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Democrat September-October 2002 (Number 65)

Kinnock's carrot and the floods

What would happen as result of Growth and Stability Pact

Reports of a softening of attitudes within the EU commission towards the rules governing the Growth and Security Pact should be regarded with considerable suspicion.

Could it be that the straightjacket, into which EU bureaucracy is attempting to squeeze us, is beginning to fray at the edges? Or is there, as we have learned to expect, a hidden agenda?

Neil Kinnock, commission vice president, that failed politician and inept corruption buster, is talking about reforms to the Growth and Stability Pact, part of which restricts public spending. No doubt his fellow commissioners are in on this.

Maybe it is dawning on them that the dogma of one-size fits all does not work and that the rules governing public spending are causing chaos and a somewhat serious degree of public unrest. This includes growing concern within the Labour and TU movement.

At the same time mention has been made that Britain could be admitted to the euro zone by a devaluation of Sterling against the euro. The more cynical of us might be tempted to regard all this as a form of kite flying aimed at hastening the whole process of euro acceptance.

Just how unrealistic it is to peg public spending as the Growth and Stability Pact decrees, has become more evident following the severe and extensive flooding in Germany and to a lesser extent other countries. This has unavoidably escalated public spending in those countries as a matter of emergency.

The volatile state of economics not only in Europe but worldwide, means that unemployment could seriously escalate anywhere at anytime. The unthinkable alternative would be to dispense with the provision for the unemployed and other vulnerable groups in order to keep public spending within the rules laid down.