Why fiscal union won’t work in the Eurozone

Every man and his dog old premier are now patting the Eurozone leaders on the back for coming up with the idea of ‘fiscal union’ for the Eurozone. This was something that was opposed under both Thatcher and Blair, even with strong pressure from the rest of the EU.

Having fiscal union makes no sense at all. Fiscal union basically means that all the ways in which the government can influence demand and inflation, such as taxes, interest rates, money supply, are the same across the whole of the EU.

The reason we are in the crisis we are in is because countries like Greece, not only being economically unstable, suffered high inflation when joining the Eurozone, and the single interest rate meant it’s economy was growing and contracting at a different rate to the rest of the Eurozone due to lack of ability of its government to influence money supply because it couldn’t keep to the ‘growth and stability pact’.

I think that the single interest rate is however important – it sets a ‘base-line’ for which all the EU counties and their inter-country regions can work towards in order to converge their local economies with the rest of the EU over the long-term.

I believe, as I have for nearly 10 years that fiscal policy needs to be set at a regional level and not a national one, so certainly not at a supranational EU-wide level.

One just needs to look at the UK to see why this should be the case. Because fiscal policy in the UK is based around what is good for the South East of England, then this is making it difficult for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to grow their economies. If however the economies of these countries were run on the basis that their local tax policies were for the purpose of adjusting taxes to take account of the single interest rate, then there would be greater economic convergence over a longer period which would bring economic benefits to the regions in terms of equal prosperity in terms of wages, lifestyles and goods prices.

A policy moving towards harmonisation of fiscal policy for the whole of the Eurozone without first achieving economic convergence will only make problems worse. This is because a single fiscal policy could only ever work if each part of the Eurozone economy was fully converged. As we know the economies in Greece, Germany, France and Italy are so different that centralising fiscal union rather than decentralising it further will only make matters worse.

William Hague has it wrong on 'EU repatriation' limitation

William Hague is reported as saying the possibily to ‘repatriate’ powers to the UK has no “prospect.

I think he is showing his weakness on the issue, which perhaps his leadership supporting hero Margaret Thatcher might think lacks creativity.

In the Lisbon Treaty under Title III was this new power called ‘enhanced co-operation‘. This means that any country that does not want further integration can let the countries that do get on with it. I was recently used so the UK could be part of the EU Patent but Italy and France did not have to.

There is no reason why the EU can’t repeal all the EU Directives and Regulations that the UK does not want to be subject to, and then apply them to only the nations who do want them using ‘enhanced co-operation

If one wants to see how this could work without much fuss, look at the way the Video Recordings Act 2010 was written.

Margaret Thatcher put the individual before a 'sociologists charter'

Margaret Thatcher said “There is no such thing as society, only families and individuals” – I agree but would extend this to: “Society does not exist beyond the legal, economic and scientific frameworks we share in order to exist in many communities as individuals whom share common cultural artefacts with one another”

Using sociology, if I had ten friends who believed in co-operativism like me and then one that didn’t, then in this so-called ‘society‘ they would be a ‘deviant‘. Why should someone be an outcast because they are different? Margaret Thatcher’s drive for individualism means that we can all grow up to be beautiful swans rather than be treated like ugly ducklings.

I think Margaret Thatcher was the greatest special education reformer of all time. If it were not for her policies and the Tory run Welsh Office over ruling Old Labour run Mid Glamorgan County Borough Council’s decision not to give me specialist education then I would not have been able to take advantage of Tony Blair’s tuition fees policy which meant universities could expand and poor people like me didn’t have to pay tuition fees but take out a loan that we would pay back when we were wealthy enough.

Her ideal of ending income tax and having sales tax is something I agree with. Income tax discourages earning above a threshold. Whereas as a progressive sales tax, such as taxing £125,000 cars and £2000 TVs more than £5,000 cars and £150 TV hits those with most surplus wealth harder than income tax does which hits the poor more who can’t pay accountants to dodge it.

Thatcher’s Right to Buy policy gave people like my grandparents from working class families the right to own their own home. What we need is the ‘Right to Build‘ that the Con Dems are suggesting. Being disabled I can have access to ‘Reduced Market Price‘ homes, but these are still too expensive. If I could have the ‘rental purchase’ option so I didn’t need a mortgage then maybe I could be a home owner like my siblings who earn more than me.

A science fiction story about the Welsh Assembly Referendum in 2011

It is April 1 2011. Just under a month ago, the Welsh Assembly was awarded primary legislative powers, in an overwhelming victory for the Yes campaign.

After having read a letter in the South Wales Evening Post a few months earlier, Sean Connery pours his millions into hiring the best lawyers to fulfil his independence dreams. The Supreme Court, considering UK and European constitutional law rules that because Wales and Scotland are unicameral nations, needing only permission of the Queen to make a law, they should be considered sovereign nations and therefore independent.

Panic strikes Downing Street. Depty Prime Minister Nick Clegg frantically calls his Prime Minister David Cameron: ‘Dave, Dave, we’ve lost control of Wales and Scotland – the Courts said we can’t control them anymore, what can we do?’. “Calm down Nick, calm Nick, I’m sure there’s something” – “You could be right Dave – YES THERE IS! I remember learning at my exclusive school in Westminster that when people elect a Parliament it can do whatever it wants, and overrule the Courts’, ‘So Nick, we can put a Bill through Parliament and reverse the decision? But won’t the public hate us?”, “Don’t you worry yourself Dave, I’m fully prepare for this – I did a degree in Social Anthropology at the elite Cambridge University, there is nothing about manipulating the people I don’t know about”, “Ok, but what about Churchill, he sent in the troops, I don’t want to be as hated as he is”, “He was both Conservative and Liberal Dave, only hated in his time – the silly sops voted him their greatest Briton recently, so they’ll forgive us”

Days later, emergency legislation is in Parliament. The news hits Cardiff – The Plaid/Labour administration goes into disarray. There are mass protests on the streets. Government buildings are trashed, police are hospitalised as they lose control, refuse goes uncollected for weeks, sewer systems burst, filling the streets with sewerage, there are sounds of children crying, dogs howling, and police sirens wailing.

The Prime Minister declares a State of Emergency, but continues to push his legislation through. The House of Lords does everything in its  power to stop it, from making amendment after amendment, debate after debate, but each time the old Etonian and Westminster boys send it back. They make no changes, after the third attempt it goes through and becomes law. Wales is now under full control of the Secretary of State for Wales.

The Government send in the Army, for many people it is like the Tonypandy riots and miners strikes rolled into one, but with greater intensity. The UN gets involved and issues a resolution against the United Kingdom. David Cameron, using every trick he learned on the playing fields of Eton clings to power. Peace keepers enter the UK, trying to restore order.

The UK is in disarray, the whole world is watching. Iran place sanctions on all UK arms imports. China dismisses the repressive nature of United Kingdom politics as the most abhorrent in history. All Northern Ireland parties issue a statement calling on the people of Wales and Scotland to cease their violence and engage in peaceful negotiation.

In the mists of what might be Wales and the UK’s darkest hour since the Second World War, two businessmen, from modest backgrounds consider the implications. One of them, Lord Alan Sugar, upset and disgusted about how powerless he was to stop the law going through Parliament, because of a centuries old Act of Parliament that didn’t even go through the Lords before getting Royal Assent. Feeling in a state of guilt, he looks through all the news to see what started it all, and whether there was anything that could have been done different. He comes across a report of how Sean Connery used the Supreme Court to change things, and thought that he could try to do the same.

He contacts his friend, Michael Moritz, fellow state-school educated entrepreneur and millionaire. They hire the same lawyers, who worked on Sean Connery’s case. Some of them were graduates from former polytechnics, only getting as far as they could because Labour introduced tuition fees so their university was able to provide more places on their law courses. Some of them had only got as far as they did, because they went to school when the Assisted Places scheme was in place, so even though their parents were poor, they could have access to private education, which made it easier for them to get into Oxford, without the snobbery that they went to a state school that others experience.

Months later, after argument after argue, legal case citation after legal citation, the Supreme Court rules that for the reason that one House of Parliament has no greater supremacy than the other and in considering the balance been conflict case law and precedent, that the decision that manifestos carry ‘no legitimate expectations’ should be reversed, and the rule that one House cannot obstruct the other if there is a manifesto commitment should be interpreted to mean that an Act of Parliament should not be passed unless it is part of a manifesto commitment.

As both Houses are now equal, the Queen calls upon Baroness Thatcher and asks her if she wants to form a government – she agrees. Both Chambers quickly agree a Constitutional Reform Act. A referendum is held in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, on whether the House of Lords and Commons should be merged and called the ‘House of Representatives’, which consider of citizen’s appointed on the basis of the national parliament’s individual criteria for recognising the people who have made the greatest contribution and sacrifices for society. Parliaments are proposed in England, Scotland, and Wales, and their Bills have to be pass both the national legislative and Westminister’s House of Representatives, with Northern Ireland staying unchanged. It also proposes that ultimate sovereignty should reside in the Supreme Court, not in the national legislatures, House of Representatives, nor or the newly created directly elected Executive, who can’t transfer any power to Europe or any other international body, without the treaties first being scrutinised by the House of Representatives, and only then after an resolution being passed in each of the legislatures in Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England.

There is a resounding ‘Yes’ vote. UN peace keepers leave, and early elections are held, for the first ever directly elected Prime Minister, the first cabinet appointed by proportional representation, and elections to legislative bodies. For the first time in history, power is given to the judiciary over politicians, control to the British nations and Northern Ireland who are affected by the decisions is consider by the European Court of Human Rights as the level at which margins of appreciation are assessed. The public are granted protection from each legislature’s politicians and the Prime Minister and his Executive, through all laws having to be agreed by the ordinary people at the House of Representatives in Westminster and subject to interpretation of  the Supreme Court in Middlesex Guildhall on London’s Parliament Square, under the principle of ‘proportionality’.

Thanks, Maggie

Jonathan believes it is more important to judge people by what they do than what they believe

I read the tirades of comments against Margaret Thatcher by Labour politicians, and wondered whether the Labour identity was so thin that to call yourself a member of Welsh Labour you needed an unrelenting hatred of the former Prime Minister (Western Mail, November 22).

I’m a member of the Labour Party, born in the same year Mrs Thatcher took office.

If it were not for Mrs Thatcher the local education authority would not have been required to give me a statement of special educational needs, nor would my parents have had the right to be present at tribunals where I was being discussed.

Naturally, when I did my school project, Goodies and Baddies, I put Mrs Thatcher in the Baddies column and got a tick from my teacher.

But I was around eight at the time, unaware that the reason I was getting that specialist education was because of that Prime Minister.

Thanks in part to Mrs Thatcher, I’ve been educated to the extent where I can rationalise that I prefer co-operativism to conservativism, and market socialism to state capitalism, without being an infantile denialist of the merits of governments with ideologies in opposition to my own.

Disabling disability

Jonathan believes that the Tories are not living up to their history of looking after disabled people’s interests

The Chancellor, George Osborne (‘boy George’), of the ‘No Frills’ Conservative Party said his budget would ‘pay for the past and prepare for the future’.

The same was said in the year 2000 by the leaders of Chesapeake City Council in Virginia, USA.

There, their no frills approach has meant that there are regular sewer breaks costing the public up to $30,000 in damages each time.

Chesapeake was also reported in 2008 to be one of the worst cities to help disabled people, and Boy George seems to be following this regressive path by trying to reduce the number of people with disabilities claiming allowances that help them overcome their difficulties.

It was the Conservatives under Margaret Thatcher and John Major who first introduced much of the support disabled people have benefited from in the last 30 years.

Yet now, in one foul swoop boy George looks likely to relegate disability rights to the confines of academic literature.

How can William Hague, the man who introduced the Disability Discrimination Act, serve in a government which will withdraw support from the very people he gave the right to define themselves as disabled?

How can David Cameron, the man who’s late son, like me, had epilepsy and was helped a great deal by the State, come to support these measures, which mean that the people least able to support themselves will be paying the price for the greedy bankers who were the cause of deficit?