Saturday 16 December 2017

Our new place in Europe must be closer to Britain

Bruce Arnold

The real headache facing the Government, as ministers like Leo Varadkar have indicated, is not the Budget. Other ministers are less sure of themselves about what will happen at the forthcoming EU summit and whether or not we can screw our courage to the sticking point as the euro crisis deepens. But the summit is very much our crisis as much as everyone else's and recognising this as well as knowing what to do about it overshadows our lives as nothing before has done.

Moreover, we are as much part of the solution as Germany is, and whereas Germany represents herself as being on a special level, enjoying the solitary splendour of supremacy and dictating the non-democratic terms of its fiscal empire, we are representative of a majority of the other nations.

Prodigal, ill-governed, foolish, greedy, blind and above all fearful, we are the norm. We should be standing together, with the majority, both of Mediterranean member states and of central European and Atlantic states. But we are not. Our foolish espousal of one failed attempt after another to create a safe market economy capable of sustaining that market's currency is likely to lead us into a parallel error in the immediate future. And this will be reinforced by our small and humble contribution to the debate. The broad terms have been foreshadowed and the contradictions in them are not reassuring. It is hard to see how we will get any fast-tracking to boost growth and job creation.

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