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Understanding Euroscepticism

Recently, I read an interesting “explanation” from the Economist about Eurosceptism. To play what the Economist gets right & what they get wrong (in my humble opinion…it’s of course possible that they are completely right but this article seems the work of a lazy europhile)

What the Economist gets RIGHT: “Britain entered the club in 1973 hesitantly, without enthusiasm and in a moment of transient economic anxiety….the Euroscepticism that pervades the Conservative Party and a majority of Britons, which could lead to Britain voting to exit the EU at a referendum in 2017. Britain never much wanted to be a member of the club in the first place. To the extent that it did, it was motivated by a narrow economic prospectus: to access the benefits of European free trade. It was never impressed by the subsidy regimes designed for French farmers and other special interests….The steady creep of EU powers and regulations, into the justice system, the workplace and beyond, have caused much greater resentment, which the ongoing troubles in the euro zone have exacerbated. Many Britons feel they have ended up in a power hungry, supra-governmental and economically moribund arrangement, which they never voted to join, and would not have done…..

Almost alone in the EU, Britain recalls the second world war with more pride than fear. ….This makes it reluctant to see itself as the European country, wedded to the fortunes of other European countries….Memories of empire also play a part….some Tory Eurosceptics even dream of reconstituting it as an alternative to the EU, in the form of an Anglophone or Commonwealth trade block.”

What the Economist gets WRONG: “Unsatisfactory as the EU is, the benefits of belonging to the world’s biggest free-trade group probably outweigh the costs….Britain recalls the second world war with more pride than fear. It does so, moreover, in such a way as to exaggerate the benefits of isolation—of being a plucky island nation apart. This makes it reluctant to see itself as the European country, wedded to the fortunes of other European countries, that it is.”

The problem with Europhiles is they can never explain WHY the European governmental structure is so great and necessary. Norway & Switzerland have free trade with Europe, they don’t have to deal with European bureaucrats trying to scratch the back of their locality (like French farmers) by making absurd undemocratic regulations. They also don’t explain WHY a commonwealth trade bloc is an impossibility nor why Europe is better. The British Commonwealth has the strong & emerging economies of the UK, India, South Africa, Singapore, Malaysia, Canada, Australlia & New Zealand among others. Is somebody seriously trying to claim that would not be an effective trading bloc? Throw in the other 45 nations and I think a global trading bloc would be much more effective than a regional European one. Free trade with Europe is great, but why the bureaucrats?

“The bureaucracy is increasing to deal with the increasing needs of the bureaucrats”. http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/03/economist-explains-1?fsrc=scn%2Ftw%2Fte%2Fbl%2Fee%2Fwhybritainissoeurosceptic

Anyway, that is my analysis of the Economist article. Do you all agree? I also might add, just to emphasize, the only way Britain gets a choice on EU membership is a Conservative majority in 2015, so if you care about having a say on EU membership, vote Conservative. I am personally for leaving, but we’ll see what Cameron can deliver for the nation in terms of his renegotiation.

About Ted Yarbrough

Profile photo of Ted Yarbrough
Ted is the co-founder and editor of the Daily Globe. He is a long-time blogger on British politics and has written a thesis on Thatcherism. He is based in Dallas, Texas, USA.

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