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March 17, 2005

Tim Garton Ash’s Question.

In the Grauniad Tim Garton Ash asks a question:

The difference is this: we new, sceptically pro-EU Europeans have a great story to tell - a story that is about the past but also about the future. Our challenge to these old, doggedly anti-EU Europeans is: we hear your story about the past, but where's your story about the future?

OK, here’s my desired future. A world where power and decision making are devolved to the minimum effective level. That means, in all but a very few things that are better done collectively, decisions made by the individual concerned. In those few things that are done collectively, decision making must again be at the maximally devolved level possible. How to collect and dispose of the rubbish is something for local authorities, how to run the legal system for national authorities. What supra national organisations exist are only there because of the current imperfections in the devolution of power. The WTO, for example, exists to police the trade agreements that nations have signed up to. But nations should not have trade agreements. What to buy at what price and from whom is a decision that should be devolved to the individual consumer, with no interference by any other level of power.

The European Union exists to impose a specific ideal of the perfect society, a social democratic one, and as social democracy is a negation of exactly the freedoms and liberties that my ideal world would contain, there is no place for it in my ideal world. Nor the UN and many other such bodies.

In essence, free Europeans in a free Europe, calmly going about their daily business with the least amount of interference in the decisions of individuals possible. In terms of the impact of the State, something like the world of the 1870’s, 1880’s (while at our current levels of wealth, of course) where we had free movement of goods, people and capital around the world, yet the average Englishman lived almost his entire life without meeting the State except at the Post Office. Which we should privatise, of course.

March 17, 2005 in European Union | Permalink


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» Tim's Challenge from L'Ombre de l'Olivier
Timothy Garton Ash that is. Tim has a semi-reasonable column in the Grauniad today about the EU, Europe and all that. He nails the challenge in the sub header - "Our challenge to the anti-Europeans is: where's your story of the future?" [Read More]

Tracked on Mar 17, 2005 2:09:03 PM


Perhaps more to the point, how would you get there from here?

Posted by: john b | Mar 17, 2005 12:27:30 PM

Did you ask Mr. Ash what he thinks of your answer?

Posted by: Scott | Mar 17, 2005 2:46:54 PM

Q1: Not sure.
Q2: Yes.

Posted by: Tim Worstallt | Mar 17, 2005 10:46:33 PM