Monday, June 20, 2016

NZ Herald wrong about EU referendum

The NZ Herald has decided that it thinks the UK should stay in the EU, but its editorial on the issue is  woeful, it misses the point and is dotted with errors.  There is nothing in the editorial about the key problems with EU membership, around how EU laws are developed undemocratically (introduced by the European Council, MEPs can't introduce legislation), how the EU is inordinately wasteful including on policies that harm New Zealand's economy (including the Common Agricultural Policy) and harm developing countries.  Nothing about the protectionism of the EU slowing the ability of the UK to trade freely with growing economies in Asia and Latin America.  

New Zealand has full control over its trade policy, its domestic regulations and immigration policy, but the UK does not have the same at all.

It's not true that no country has ever left the EU, Greenland did.  Now that's not anything remotely on the scale of the UK.  Of course, neither did the NZ Herald point out that Switzerland, Norway and Iceland all have thrived outside the EU.  The EU is not Europe as much as it likes to think that it is.  

It's true that Brexit could encourage a break up of the EU, but is that necessarily a bad thing? An unwieldy arrogant technocratic organisation that failed miserably to deal with the refugee crisis, was paralysed by the breakup of Yugoslavia, unable to agree on acting until the US intervened to stop Serbia deporting Kosovan Albanians.  The spectre that European countries will wage war on each other when they have functioning liberal democracies with extensive trade and travel with each other. 

Yet the Herald editorial paints the picture that Brexit somehow increases the chance of Russia invading the EU? Why?  NATO provides the security guarantee for its members, it isn't weakened by the UK leaving the EU - at all.  Why would it matter?

The claim that Scotland will leave the UK after a Brexit vote is also rather fatuous.  Polls on Scottish independence still say 55% would vote to stay in the UK, and there is little reason why the UK Government would hold another referendum on Scottish independence.  It's highly presumptive to think Brexit means Scottish independence.

Finally, yes it is immigration that is motivating many voters to want to leave the EU, but not immigration from outside the EU, it is concern that free movement will overcrowd the country, keep down wages and overwhelm government provided services. 

However, for me, it is because the EU is a sclerotic unaccountable project that keeps the UK in chains, it also subsidises unfair competition to New Zealand producers in world markets and restricts sales of many NZ products into the EU.



1 comment:

paul scott said...

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