Thursday, February 02, 2012

Anti-Europe Brit gets Germany's Greek proposal right for the wrong reasons

One challenging aspect of politics is that sometimes you find yourself agreeing with a particular position taken by someone is really really coming at the issue from a whole different angle. Progressives have found themselves having moments like that in connection with the Ron "Papa Doc" Paul Presidential campaign.

I encounter that in the current crisis of the euro and the European Union. In general, I've thought the EU has mostly played a very constructive role until these last couple of years. I had very much hoped that the EU "project", as it's often called, would continue to move forward toward a more united Europe.

The politics of the EU generally had the parties of the left and centers and many conservatives supporting it. Even Basque regionalist groups in Spain tended to think that the EU offered them advantages. In the EU member countries, major business interests tended to be in favor of the EU because it offered demonstrable business benefits in its promotion of peace and stability and in the common market aspects.

Opposition has tended to come from far-right parties that were interested in promoting old-fashioned nationalism. There has been widespread public support for the EU, though it was generally agreed that the organization suffered from a "democratic deficit," in not being enough of a representative government. But as often happens, not just in government, there is a tendency to postpone decisions on thorny but important issues. Now the delays in fixing the known problems with the euro have not only made the matter urgent but, at this stage, probably irreparable.

British Conservatives, though, were generally less enthusiastic about the EU than many of their counterparts in other EU nations. And Britain generally, but especially the Conservatives, has tried to keep itself more at a distance from the unity process than Germany and France, the two other largest economies in the EU. They were not pushing the EU to adopt the kinds of changes that could have avoided the current fiasco in the eurozone, like making the European Central Bank the buyer of last resort for sovereign debt in the eurozone, and certainly not pushing for making the EU more of a fiscal and transfer union.

So I wasn't sympathetic when David Cameron tried to use the December EU summit to twist new concessions out of the EU partners on behalf of Britain financial lobby. I think the Brits in general and the Conservatives in particular have been irresponsible in their approach to the EU.

So I'm a little bothered to be momentarily in agreement with this anti-Europe British rightwinger: Nigel Farage: Whatever happened to the veto? 02/01/2012. He's not part of the Conservative Party but the head of the UK Independence Party, a rightwing nationalist party that opposes Britain's membership in the EU. Here was his statement Monday:

Roddy Thomson reports on the incident in British MEP causes furore with Nazi jibe AFP/Yahoo! News UK 02/01/2012: "parliament speaker Martin "Gustav Noske" Schulz also intervened with a comment about nationalism ... Farage was called to order from the speaker's chair, before Schulz turned off his microphone, Schulz's spokesman Armin Machmer said." Schulz is the German Social Democrat who is nevertheless an Angiebot and who first endorsed Angie's Greek commissar/Gauleiter proposal, then joined her in trying to walk it back.

Things have changed, Social Dems and Greens. The EU had great promise, but now under Angie's leadership it has become a threat to democracy in Europe. The left parties need to take clear stands against Angie's austerity obsession and he inclination to want to knock off governments in the eurozone that irritate her and the big banks. Her proposal for a non-elected EU overseer for Greece that the Financial Times made public was a major stinker. Unlike Angiebot Martin Schultz, the current head of the German Social Democratic Party, Sigmar Gabriel, came out clearly against it. Gabriel didn't use the term "Gauleiter" to describe it. But he did use "dictator". And he threw in sarcastically that all Angie's proposal lacked was to appoint a German to the position and put him in a uniform.

There are very legitimate, democratic reasons for people in Europe to be very upset with the EU right now, and particularly with Angie's policies dominating it. The left parties - and the conservative ones, for that matter - should be taking a forthright stand in favor of democracy in this situation. Ceding the anti-EU position at this moment in time to far-right parties is not a good idea.

Here's an earlier video of him appearing on FOX News:

Nigel Farage- Unelected puppets of a German-dominated EU (Cavuto, Fox News) 11/25/2012 YouTube date

At about 3:45, he refers to Greeks' "different work ethic" in comparison to Germany's. In that case, he was holding up Germany as a good example. FOX News is probably an appropriate place for him to appear.

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