High-Speed Chicken Crisis

This is an actual serious real statue
This is an actual serious real statue

Today a pair of chickens that flew off in opposite directions came home to roost. I’m needlessly introducing the concept of flying chickens here, but bear with me. We are seeing two long processes reaching the crunch simultaneously: EU integration, and Thatcherism.

That these would reach a joint crisis point was perhaps predictable. They were two trains going to different destination while trying to use the same tracks. I’ve already given up on keeping my metaphors coherent. This has been on the cards for… Well, about thirty years. Ever since Margaret Thatcher brought a value-for-money attitude to bear on the idealism of the European process. Since then, Britain has been avowedly in Europe for what it can get out of it, and this has grown into a weird political schizophrenia as politicians, Tories especially, cynically portray a Britain-versus-Brussels conflict for domestic electoral advantage while their businesses reap the rewards of the Union.

The chicken of integration has come up against the buffers of political reality too though. It was never likely that a single currency would succeed without real central monetary authority, but the project was started – in typical political compromise fashion – with only the bits everyone liked. I’m sure deep down they knew it would take a crisis to complete the process; I doubt they envisaged this though.

That it should turn into a crisis over the direction and even definition of the Union was also perhaps foreseeable. Creating EU-wide financial controls that have a hope of stabilising the European economy would entail reversing some of the banking deregulation that, while bringing vast profits to relatively few, helped precipitate the recent crises. And which, since the Thatcher revolution, has been so championed by the UK – perhaps because that same few has a disproportionate influence over the Conservative party.

So we just saw the UK use its veto to block a decision that the Eurozone countries see as vital to their financial survival. Now there is no other option except an international, multilateral treaty between – it now appears likely – every EU country except Britain. A treaty that will, if you will, be a massive Fuck You, UK.

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2 thoughts on “High-Speed Chicken Crisis

  1. And yet, it wasn’t a bad decision. Opinion on both sides of the Channel appears to be petty and political. Little is being said about the fact that Keynesian economics are effectively being unconstitutional if no amendments are made to this treaty. This is pure madness.

    Mind you, I heard nothing from Cameron saying he vetoed it because he supports Keynesian measures. For him to say that would have been the height of hypocrisy. So even though he seems to have been motivated by other reasons and even though Thatcherism has been pulling the UK away from Europe for decades I’d say Cameron chose the right moment to jump off the boat. It’s funny that it took a Treaty drafted by right wingers making austerity mandatory to get the pro-austerity British right winger to flee.

    Labour, on the other hand, can only utter some tsk-tsk-grade reprobation at the Tories for causing isolation. At least they are showing the good sense to not praise the Treaty. For now, at least. I hope they don’t do it as it would not show consistency on their part. It was after all Gordon Brown as Chancellor who came up with the labyrinthine tests which kept the UK out of the Eurozone. For all his flaws he looks prescient right now. I’d rather have Miliband take some credit on Brown’s behalf than see him praise the crazy dictates of Merkel and Sarkozy.

    Or, in mangled metaphor version: I’m glad at this juncture the UK crashed the lesser of two chickens.

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