The European Question

Winston Churchill was a visionary of his time who saw that the future of Europe lay in a united Europe free from any more wars. The original reason may have receded in the youth of today, particularly those politicians and movers and shakers who have no memory of great war, but dutifully apply their poppies once a year to remember.

We now find ourselves in the position where our Prime Minister is appearing in Europe to lecture and harangue the leading players of the continent in how to run the Eurozone.Quite rightly he has been told to “butt out”. He is only doing this as a response to the fact that the eurozone scoops up 40% of our exports and any tragedy to this currency will be a disaster for us and throw all this governments policies to overcome the debt crisis into disarray. None of this is lost on our european partners.

Lets look at the long term greater reasons for a successful euro and our place in it.

You cannot buck the market and increasingly it is playing a bigger and bigger part in global politics,hence the cosying up by the west previously to such nauseous people like Saddam Hussein, Gaddaffi and others.If money is the root of all evil then it can also be a force for good. Britain is no longer a world power and we are belatedly beginning to recognise it . So how can we exercise influence and power in the modern world and I believe it is as part of a strong Europe in a single currency. How often can USA, China and an emerging India ignore a trading bloc which will also have the ability through it’s trading power to influence world policy.

No longer will those other major powers be able to ignore Britain’s wishes if we place them at the heart of a united Europe. The only thing keeping us out is our deep xenophobia and fear of foreigners which manifests itself regularly in our press, sport,  politics other areas of national life.

Now is not the time to draw away but to draw closer and demonstrate our committment by not standing on the sidelines and telling them what we want but becoming part of a pan-european currency which allows us to have a place in the world in waiting. Failure to do so will mean we will gradually become less and less relevant and go back to The Sick Man of Europe and eventual inconsequence. It is no coincidence that Germany is now the strongest of european nations. Think long and hard as to why.

The Eurozone debacle

I find the current situation very interesting,firstly from the point of view that not one politician seems to be dealing with it very well and also the huge difficulties that we as a nation and as a continent(Europe) are facing seems to be bringing us to quarrel and argue based on self interest without any consideration for the utilitarian perspective of the greater good.

Democracy is being virtually suspended in Europe(Italy and Greece now have an unelected CEO) and the criteria for leading well seems to be set in a very narrow sphere of experience, i.e. a financial background. We really are in big trouble on a global scale but it does not appear to be being dealt with on that basis. Also in my limited understanding, this all came about because the gambling bearpit of the sub prime was allowed to go on unhindered without  interference by those who govern, because it assured them of the next ticket into power. (A little tongue in cheek, I  grant you, but not much I suspect)

So it seems to me that the check and balance which was needed was the stabilising influence of public ownership.I am not suggesting a return to the bad old days of union interference in government policy or those who remember beer and sandwiches at Number 10, but I am suggesting that if all businesses had a less than 30% public ownership would that enable a hand on the tiller which still allowed entrepreneurial growth but  also prevented the excesses that we have seen over the last 10 years and which has almost brought us to our knees.

Perhaps in the same way that jury trials still maintain some semblance of ownership for the common man and woman in the street over the excesses of the judiciary perhaps a similar thing might have prevented the bright young things in the banking world bringing us to our knees with their unbridled enthusiasm for making money and bonuses,in that order.

It’s a thought not yet fully formed but one about which I would value your views.I know it is a little off the wall but hey! nobody else seems to be playing the long game, just let’s get through it all and then we can go back- To what? what will be normal in the future?


I have now been retired from the British Army for longer than I served in it. 22 years later and almost 30 years on from the operational duty that I served in(Op-Corporate) otherwise known as the operation to recapture the Falkland Islands, my memories don’t fade but become more poignant and sad. I am unable to say why or what it means but I dread the onset of this week of remembrance,I dread the the crisp clear air which always seem to prevail on the Sunday morning when all these old and now young servicemen, servicewomen and the comrades I do not know but feel a huge affinity with, troop off to various services to “remember”.

Locked up often in our own thoughts,unable to explain to anyone the feelings of melancholy and sadness juxtaposed with pride and belonging.Not to Queen and Country but to each other,because none of those things even enter one’s mind when in the thick of it except each other and the kinship that we all feel even when we can’t stand each other in peacetime surroundings.

So once again this year comes the dread. I will walk my dog Dave to the village cenotaph arriving at 3 or 4 minutes to the appointed hour. I will not wear a poppy or speak to the other people there and at 2 minutes past the hour having waited for the last post and seen in my mind’s eye the cemetary at San Carlos where my pal is buried and which will remain a part of England forever, troop off to the local pub and toast the memory of a good life wasted and all the other good lives wasted, for what?

In a few years another phalanx of bright young things fresh from some university or another and now elected to lead us into our brave new world will send more young people off to the slaughter so we can continue to “remember” and another generation will stand in sombre thought remembering their pals.

And in their minds eye it is impossible for them to grow old,for that’s how they were when we knew them, but wouldn’t it have been nice to have the opportunity to grow old with our comrades.

Shame on us all.