Wednesday 12 January 2011

UK and the fall of the ”EU dictatorship”

”Gov(ernmen)t sees off revolt by Tory eurosceptics”, if we believe the AFP, but readers of Mail Online are happy to be served ”Tory eurosceptics win battle over UK 'sovereignty clause' ”.

In UK discourse about the EU even the most basic of facts are contested, if we assume that the reporting concerns the same Parliament and the same European Union (Bill).

Those who are able to stomach it can delve deeper into parliamentary debate on Europe, UK style.


Ahead of the parliamentary debate in the United Kingdom, EuroGoblin was more interested in the coming vote than in the crusade from the Daily Express: We Are the Knights Who Say … No! (10 January 2011).

In my view it would be wrong to ignore the astounding argumentation concerning the ”EU dictatorship” by the self-proclaimed ”world's greatest newspaper” The Daily Express, presented on 23 pages in order to ”Get Britain out of the EU” (8 January 2011).

That a newspaper can thrive on such writing anywhere in the free world beggars belief, not only with regard to editorial standards, but the quality of large parts of the political establishment and the educational system of the nation.

BRICs rising and Europe sinking

I wrote a comment on the EuroGoblin blog, where I tried to explain why the European Union needs less retrograde thinking and a whole lot more of energy in a world increasingly shaped by the BRICs. Even if the United Kingdom is an extreme example of toxic discourse, the rest of Europe is well on its way to oblivion:

I am actually less insouciant than you [EuroGoblin], because the debate in the United Kingdom is characterised by varying degrees of backwardness, even more than in Europe generally.

In the real world various Asian countries have already surpassed the EU member states in educational achievements (Pisa), China is about to pass Europe in research and development within a decade, the world’s industrial output is increasingly produced in Asia, the Chinese armed forces are strenghtened at a rapid pace, the US and European governments are in hock to China, and as consumers we spend more than we earn on Chinese goods.

There seem to be only token efforts to put the European Union back on the world map and on the road to economic prosperity.

Discussing various scenarios of backward mobility (as in the UK) gives me the impression of criminal neglect from our beloved leaders.

Energy and democracy

In my view, the citizens of the European Union need an energetic and effective union in the crucial matters of security and prosperity, but this union has to be based on its citizens, meaning full EU level democracy and political accountability.

A Britain erring between the Scylla of still more sterile sovereignty or the Charybdis of EU withdrawal is certainly not the leadership model Europeans need for the high seas of the 21st century. The best we can hope for from the United Kingdom is to do as little damage as possible.

But where are the leaders the rest of us EU citizens need?

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Oh, US is US, and EU is EU, and never the twain shall meet? Forgive me, Kipling, but it will be interesting to see what my new acquaintance The Worden Report makes of his comparison of federalism in the United States and the European Union in the end. In my humble opinion, Europe has substantially more than a healthy dose of Anti-Federalist (News)Papers for the challenges of the 21st century, especially in the English language.

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