17 May 2013

Exit By Accident

As Mr Cameron loses control of his party, the country is once again heading towards leaving the EU by accident. It is evident that Brexit is supported by a minority of the country's political class. None of the leaders of the main political parties favours the idea, nevertheless we could find ourselves on the outside before the end of the decade.

Mr Miliband has been too astute to fall into the trap of matching the Conservative pledge of a referendum. Not only would that increase the risk of exit by accident, it would legitimise the Tory right and embroil Labour in an issue which is best left to the fanatics, rather than keeping the focus on jobs and growth.

Labour needs a line on Europe that allows us to watch from the sidelines while the other lot tear themselves to pieces. The line should remain that Europe is changing and we should not make a decision until the Eurozone crisis is finally resolved.

We could add that the Euro may not survive another five years. Mr Kai Konrad, who chairs the advisory panel of the German finance ministry, recently declared that
I would only give the euro a limited chance of survival.
The break up of the Eurozone would be immensely disruptive and costly, not just to its members but also to its trading partners. At the same time it would present Britain with a new challenge to help rebuild Europe in a different form.

A European Union after the Euro would be a very different proposition from the present set up. The key lesson of the failure of the single currency would be that integration needs a more cautious and pragmatic approach.

Which is very much what Britain wants from the EU; a sharing of power where there is a clear benefit while avoiding grand schemes driven by dreams of unification for its own sake.

Now is not the time to talk of leaving the EU. It might be worth thinking about how to help the EU backtrack on its single currency.

Umm... Well... Uh... Bye then.

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