European Union – Time for a Serious Debate?
If the latest comments from the leadership of the UKIP and anti EU Conservatives have proved it is that they not only hanker after but actually believe they are still in the days of the pre-war British Empire and I’m speaking of pre 1913, rather than the globalised world of 2013.
They continue to talk in what can only be called bizarre terms of suggestion, in fact actually promoting that the UK should leave the EU and replacing not some but all of the trade that would be lost as a result with some kind of free-trade area with the ‘Commonwealth’.
It is a simplistic economic view that makes a great sound bite for the disenfranchised and disaffected public but which doesn’t take into account the existing make up of the ‘Commonwealth’.
The main factor being that the ‘Commonwealth’ can now be said to be made up of broadly three groups the first being the economically wealthy ex-dominions of Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the second being the emerging economic nations such as India and the rest who remain relatively too impoverished to buy UK goods and services.
Even taking into account that the combined population of those in Group 1 in terms of the population only equates to that of Italy let alone the other 25 EU countries it amounts to economic madness.
Now I’m all for enjoying fiction such as the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe or Harry Potter but I wouldn’t want to base my economic policies on Narnia or Hogwarts
It certainly doesn’t make any sense and especially economic sense to walk away from the world’s largest free trade area and especially when it is on our own doorstep with the spending power and access that the modern-day ‘British Commonwealth’ could never match.
What UKIP and Conservative anti Europe people don’t seem to understand is that Canada looks towards the USA and countries to the south for their trading partners and Australia, New Zealand and Western Canada look to the Pacific Rim and certainly have no loyalty to the UK.
And why should they after the way the UK reneged on trading agreements with them after joining what was the European Common Market in the early 70’s?
The reality is that with almost 60% of the UK’s exports and services being with the EU it is essential if not vital to our growth and future prosperity and eight out of ten of the UK’s main export markets are in the EU.
If the public need convincing which is conveniently missed out by the anti EU brigade is that the trading agreements with the EU supports over 3.5 million jobs in the UK.
With a trading population of over 500 million Europe arguably remains the most important free-trading area in the world.
Which is why those who still continue to peddle the myth that if the UK pulls out it can replace the trade lost with what they call ‘Our friends in the Commonwealth’ are living in a fantasy world.
It is time to move away from the jingoistic simplistic sound bites and have a serious debate on the importance of the EU to the UK economy.