Sunday, July 16, 2006

Fit For Purpose

It’s always depressing to see a young man fall into bad company, take Steve blogging over at the Sharpener. He detects the signs of humbuggery in the silence of Eurosceptics over the way the US is effectively trying to impose it’s own accounting standards on British businesses. Basically, his question is how come the Right is so enraged by the EU imposing its standards on Britain but not the US doing the same ?

There are at least three differences that come straight to mind. The first is that no matter how small the slither of justification for US involvement, at least there is some rationale for it. On the other hand, the EU micromanages events even when there’s not the slightest justification for it to intervene. Somehow, Europe managed to survive the long, dark era when people could sell each other apples by the pound.

Secondly, at least these US laws are there to deal with real crime. The EU wants to either conjure up bogus crimes, such as xenophobia, or to stretch the definition of existing crimes to the point of absurdity, such as the claim that criticism of the EU should be treated as blasphemy. In so far as these laws plus the EU arrest warrant mean that Europeans will have only as much freedom of speech as is allowed in the most restrictive jurisdiction, it’s a bit more serious than wacky accounting laws.

Finally, there’s the fact there’s no obvious sequel to the US action. The laws are stupid, but at least Congress hasn’t claimed they’re the first of many. Meanwhile, the EU proudly proclaims at every opportunity the need for ‘ever closer union’. However bad things are now, they can surely get worse. The US position can be considered on its merits, but with the EU everything is just a stepping stone.

That’s not it though. If there’s any dogs that haven’t barked, it is surely in the pro-EU camp. There’s something plain weird in hearing Euronuts charge the US with using its economic power to bully countries into compliance with its laws. Isn’t this exactly the type of situation the EU should exist for ?

Forget all those weirdly Soviet attempts at trying to create a common European culture out of whole cloth, here it is, the perfect justification for the whole cesspit: European countries must stand together or be subject to the whims of larger economies. But no. It’s all quiet on the Western front. No one’s calling for Europe to stand together on this. Why not ? Contempt for Britain ? Stupidity ? Or just that when all’s said and done, and propaganda to the contrary, the EU was always more about controlling the people of Europe, rather than any more enlightened vision ?


Since it came up, it was no less a person than the EU's own advocate general who claimed criticsm of the EU should be treated as blasphemy. The Europan Court of Justice generously dropped that claim, even while restricting freedom of speech dramtically.

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