Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Free trade responsible for WW1

A new target for my bile and vitriol is none other than Lord Macleenan of Rogart. Not a fine chap, it has to be said, and one whose grasp of economics is slightly lower than the water level of a Saharan well.

During the 2nd reading of the Lisbon Treaty in the House of Lords yesterday he followed the speech by Lord Willoughby de Broke, a hereditary peer who was voted to remain by all peers, who thinks like I do that free trade is the best way to keep peace between countries and also to alleviate poverty in the developing is free trade. Not that fair trade rubbish which is just another company with a middle man, scraping what they can from the misery of the poor.

I did let out a small exclamation when I heard him say:

If we do not ratify the treaty, we in this country and in the Union at large face the problem of potential impotence. This is not, as the noble Lord, Lord Willoughby de Broke, said, a question of regaining control. It is pure fantasy to suggest that this country has control over climate change and can pursue an immigration policy in the modern world entirely on its own. It is also pure fantasy to think that we can, through our lone voice in the councils of the world, influence trade policy to protect our citizenry without aligning others in support. These notions of self-control are 100 years out of date. They reflect back to the thinking of the pre-First World War Concert of Europe, to which the answer was 1914. When are we going to realise the reality and the limits of British power and the necessity of our country concerting its policies within the legal framework that the Union provides?

Er, hold on. We're the third largest trading nation in the world and became so successful because of our policy of unilaterally lowering barriers to trade. And this peer, this...... Lib Dem (for I can think of no more damning a phrase) thinks that we're better not having our own trade policy and instead having Peter Mandelson represent us as 1/27 of the EU and mainly controlled with maintaining their harmful, damaging and retarded policy of tariffs, dumping and subsidies.

But don't forget now, children. It's people like Lord Willoughby who want the poor to trade themselves out of poverty and who want those who make decisions to be directly accountable to the people that start bloody wars. Because Lord Maclennan said so.


TBRRob said...


Mark Wadsworth said...

I said this as a joke over at TimW when he did a post saying that there was more free trade in Europe before WW1 than there is now.

It never occurred to me that somebody would be daft enough to mean it seriously.