all accounts, the transition to the Euro went without too much of
a hitch at the New Year. Guilders, Pesetas, Francs and Marks will
vanish from history as quickly as they vanished from shopkeepers’
tills. A little welling up of the eyes, a fond indulgence in nostalgia
ensued as various peoples keep their last small change as mementoes
of former economies.
dash from cash (old cash that is) seems complete as coins were dropped
into charity boxes and larger amounts were spent on durable investments
such as property and precious stones. Of course, the latter form
of cash was hidden under mattresses from the Statist taxman and
was not amenable to conversion into large quantities without kindling
his wrath. The inflationary figures for the last quarter in Euroland
may be a little higher as a result of this revised form of tax evasion.
road to economic integration is nearing its end. Now they can concentrate
on political integration for as night follows day that is surely
the whole raison d’etre behind the conversion to a Europe-wide currency.
Tax harmonisation policies will follow and in a more socialist-minded
Europe that can only mean higher taxes for some countries and an
inflexible approach to the free market and the economic liberty
of the individual.
Britain along with a couple of other EU member nations stands outside
awaiting the result of a referendum yet to be announced. The opinion
polls do not look too good for Tony Blair as he pushes his pro-Europe
agenda; most people are against giving up the good old pound. It
seems he has his work cut out, especially as Britain is faring better
in this current recession than Euroland.
I was a conspiracy theorist, I could well imagine Tony Blair engineering
a massive rise in interest rates prior to the referendum and then
pointing to the much lower rate of interest being set by the European
Central Bank. I don’t believe that, but I can believe pro-Europe
media only reporting that which is good about joining this huge
and disparate Union and ignoring the rest of the perceived bad news.
why am I against this integration of little states into a super-state?
It is not so much a matter of geographic extension of a centralised
power. After all, a State could be the size of Asia and still have
a small government allowing free market principles to run unfettered
(though that could be disputed).
bothers me is the crackpot political correctness of the pronouncements
we have seen coming from Brussels allied with the greater tax-and-spend
regime of the traditional socialism of central Europe. The two in
combination are a withering but potent force for the first pronounces
and the second enforces with a vengeance.
rather strange laws of the European Commission such as the legitimate
curvature of bananas and cucumbers for packing purposes have now
passed into the folklore of crackpot decrees.
one example legislation that worries me is the forced egalitarianism
of employment opportunity as applied to religious organisations.
Take the example of a lesbian professing to be a Christian who applies
for the job of priest at some parish. Does the rejection of her
application on the ethical and theological grounds of that church
violate her individual rights?
to European law, she may well have a case. However, the wording
is a bit ambiguous at this point in the legislation. The law seems
to allow for ministers of religion to be exempt from such discrimination
but not others who may work for that organisation. In other words,
the minister may be sexually and theologically sound, but his entire
staff could be gay, lesbian or from other faiths!
course, what is more likely to happen is the organisation going
into bankruptcy paying of the discrimination lawsuits. I can readily
envisage gay groups going into interviews with hidden cameras and
exposing the prejudiced way the affair was conducted. That is what
anti-racist groups did to expose employers who told black applicants
that a job had gone and then they sent in a white applicant who
was told the job was still open; so it is a proven technique of
to say, libertarianism not only affirms the right of an individual
to believe what he wants but also the right for like-minded individuals
to form private groups which reinforce such beliefs (I may add that
my Christian version of libertarianism allows God and not the EU
a veto in who forms what groups).
much common sense will prevail over political correctness remains
to be seen but the incessant quest for multicultural homogeneity
continues and I fear that an expanded European Union will only hasten
to that would be the mantra of Europe-wide State Welfare policies
as the poorer Eastern European countries seek membership. Once again,
I fear these less stable economies would be net gainers whilst Britain
would be a net contributor to such a welfare regime. No, the best
way these former communist countries can develop is to allow internal
free markets to prosper and minimise State taxation and interference.
My message to them is to take a lead from China’s capitalist reforms
and not move from Soviet socialism to EU socialism.
in conclusion, if Britain wants an example of the way to go then
they need look no further than prosperous Switzerland. The running
joke is that they only invented various forms of cheese and the
cuckoo clock but that is a small price to pay for avoiding the bloody
wars of our European past.
Watson [send him
mail] writes from Edinburgh, Scotland.