What did Gordon Brown, the last great Labour Chancellor
"No business planning for growth in the future can
ignore the facts: 80% of our potential markets are
outside Europe and a decade from now the Asian
market will be 50% larger than the European"(Gordon
So.....is Europe really worth giving away our democracy for?
And yes there is a direct link between EU trade
agreements and federalism
The European Community is an economic trading
organisation with an undefined political aspect which is by
turns insisted upon and denied by ministers. This is
acknowledged by Gordon Brown who described the
intentions behind the EU; "Indeed the assumptions that
became rooted in the very idea of European
integration were that the single market and single
currency would lead to tax harmonisation, a federal
fiscal policy and something akin to a federal state".
Do we need to swap democracy for trade in Europe?
While it is reasonable to belong to a trading block, it is not
reasonable to give away political power to do so. Remember
that political power means the power to decide over our lives.
People think the EU has "given us" trade and "given
us" peace. Has it?
Britain used to be one of the worlds most successful trading
nations, in the days when it traded with the whole world, not
Peace was brought to Europe, not by abolishing democracy
but by upholding it. Last time democracy was abolished in
Europe more than 20 million people died.
The loss of democracy even continued for decades after the
defeat of fascism, as millions of Europeans had to live in the
Eastern bloc, another economic dictatorship. Many
Europeans are sadly used to living without democracy. We
need to think very carefully before allowing that to happen
again. The countries whose populations have been eager to
join the EU are those who have already lived without
democracy for decades behind the Iron Curtain. They're used
to it. We shouldn't have our standards of democracy be
lowered by their minimal expectations.
Is there any advantage of the EU in terms of trade?
The greatest advantage to Britain in the trading block with
Europe is not trade within Europe, but as a way to better
protect our interests vis à vis the USA, and the Eastern
countries. But Gordon Brown himself has said that the
endless EU rules and regulations hinder rather than help our
trade chances with the rest of the world. There is no need to
give away political power for that.
Britain's trade historically has been with the rest of the
world; it is there that we have our longest and closest links.
For a brief period, three decades, it seemed as if we were
about to pursue a new destiny in Europe, and this meant not
only trade links, it meant, according to the architects of the
European Community, political and cultural convergence.
Already their vision is seen to be out of date; rejected by
electorates around Europe who share, actually, the British
distrust of a federal vision, the narrower picture of Europe
trading with itself, dominated by its own internal rules, and
with its sovereignties constricted by tax 'harmonisation'.
This inward looking aspect of the European Community, and
the way in which it is increasingly overwhelmed by a flood of
rules and restrictions and bureaucracy (despite its recent
rather desperate but telling "bonfire" of regulations) actually
threaten trade with the East.
This is how Gordon Brown put it;
"...moving from the trade bloc era to the era of Global
Europe requires a long term commitment to regulatory
reform that balances the need to lessen the burden of
regulation and enhance our flexibility while still
ensuring high standards.
In Britain I am determined that we not only impose a
competitiveness test to all new regulations but pioneer
a risk based approach to regulation.
"It is globalisation that is our greatest future
challenge: world trade doubling every decade, China's
trade doubling every three years, world trade now
rising nearly twice as fast as world output. Two
decades ago just 10 per cent of manufacturing exports
came from developing countries. Soon it will be 50%.
China's wage costs are still just 5 per cent of those of
the European Union. But we are not simply competing
in low skilled, low wage mass production
manufacturing. With 4 million graduates a year from
China's and India's universities, we are now competing
with Asia on high tech, high skilled, high value added
goods too. And so no country or continent, however
successful today, can take its long term prosperity for
... and in case there is any doubt left about how useful to
Britain's global trading the EU is;
"...in the move from trade bloc Europe to Global
Europe, old policies will not be just out of date but
counter productive for the global era."
This is how the Labour Chancellor saw the future for Europe;
"...the question for us is how Europe can move from
the older inward-looking model to a flexible,
reforming, open and globally-oriented Europe - able to
master the economic challenge from Asia, America and
This has to invite the question; Is it worth being in it at all?
It is clear that Gordon Brown had a very different view of
what is necessary, than the rest of the EU. But because we
are part of the EU we are not free to follow our own
judgement, but have to obey European directives, no matter
how damaging to our economic prosperity.
Is leaving the EU a threat to trade?
Britain is the third biggest market in Europe. Leaving the
EU does not threaten British trade as we buy more from
European countries than they do from us - in other words;
they need our trade more than we need theirs; - trade will
continue. It would not be in the EU's interest to erect trade
barriers (as some people fear they would do if we left, and
there is no need for us to do it either). When Gordon Brown
was Chancellor he complained of EU regulations already
hindering British industry. There is no reason not to have
friendly trade agreements with European neighbours or
partners, just as non EU countries still have. And as more
countries allow their electorates to speak, more countries will
As we mentioned elsewhere on this site, even Jacque
Delours, ex President of the Commission, and architect of the
EU has come to terms with the idea of British exit and does
not see it as a problem;
"The British are solely concerned about their economic
interests, nothing else. They could be offered a
different form of partnership," he told Handelsblatt, a
German financial newspaper.
"If the British cannot support the trend towards more
integration in Europe, we can nevertheless remain
friends, but on a different basis. I could imagine a
form such as a European economic area or a free-trade
But wait, is the European Union good for
EU apologists dub its opponents "little Englanders", because
they think criticism of the EU betrays an insular attitude.
However this is the opposite of the truth as, like Gordon
Brown, opponents of the EU emphasise that it is to GLOBAL
TRADE that Britain must turn for future growth. It would be
more appropriate to criticise the EU for a "little Europe"
narrowness of attitude, that ties European companies up in
knots with inward looking regulations that have no place in
Global markets. The EU has 450 million customers, the
Commonwealth nations, for example, have 2.3 billions.
The German parliament
calculated that between 1998 and
2004 the EU had issued 18,167
regulations, and 750 directives,
which they said amounted to 80%
of German laws passed in that
A conservative estimate puts the
proportion of British laws and
regulations originating in the EU
at 72% (Open Europe. Libertas
put it at 80%)
Page 4 of 6
If you are against "austerity" then you had better also
be against the EU.
The populations most hostile to the EU are those in Greece
and Spain, and to a lesser extent Italy, where they are facing
demands for austerity from the EU.
And remember, the budgets of Eurozone nations now have to
be submitted to the EU commission before it is submitted to
their own parliaments; and if the Commission doesn't like it it
has to be changed, or they will impose fines.
If you don't like Tory cuts, do you think you will like EU cuts?
Because thats what you'd get if we had a Labour government
that tried to spend much more than our present Conservative