The hollow victory of a Eurosceptic
It has become increasingly popular amongst certain types of people, to say that they have always been opposed to closer integration between Britain and Europe. I myself have always been a bit of a eurosceptic, and I am very proud of that fact. When I was younger, and the Euro was in its infancy I was sad that, as far as I can see it, these countries were about to lose a part of their national identity. As I have grown up, I have continued to view the Euro with suspicion, particularly and I learnt about how the Euro has each of its member states, quite literally by the short and curlys. There is even a small part of me that feels a slight touch of Schadenfreude as I see the domino effect of the Eurozone crisis. I have to stress that this is only a very small part; the rest of me is full of consternation and despair. This is only exacerbated when I hear our esteemed Deputy Prime Minister declaring that Britain should contribute more to our debt riddled continental neighbours. Mr Clegg’s comments in Paris are in direct opposition to the Prime Ministers own very defiant stance, and one which has been broadly welcomed. Mr. Cameron was adamant that Britain would not contribute to a collective second bail-out of the Greek economy and there were many who breathed a great sign of relief.
Maybe however, Nick Clegg has the right idea, perhaps it is foolish for Britain to indulge in piety, perhaps Mr Cameron’s mantra of “We’re all in this together” should extend to our European partners. Certainly it would seem that every penny counts as European finance ministers met in recent days, the IMF prepared to increase the bailout pot to £1.32 trillion, (a number few people can even comprehend, but I’m sure if you ask a member of the Green Party, they would tell you how many wind turbines it would buy). This extra money has been earmarked for a potential Italian bailout; something which seems ever more likely considering their debt pile is second only to Greece. At $1.8 trillion it is at 119% of GDP and as the third largest economy in Europe there is a real danger that this level of debt with make the markets progressively more twitchy and prone to panic. Rather predictably however, Berlusconi’s government are split about the implementation of austerity measures. One could also make an educated guess that the Italians will not like the measures, and there is always the possibility that there will be protest scenes, similar to those we have witnessed in Greece.
It is for this reason I would wholeheartedly welcome David Cameron displaying similar defiance if Britain is asked to contribute to an Italian bailout. If the country as a whole fails to recognise that it needs to tighten its belt when why on earth should other countries come to their rescue? When I was a student, if things got a bit tight and I couldn’t pay my bills, the bank of Mum and Dad were on hand, but this was always money simply to help me keep my head above water, I can imagine my parents being rather disappointed had I spent the whole lot in very frivolous ways. Had I done so, I could not have gone back to them for more if needed, instead I may have been required to increase my hours at my part-time job, or looked for another one that offered me more hours. I would have never dreamt of asking Mrs Jones at number 25 for a few quid, and it would have never crossed my mind to ask for the whole street to have a whip round just to I could stay in, watch DVDs and order takeaway Pizza.
Nick Clegg is prone to fear mongering, and quite frankly I feel that Britain needs to sit this one out and concentrate on affairs closer to home. I’m not convinced that throwing good money after bad is the best way to sort out the Eurozone crisis; to take one example we only have to look to New Zealand and the way they handled their banks. A cataclysmic meltdown was the prediction if the government did not step in, but they didn’t and no one has mentioned a meltdown to me! Bailout is the easy option and ensures the bankers/officials save their own hides; in very much the same way as cutting weeds with scissors, it does not address the root cause, as Greece has proven it is merely a stay of execution.
Posted on July 20, 2011, in Coalition Government, Comment, Foreign Affairs and tagged britain, david cameron, eurozone, greece, italy, nick clegg, silvio berlusconi. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.