The European dimension

One of my forthcoming publications is a chapter on Britain and the EU.  I was invited to write the chapter under the title of ‘Opt Out: Britain’s Unsplendid Isolation.’  I employed the analogy of marriage to explain the relationship: the UK was a reluctant bride, delaying saying ‘yes’ because her heart still yearned for others, entering into the marriage because there was no one else, and enduring a troubled marriage, albeit fulfilling the domestic chores (detailed parliamentary scrutiny and the like).   I have been asked if I would like to up-date it in the light of recent events.  Given the framework I have adopted, it will not require much work.

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About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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12 Responses to The European dimension

  1. ladytizzy says:

    You missed one: she only married him for his money.

  2. maude elwes says:

    Should you take this a step forward and tell the people what the real difference will be to their lives on a daily basis should we leave the EU? For example, what difference will there be on immigration, or, the jobs market? Will it bring manufacturing back from Asia? Will we no longer have free movement throughout Europe? Will we return to the old weights and measures we had prior to entry that so distressed the shop keepers and customers when removed? And miles rather the kilometres will be back in fore front? Then there are the old chestnuts on the issues of freedom of speech, and what is being taught to children in schools. Will that once again reflect the history of the UK as it once did? Will all the politcal correctness disappear? And those laws we have been led to believe are as a result of our union with Europe? And what will be our relationship with the USA? Will we become a State of that union or will we be a satellite following the policies they decide is right for us as we do now? And will the US still have its many advisors and Lobbyists pushing for their particular client benefits here, just as they do today? I asssume the US financial market will still be firmly in control of our banks and the financial markets, that keep us the serfs we are.

    What changes will we really see?

    And will you have to go through passport control when you visit Paris for your regular talks there?

    I feel the people of this country have an absolute right to know just exactly what we will be getting in this change. There is much we really need to know in detail. As well as what assurances we have that what is being given to us will be the’ true’ outcome when the deed is done. And what those who tell us the story will have to suffer should they lie to get our backing.

    • Lord Norton says:

      maude elwes: I do have to go through passport control on my trips to Paris. We are not part of the Schengen agreement. On the costs of withdrawal (divorce), there is the obvious issue of dividing the assets and the consequences. Lord Pearson of Rannoch has variously put forward a Bill designed to assess the consequences of British withdrawal from the EU.

      • maude elwes says:

        You must be unlucky then, as when I drive to Paris, at Calais there is just a wave through, if you show a European/British passport, as I do..

        Maybe I’m just fortunate, or, it could be that women have a preference with these border people.

        And as Switzerland is also in Schengen, why isn’t the UK? We have so many immigrants from Europe it couldn’t be as a result of wanting to limit the European polulation entering the UK, could it? Especailly when we have such obviously open borders for 200,000 give or take coming into the country annually.

        And in response to FWS3, don’t tempt me. .

  3. Frank W. Summers III says:

    Lord Norton.
    If you continue to write on the subject perhaps you should have a European cowriter, This is the sort of collaboration typical of marraige counselors who publish extensively with success. I think the Euopean Union is a great force in the world and its current troubles are not monumental. relative to its potential. But I do not think the future of this compex institution is assured either.
    I think a number of very good ( and thus unlikely) events and a number of very bad (and also less likely than normal) events could shatter the union without reall hitting most of the member states at an existential level.

    I raise here the list: Commonwealth, NATO, UN, WTO and leave you to imagine other places where the right instruments can be inserted to create technical conflicts. Other members have similar ties. Each crises survived in a postivist manner gets closer to creating the long envisioned USE of some planners. One can think of many unions whether the Soviet Union, the ancient Chinese Empire that emerged from the Warring States, the Holy Roman Empire, and a dozen Greek empires, unions and federations over many centuries. All the tales have certain common features. I am committing a sin I would not have committed in my youth and recommending a book I have not read: Pauline Maier’s book seems to be doing a good job of documenting the struggles of societies moving from loose federation to stronger constitutional union.
    Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788 (Simon and Schuster, $30.)

    Also, as Maude Elwes will warn you all America cannot control Waziristan but if you do not draw closer to one another we Yanks will soon have London, Paris, Berlin and Rome walking lockstep to our every whim. Either the pizza man with the many trysts, the Harvard Afro-Communist or one of the Mormons will have you all reflexively mesmerized into obedience.

    Excuse me while I go and look out over not very groomed campus of my family’s own world base of operations. I think somehow, I will put off conquering Europe till somewhere after Libya and Bahrain.

  4. maude elwes says:

    After watching our PM on TV this afternoon, telling us he didn’t walk out of the negotiations in Europe and that the rest of the UK, including the majority of the public, feel it was in our best interests to do what he did, he is clearly on a roll. As this is so good for him and his party, and the people are loving him for his achievement on our behlf, why isn’t he taking advantage of this?

    This would be a wonderful opportunity to go to the country and get a mandate for his policies. A man of principle would do just that. It can only be right for us all in the long run. And especially for Mr Clegg and the Lib/Dems as they must be feeling very depressed indeed.

  5. Croft says:

    On another topic LN are any lords cmts going to look into the proposals for mp recall – the draft proposals are so weak as to be practically a joke.

    • Lord Norton says:

      Croft: The draft Bill is to be submitted for pre-legislative scrutiny, so we wait to see which committee will examine it. In any event, when a Bill does come forward, it will automatically be considered by the Constitution Committee in the Lords.

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