescale is flexible”. This  possibility has been the a central ideal to the european federalists for some time now, and Major like others before, suggests that those outside the eurozone but of the EU may in the end want to join it through the fact that those in the eurozone will inevitably be making most of the important decisions. What EU leaders came up with at Wednesday’s summit, contrary to what some are cheering simplywont save Europe the ‘big bazooka’ did not crystallize and the rally yesterday of the markets will likely deflate just as quick.

The drifting towards “full fiscal union” may yet take place, proposals for this are due at Christmas, but it would take years to be a reality. The other option of break-up, is anathema to EU politicians  and will be fought at every step, but it is also possible;  fiscal union would require the people of europe to either agree to such an entity or be bypassed in an authoritarian manner. in the event would end in the thing Chancellor Merkel warns of.

George Eustice has set out a blueprint in a white paper for the government to plan ‘renegotiation’ it is a useless operation as useless as its author. The European Union has consistently tried to solve the eurozone crisis by making small and insignificant gestures, which  quickly crumble under scrutiny.

The government should  ignore Major and prepare for any of the scenarios which could emerge from the crisis, keeping in mind that the euro is ultimately a flawed project much like the EU itself, it is -in time- going to fail fatally, the government should grab its protein pills, put its helmet on and get OUT  as soon as events allows, and simply wish them, good luck

no exits

the situation of the eurozone is dire, for the european union it is not any better. As national leaders assemble for yet another summit it is clear that politicians are attempting to play a game of clash of the titans with the realities of the economics, one they will most definitely lose: historically the economics has always trumped the  politics, and I don’t see this trend changing.

Leaders have three things on the agenda, Greek debt, boosting european banks capital and the leveraging the EFSF up to an amount not agreed – 2-3 trillion? – a process which looks like a Ponzi scheme and disaster waiting to happen.

David Cameron has gone along to the summit he ‘insisted’ on attending, with what intentions he has not said. Just what Cameron thinks he can provide to bringing about a solution to the crisis when he cannot even provide a solution to the growing problems of the British economy, I am not sure. But it is another photo opportunity so we shall let him have it.

The eurozone seems to have only two options push forth with ‘ever closer union’ fiscal integration with tax and  spend authority, complete with a finance ministry and minister. Or break-up of the union in some form or another be it into two; weak and strong. Or a complete dismantle of the currency union.

The summit tonight will not end with complete proposals, but this and this, give a good summary of the situation as it stands.

Ultimately it is the people of the european union will take most of the pain from the crisis. To paraphrase the great federalist WIlliam Hague; it might be a good idea to lock all EU politicians in a building with no exits and take away all the fire extinguishers.

european disunion

The crisis ongoing in Greece at the moment, the strikes, the riots, the lack of a clear direction for the country, a government in office but without power –over its economy or otherwise-, etc.

Is emblematic of the dilemma facing the entire European union, whilst the media report on the Greeks striking and rioting over austerity measures forced upon the country by the EU, ECB, IMF it is also a case of, nationalism. Like most nation states they believe themselves to be sovereign and therefore see a patriotic duty in fighting off those institutions demanding further austerity, it is debatable as to whose error it is that this is the situation they face (afternoon siesta’s, early retirements and an overblown public sector, are obvious contributers)  though it also clear that the EU and ECB are only out to save their own skins, for fear of contagion across the eurozone and eu member states, with Germans economy likely to take the biggest haircut were Greece to default, exit the euro or both.

Our masters in Brussels, unashamedly require the living standards and livelihoods of those in Europe to diminish for the sake of a united Europe, evidently the peripheral countries in the eurozone or the PIIGS, should not have signed up to such an agreement, the European elite are trapped in the belief that if they wish away the problems it will all work out fine, and the united states of Europe will be on course to true realization, the truth is that the peoples of eu nation states are at odds with their leaders.

British people (a majority) would like a referendum on our membership of the club, the German’s are reluctant to pay for the profligacy of PIIGS, the Finnish recently voted overwhelmingly in favour of the eurosceptic true finns party, the Portuguese, Irish and Greeks are fed up with the eu as are Spain, the majority of EU citizens are unhappy with the institution, the way it works, its leaders, the overall direction and at the top of the list the dictatorial attitudes of the Union in handing down the rules of governance beyond its remit.

In the United Kingdom, we face the farce of a ‘conservative’ prime minister and his foreign secretary posing as eurosceptics, the EU Bill is a case in point the referendum lock, has been voted down by the HoL with Lord’s passing an amendment that will make the lock expire at the end of each parliament, whether or not the commons vetoes this, is no reassurance since no Parliament can bind its successor.

As for the British economy, Europe has plans to interfere in this matter, too. George Osborne and/or treasury minister(s) are to be summoned by Brussels (the commission) to appear before them to explain Britain’s economic policies, and the commission is to scrutinise whether Britain’s economic policies are in accordance with the EUs overall strategy.

Early in David Cameron’s leadership of the conservative party in opposition, he made clear he wanted the issue of Europe -to not be an issue, and for the conservatives to stop “banging on” about Europe. The reality of the situation is Europe is at the forefront of many of the governments’ problems, the PM and those around him must wake up to this fact and act upon it, holding a referendum on our membership is an ideal way of beginning the process. Though, since Cameron+co are reluctant to do this or for that matter to raise the issue, a start would be for Chancellor Osborne and Cameron to renegotiate our contributions not only to the bailouts but the union as a whole.

arrangements

We have endured 13 months of the conservative-liberal democrat coalition thus  far, of which cannily resemble those 13 years of nuLab this country had to endure, though unlike those long nulab years the Cameron government has upped the pace of wreckage, and has speedily become a shambles -at best.

With the entire cabinet lacking in integrity and conviction, it is no wonder we have seen the endless u-turns, policy ‘pauses’ and consultations, the shambolic performance of the coalition from the NHS shake-up to selling off our forests debacles, leadership has been left found wanting. As Prime Minister David Cameron has performed pitifully, as though he were only an actor playing a role, the real effort and hard work needed for the office he holds is not on display.

No matter which way you look at it, the coalition lacks a democratic mandate, it was not voted for specifically by the public it was cooked up by camclegg over those few days last May, and so the coalition should  therefore not be coming out with such drastic changes to the country with its policy initiatives. So to hear  today from another one of those  cameroon puppets ben brogan,  of the mutterings behind the scenes of a plan for the coalition to disband around 2013 and become a confidence and supply operation whereby the liberal democrats will support a minority ‘conservative’ government with Cameron remaining as Prime Minister is a complete affront to the notion of  democracy. Cameron was the real loser at the general election last year, it was evident that Gordon Brown would take his party down with him and cleggmania was just that a mania, a sweeping fad more suited to a reality show. The reasons he lost are clear, a investigation from lord ashcroft is not needed, he thought he could win on the back of his personality and billboard promo’s, which he continues to believe will see him through the course of the Parliament.

Were a confidence and supply arrangement to prevail, i believe it would crash and burn pretty quickly forcing a general election, even with the fixed-terms Bill which they whipped through parliament , what is most concerning though  is, within Westminster there is no party or person with the courage of their convictions who can steer the country in the right direction, todays PMQ\’s  was emblematic of the problem faced, an opposition who like the government and their predecessors choose soundbite over substance. It really is up to the *people*

United States of Europe; at what cost?

That the EU is an undemocratic institution is well known, in its pursuit of a United europe, all members in unison; implementing policies emanating from european (unelected) elites, economic, agricultural, energy, fisheries, tranport, every aspect of government policy is infected with europhilia.

What was once a dream of peace and cooperation between the nations of europe is now a dictatorship, much like what in the beginning those at the top in public life claimed the european union would put a stop to.

The current economic crisis in the periphery countries in the eurozone, has shon a light on the characteristics of the dictatorial and coersive methods used by our masters in Brussels; all in order to achieve the ultimate goal of a federalist united states of europe. Portugal, Ireland, Greece (and possibly Spain) are being sacrificed in the most brutal ways. The austerity packagess delivered to these countries will not solve the problems they have, the debt they owe will increase, the debts will only be transferred to a different lender and those that will pay the price are the public, who are least to blame. It was inevitable from the start of the euro, in creating the eurozone, without working through the political consequences, was a disaster from the beginning.

Economic policy is central to any governing nation, and by joing the euro, these countries gave up that essential right; thus deceased to be sovereign.

Though the UK has not joined the eurozone, being a member of the EU, has landed us with similar consequences, the UK is liable to ‘help’ struggling economies of the eurozone, the City has been restrained through european directives, and the chancellor is following the EU guidelines of economic policy and governance Amongst all other areas; the judiciary; transport; human rights etc… the power of the government of the United Kingdom is extremely limited, as are all european member states.

The situation in Portugal exemplifies the handicap members of the european union and eurozone (especially) suffer. Socrates when letting the press know he was seeking a bailout for Portugal told those gathered that it was in the ‘national interest’ (where have we heard that before) The outgoing Irish prime minister said much the same when the Irish government went to the European union with begging bowl for their bailout, and Greece much the same, all after merely days or weeks before, having claimed that their nations were sovereign, they did not need any ‘help’ and would not be seeking any bailouts. After pressure behind the scenes all succumbed and took the offers.

As seen in both Ireland and Greece their economies are no better now (and are in fact worse) than before the bail outs, many citizens are emigrating, prices for essentials have risen sharply and the governments and opposition politicians are offering no alternative. The situation is much the same in the UK whereby the economy is pretty much flat, prices are rising, there are fewer jobs available, higher unemployment and politicians at Westminster offer no alternatives to the course already set out by the coalition government.

With Portugal embarking on a similar plan to that of Ireland and Greece, and with Spain possibly  to follow, the European union project of a united states of Europe, nears ever closer. Practically held to ransom these countries are stuck, the only ways out is default and decouple, leave the union  and go back to being a nation state, with their own currencies. Though it is known our masters in Brussels will not give up so easy, the fact that all EU nations  are following the economic and austerity plans set out begs the question what do they know that the people don’t.

While the economy is not the only factor, it is economic policy that is central to governance,  the fact that 17 countries are in the eurozone seems not to matter, bailouts involve all members  of the European union, austerity measures being enforced in the UK are along the guidelines of EU monetary policy as are France, Germany and the periphery etc. It is in effect a transfer union.

The most used excuse, given by this coalition government and previous governments of the benefits of membership are that of trade benefits, where it has been proven many times not to be the case, what the benefits of being a member are still not clear. Are governments happy to allow unelected figures in Brussels coordinate policy in every area? Every initiative that comes from the government can be traced back to the EU, so the question is ;is there any point to our own governments, since they are all too willing to comply.

If Britain did finally manage to exit the EU, what would happen? For more than 50 years governments have followed/complied with EU rule, like a lost puppy they’d be at a loss as to what to do and how to govern.

wheres the money?

Edward (as he is now to be called) Miliband, at the anti-cuts protest on Saturday decided to imply that the plight of those on the march are as the civil rights protesters in America and himself as the great Martin Luther King I cannot disguise my disdain for him and his party but this is on another level, most will know the struggle that those followers of Martin Luther King and he himself had to deal, so I will not go into that, but it is astonishing that Miliband could even try and make that analogy.

The budget on Wednesday proved to be nothing but a charade, possibly to keep the markets at bay, but having looked at the numbers, one has to wonder what on earth the three main parties in Westminster are playing at, the cameroons are suggesting that these are the biggest cuts in a generation when actual spending is rising (average) 50 billion over the Parliament, the liberal (social) democrats are still with begging bowl receiving  yet more concessions by the day and then labour and the unions, public sector etc.. are in hock with the Cameroons branding these cuts ‘the biggest since WW2. The numbers speak for themselves, so it is those in the public who tend not to follow politics or current affairs who will be mislead and it is those that are the votes these parties are out to get, those that continue to follow the ‘reality’ television and read such nonsense of the celebrities rather than look outside and see what the UK is becoming.

 

The cuts are therefore non-existent, the money is as always being redistributed and taken away  from some and given to others, this can be laid at Osbornes doorstep when things go wrong.

But the fact that the cuts are to be front-loaded is part of the euro-pact (Plus), so the coalition is just following our masters orders.

Europe is now getting the money it demands without a battle from the UK, Cmeron has signed the country up to further cooperation measures, in that of the EFSF, more competences passed to Europe and more sovereignty lost. Measures include these Conclusions of  24/25 March 2011 EU summit setting out (JR)

 

2. Within the new framework of the European semester, the European Council endorsed the

priorities for fiscal consolidation and structural reform.

priority to restoring sound budgets and fiscal sustainability, reducing unemployment through

labour market reforms and making new efforts to enhance growth. All Member States will

translate these priorities into concrete measures to be included in their Stability or

Convergence Programmes and National Reform Programmes. On this basis, the Commission

will present its proposals for country-specific opinions and recommendations in good time for

their adoption before the June European Council.

3. In particular, Member States will present a multi-annual consolidation plan including specific

deficit, revenue and expenditure targets, the strategy envisaged to reach these targets and a

timeline for its implementation. Fiscal policies for 2012 should aim to restore confidence by

bringing debt trends back on a sustainable path and ensuring that deficits are brought back

below 3 % of GDP in the timeframe agreed upon by the Council. This requires in most cases

an annual structural adjustment well above 0.5% of GDP. Consolidation should be

frontloaded in Member States facing very large structural deficits or vey high or rapidly

increasing levels of public debt.

15. Member States will set out the main measures required to move towards the Europe 2020

headline targets as agreed in June 2010. They will also present policy measures to correct

harmful and persistent macroeconomic imbalances and improve competitiveness.

Strengthening governance

9. The package of six legislative proposals on economic governance is key to ensuring enhanced

fiscal discipline and avoiding excessive macroeconomic imbalances. It includes a reform of

the Stability and Growth Pact aimed at enhancing the surveillance of fiscal policies and

applying enforcement measures more consistently and at an earlier stage, new provisions on

national fiscal frameworks and a new surveillance of macroeconomic imbalances.

 

Further more the operation in Libya will cost us and arm and a leg (most likely literally, too) Booker spells out in a great column today the cost of the operation and some details on europes funding.

It is another attempt of the political class in fooling the public (and yes some will be fooled), the fact is there is no money left and this coalition is spending more than the last, taking into account inflation, and the cost of debt the cuts are servicing both those, and the EU, it is as though Osborne still following the Irish (times£)

is on another planet, in that sense. The public are paying for governments mistakes, yet again. But the fact remains that governments find money for what they want to spend it on, the intervention in Libya was not necessary and Britain in Europe is not necessary, (the US trades perfectly well with the EU countries is just one example) if the UK needed europe than the claim of trade as a first priority does not stack up and the countries out of europe are coping far better than those in Europe.

The LibLabCon are indeed playing games, their arguments are false, getting rid of this coalition would be good, but look to newnewnewer Labour and they have nothing to offer, but more of the same, it is indeed time to get rid of the lot of them, maybe we could put the dêmos back into democracy.

business as usual

david Cameron is as always attempting to sideline the issue of the EU, with the current economic problems of Portugal in the headlines and ongoing or upcoming financial woes with the PIIGS ( that is Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and the big one Spain) the issue cannot go on being brushed under the carpet as he so wishes, it is not only the economy of the eurozone, it is all the other areas the EU has its hands in. Justice, energy, foreign affairs etc etc… the way the leader(s) of the conservative party are dealing with these issues is unsatisfactory to say the least, dismissing them (at their peril). ConHome has this with various links, now Cameron is at the EU summit which is supposed to be on the stability of the eurozone, Libya etc and is being dominated by the Portugese economy.It is now being disputed whether the UK will have to cough up a large amount of cash for the bail-out with Bill Cash asking an urgent question on the 24th March, which was not justifiably answered, leaving both Parliament and the public guessing, whether Cameron and Osborne will pay up or not, though we don’t need the answer stated it is forseen and has already been decided. The UK looks to give its ‘fair share’ because of this coalition, opting out at this point IS an option but Cameron does not want to take it.

A deal has been struck (last night) on the the new ‘euro-pact plus’ which is in effect the emergence of  the EU (including the UK) becoming a transfer union.  which will no doubt further the cost burden on Britain in its payments to the EU. And just for fun it has emerged that London is facing £300 million of EU fines because it is in danger of missing clean air targets set by Brussels, which limit the number of “bad air days” permitted.

Why are we in the EU again? the costs incurred for what the country receives is ludicrous , those in the peripheral european countries are protesting at austerity measures and tomorrow mass protest is expected in London,  even the guardian in an editorial has said “Never before has the EU’s political elite been so far apart from its citizens, or so fragmented.” however whether the elite will listen to the people is a forgone conclusion, only shock tactics are going to work now,

questions questions.

it is the oil of Libya, the removalof Gadaffi only or the pursuit of democracy as the West sees it. That Cameron has gone into this war so lightly, there are many questions to be answered which government ministers do not want to answer clearly and transparently.
-What is the final objective? If it is to remove Gadaffi, who will take his place?
-who are these so-called ‘rebels’?Are they really the good guys, Britain should be dealing with?
-How does the government know the rebels are not islamists? Are all the uprisings initiated by them?
-How long will this operation last? Is it mission creep?
-What are the motives? oil, takeover, democracy?
-Does this government know what it is doing? Or is it rather, like all its other policy. Gung-ho type plans which turn out to be mistakes soon after?
-Is the government to open up the SDSR again? Surely our armed forces and troops will need more, and to be better equipped in order to complete this mission. Which is at present unclear and indefinite in its objectives.
-Is Bahrain, Syria, Yemen next?

So many questions, to which we have no clear answers, yet, the media is treating Cameron as a hero who has gotten his own hands dirty. Its easy enough to order troops to go in to battle, much harder to see the process through. Without the full facts
The aims of making Libya a democratic country and protecting civilians are all fine and well, but what of other nations, as Syria Yemen or Bahrain? Cameron, has jumped into this war with much the same attitude he has shown thus far to governance. quick with an idea, but always lacking a plan.

Massie writes

“again, the seventh time in 21 years that British forces have gone into action but none of those previous interventions, not even Kosovo, were begun with this lack of clarity. Afghanistan and Iraq developed mission-sprawl but in each case the initial goal was pretty clear. Not so here, not least since no-one seems able to agree on what the goal should be. This does not seem an especially promising way to start a war.”

The problem with this big-idea is that it has grave unforseen consequences, up against a ‘mad-dog’ ruler with 40 years rule behind him and is not willing to stand down anytime soon, Gadaffi is experienced in using the military, Cameron is not.

Cameron said only last month “you can’t drop democracy from 40,000 feet”. Yet this is what he says now he is trying to do. As for those who unsurprisingly support Cameron and the governments actions, it is much the same that they accuse Gadaffi and the like of -propaganda- when the likely casualties and repurcussions are felt, they’ll still be heaping praise on them.

Now that the Arab League has condemned the no fly zone and that the US is having second thoughts, what are the British government going to do, u-turns are not an option this time.