For if you hide the truth, ignore it, refuse its existence, or are too lazy to see remember:
Saturday, 18 January 2014
Friday, 9 September 2011
The European Military Headquarters project not only attacks NATO; it is the revival of French military nationalism through the back door of the EU.
Although Britain has vetoed its support for the proposal of the European Military Headquarters, for some it will be of little avail when the decision to have the institution, at British tax-payer’s expense, is finally undertaken.
France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland will now get Baroness Ashton, a British Peer, to use the Lisbon Treaty to create a European Military Headquarters (EMH) without British help. (Telegraph 8/11/11).
The EMH’s role will be to co-ordinate, common EU funding of military operations, a European fleet of military transport aircraft, European military satellites, a European defence college, and the development of exchange programmes for officers among EU states (Guardian 7/06/08).
Sarkozy has always expressed a desire for this. A clear hint was the multi-national European force on display, with Greeks and Italians, on the march from the Bastille to the Place du Concorde in Paris in 2007. A march traditionally reserved only for French soldiers.
What role this will play in relation to existing NATO competences is unclear, though potentially the formation of the EMH may weaken NATO, particularly when used in conjunction with European Common Foreign Policy. It will also reduce Britain’s ability to buffer France’s own foreign policy priorities (French interests) using Britain’s advantageous relationship with the U.S.
Whilst NATO remains fundamentally a project of defence, the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the EU has a far more open-ended and ambiguous role, thus rendering its potential mandate far more difficult to control or predict. This is will aid the real beneficiary of an effective European Military force, the French, as Sarkozy knows.
The EMF may well provide a reduction in France's occasional isolation in the Anglo-centric Security Council, exemplified by the French veto in relation the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
In the absence of a permanent German seat on the Security Council, it will ensure that France remains the effective key driver of the nascent EU defence policy. The UN Charter can be used to delegate military operations of the Security Council to the EU, which the French will have a near monopoly over.
Such a delegation, due to overwhelming French military resources on the mainland, will only really benefit one state, despite being under the wonderful guise of UN multilateral action.
It has certainly been a long journey for the France that was significantly behind Germany militarily at the start of the last century, and illustrates, from a strategic point of view, that the French EEC/EU gamble that began in the 1950s to subvert German military potential, to satisfy its own security and revitalise its role as a global player, seems to have finally paid off.
It’s again amazing that on this side of the Channel that there are so many that don’t see that it is once more France, and not Britain, that it the ultimate real beneficiary, of increasing powers of the EU through the clever use of the EU integration policy-framework to French advantage.
This is paradigm was, of course, wonderfully practised by Delors in his cunning revival of the French nationalism through the mirage of the EEC/EU enlargement in the 1980s and early 1990s.
The key privilege the EU now provides France with is the ability to bounce globally above its weight, and suppress its weaker Eastern European neighbours into geo-political insignificance, and force them into increasing dependence on the German Economy, whilst preserving under-performing and uncompetitive parts of its economy through commonly pooled funds of the EU.
The long-term benefits of the EMH may include an increased effective French presence in the Mediterrean, as seen recently with Libya. The EMH will allow further benefits for France due to it having the largest main-land army in Europe, whilst German conscription continues at insignificant levels. This makes France’s prominence in the EU through its forthcoming dominance over the EMH a certainty.
The EMH also provides the French with a long-term strategy to utilise its diffidence to the the uni-lateral action model of the Anglo-sphere in the Security Council to further its own foreign economic policy including trade and investment relationships with other states through the medium of the EU.
If the French can succeed in their plan to manipulate themselves in a position of dominance over the EU foreign policy, the proliferating EU embassies may be a wonderful tool to provide some further counter-point to the Anglo-sphere.
This will ensure that France continues to be a large player on the global stage, and allows her to take advantage of discord relating to more aggressive Anglo-sphere military action to her own economic ends.
None of these developments seem to be in the British interests, whose foreign policy priorities are unique and distinct to France. The great thing about Sarkozy at present is that he is able to do all this whilst Britain continues to fund the EU at over £7 billion a year.
The British people are very nice to their neighbours in subsidising French dominance of the EU, and undermining their own foreign policy choices, at the cost of their own labours. It is high time Sarkozy thanked wishful thinking pro-EU idiots in Britain that encourage this.
Copyright Abhijit P.G. Pandya September 2011.
Copyright Birkenhead Society 2011.
Monday, 5 September 2011
You cannot make a case against the EU on sovereignty alone; the larger critique of fighting the EU ‘social-paternalism model’ of markets is vital.
All the hard-work of Lady Thatcher, in reforming Britain’s economy, went down the drain when the Social Chapter was incorporated by the Maastricht Treaty in 1992, and Britain still remained its membership of the former European Communities. Most Eurosceptics will tell you that in a fraction of a second. Fewer however, will be able to pin-point why.
The specific answer to this is that Lady Thatcher was, to her core, a Hayekian economist. She understood that a state’s maximum potential for prosperity, economic growth, and freedom can only be gained by the reduction, to a point of negligibility, of government intervention into the economy and both the private, as well as, commercial lives of individuals.
Most European states were far from being purists on this front in her time. The proliferation of strong domestic social democratic parties on the mainland left it only a matter of time before the European Federalist project, embodied in the EEC and later the EU, went down the route of interventionist social-paternal market policy.
During the 1980s, and after, the European project was dominated by states who ran an interventionist, non-fully privatised, quasi-Keynesian command economic model.
Lady Thatcher’s Britain in this period was an outlier, in that it sought free enterprise that was not hindered by any sort of state control or planning, to avoid the poor post Second World War economic growth that had undermined British commerce and industry.
The latter economic stultification was a result of the central government command and control economic planning that came to stigmatise Britain as Europe’s economic back-runner up to the end of the 1970s, in sharp contrast to the relative booms in France and West-Germany.
She fought against key practices that hindered the economy working at its optimum level, whether it was the destruction of trade unions that sought to strangulate part of the economy through harmful wage controls and by encouraging subsidisation, or the significant administrative bureaucracy that had risen past any feasible affordability that could be met through revenue raised from tax-payers.
However, much ideological and policy ground won on this front was, very shortly, going to be lost through the back-door of the European Communities project.
At a fundamental level the European Model, as Lady Thatcher correctly saw it, had been taken over by abstract harmful, though often masked in disingenuous well-meaning pretence, socialist dogma that envisaged a dirigiste Europe.
This vision is in full flow in today’s European Union.
Both Article 2(1) and the Preamble to the Lisbon Treaty that set out the aims of the Treaty call for a Europe of Social Democracies, and social-market paternalism. The Conservative Party continues to wrongly acquiesce in this without making the free-market argument against it, though with disingenuous sound-bites in this direction.
One can see the European ‘social-paternalist’market model in action in the strongly burdensome environmental regulations that have been trotted out by the EU over the last two decades. Including highly costly eco-labelling (EC Reg. 880/92/EEC) and eco-audits (Ec Reg. 1836/93 EC).
Included in this counter-economic liberal environmentalism is the non-industry (I.E. Federally controlled) Environmental Impact Assessment which exists to monitor business activity through the dangerously ambiguous, and broadly defined, medium of EU Environmental Policy. It is armed with a reporting mechanism to curb areas of commercial activity that threaten the EU’s environmental policy goals.
EU consumer policy has spiralled out of control, dampening prospects for first-timers into existing markets, or creating new ones. The latter aspect is a clear limitation of the economic potential of states, by curbing the possibility of creating enterprises for jobs before they have even got to the drawing board. Consumer policies both affect the marketing of products and their sale, curbing new off-shooting industries in advertising for retailers and related manufacture.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ), continues to create economic injustice on this front. For an example, see its decision in 1992 in the ‘Clinique’ case which treats consumers as idiots. ‘Clinique’ as a sole description on the label was banned as people might think ‘Clinique’ was not a non-medicinal product just from reading its name.
‘Clinique’ is a classic example of paternal or social market economics. This resulted in thousands of pounds spent on marketing a good simply thrown down the toilet for the poor company. Several other businesses have lost thousands in a similar vein.
Consumer policy has also hit door-step sellers, where the ECJ in cases such as ‘Buet’ has sought to severely restrict door-step selling, meaning a loss of income for many middle-income families who maintained themselves in this trade. Unfortunately for many who have no other means to make a living now see an entire market and their employment prospects slowly disappearing. But then who cares?
Lady Thatcher realised that the intervention of government or organs of power, as seen in the above cases, whether in the form of regulation, or it in its enervating form of harmful harm taxes, always weakens the economy, undermines growth, and loses jobs. She always stuck to the basic truth that the left continue to deny; that the market knows best, and for it know best it must be left alone (be free).
More importantly, Lady Thatcher grasped that without the tight vigour of reason, politics and governments very quickly slip into the model of control and government intervention that is associated with the post war Keynesian Control Economic Consensus. Fiscal controls are simply too tempting to breach without placing the free-market as an absolute priority, the second term of Blair’s Government is testament to this.
So, despite Lady Thatcher’s heritage, why the confusion in the Conservative Party over the EU? An attempt at a honest apolitical, guess of an answer could be formed through appreciating the following:
The bulk of pro-(continued) Membership Conservatives, including those who opposed Lady Thatcher on Europe, cannot see are that there are two types of federal model:
(a) the non-interventionist free-market, or (b) the interventionist social market model (marked by social egalitarianism, centralised control over market-opportunities, and developing policy capacity for the equal distribution of wealth as seen under the Lisbon Treaty) and that the latter is now fully dominant paradigm for the EU to the point that it has extinguished the former.
There is a, third, worse faction in the Conservative Party that is in total denial about EU Federalism all together, who fail to see that local decision making in the treaty, termed subsidiarity, has created sovereignty at the supranational level, at the cost of the national.
These deluded folk still cannot feel the overbearing bureaucracy weighing down on their lives, and feel that there is still scope in, barring the odd disaster, the fantasy single free-market model Ted Heath had promised them under that famously u-turned Tory manifesto of 1970.
This is despite the Lisbon treaty being clear as day that this is not the case. All three of these types of Conservative voter fail to see EU’s supra-national role is now, arguably, moved it beyond mere Federalism.
To illustrate: though in the U.S. Federal Model there is common foreign policy amongst states, Washington does not emulate the EU’s absurdity on how much garbage one can throw out locally or meddle with state consumer policy. By contrast, as illustrated above, this form of meta-federalist supra-nationalism is now the classic, and preferred, socialist policy paradigm for the current EU.
If the latter was to reach full potential, a possibility of a single-state, beyond Federalism is not entirely inconceivable (albeit a very remote possibility at present).
Although the reality of this social-paternalistic market model for the EU was difficult to digest, for the deluded after Maastricht, the same should not be the case under the Lisbon Treaty.
In Treaty Law if you want to know what the aims of the treaty are, you look at the preamble. The preamble of Lisbon envisages a Europe of 'social democratic' states, and with this comes the anti-free market policy framework associated with the command economy.
This distinction of liberal-markets and social-paternalism (harmful intervention) is much clearer when briefly looking at the provenance of the European project as a whole, particularly the inter-war years.
Initial Federalists were not soclialists, such as the Milner group who wanted to Federalise the British Empire for efficient macro-economic and Federalist purposes prior to the First World War.
Neither was Lionel Curtis, the founder of Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), who wanted a similar Federal Structure for the British Empire. The Socialists (as the Labour Party was then, as opposed to a slightly lesser degree now) took over these institutions and ideas later as they saw the opportunity for global socialism and even international communism to occur on the back of them.
Some of these included significantly unfounded attacks on the nation state, such as Laski who wrote the causally oversimplifying ‘The intelligent’s man’s way to prevent war’ (1933) that cried for abolishing the nation-state.
(Most of the left has never abandoned its fascination with this idea of Laski’s today by critically attacking it, or seeing it as a part of a movement of ideas of its time).
By the 1940s works such as W.B. Curry’s ‘The case for a Federal Union’ had placed Federalism under the bulwark of socialism. The free-market Hayek, later admired by Lady Thatcher, had only just started putting his views into print.
Though one did not have to look any further than that key architect of Conservatism, Edmund Burke, to realise that there is a risk here of a more subconscious human nature that embodies a need to control, to pursue ideas for their own sake to the point of destruction (as the European Monetary Union has illustrated), and that without direct accountability power will inevitably be abused.
The inevitable abuse of power in the EU was exemplified by the corruption scandal in the European Commission in 2002, that led to several resignations but no systemic modifications to prevent such happenings in the future.
Lady Thatcher’s intuition, based on Hayek’s Road to Serfdom, that socialism will bear bad tidings for the free-enterprising individual are now borne true with costly EU social policy, including continuously unaccountable production of EU employment rights, that protect no jobs, but penalise businesses to the point where they can’t offer more.
Lady Thatcher’s cause is now lost. Our current constitutional set-up and our legislative relationship with the EU, means that one of the most important factors in economic freedom, the line between free-enterprise and government, is rapidly shrinking in favour of government control.
No contrary policy framework by a national British Government could alter this, without significant alterations of either the treaty relationship with the EU and our internal constitutional structure.
The latter would involve significant amendment to the European Communities Act 1972, to preclude EU operation on national economic policy. This would leave it, rightfully, for our own courts to defend the new national/supranational boundary embodied in this altered set-up.
As it stands the, previously hard fought, sphere of state-free activity for the economy has been reduced significantly since the Thatcher years. Most of our domestic markets are now enveloped in just the type of regulation that Lady Thatcher fought. The cost to jobs and business is simply unquantifiable.
Thus it is important to grasp that one simply cannot make a case against the EU on sovereignty alone, as important as that is, the stronger case for market-liberalism, in particular re-invigorating British market Liberalism must be made.
This is key in the route to reform, and where appropriate repeal and renegotiation of our relationship with the currently out of control EU social-paternal market beast.
Copyright Abhijit P.G. Pandya September 2011.
Copyright Birkenhead Society 2011.
(Some Very Quick Reference points:
C. Craig & G. Burca, ‘The Evolution of EU Law’ (OUP) (1999)
C. Grant, ‘Delors, Inside the House that Jacques Built’ (Brealey) (1994)
G. Rosen, ‘Old Labour to New’ (Politico) (2005)
C. Booker & R. North ‘The Great Deception: Can the EU survive? (Continuum) (2005)
N. Nugent, ‘The Government and Politics of the EU’ (Palgrave) (2007)
A. Clark, ‘The Tories, Conservatives and the Nation State, 1922-1997’ (W&N) (1998)
M. Thatcher, ‘Downing Street Years’ (HarperCollins) (1993)).
Saturday, 3 September 2011
Market paternalism, the involvement of the state in the market, has been harming the British economy since before the post Second World War Keynesian Economic Consensus. Watchdogs exemplify the economic waste that market paternalism has brought into our economic planning.
So what does our Prime Minister, facing the largest post War deficit, do? He praises and encourage one of the most pointless of these: the Advertising Standards Agency. (Source FT 3/IX/11).
Costing £7.8 million a year, the Advertising Standards Agency merely monitors complaints against adverts. Have you ever heard of anything so pointless?
Its boss, Guy Parker (on a three figure salary using tax-payer's money ) was very excited in an interview he gave in this week's FT. Not hundreds, but thousands, of complaints have been processed by bureaucrats regarding offensive adverts at the taxpayer's expense. After talking of 25,562 complaints processed by his staff (let me say it again: at the tax-payer's expense) he then spoke of 13,038 naughty adverts that had been complained about. Have you heard of anything so otiose and absurd? And is it possible that the bigger this thing gets the more complaints it will encourage, thus leading to demands for a larger budget?
Last year it only cost £6.9 million to run. Instead of slicing its budget by £7 million to turn it into a five man call center David Cameron, facing a public sector debt overload, is enthused by its increasing activity.
One is waiting for this gear of the P.M to be reversed, as well as the well overdue abolition of the costly 50% tax.
Copyright Abhijit P.G. Pandya August 2011.
Copyright Birkenhead Society 2011.
Monday, 22 August 2011
Europe has chosen the worse of two evils: To have a fiscal aspect to the EU rather than a twenty year plan of dismantling the Euro.
There was a certain inevitability, considering the Federalists inability to go into reverse gear, about the green light for a Fiscal Union for Europe. Having, finally realised the fantasy of having a single currency with a single interest rate, without a combined monetary policy and fiscal control for so many divergent economies, there seems to be a bizarre irrational denial of accepting that the very concept of single currency, where there is significant economic divergence, is not the best currency model for Europe.
What is the best model? It is a Europe of nation states, with competing currencies so that they can control their interest rates, and learn from the success and failures of each others currency models, and currency related macro-economic policy.
Though the fiscal arm to the EU will increase its powers, it will never overcome, the distinct, unnecessary economic waste of the EU regulation. Further the first expenditure of reform should not be here. It should be to alter the EU's working framework to do away with the unnecessarily overreaching of harmonisation measures that drive up costs of cross-border services and goods that has been weakening the economic performance of the EU.
True to any conservative concerns regarding the EU, it is found that federalism is more important to the EU than economic performance. In the end it is quite possible that this is error of priorities will put an end to the federalist vision for the Europe.
Competition, one of the most important factors for a single-market, however, has always taken second preference over harmonisation or uniformity as far as the Federalists are concerned. The Federal model involves a single-market, albeit one that is not free. The single-market has become a tool for Federalism, and not for business. For the sharper and historically aware it is evident that this was always the case, illustrated by the preference for subsidisation that has always pervaded the EU, and its progenitor the EEC.
The intravenous feeding to maintain bad-economic policies is not just seen with CAP and other subsidies, but is now, worryingly, seen on the macro-economic fiscal level as the Euro subsidisation has shown. Last week’s £22 billion spent on Euro bonds by the European Central Bank is just the tip of the ice-berg of what has been going on. It is by no means clear how an increased bureaucracy of the ECB or the EU would be better able to control governmental expenditure centrally.
But this patronising oversight is what the Euro-bailed nations now face, their own fiscal irresponsibility has lured them further into the behemoth of EU control. When, in the not far distant future, provincial transport infrastructure in some small part of Greece is controlled by the EU, the loss of local’s liberty to choice and preference of where their tax money goes could potentially finally come home. Though I somewhat doubt it.
Very few nations have the spirit of freedom that would want to fight for choice for the sake of choice. Very few nations have freedom as so deeply an embodied idea in their make-up to intuitively and viscerally see the absence of choice as vulgar. And even those who do, in that most free and beautiful of Islands off the North Sea are constantly baited by the self-serving media-political machine that puts itself, advertently or inadvertently, above its country.
Britain, however, can guide European States to freedom. That is a Britain with a vision to put a free-market economic vision into the back of Europe, and strip away the self-proclaimed ‘social-democratic’ Lisbon Treaty.
The best working approach to free-markets is embedded in Darwinian economics. The worst companies collapse, not be revived or subsidised, to give way to better structures, administrators, products and services that the markets will enjoy. It is no different for underperforming nation-states, who never balance their books, whose Euro convergence impossibility with the economies of France and Germany has been overlooked for a Federal ideal.
The Federalist concern themselves little with the tax-payers who have to share the burden of bail-outs at a time of economic difficulty, nor those in Greece who have seen inflation related problems decrease their tangible wealth and, for the first time for many, shown the possibility of real impoverishment.
Their end-game is macro-welfarism for Europe brought about by, what is idiosyncratic to that end, spending policy. So if you want to know where this new found Fiscalism is to take Europe- in my view it is over the edge. Look at the Lisbon Treaty, and it is clear that the EU with such a power, with the aims in that Treaty in mind, will never be able to be adequately parsimonious with its use.
What is always vindicated in such follies but, the now lost, traditional Burkean Conservatism? The folly of pursuing an idea to its logical absurdity, irrespective of the destruction it creates, is obvious to all but the mad. But logic, as Burke pointed out over 200 years ago, is the first victim of those who pursue the folly of the absurd. We Brits know this, yet our Government continues to fail to act.
I, for one, would advocate the preservation of freedom at any cost, rather the endless pursuit for control. Whether we are familiar with Hayek, or not, we know where to the latter leads. We should find either the vigour for reform or the exit door now and leave, or we will be further bailing an economically doomed entity at the cost of only our own labours.
Copyright Abhijit P.G. Pandya August 2011.