Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Pound recently hit a low but the conditions are not ripe for a union of economies

It is a Double Standard of the Left to support a common market in the current conditions of the economy

The current state of English football is a useful simile for the common market in Europe. Rob Williams recently summed it up perfectly in the following quote; “It's not just the likelihood of [Watford FC] being relegated immediately that is depressing. In the Premiership, there is no real competition any more. There are the big four - Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool - in with a chance of winning the league: the rest have no chance. A total of 40 clubs have competed in the Premier League, but only four have won the title - Manchester United, Blackburn Rovers, Arsenal, and Chelsea.” This is precisely the point; the big four have so much money they can create a super team that involves the best workforce and remain unstoppable forever.

The reason I use football as a simile for the common market in Europe is that when a football team has more than its fair share and can afford the pick of the market, the competitive element becomes nullified since the conditions have been created that no one else gets a look in. The same implicit reality which binds the European Union together is that the big rich countries stay rich and the countries in their shadow suffer as a consequence.

When a relatively poorer country - let us take for our examples Bulgaria (73rd highest GDP, 14.1% below poverty line) and Romania (50th highest GDP, 25% below poverty line) - enters into an economic union with - let us take for example United Kingdom (5th highest GDP, 17% below poverty line) - the gap which divides rich and poor will inevitably grow. Although in the former two, a short-term economic shift will put a smile on the Europhiles' faces, the long-term effect will without doubt show that market bullying and industry wipe-outs become a certainty.

Four examples highlight some uncomfortable truths of the EU; firstly, Fiona Hall noted in October last year that 76 of the world's poorest countries in the ACP group (Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific) were to sign an EPA (Economic Partnership Agreement) with the EU, ridding those countries of 80% of their tariffs imposed on EU imports. If those countries did not sign by the end of 2007, they risked higher tariffs on their exports to the EU. Some members of the ACP group, especially in West Africa, were unable to sign the agreement before the end of the year, which meant the outcome saw 35 ACP countries sign a watered down version of the EPA to avoid the tariff increases. It is expected that the Caribbean Community (Caricom) will sign a new trade agreement by the end of June. Can this bullying not clearly be summerised by Fiona Hall's own admission "Unfair Trade?"

Secondly; it has been detailed by one left-wing eurosceptic that in "1984 there were 450,000 jobs in the European steel industry. Now there are only 250,000, and this will have to be reduced still further." For one hard-line Pinochet supporter (aka Maggie) Britain, not a colonial power any longer, had to make a name for itself in the common market. Shutting down the mines was one thing, but the philosophy as a whole relied on a complete transformation of the workforce from an industrial one to a post-industrial one - hence the advent of importance on such things as the “Mcjob.” Of course the post-industrial job spurred on a need for extra labour from abroad. There was a dark hint of irony when Thatcher warned of "flooding" and Powell gave his "Rivers of Blood" speech, when it was precisely their economic philosophy which demanded the extra labour (incidentally, whenever I walk into a supermarket and see that it has replaced at least 3 jobs with a "Self-Service" machine, I do stop and think, well this is exactly what Thatcher would have wanted).

As the EU philosophy generally is a cut down on industrial jobs and subservience to monopoly conglomerates, the new second-class member states will edge further and further into the laps of the Laissez-faire looters, exposing the truth of the EU and their bullying motives.

Thirdly; Professor Margaret Blunden of the University of Westminster in her paper ‘The European Union and Cuba: Not so Constructive Engagement’ notices that Cuba is the only Latin American country without a bilateral agreement with the EU, whilst highlighting a contradiction by comparing this to Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia who do enjoy EU partnership agreements but are ranked lower on Human Rights according to (a hardly sympathetic) American based Organisation, Freedom House. It’s this academic’s pursuit that Cuba be more integrated with the EU. Implicitly, it is the view that Cuba be opened up to the EU so it can also be bullied with blackmailing on tariff controls, leaving the small island at a huge disadvantage.

Finally; the attraction of migrating to richer European countries is based on a simulacrum (in the Baudrillardian sense). The examples of immigrants being used as cheap labour, working many jobs, overqualified workers limited to only unskilled and low paid work are numerous. But work is a key element in the liberal left's embrace of the economic union. How many times have we heard the argument "immigrants are an enormous benefit to the economy?" And how true this is, but at what cost to the immigrant her/himself? It seems not only unfair to those immigrants who prop up a certain portion of the economy through being exploited in the most terrifically dreadful conditions with low pay and no union options, but also absolutely necessary in order for the rich countries to remain rich and the economy generally to remain at a massive imbalance.

Strangely enough, this has not been quite enough to mobilise a credible left-wing eurosceptic platform. The No! vote in the UK goes to one of three right-wing parties (Tories, UKIP, and the far-right). This kind of scepticism of a common market under the current economic conditions, which I have presented here, seems to come from the most unlikely of candidates, like the right-wing Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding who expressed his fears in that CARICOM had only redistributed poverty - wiping out industries such as biscuit manufacturing in Trinidad.

An economic union can only work fairly when the rich/poor imbalance has been curtailed, and not before. The EU in its present climate only redistributes poverty. It is unashamed of the bullying techniques that give to the rich and take from the poor (example 1), it is unashamed of its anti-union, industry killing philosophy (example 2), it is unashamed of its opposition to nationalisation in Cuba which allows every Cuban her/his daily calorie allowance, free healthcare, and free housing (no other rich country can promise these - example 3), and it is unashamed of the exploitation it afflicts on migrant workers (example 4). And what surely is most unpalatable is that a lot of "left-wingers" embrace it with open arms.

Returning to the football simile, a competition is only a competition when all teams have an equal chance of success and prosperity, might an economical union embrace a similar philosophy?

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