Posts Tagged ‘UK’

Story 1 is a call from Will Hutton for Britain to join the Euro. Now, Will Hutton’s wife happens to own a lot of property (or her business does), so Will has something of an interest, to say the least! Although this means he’s not objective about the issue, an article in the Times (I can’t find the link right now) suggests that Brown may be thinking about the Euro as an option for Britain.

Is this likely? Not in my view. The crisis at hand needs short-term solutions. After it has passed, Brown will be enormously unpopular, because a good result for us now is still going to be very bad. This means he will not have the support of the public for any radical moves. He also probably won’t have time before the next election for that. In the extremely unlikely event he wins the next election, I suppose it might be possible. However, it is extremely unlikely he will win. Even if he won and wanted to join the Euro, he would have to include it in a manifesto, and I’m not sure even the financial crisis would make it a popular policy. Let’s not forget that it was Blair who wanted to join the Euro, and Brown who didn’t. Is Brown the kind of man who admits he was wrong in the past? Exactly. Another reason is the difficulties described in story 2 …

Story 2 is an article by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in the Telegraph on the risks of EMU splitting up. AEP has been predicting this crisis for a while. He has written a few articles saying that a recession would come, and saying that the Euro might not survive it. I never really believed him; I thought it was likely that he, as a eurosceptic, wanted the Euro to fail, and he was seeing what he wanted to see. However, he was right about the financial crisis and the recession, and he does describe some very real tensions in the euro-zone. I hitherto believed that the Euro was so important to national leaders that they would protect it at all costs. Right now, who knows? We don’t know how bad this crisis is going to get yet; certainly no country is going to let its economy be destroyed to save the Euro, as the Irish decision to guarantee bank deposits shows. Do I think it’s likely? I have absolutely no idea! I don’t understand enough about economics to know how bad the crisis is going to get, and I don’t think that many experts know either. It will be very interesting to see what the EU heads of state decide when they meet this weekend.


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It is fun to follow the coverage of Cameron’s speech when you remind yourself of what happened before Blair won in ’97. The right-wing pundits lost it; it became obvious he was going to win, and they didn’t really know how to cope. This reached a pinnacle of absurdity with the Tory MPs proposing to Blair that he cross the house and join the Conservatives.No-one had any idea how to attack Blair.

Woy Hattersley’s animated performance on the BBC’s coverage of the speech yesterday showed the same sense of panic. In contrast to IDS, who, as ever, came across as a thoroughly decent and fair-minded man, Hattersley was manic in his denunciation of Cameron as all style and no substance. Heard it before, Woy, heard it before. I remember the same being said of Blair when he was racking up huge majorities and 50% approval for the Labour Party. Alice Miles has totally lost it in the Times today, again trying to claim that Cameron is all style. The thing is, just like Blair’s detractors, they can’t see the substance because they don’t agree with it. For them it has no significance. When Cameron promises to fire officials who give marks in exams to students who write ‘fuck off’, that is real substance for the right. When he promises to end political correctness in schools, that is substance. When he promises to stop the demands that parents get CRB checks before taking part in exchange programmes, that is substance. Corporation tax is only for the rich? Look at Ireland.

It’s over for Brown and the Labour Party. Their supporters no longer sound like they’re responding to Cameron. They don’t get his appeal, and the appeal of the Tories right now, which is why they have no idea how they would need to change to get elected again. The problem is that people have become sick of socialist policies, and all they have to offer is more of the same. I almost feel relief! We’re almost rid of these idiots.

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Are you British or European?

According to a British council poll, reported in the Mail: “In spite of greater European integration since the Maastricht Treaty was signed in 1992, just 7% of Britons surveyed said they felt like a European citizen.”

You cannot create an identity. It is something that develops organically. British people will not consider themselves to be European after ten more years of the European Union, twenty years, or even a hundred years. The whole enterprise depends on a false set of assumptions about human nature.

The 1960s and 1970s saw the flourishing of a view of human nature that was attractive to many as it promised liberation. Gender, race and nationality, even sexuality amongst the more radical thinkers, were all suggested to be socially constructed. There is no doubt that the intervening decades have seen a greater freedom enter society, and that has done a great deal of good.

It is, however, patently false that there is no biological basis to gender, and race, and no reality to nations. Although society – contact with others, how they present themselves, how they react to us – undoubtedly affects our experience of being a man, woman, of being white or black, these identities can not be reduced to the social.

Similarly, nations are not artificial constructs. Nations are held together by language and culture, and a shared endeavour. It is true that it is hard to fit all national stories to one pattern. However, the left has for many years created a false dichotomy. Either there are fixed identities, which discriminate an ethnicity and culture discrete from all others, or there are none. Of course, such fixed identities are an obvious absurdity. In fact, the story goes, such identities are ideological constructs, used by the privileged to maintain their privileges. In truth, human nature is malleable.

One of the tricks of the intellectually lazy is to represent social developments as inevitable. This often hides an ideological commitment. The dissolution of nations has been considered inevitable by some. However, all around us we see evidence that this is not so. From Scottish national identity to unrest in Western China, from the wars in the Caucasus to the troubles in the Basque country, from Tibet to Cyprus, we see that national identity is strong and critical to today’s politics.

Let us hope that the British establishment allow themselves to see this. Christopher Meyer, former ambassador to Washington, wrote very well about exactly this subject a short while ago, which is encouraging.

Despite the liberating events of the last century, research shows that traditional gender roles are still followed to a great degree. Ideological feminists decry this, but most women are happy with the freedom to choose their lifestyle and the way they view themselves. Society swung a long way away from traditional values, only to return to equilibrium a long way away from the radical visions of many feminists. It is striking how figures such as Churchill saw no shame in referring to their nation as a race. Nowadays, few people view nationhood in the same way. Let us hope that we can finally begin to claw our country back from the radical fringe who view nations as something to be overcome.

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