Democrat September-October (Number 65)
Editorial by John Boyd
There is a growing realisation that the question of European Union is not just another issue. The links between all the constituent parts and their implications are being made. Opposition to the single currency and privatisation is currently paramount. That in turn is connected to the draconian rules of the Stability Pact which denies the government sovereign rights over how much can be borrowed and how much spent in the public sector.
Even in the current penultimate stage of joining the euro, Britain must meet restrictions in economic and monetary policies. These are behind the problems facing the whole public sector, working people and unions. The problems include legalised banditry in the form of Public Finance Initiative and Public Private Partnership arrangements (PFI and PPP). Money is being given hand over fist to the privatised railway system which was set up according to an EU directive (91/440).
Failure to address problems
Although the recent Countryside March was huge in numbers the organisers failed to address the problems the agriculture industry, rural and farm workers face through CAP, the oldest common policy. It is Brussels which dictates how much is grown or produced and their prices. Huge amounts of money are used to prop up CAP where farmers, big farmers, are even paid not to grow food in setaside schemes. Rural post offices are closing as the service is lined up for privatisation according to an EU directive.
The fishing fields around Britain are subject to the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) which dictates how much can be fished and how many boats and the size of each national fishing fleet.
The biggest factor in the deindustrialistation of Britain and the demise of the manufacturing base is the Single European Market. It was the Thatcher government in 1979 which lifted all restrictions on the movement of private capital to line up with this free market. At the same time to head off any resistance from the labour movement, anti-trade union laws were put on the statute book.
Although at the moment Prime Minister Blair has placed Britain in the lap of the USA over Iraq, Britain is also entangled with the EU Common Foreign and Security/Defence Policy. The government has also gone along with the development of a European Army. Both the policy and the EU Army will remove the sovereign right of Britain over foreign policy and could involve the country in wars which have nothing to do with Britain.
For a rational development of Britain, the simple answer is, in the first instance, to stop Britain joining the signle currency. The longer term solution is to regain the right to self determination. The government would then have the right to control the economy, export of capital and public sector expenditure. There would also be no need to carry out privatisation directives such as those on the railways, postal services and air traffic control. The Government would no longer be restricted on how much it could borrow or spend on the public sector including all aspects of the Welfare State.
This alternative is now on the political agenda and entails Britain withdrawing from the European Union altogether and all the restrictive common policies including the thousands of regulations and directives which pour out of Brussels.
Plan for the alternative
Our Campaign will address the alternative and with broad discussion and contributions put in place a plan for a truly independent Britain with the right to self determination and national democracy.