Sunday, March 11, 2007

Why bother?

Am getting so sick of politics. Am getting really sick of political journalism.
I did rather hope that the European Council summit on Thursday and Friday of last week would maybe lift my spirits a little (not in the sense that I thought they would say anything sensible, like let's disband the whole thing, but that it might give me something to get angry about and start caring again) but listening to the utter tripe they were spouting, I just felt exhausted.

I turned up to listen to press conference at which that prize turd, Hans-Gert Poettering, was speaking at. He was telling us how the EU was going to save the world through a combination of healthy eating cookery lessons for newly conceived foetuses and 'binding targets' for CO2 emission reductions.


They don't get it, do they? The same night they were all blathering on over dinner (I hope it was raw - don't want to burn fossil fuels cooking food!) there was a programme on Channel 4 (watch it in full here) about how maybe all this climate change stuff isn't as cataclysmic as our dear politicians make out. Yet along with racism, denial of climate change and it's 'devastating effects' is the new witchcraft.

Not that I would ever accuse someone of political opportunism, but it does all seem rather convenient that the EU had a terrible year in 2005 and 2006 wasn't much better. Then, along comes Climate Change, which everyone agrees cannot be handled by countries individually, because the environment doesn't stop at borders, and voila! A new reason for the EU.

Now they have an excuse to talk about how essential the EU is, how we need to give it more power and we all need to cooperate otherwise we are all going to die. Horribly. Stuff the science behind it and let's all have meetings about how the EU needs to have criminal competence over environmental legislation. Lordy, if you've managed to get the leader of the so called Eurosceptic Conservative party going along with it, then it must be a winning idea.

Which is why I had to sit through not just the bullshit by Poettering, but also the press conference afterwards with Angela Merkel and her band of merry men. They're going to make sure that 20% of the energy supply in the EU is renewable, doncher know. They're going to cut CO2 emissions by 20%. Oh yes.

No actual mention of how they're going to do this, though. I mean, it's all very well saying something, but if it's unrealistic and ill thought out and essentially just an arbitrary figure to grab headlines then what is the point?

Sometimes saying things are or can be does actually make something plausible. For example: if a reputable bank such as the Bank of England says consumer confidence is high and we can look forward to a period of sustained economic growth, then regardless of whether at that particular moment that is the true situation, it doesn't matter. The fact is, that if the BoE says it, then because they are trusted and have a good track record people will believe them. Consquently, there will be more consumer confidence, which will increase national income by increasing the 'C' part of the national income equation.

Y = C + I + G + (X-M)

Companies will have more incentive to invest, there are more jobs, people have more money, and thus you get a lovely spiral upwards in national income. The forecasts of the Bank have been proved right.

So one could put that argument forward for these arbitrary targets from the EU. Except that the only thing the EU has a proved track record in is futhering its own aims. More power, more commissioners, more countries, more competences. What actual benefits have become the normal people of the EU? Food is more expensive, there is less democracy, economic growth is only just managing to be sustained (but mainly through sources external to the EU), people in Africa are dying because of the trade policies, and most importantly, their record in environmental matter is abysmal.

CFP anyone?

So why would anyone believe the EU when they tell us these targets? Well, they won't. And the targets won't be achieved. And they'll keep on moving the goalposts, telling us they need more power, making more rules and regulations until businesses in the EU can no longer compete. And this will go on long after any serious concerns about the end of the world being a week next Thursday are taken seriously.

But the devastating effects of the EU will live on to be seen for as long as we remain a member of this backward looking, socialist, destructive customs union.

So can we leave yet?

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