by Mike Newland.
At first sight the disturbances in the Ukraine do seem bizarre. A large chunk of Europe’s population is having second thoughts about membership of the EU while you have others rioting in a demand to be let in!
The puzzle is solved if you appreciate that just about any change in economic arrangements has winners and losers. The political art is that those in power – who calculate they’ll be winners – ingeniously persuade the inevitable losers of the benefits they’ll enjoy.
Sometimes the losers are shamelessly persuaded that they’ll benefit economically. Growth in national output from immigration is a favourite. Not mentioning the fact that there will be more mouths to feed. If that fails there are nebulous claims to be made most of which fall within the all-purpose weasel word ‘enrichment’.
The Ukraine affair is no different in substance to the arguments about immigration.
There are winners and losers from migration. The losers in our case are most of the population many of whom find themselves jobless and converted into foreigners in their own country. Most of the rest salivate over exotic takeaways of mostly thoroughly unhealthy food while noticing the availability of cut-price odd jobbery. A minority make far more money and hope that the new replacement population is manipulable enough to be used politically. The champagne socialist Labourites think migrants to be pure workers unsullied by capitalism who will replace the tame working and student classes who used to be their backbone.
All of this is worked out identically in the question of countries joining the EU rather than individuals moving countries.
It’s a curious fact that, despite the terrible suffering inflicted on Greece by the insane single currency, most, it appears from polls, don’t want to leave. The fact is that money poured into Greece during the good years and when push comes to shove more tends to arrive. During the height of the crisis, we now learn, an aircraft stuffed with money was flown in by the EU. Anything rather than letting Greece go and possibly having the whole tottering EU edifice collapse. The Greeks are hooked on handouts and expect more in the course of time. Cunning.
It’s a fact that life is short. If someone offers you dollops of ice cream now but possible privation later… You may not even be there for the privation. That was the Greek position for years as money poured in lent by people who supposed they could not lose since the EU would never allow a member state to default.
It reminds of a nice story about people joining the big US accounting practices. Plum jobs fought over by college students. The lucky few think themselves in heaven when they are presented on their first day at work with a lovely soft leather brief case with their initials in gold on it. They quickly discover that it’s to carry the mountain of drudgery they’ll be dealing with 70 or 80 hours a week for a pittance when you divide the generous salary by the hours.
The Greek nirvana has not gone unnoticed elsewhere! Plenty of others would like their time of unlimited ice cream and to hell with the not-so distant future. From the Ukrainian viewpoint it looks on balance to be a big plus joining the EU, and those running it, who apparently have a demi-world domination plan, are not going to be emphasising the disadvantages of joining any time soon.
Britain, of course, had its own honeymoon period with the EU project. A cheap bottle of wine with your meal was one of the slogans.
But that era is long past. The EU for Britain now means the total destruction of our country as a self-governing entity and the replacement of its population. Hey the wine is cheap though!
What has happened in Britain is that the effects of the EU have worked their way through into an increasingly clear demarcation between winners and losers. The losers are increasing in number.
It really is surprising how a political project like the EU can still be maintained when there is no broad commonality of benefit across the many countries involved. It’s not what was sold. But it never is with politician’s power games. All were to be winners.
Far more sinister is the fact that we are endlessly lectured on the EU being a force preventing the continent turning back to the dark days when nations would try to dominate others. Mr Barroso even recently conjured up a vision of the trenches during WWI. Funny thing there. The EU project looks suspiciously like Hitler’s New Order brought about by non-military means – from a purely political standpoint.
From the Ukraine’s perspective, it has little recent experience of not being dominated by another country so the EU scheme must likely not seem too bad. If it imagines the EU represents freedom it will be sadly disappointed. If it thinks the EU represents permanent economic stability and growth likewise.