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Eurosceptic Bloggers

Thursday, June 23, 2005

All Pull Together

Timothy is back again, the Guardian’s columnist must be going on holiday if they need terrible Tim twice in a week. He has a message for the French and UK governments:
We are living in the 21st century, not the 14th. This needle match between France and Britain dates back at least to the hundred years war. It is probably the oldest continuous national rivalry in the world, with the possible exception of that between China and Japan. It has now become ridiculous, damaging, demeaning and pathetic.
It sells newspapers though does it not? People who demand that politicians behave nicely toward each other either believe in nothing or believe in something so blindly that nothing should be allowed to get in the way. Least of all opposing ideas.
To respond to the greatest crisis of popular confidence in the European project for 50 years by having a Franco-British row over money is like a couple reacting to the complete trashing of their house in a flash flood by bickering over who does the ironing.
Actually the EU is all about money. Arguing about who pays for what is also the foundation of just about all practical political debate. They are hardly going to say, oh the EU is unpopular I must compromise for the sake of the EU. That’s totally illogical.
First, Chirac's exercise in buck-passing and Blair's intransigence ("Thatcher in a suit") have been damaging to Britain's reputation with many of its European partners.
So Mr Chirac was obviously right then. His diversion tactics worked and took the heat off France. As for reputation, ask the British public what kind of reputation they want their country to have, tough or weak? I think you know the answer.
The prime minister of Luxembourg, who presided over the failed EU summit, yesterday launched a bitter attack on the British position.
Ouch we are being attacked by Luxembourg. Call up the boy scouts.
Even in countries broadly favourable to Blairism, such as Poland, Britain is seen as behaving like a selfish rich country.
Unlike France for example that demonised Polish Plumbers in their referendum campaign. Britain is so selfish it is one of the only three countries that offered open access to its labour markets for the Poles who now complain.
British Eurosceptics have got the wind in their sails, and are now talking about a fundamental rethink of the whole European project.
How much more wind do you think we would get from a Blair compromise on the budget? Whilst I fervently hope he does not give way, can you imagine the fun people like me could have with such a climb down?
On the continent, they are talking to a deeply disaffected audience:
  1. Many of whom believe both that the European Union has gone wrong and that Britain is not truly committed to any larger vision of the European project
  2. Would rather go back to a glorified free-trade area
  3. Would always choose America over Europe
  4. Really prefers American-style free-market solutions
  5. Isn't doing half as well as it thinks it is economically.
To which I can only say:
  1. We never were committed to the larger vision in the first place
  2. We always wanted a free trade area
  3. As a Prime Minister once said, the problems always come from Europe, the solutions from America.
  4. We are not to hot on 10%+ unemployment, sorry
  5. Britain’s economy does have problems, but they can never be solved by being more European.
So tell me again, Why should Mr Blair (Other than the fact he is a weak wuss) compromise over the Budget? And please don’t use the phrase, our common European destiny.

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