Wednesday, 11 February 2015
Small is beautiful, they say. They also say keep it in the family. When we were kids our dad used to protect us from harm. For instance he taught us that the filling in a Cornish pasty was poisonous to small children, so he ate that bit for us, leaving us with that delicious bit of folded pastry at the edge. Exactly the same danger awaited us with all forms of joined-up meat, so he made sure that steaks and chops never displaced the nutritious mince and sausages on our plates. To safeguard our delicate hopes he kindly pointed out, too, that when the ice cream van jingles played it was an announcement that he had run out of all but those nasty, bitter, cheap, raspberry lollies.
It’s easier to command and control a small tribe, when we all know who is who and where everybody’s allegiance lies, but the bigger it grows the greater the potential for dissent. And the kids eventually outgrow parental control, leave home and strike out for independence and individual success. It seems to be the same with business; as a corporation grows, so does its distance from the individual. For every karma-controlled, new-age hippy success that looks after its evangelists there are a thousand lumbering faceless behemoths with a huge turnover of unloved minions.
That facelessness reaches its pinnacle with state-owned monopolies where fat-cattery is high, worker drone malcontent off the scale and accountability nil; at least with private enterprise you can, nominally at least , stop buying what they’re selling. Of course big business is corrupt; even where continued success depends on keeping the buyers sweet the temptation to engage in forming cartels, hiding profits, avoiding tax and posing as a kindly uncle is strong. But even the biggest can and do fail, taking millions of shareholders down with them.
So why do European governments seem so wedded to an essentially failed business model? Did they not see what happened to the former Soviet Union, a union only held together by force and fear? Even within a single British political party the whips only keep a lid on revolt by the gathering of personal and damning information and the use of threats of disclosure against its own members who rely on election to stay in office and favour to stay in post. So why would we imagine a largely unelected legislature, using the apparent democracy of powerless MEPs as cover for ever more enlargement and ever more power, would be a thing we would want?
The only reason the British Chambers of Commerce is calling for an early referendum on EU membership, should the Tories win in May, is that they think the fear and ignorance levels are currently high enough to ensure a vote to stay in. But a delay until 2017 would enable a newly confident, conservative-minded electorate to rally support for an independence bid. Calling for an early ballot is nothing to do with calming market jitters and everything to do with furthering the aims of the big boys; pick your battles, they say.
Where's George wen you need him?
I have never made a secret of where my loyalties lie. It’s possible an independent Britain might control its borders, police its population appropriately, root out those who use our tolerant ignorance against us and become British again. I want out of the inefficient, wasteful, costly and controlling European Union. Small is not weak, small is human. And why shouldn’t we get to eat the filling, instead of just the pastry?