The EU, Clegg, Farage: what are they good for?

I wasn’t disappointed with the Farage/Clegg debate; it gave me a chance to seriously mull the EU issue myself.

Let me start by saying this: Nigel Farage is a ridiculous man who lies to the British people everyday. It’s part of his job as leader of UKIP, a party whose base must consist primarily of drunken infants.

He likes to present himself as a beer-drinking country chap, a real Brit who finds himself appalled at the ghastly red tape imposed by Brussels. You see, this anti-establishment, ‘wild-cannon’ image suits him much better than the image of a London stockbroker who went to public school and rubbed shoulders very closely with ‘establishment’ figures. People who describe him a ‘likeable personality’ are being led up the garden path.

Nick Clegg is a man slandered by history; he saw a chance for his small, idealistic party to grasp real power for the first time in almost a century. He took that chance and became a figure of public ridicule, labelled as a Tory poodle by socialists who wish he had done more to restrict the Conservatives. But I’d rather we had slightly neo-liberal policies that a political system governed by dogmatic, tantrum throwing leaders. It’s one of the blessed things that sets us apart from our American cousins.

I didn’t watch all of the first debate, but the second was fairly interesting. Clegg was seen to be shouty and insecure, especially in the first half, but I think he calmed down towards the end. Farage clearly won over immigration and the burden it puts on our infrastructure. With regards to the amount of legislation and bureaucracy in Brussels, the winner was more unclear, although you’d expect Farage to take a lead there.

Farage railed against the competition for jobs between white working class Brits and EU immigrants. He complained that EU immigration is a good deal for the rich and wealthy, claiming that they gained submissive and grateful ‘servants’. A good cord to strike with his core supporters. Clegg couldn’t reply on national television in the way he should have: Farage can easily count himself a member of the rich and powerful, and white working class people are losing to jobs to Bulgarians because they think menial jobs beneath them.

Clegg stressed the need to maintain our ‘economic clout’ in the world; Farage said that we could trade with India, China and other emerging and/or Commonwealth countries instead, and that we needn’t be bound to an outdated, protectionist institution like the EU Customs Union.

Interesting how neither even contested the legitimacy of using ‘free trade’ as a by-word for prosperity and growth. Time was when the British left were horrified of the EU and its potential for enforcing the capitalist agenda over the wishes of trade unions and working people, but we gave up that distaste for the prospect of a left-wing agenda in Brussels. We couldn’t win an election at home, so we subscribed to a distant beaurocracy in the hope it would implement socialist. Michael Foot put it wonderfully:

“We can disagree about whether the EU has been a socialist or capitalist influence, but it is undeniable that it wields that influence without asking the people.”

The British left-wing needs to ‘grow a pair’ generally, but on this particular issue we have particularly let ourselves down. We have left Euro-scepticism to be hijacked by right-wing nutters who want to blame it for every social ill.

I personally believe that Britain can have a future in the EU; but as Clegg said, you need to commit before you can enact change.

  • Political Union must be scaled back to the common-market.
  • That common market must ensure only an absence of border tariffs, and must not include any other obligations or restrictions on worker’s rights.
  • The Euro should be destroyed as an institution.
  • An EU central bank should be formed, to provide unconditional loans to member states in times of severe financial crisis, with very low interest rates.
  • Each member state should pay into that central bank with a lump sum each year, according to that country’s GDP.
  • The central bank should provide loans to Green Energy initiatives throughout the EU.
  • The Tobin Tax should be implemented at a set level throughout the EU; this new tax should help member states pay the annual fee.
  • The European parliament should gain more members, elected from smaller constituencies, to provide a more direct democracy.
  • The European Commission should be made answerable to the European Parliament in all things.

These demands are in line with the two main challenges facing Western civilisation in the 21st century: extremes of wealth and poverty, and climate change.

A Europe-wide Tobin Tax would decrease the likelihood of mass financial migration to the US; banks would find it harder to withdraw from the whole of Europe than from a single country. The Tobin Tax would equip governments with more power to deal with social ills, as well as reducing economic inequality.

An EU central bank would be uniquely placed to provide Green Energy with the initial boost it needs to grow.

I’m sorry if you feel this was a bit long and tedious, but it’s important I say what I feel.


Two Special Measures

In a time of great public confusion, of mindless media nattering and pathetic political gesturing, people need a single, strong voice to rise above the crowds and lift them to enlightenment. Well that’s me. I will outline two special measures which are needed now, with regards to economic policy.

A financial incentive for the living wage

When discussing the living wage, it is important to remember that the objections of most middle class debaters are centred around this: that our beloved small businesses will be swamped.

Well that fact is that it doesn’t have to be that way, I’m not proposing any kind of swamping, I merely wish to give the workers their due, and to ensure that people can fend for themselves in financial security. Not only will it be economically sensible, by increasing spending among ordinary people, but it will decrease government spending by lifting thousands out of welfare.

Why not give a tax incentives to businesses which want to provide the Living Wage, it will affectively be taking money out of the government’s coffers and putting it into the workers’ pockets. I would only let this apply to small businesses, corporations will pay it anyway.

A Tobin Tax

Ideas for a new FTT (Financial Transaction Tax), Tobin Tax or Robin Hood Tax, have been played around with for quite a while now. As a nation we are in debt, why not balance the budgets by taking money from those who caused the crisis rather from those who had nothing to do with it? Through taxing Derivative trading, it will also help to stabilise the city, and to discourage the sort of reckless behaviour which caused the crash. Such a slight amount, (0.05%) will hardly cause Armageddon, and so right-wing scaremongering is simply pointless.


These are two sensible proposals which will take us closer to a fair and just society, and there is no tiny detail which right-wing commentators can pick at.



Tory Cuts, Now and Then

As those of you who read ‘David Cameron is a fool and Nick Clegg is just pathetic’, you will know that I belong to the majority of people in this country who don’t support the current government. And this is mainly because of ther austere economic policies. They claim to be free-market, which is bad enough, but what I don’t understand is, if they are economic libertarians then why do they think that the government saving money should be a priority, if government is  supposed to be as small as possible?

Besides, free market policies have been proven wrong again and again throughout time, there is no way that any rational person could still believe in them if they have been living in Britain for the last thirty years. If you haven’t, then I’ll brief you:

  • Margaret Thatcher and her government sold off British civil property in the name of Free Market ideals. The Railways and other basic utilities, that were the property of the British people, were sold off to the highest bidder.
  • Markets of all kinds were deregulated, stopping the state from protecting the citizens that elected it from the constant profit drive of the multi nationals.
  • Due to the deregulation of finance, Britain is now completely at the mercy of international financial markets, who will upsticks and leave at the slightest sign of an elected government reclaiming power from them.
  • Wages have plateaued, whilst the profits of CEOs and major shareholders have skyrocketed, even during a financial crisis.
  • And now, you have to really strain your eyes in the Commons to find a political movement with the balls to take back powers from unelected financiers.

The current government is yet again cutting what little civic property we have left in the name of deficit reduction. Which is of course ridiculous, our entire national debt would be wiped out by even the smallest of taxes upon the top earners, the most sensible of which, The Tobin Tax.

Which as understand it, would also help slow down capital flows between countries, which is indeed a major problem. The ability of banks to withdraw their short term investment within seconds places elected governments in the palms of the financiers.