All entries for Wednesday 22 September 2004
September 22, 2004
Staying at home is a long drawl of boredom, punctuated by moments of extreme terror when you remember dimly that you have forgotten something . To salve such feelings, you would watch day time TV, and hear the quiet mutter of popping noises as brain cells shoot each other in the, erm… brain.
However, for the past couple of days, something faintly interesting is on. The Liberal Democrat party conference. The BBC is showing considerable neutrality by combining broadcasting of the conference with talking to various people, mostly opponents.
Of course, such a collection of pundits includes the occasional idiot.
Or, more accurately, the occasional representative of UKIP . Naturally, he started by accusing the Lib Dems of being EU barmy, and ended on pretty much the same tune. Of course, this is a perfectly acceptable position – I'm pretty doubtful as to the effectiveness of too much integration myself, with the corresponding hit on flexibility and so on. But his arguments were too far.
By the time he said the Lib Dems 'wanted delegate our immigration policy to Brussels', I was laughing. Ok, I was laughing about politics. That doesn't bode well for sanity. But this guy really does not know what he is talking about.
Let's leave aside the human rights issue for a moment, and adopt briefly the right-wing view. Ie. the view that immigration is an evil, evil problem. Pretty obviously then, immigration would be an international problem. In fact, Mr UKIP decides to say that, commenting on how France is supposed passing on 'bogus asylum seekers' to good old Britain.
But wait! How on Earth does he think getting away from Europe is going to help that? Minus Europe, the individual European states would have no incentive but to act on their self interest. In that case, passing on to us would be precisely what would be done, and there would be no way to cope in a fair and effective manner. The only hope of dealing with the Immigration issue is to have a pan-European policy, to co-ordinate who gets how many refugees and stop people before they risk their lives in a cargo freighter.
And then I thought about the whole issue of the election.
UKIP's whole point, their whole raison d'etre is to pull out of Europe. This is an insane idea economically – the state of the world is that countries are intimately linked, and our trade situation is that losing the benefits of EU membership would lead to financial collapse, unless this is replaced.
And as luck would have it, UKIP have in a plan. In a party broadcast last year, they said that they would shore up the UK economy by closer links with America.
An interesting concept of independence, this, to choose to opt out of a group in which we have a deciding vote in, in favour of greater reliance on a superpower that has no interest in our opinion, and has a history of acting against us, and indeed against the world, for selfish, isolationist purposes.
Wonder if they are really publicising that particular policy…