Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

Short political memories


  • Inflation 2.8%
  • Unemployment 5.4%
  • 25 years of solid economic growth (the longest sustained period of economic growth for 150 years), currently at 2-3%
  • 5th or 6th largest GDP in the world
  • 1973/4 (the year Britain joined what is now the EU)

  • Inflation 8.4%
  • Repeated strikes (civil servants, dockers, gas workers, engineers, firemen, miners) in the face of pay freezes
  • OPEC crisis leads to the three day week
  • Terrorist bombs at the Old Bailey, Whitehall, Houses of Parliament
  • Taxes rising constantly (9% increase in National Insurance contributions in October alone)
  • State of Emergency declared after coal and electricity workers refuse to do overtime
  • Fuel and speed restrictions imposed on the roads, lighting and heating restrictions in commercial premises
  • An additional 1.5 million register as unemployed during the course of the year
  • In short, the year 1973/4 was one of the worst in Britain’s recent history.

    But hey – who cares about little things like “facts”, “honesty” and “perspective” when you’re formulating your ill-considered political opinions? Because, let’s face it, by pretty much any objective measurement the UK is significantly, almost amazingly better off today than it was in the year the country joined the EU.

    Not that objectivity has anything to do with it, of course. How else could 52% of British people polled for a new survey seriously claim that the UK is worse off now than it was when the country joined the EEC?



    1. Correllation and causation you moron.

      Most of the ills in 1974 were a hangover of the heavily collectivist/socialist policies post WW2. The solution was the reforms of the Thatcher era, in stark oppostion to everything that the EU stands for.

      Are you seriously suggesting that it was our membership of the EEC/EU that stopped the bombing campaign of the IRA?

      Are you seriously suggesting that the EU had anything whatsoever to do with the fact that we have not suffered another OPEC oil shock?

    2. Calm down, old chap, and read it again.

      I'm not crediting anything to the EU, merely taking snapshots of two points in history and comparing them.

      Or are you also claiming that life was better in 1973/4?

    3. Being members of the EU along with Ireland has everything to do with creating the underlying conditions under which most terrorism in Ireland has ceased.

    4. Well, of course, there was that lefty idiot (was it Neal Lawson or another one?) who said that it's all been downhill since 1976.

    5. "Being members of the EU along with Ireland has everything to do with creating the underlying conditions under which most terrorism in Ireland has ceased."

      Well, sort of. Actually, what you should have said was that the fact that Eire became a member of the EU has created those conditions.

      You will note a strong correlation between the IRA's willingness to negotiate and the increasing prosperity of Eire. You may also have seen the recent announcement by Ahern, expressing a deep reluctance to put money into Northern Ireland. NI is a heavily subsidised and unprosperous province, whereas Eire is doing really very well.

      When Eire was poor (before the large EU handouts enabled it to drive the low-tax agenda that has so enriched the country), the concept of a united Ireland was a welcome distraction. Now, it looks more like a liability.

      Sinn Fein/IRA, being political animals, have recognised this fact, and it is that that brought them to the table as much as anything. Call it enlightened self-interest, if you will.

      The fact that Britain is part of the EU has really very little to do with it.


    6. People seem to forget that beyond creating a single market (you know, where you can sell goods and services between all the other countires with out getting approval from each one and hence saving time and money and reducing red tape as you only need to get national approval as our legislation is harmonised with that of all the other coutnires in the EU….part of the reason that we get some much 'red tape' from Brussels is that we are so intergrated with other European countires. I guess having a open and border free access to 60+% of our market is waht, a bad thing? If you think your nice German car is expensive, imagine how much more it would be if it had to be certificaed to a differnt set of standards in the UK compared to Germany!)After all, we dont want a regulation free nation like say, Somalia, right?)…anyway, where was I?

      Yes, beyond the fact of our membership of the EU, is that the business of international relations has gone from being a big thing with lots of macho willing waving to a very systematic and 'day-to-day' occurance among the EU member states. If you think the EU is bad, just look at what goes on in the UN!

      Such day-to-day interactions creates the framework, dialogue and contacts (personeel contacts are something that tends to be over looked in importnance in getting issues sorted) for addressing issues that are of common concern, by it UK-Ireland working together on Northern Ireland, Franco-British miltary links etc.

      The REALITY is that the UK is a small crowded island which has a complex set of relationships all over the world, but with Europe in particular…always have, always will- deal with it!. The EU is an effective means with which to manage those relationships, and even if we where not a member we would still be upto out necks in EU busniess. The good thing about being on the inside is that we get to shape what goes on in the EU (and we are very very good at that. France gets all the headlines, but the UK is certanily not a back seat driver!). If we left we would still have to implement EU policy, just look at Norway, Switzerland, Iceland…non-members but given how so much of there trade is with the EU, they have to play ball. Is that a good situation.

      Sorry, I am ranting….RAH!

    7. One possibility: in 1973, the UK had plentiful oil&gas reserves, and now it's running out, after having gorged for 25 years… In 1973, the party was just starting, now it's the hangover.

      (This is only half snark)

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