How does Europe manage to do it? It’s demolishing the Tory party far more effectively than the Labour Party is. Can you believe it – Cameron is going to Brussels this weekend to save one thing – the City of London. No other industry, not the rest of us – only that part of the British system that brought about the crash which will push UK indebtedness to a staggering £1.4 trillion by 2014. Then he’s going to fight tooth and nail to stop a EU-wide Financial Transactions Tax which is needed to rebalance the economy away from finance to manufacturing (which Osborne keeps saying he wants to happen) and to discourage the recklessness and ‘animal spirits’ in the City trading rooms. Well done, Dave, that will really help. But that’s not all by a long chalk.
Of course the fact that the Tories get more than half their donations from the City may have something to do with it. But it goes deeper than that. The obsession with the City at the expense of allowing the hollowing out of British industry (our deficit on traded goods last year was a staggering £100bn. 6.8% of GDP) is the primary cause of the long-term UK industrial decline, and here we have the EU actually offering to assist us towards a more sustainable and successful business model. It takes the Tory party to go to the stake to block that at all costs.
The Tory ideological fixation with the City (admittedly shared, equally misguidedly, by Blair and Brown) is lethal for any long-term and sustainable British recovery. For an economy the size of Britain the finance sector should be half its present size (as in the case of Germany and France), it should be split between retail and investment banks so that the former can very largely concentrate on funding the recovery of British industry, and control of the money supply should be restored to the public authorities so that the share of lending going to productive investment (i.e. not property, foreign speculation, or tax evasion) rises up to 10-fold from just 8% now to near 80%. Here is the EU offering Britain an ace, and here is the Tory party tearing it up with abandon.
The Tories have no concept of the long-term future of Britain. All they want is to cocoon the City of London (the biggest no-no in the book) and on any excuse they can dream up to have a referendum, or even two, until they can get the answer they really want, which is to abandon the EU altogether – which would leave Britain both politically and economically enfeebled. Instead of endlessly mithering about the Eurozone and congratulating ourselves we’re not in it (i.e we’re pushed to the margins), we should be pursuing with warlike single-mindedness the restoration of British economic power to put us in a position to lead it instead of treating it like the plague.