Friday, May 29, 2009
Last night's Question Time had some good discussion around European issues. It was interesting to me to hear the views of the European immigrants who spoke; many had effectively fled their home countries, France or Italy, because of the turgid dirigisme and stifling economic climate it produces. They were, in a sense, economic and political asylum seekers within the EU: definitely in favour of the pan-European settlement which has resulted in free movement for goods, capital, services and persons, and equally in favour of the UK's policies and culture which encourage entrepreneurship, risk-taking and economic activity. They clearly saw the benefits of EU membership, but were equally clear-eyed about the drawbacks: the pettifogging regulation, the centralisation of power, and the democratic deficit.It reminded me of what is good about the UK, and what is good about the UK's membership of the EU, while still being able to criticise, sharply, the continental impulses which still drive so much of the EU's activity.But (to change my topic quite suddenly) at the end Caroline Lucas said something interesting at the end about the party to vote for, claiming the mantle of anti-globalisation, anti-liberalisation, anti-privatisation for the Greens, and she set me thinking:Essentially, the BNP's migration policy is the logical end-point of the right-wing: UKIP is a non-racist anti-immigrant party, and the Tories need not head off to their wilder extremes to find similarly non-racist anti-immigration campaigners.On the other hand, the BNP's economic policy is the logical end-point of the left-wing: if you hate the BNP's racism but want some good old-fashioned protectionism, you can always vote for the Greens, and Old Labour is equally suspicious of free trade.As for me, I abhor the BNP's social and economic policies. For whom do I vote?