onsdag 21 februari 2018

Remainers: lovers blind to the faults of the beloved

Remainers are like lovers who are blind to the faults of the loved one, even when these faults are expensive habits which can kill. How is this?

The EU can be seen as operating in three levels in a hierarchical structure.

At the top level is the principle of a forum where major issues of common interest can be discussed and differences resolved. This is one of the places where a particular moral tone is set eg through promoting values, human rights issues, legal structures, developing cultural and educational collaboration such as the Erasmus programme, and keeping a watchful eye on what is happening elsewhere in the world. There are also shared concerns such as the management of rivers which flow through several countries.

Significantly, the EU steered clear of associating itself with Christianity, despite pleas such as that made by the Pope in 2002, when he said, of the EU draft Constitution, “How can we not mention the decisive contribution of the values which Christianity espouses and that have contributed to strengthening culture and humanism of which Europe feels legitimately proud and without which its most profound identity could not be understood?”

Score: C

Next level down is about trade, economics, tax and tariff policies. These are in principle both moral and practical decisions “coloured” by the moral tone that comes from above. It has profound implications for the quality of people's lives and political relations with the rest of the world.

Score: FAIL

I rate it as a fail because it a moral failure. Tariffs and trade protection are corrupt and immoral, as well as damaging; the Mafia lives on protection, as in “protection racket”. VAT is a immoral tax which is inefficient and economically damaging. If the EU had been doing its job properly at the top level, it would have pushed member countries to get rid of VAT, not make it a membershi requirement.

The bottom “artisan” level is about regulation and technical matters. Whilst important to individuals, it is trivial within the broader context. Much of this regulation is, or can be, dealt with other international bodies such as the ISO and industrial organisations. Some originates there and is transcribed into EU regulation. The EU has been responsible for plenty of silly and counter-productive regulation, but taking one thing with another - food additives and E-numbers, for example - it does not do too badly.

Score: B

IN CONCLUSION, I would count myself broadly in support of the concept of an EU, provided it kept to the principle of subsidiarity.  Failure in the policy areas of tax, economics, trade and tariffs, however, is a critical moral and practical top-level failure. That most national governments are no better is beside the point. It is easier to change the direction of a country than a continent, and the larger the body, the larger the scale of the damage can be, up to and including the possibility of major conflict and war.

If those who had been committed to the EU had spoken up and demanded change, the toxic political situation today would never have developed.

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