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Thursday, 17 January 2013

The UK has already re - negotiated its relationship with Europe

The United Kingdom's Coalition government has already failed in respect of the major commitments it made when it was elected:  to bring down the annual Budget deficit and to bring down the level of Public Debt. It ain't gonna happen in the current Parliament (which lasts until 2015). So Prime Minister David Cameron needs to distract us. He's probably hoping that Argentina will invade the Falkland Islands again - though this time it's not so clear that we would have military superiority (to put it less politely: it's not so clear that we would win). Failing that, there is always Europe to attack.

But what is there left to attack? In the past fifteen years, the European Union for all its frustrating bureaucracy and waste (the absurd farrago of Two Parliaments, for example) has brought about two huge changes in the European economic and political landscape: the Schengen Area of border-free travel and the €urozone.

The UK opted out of both and in doing so uniquely distanced itself from the European Project. Ireland opted out of Schengen but joined the €urozone; Denmark and Sweden opted out of the €uro but signed up to Schengen. The UK is the only EU "member" to turn up its nose at both. It is already semi-detached from Europe - and as a result is losing business daily.

It doesn't help that the UK after dipping its toes also opted out of the Metric system and partially out of the Decimal system. It seems our school teachers couldn't get their heads round them. As a result, we are now unique among "Advanced" countries in having no coherent system of weights and measures. In nearly every shop, confusion now reigns. Litres and pints, kilos and pounds, meters and yards, decimals and fractions - they are all hopelessly jumbled.

Of course, that's not something Mr Cameron has to worry about. Someone does his shopping for him. Someone also writes his speeches for him and is right now busy re-drafting the Big Speech which now isn't going to be given tomorrow.

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