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euro ‘debate’ - malcolm rifkind’s contribution

I watched the whole euro ‘debate’ yesterday [24/10/2011] - my attention was most attracted by Rifkind’s contribution.

6.34 pm [p. 82]
Sir Malcolm Rifkind (Kensington) (Con): I am against the motion, in part because I think the timing, given the financial chaos in Europe, is highly inappropriate. But that is not the main reason that I would give to the House as to why the motion is unwise.

It purports to give three choices to the House and to the country as a whole—in the European Union, out of the European Union, or renegotiation, but as has been pointed out earlier in the debate, that is not really a third option because it is renegotiation with a view to purely a trade relationship in Europe.

That is, in effect, leaving the European Union because it involves no sharing of sovereignty. I fully concede that any membership of the European Union at the end of the day must involve, as it always has done, some willingness to acknowledge that sovereignty has to be shared.

Mr Redwood: Has not my right hon. and learned Friend noticed that the motion refers to trade and co-operation to encompass the current Conservative policy?

Sir Malcolm Rifkind: No, I am sorry, that is not the case because present Conservative policy is about sharing sovereignty in certain areas where it is overwhelmingly in our national interest.

When we consider what the real options are, the real debate is not whether we should be in Europe or out of Europe, but what kind of European Union we are prepared to be members of. The assumption of this debate and many other debates is that one side or the other will win. We will either have an even closer union or the European Union will ultimately implode.

That might be what will happen if the European Union does not use its own common sense and look to see whether there is a third route.

Mr Baron:Will my right hon. and learned Friend give way?

Sir Malcolm Rifkind: Not at this moment, if my hon. Friend will allow me.

There is a third route and we are already partly along that way—that is, an à la carte Europe, where each member state decides what degree of integration it is prepared to accept in view of its own national history, rather like France being a semi-detached member of NATO for three years because it believed it to be in the French interest, and NATO did not collapse as a consequence.

I say that we are already part of the way there, because at present, of the 27 member states, only 17 are members of the eurozone. Ten states are not, some because they do not want to be, and some because they could not join even if they wanted to.We are not part of Schengen, nor are the Irish. The neutral countries such as Austria, Ireland, Sweden and Finland, have never been fully involved in defence co-operation because of their neutrality.

The problem at present is not that there is not an element of à la carte, but that there is a fiction in the European Union that that is purely temporary. That it is a transition and that we are all going to the same destination and the debate is merely about how long it will take us to get there.

No, that is not the case. What we need is a European Union that respects the rights both of those who have a legitimate desire, in terms of their own national interest, for closer integration, and those of us who do not choose to go that way. That has to be argued and negotiated, sometimes on the basis of considerable acrimony.

Mark Pritchard: My right hon. and learned Friend talks about renegotiating and repatriating powers.What powers and what timetable does he envisage?

Sir Malcolm Rifkind: As I said, the idea of an à la carte Europe is already partly there, but it should not just be a privilege; it should be a right. What we need, not just for the United Kingdom, but for all the member states, is a European Union where we will not stop France and Germany if they wish to move to closer integration and fiscal union—that ultimately is their business—but nor must they seek to impose a veto on the level of integration that we should have.

There is an irreducible minimum because, as I mentioned at the beginning of my remarks, a member state cannot simply not participate in the single market, but that does involve substantial sharing of sovereignty in a way that a free trade zone does not. That point does not seem to have been acknowledged by many of the critics. If there is, as we have at present, free movement of labour, that is not consistent with a purist view of national sovereignty, but it is crucially in the interests of the United Kingdom.

Mrs Main rose—

Sir Malcolm Rifkind: I have already given way twice. I am sorry, I cannot give way again without losing my own time.

Those are the points of the real debate that we must take forward. It so happens that this is not just a theoretical option. There is a strong possibility that because of the chaos in the eurozone, there will be a need for some treaty change. That will require to be agreed unanimously, and that provides my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary with what is likely to be an excellent opportunity to take that debate forward and to argue that if other countries wish to go further, we wish to consider the question of the kind of European Union we and perhaps other countries such as Sweden, Denmark and Poland would be content with.

On that basis, I say to the House that we cannot constrain the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister in the incredibly difficult negotiations that will take place. To have a debate that might lead to a referendum on whether Britain will remain in the European Union or leave it entirely is such a massive distraction from the real concerns that this country and the rest of Europe have to address.


I am sorry, but I am entitled to my view, just as all my hon. Friends are entitled to theirs.

I am conscious that many Members wish to speak and so will conclude my remarks. There have been other occasions of this kind when people have had fundamental differences of principle. I recently read a quote that struck me as highly relevant to our debate. It was from a politician who belonged not to the Conservative party, but to the Labour party.

In 1957, Aneurin Bevan, a great believer in unilateral disarmament, spoke to a Labour party conference that was likely to carry a resolution in favour of unilateral disarmament. He told his own party:

“if you carry this resolution and follow out all its implications… you will send a British Foreign Secretary, whoever he may be, naked into the conference chamber... And you call that statesmanship?”

It was good advice then and remains good advice now.

Jake Berry’s speech may be worth a look [at p. 90, right-hand column].

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laffer backs cain’s 9-9-9

“By contrast, the three tax bases for Mr. Cain's 9-9-9 plan add up to about $33 trillion. But the plan exempts from any tax people below the poverty line. Using poverty tables, this exemption reduces each tax base by roughly $2.5 trillion. Thus, Mr. Cain's 9-9-9 tax base for his business tax is $9.5 trillion, for his income tax $7.7 trillion, and for his sales tax $8.3 trillion. And there you have it! Three federal taxes at 9% that would raise roughly $2.3 trillion and replace the current income tax, corporate tax, payroll tax (employer and employee), capital gains tax and estate tax.

“The whole purpose of a flat tax, à la 9-9-9, is to lower marginal tax rates and simplify the tax code. With lower marginal tax rates (and boy will marginal tax rates be lower with the 9-9-9 plan), both the demand for and the supply of labor and capital will increase. Output will soar, as will jobs. Tax revenues will also increase enormously—not because tax rates have increased, but because marginal tax rates have decreased.

“By making the tax codes a lot simpler, we'd allow individuals and businesses to spend a lot less on maintaining tax records; filing taxes; hiring lawyers, accountants and tax-deferral experts; and lobbying Congress. As I wrote on this page earlier this year ("The 30-Cent Tax Premium," April 18), for every dollar of business and personal income taxes paid, some 30 cents in out-of-pocket expenses also were paid to comply with the tax code. Under 9-9-9, these expenses would plummet without a penny being lost to the U.S. Treasury. It's a win-win.”

related material
useful essay by laffer on supply-side economics
why reducing income taxes works - laffer curves

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eussr again attacks uk industry

USA rubs hands with glee.

“Europe's top court says patents cannot be filed on stem-cell research using cells from human embryos, a move many scientists say will harm future advances in medicine.”

Britain is a leader in this field.

Note the recent attempt to introduce the ludicrous Tobin transaction tax on the money markets.

Once is happenstance,
twice is coincidence,
thrice is enemy attack

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freedom of information - werrrritttty and other things

Recommended reading, especially for uninformed liberals.

“Last week in the Guardian, Michael White wondered why Liam Fox did not make his friend Adam Werrity an officially sanctioned special adviser. Had he done so, Werrity's presence in his department would not have broken civil service rules, and Fox might still be in his post. But it would also have meant that Werrity's activities would have been subject to freedom of information requests, and that could have been fatal to what he was doing." ... "The Labour government weakened the rules on lobbying transparency. The ministerial code published in 2007 dropped the requirement that meetings between ministers and lobbyists should be recorded. It also rebuffed MPs' demands for a register of lobbyists...”

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fascist ‘new’ labour owned by unions - socialist thieves

Trade unions are a conspiracy against the public.

They own the fascist Labour Party.
The fascist Labour Party fund the unions’ ‘wages’ out of taxes, who then return a percentage to the party bosses.
Who then make up ‘jobs’ to expand union numbers.
So’s they can give even more tax payer’s money to the unions, who then pay more to the fascist Labour Party,
who then ...

“The trade unions accounted for 86 per cent of all donations to the party in the second quarter of this year.

“Of the £5.9m the Labour Party has received across both quarters this year, £5.2m or 88 per cent came from the unions.

“....when Tony Blair became Labour leader, trade unions accounted for just a third of the party's annual income. In 2010, they accounted for more than 60 per cent.” [Quoted from]

Marker at

The younger Miliband, who ran a left-leaning campaign and only emerged as favourite in the last 24 hours, declared himself proud and elated as he pledged to reunite the party and put it back on the road to power.

“But his victory was not without controversy as he won by a narrow margin – 50.65% of the vote to 49.35% for his brother – and thanks in large part to a strong vote from the unions. David Miliband received stronger backing from MPs and MEPs and from party members.” [Quoted from]

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the europot is roiling nicely - will it blow up? or perhaps, when will it blow up?

Both the ECB and Germany moving to a clash between ‘laws’ and realities.

“...He warned too that Germany's legislature would not give up its fiscal sovereignty to any EU body.”

“ ...What mattered was the Court’s implicit warning that Germany had reached the outer boundaries of EU integration, that German democracy is under threat, and its explicit warning that the Bundestag’s fiscal powers could not be alienated to Brussels.

“Something profound has changed. Germans have begun to sense that the preservation of their own democracy and rule of law is in conflict with demands from Europe. They must choose one or the other.

“Yet Europe and the world are so used to German self-abnegation for the EU Project – so used to the teleological destiny of ever-closer Union – that they cannot seem to grasp the fact. It reminds me of 1989 and the establishment failure to understand the Soviet game was up.

“Get used to it. This is the political reality of Europe, since nothing of importance can be done without Germany. All else is wishful thinking, clutching at straws, and evasion. If this means the euro will shed some members or blow apart – as it almost certainly does – then the rest of the world must prepare for the day.”

related material
trichet postures - don’t these dumbos know that if the north keeps subsidising the south
the impending ecb crash continues to speed up
the foolishness of the european markets & the eurozone regime


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