Friday 17 May 2013

There's more to the EU than economics...

...although one might not think that to listen to the opposing sides.  Those who want out proclaim that it will free the UK to compete globally, whilst those opposed to exit paint a picture of economic disaster.  There’s a parallel with the debate about independence for Wales in there somewhere, but not a lot of consistency.  Some of those arguing for the advantages of a UK outside the EU also paint a picture of gloom for an independent Wales; whilst some of those arguing for Welsh independence paint a gloomy picture of a UK outside the EU.
Who’s right?  I suspect that both sides in both arguments have a point, but they’re all over-playing it.  I do not for one moment doubt that the UK would be viable outside the EU.  There would be consequences, and they might not all be pleasant, and there’d be adjustments to be made.  It would be hard for me to argue otherwise when that is pretty much the position that I take on Welsh independence.  The idea that the ‘viability’ of any state depends on the extent to which it is, or is not, united in some form of union with its neighbours is a strange one, and seems to bear little relationship to the real world, in which all sorts of states in all sorts of arrangements manage within the arrangements which they choose.
And that, perhaps, is the point.  Any state has to – and inevitably will – adapt to the circumstances in which it finds itself.  That doesn’t mean that some arrangements might not be better, in purely economic terms, than others, in the short term at least.  Arguing about that balance of advantages is much harder, though, than painting a more black and white picture.
In truth, whether we are looking at the EU or at the UK, the rationale has always been much wider than the purely economic.  Mankind may be economic animals, but we’re not solely economic animals; there are wider considerations which come into play.  It’s a consequence of the extent to which the capitalist ideology has permeated thinking that the arguments are almost always presented in purely economic terms, coupled with a laziness which prefers to bandy numbers and statistics rather than debate wider concepts (to say nothing of an attempt, in some cases, to disguise the real motives).
My starting point is that we need to find ways of exercising sovereignty at a local level as far as possible, whilst pooling that sovereignty where needed in order to tackle wider issues.  It isn’t an easy balance to achieve; and there isn’t a single right answer to the question.  That’s no excuse for avoiding the question.  There’s much more to life than economics.

1 comment:

Spirit of BME said...

There is no contradiction about English politicians defending the benefits of Union within Britain and hostile to it in Europe, - as it’s all about control.
The “British Union” is a master and servant relationship, the European Union is about a relationship of equals. If the UK was about equals, Wales and Scotland would have allocated seats on the board of the Bank of England and such things as the Army High Command with a large dollop of veto rights.
The English view Britain as “Greater England” and we should be grateful for their benevolence, after all they were given a divine mission “to make the world England”
Three cheers for your last paragraph ;Little Johnny Major stated the same principle as “subsidiarity” and Plaid has it as an Aim on decentralisation ,although when they were foolishly part of HMG they went about centralising everything they could get their hands on and no one has been censured for it – yet.