Aida 204 UK
THE BRITISH ELECTIONS AND
IS Hitler destined finally to emerge as the belated
but bona fide victor of WW2? Part of the answer to that immensely
emotive challenge depends on Britain's upcoming, all-important
May general election. Though heavily fudged by Big Media and Big
Business - tactics all too familiar to SA voters
- the No 1 question facing the UK electorate is: Should Britain now irrevocably commit itself to that ugly and shapeless monster, the European Monetary Union (EMU) and a single European currency?
In terms of the 1992 Maastricht Treaty, the essential decision on this must be taken by the ruling party, which ever that may be, in the first half of 1998, with EMU scheduled to be enforced from January, 1999. EMU is the third and last stage involving the merging of all participating European currencies into a new common currency, the euro.
The euro will be issued and controlled by the new European Central Bank, headquartered in Frankfurt. Under Maastricht, this body will be totally unaccountable to any democratic authority in its conduct of monetary policy. It represents the last building block in that weird phenomenon, the European Union.
Should Britain enter EMU, it also enters a vast, artificial European, predominantly socialist, superstate of 25 countries run by the notorious bureaucrats of Brussels and dominated by the largest country in Europe: Germany. Under Maastrecht, the EU represents one Parliament, one government, one flag, one supreme court of Justice, one foreign policy, one central bank, one currency, with no signatory state having the right to say whether EU decisions are what they want.
National governments and parliaments lose their entire influence over the future of their own economic, financial, credit, trade, taxing and budgetary policies. Indeed, there remains no aspect of economic and social life of the European states that is spared from the provisions of Maastricht. The control of the principal economic parameters by the suprational power structure is total. And signatories are asked to renounce their independent government and their sovereignty, not on behalf of themselves alone, but for the generations coming.
Membership is irreversible, of unlimited duration, has no withdrawal or secession clauses. The interpretations and enforcement of this supreme law will not be in British hands. The European treaties will not be interpreted by British courts or institutions but by representatives of the EU in Brussels and by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.
In other words, Maastrecht establishes not only "economic and monetary" but political union, enforced through a process called, with Orwellian overtones, "multilateral surveillance." It is without doubt the most divisive, most perilous, issue Britain has faced since it was, some 50 years ago, forced under US pressure to abandon the greatest commercial empire the world has ever known.
The decision to join EMU, yea or nay, will rest with which ever of the two main parties, the Tories or Tony Blair's New Labour emerges triumphant in the May poll. Both parties are bitterly split over EMU. While there is still no guarantee, the Tories would almost certainly opt out of EMU and the single currency, while Labour, with its strong links with international socialism, would most likely put Britain on the fast track to a federal Europe, with all that entails.
If all goes to plan, the EMU will play little role in the election other than for patriotic fringe groups such as Sir James Goldsmith's Referendum Party. With their sadly tarnished record, the Tories - as was so strikingly demonstrated in the Wirral South by-election - are in desperate trouble. Media speculation is that they will be slaughtered. If the polls are to be believed (usually, but not always, a mistake), it is then a shoo-in that Blair, with that strange whiff of Clinton about him, will become Britain's next Prime Minister, and with him, the UK's first socialist government since 1979.
Blair has said that if elected, he will hold a referendum on the planned single currency. On past experience, that doesn't mean much. The Yes campaign would have full Big Business support and all the resonance of the Establishment media and the Government's own giant propaganda machine. Although better informed than when they were first taken into the Common Market in 1972, the public, befuddled by deceit, duplicity and disinformation, is still largely in the dark on what a single currency really means: and the disaster this policy holds for Britain.
A complicating factor is that while 44 million Brits have the right to vote, on recent patterns at least 60% (or more) can be expected to boycott the poll. Most British voters are convinced (with cause) that all politicians are equally worthless, their own involvement in the whole political rigmarole pointless.
Should Britain enter full-bloodedly and wholeheartedly into the EU superstate, it is quite clear that the transfer of British sovereignty to the new federal institution will be massive and permanent; that Britain itself, with 1 000 years of history and tradition, will be transformed completely and for ever. Reunified Germany would be the dominant power in the new superstate. Everybody else would do as they are told - Deutschmark uber alles. Which, theoretically at least, brings history full circle.
That, more or less, is what Hitler planned in 1940: a Grand Europe dominated by Germany. Few today understand how central to Germany's wartime aims was the creation of a European megastate with a single central bank, customs and currency: in those days, the Reichsmark. What was envisaged was a Greater Germany, including Norway and the Benelux countries, plus whatever the German armies might pick up, with Britain and its "great dominions" very much a junior partner.
On May 30, 1940, a day on which the success of the Dunkirk evacuation hung in the balance, Carl Clodius, a key Nazi economic advisor, wrote: "This memorandum assumes that final victory has been won and that Britain accepts all German conditions." Discussing German plans for a consolidated Europe he added: "The most radical measure would be a customs and currency union one would be inadequate without the other."
This was also emphasised by Ambassador Karl Ritter, Ambassador on Special Assignment to the Foreign Ministry, who told Von Ribbentrop of plans for "a greater economic sphere to comprise 200 million people." There is no question that the French socialists who drew up the early plans for the Common Market were greatly influenced by Hitler's concept.
With Germany's defeat in WW2 those ideas were mothballed for more than 50 years. They become more relevant today, with the choice of Frankfurt as the location of Europe's Central Bank and Germany possessing outright EU leadership. In her memoirs, Mrs Thatcher clearly saw the developing danger. She wrote: "You Germans don't want to anchor Germany in Europe, You want to anchor Europe in Germany."
Well might the Brits count to ten before walking into such a trap. However, lacking the necessary historical understanding of the situation created by Germany's industrial power and ambitions, many even among the Tory grandees are Euro-fanatics. That is more remarkable when one remembers recent Marxian attempts to force human and economic behaviour to conform to a ruthlessly applied ideology.
You could have predicted in 1915 that Soviet communism would never work, that it was bound to collapse. Some 75 years later, you would have been proved correct. That attempt at socialist collectivism cost millions of lives, inflicted unspeakable suffering, has left the Russian economy and society alike in a state of total wreckage. But which leftist ideologue ever learns any lessons from history?
Worse, is that the establishment of the EMU and single currency is purely political, with no foundation whatsoever in economic commonsense. The creation of the euro is merely the start: next move will be to form a "global" currency unit early in the new millenium.
Already EU membership has been ferocious for Britain, with a staggering degree of destruction and grievous suffering for the British people. It has already reduced British political and economic rights to a pale shadow of what they once were, without bringing any noticeable amity from its union partners. That was evidenced over mad cow disease. Germany, France and Holland alike ruthlessly seized every opportunity to hit the UK cattle trade. The EU fishing policy has virtually destroyed British fisheries.
Union has not helped the UK housewife. When Britain entered the Common Market in 1972, she also ended the cheap food supply from Australia, New Zealand, SA and North America in favour of highly expensive imports from Europe. An OECD estimate in 1993 calculated that the average British family paid £1 040 per year more for its food as a result of the EU's nightmare Common Agriculture Policy.
The UK had a foretaste of what EMU could mean when it was a member of the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) between 1990 and 1992. At the time high German interest rates were necessary to support the Deutschmark because of the high costs of reunification. The knock-on effect was that all other countries had to have high interest rates, irrespective of their national needs. That little lot threw some one million Brits on the dole queues.
Britain's loss of status as an independent nation state would be a very high price to pay even if it did guarantee economic stability. It does not do that. The permanent surrender of British national sovereignty is not even justified at the meanest level of expediency.
Under the Maastrecht provisions, the debt of all member states would be amalgamated. If Britain gets locked into EMU, it might well become jointly liable for the astronomic unfunded pensions debt run up by improvident nations like Germany, France and Italy. Unfunded pension liabilities to GDP are (at least) 69% in France, 122% in Germany and 107% in Italy.
Such liabilities will have to be funded out of future taxation. It is certain that Britain's partners in any future EMU would seek to share that tax burden with the UK. When added to Britain's existing national debt, public indebtedness would rise from £9 000 per head of population to £30 000 per head. On that basis alone, is EMU membership worth so much pain?
The British economy is performing quite well at the moment. Inflation is under control, growth moving ahead. The £ is strong and unit labour costs the lowest of the major European economies. In other words Britain, still swept along on Thatcherism, is competitive. It is not the biggest but in many ways the strongest economy in Europe. The £120 billion invested in the UK over recent years, including £10 billion invested in 1995 alone, is held to be one of the triumphs of the Tory government.
To a considerable degree, the UK owes its present pre-eminence to the English language and the Common Law, to an international outlook and to an array of services inherited from nearly 200 years of maritime trade; to unparalleled ties with North American and Asian markets; to a range of attributes likely to be more threatened than advanced by EMU.
Though rarely spelt out, these latest moves are intended to bring Britain into line with the rest of Europe and remove its competitive edge. Europe is becoming an economic black hole. All of continental Europe is stuck in Depression-level unemployment, compounded by the lowest rates of growth in the world. Labour costs are astronomical. Taking Britain as 100, the figure for France is 140-5; for Germany 231-5; for Japan, 172.
Little wonder that many German companies are moving into Britain - the latest, Siemens - hoping it will never join the single currency, under which the richer nations will be forced to pay huge subsidies to the poorer. Overall, the EU needs Britain a lot more than it needs them. Pulled down by Italy, Spain and Greece, the euro is likely to be much weaker than the £.
Given all this, the question Brits must ask themselves is: Who is best equipped to govern the UK? Westminster, with all its admitted faults, or the notoriously arrogant and largely socialist bureaucracies of the Brussels one-worlders? Do they really wish to become the handmaiden of a new political order, their own political identity extinguished, their sovereignty abandoned in perpetuity?
Also needed is another cold, hard look at the Luxembourg Court of Justice. This court is not like conventional, impartial law courts. It is a political entity, its avowed purpose, through its judgements, being to further the process of European integration. It reflects a vast expansion of powers outside the economic sphere.
It will have powers in education, culture, health, consumer protection, transport and telecommunications systems. It will have expanded power over the environment, industrial policy, research and development. All this goes far beyond the concept of a free trade area and changes the EU into a collectivist political union.
So. What should Britain do? Move towards the European exit? By no means. A strong Europe of nations is sorely needed if only to counter-balance the superpower aspirations of the US, China, possibly a resurrected Russia. But what is needed is a genuine free market, not an Orwellian superstate which plainly tries to make Germans live like Britons, Spaniards like Irishmen, Greeks like Hollanders.
The EU was originally sold as representing a highly competitive free trade Europe, with low costs, minimum bureaucracy and a maximum capacity to meet the challenges of the outside world. Maastrecht, incorporating the ambitions and priorities of French socialists such as Jacques Delors and the late Francois Mitterand, reflects the absolute opposite.
Socialists have ruined most European countries individually. Allowed to proceed unchecked, they may well now be able to ruin them collectively. The ideal of a democratic and pluralistic Europe is still the best one. But it should be a trading bloc, not a force-fed socialist/federal system in which the British are railroaded into the status of a West-Saxon province of the Federal Republic of Europe. Whoever is to rule Britain from May onward, it is to be hoped, for all our sakes, that they will be very, very cautious before embarking on yet another disastrous journey into the unknown.
Above all, they should be chilled by words like irreversible."
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