Derailed

Wynne Godley on the ERM

I am in favour of Britain having much closer ties with other European countries, provided that appropriate institutions are created and the whole thing is brought under effective political control. But I have never been able to understand what it is that those who support the Maastricht Treaty think they are going to get out of it. Maastricht supporters are keen on ‘not being left out’. But left out of what exactly? How can people be so sure that a united Europe is something they want to be part of – particularly with the expensive, destructive and corrupt monstrosity called the Common Agricultural Policy sitting there as the single most important achievement of the EC so far? Matters were not helped by the frantic procedural manoeuvring in Parliament over ratification, and by the rather uncritical support which Maastricht has received from the opposition parties. The substantial questions have not yet been debated or criticised with any penetration, although the British people are deeply suspicious and would almost certainly have voted against ratification if there had been a referendum. Platitudes are not good enough. John Major thinks it means something to say that he wants us to be ‘at the heart of Europe’ but he must do far better than that to convince me. I suspect that his purpose is destructive, that all he really wants is to be inside the tent, pissing all over the shop.

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