John Clark writes…
First published: December 2011 – Gazette & Herald
Wealth is created by work, entrepreneurship, raw materials and investment. Mrs. Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and others removed most of the restrictions on the international movement of capital. This removed any democratic influence over capital. As a result the click of a computer mouse has given money complete domination over all the other honest contributors to wealth creation.
Our financial problems have in general been caused by too much borrowing. Individuals borrowing from banks caused the credit crunch; governments borrowing caused the euro crisis. It is essential for the whole of the EU, not just the countries with the euro, that the euro crisis is solved. The proposals for a potential Treaty had two main strands:
- Limit the amount that governments can borrow.
- Control the financial institutions including the use of a Transaction Tax. This is a micro tax called the Tobin Tax. More recently it has been dubbed a Robin Hood Tax.
These must be worth considering. Both approaches have the potential to reduce the likelihood of similar financial problems happening again. A Transaction Tax would raise money to reduce debts. It would reduce the abuse of ‘dealing for dealing sake’. A Tobin Tax would have the effect of reducing the profits and hence the influence of speculators. If it had been an EU wide Treaty the people of Britain would have been able to look at the proposals and say either ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
David Cameron appears to have achieved the worst of all worlds.
- The countries of the eurozone have asked for our help. Cameron has rejected their request because ‘it was not in Britain’s best interest’.
- We have ‘fallen out’ with the rest of Europe so as to protect Britain’s financial institutions. The controls that the EU may put in place may well have been of benefit to the British people.
- We have lost the chance of influencing the decisions. Britain could have taken part in the negotiations and then the British people said ‘yes’ if we agreed or ‘no’ if we didn’t.
- We have lost any hope of ‘repatriation of powers’. What now is the likely response of the rest of the EU to Britain’s request for help?!
The British have yet again been denied the opportunity for a referendum
Britain’s ‘best interests’ are probably better served by trying to help neighbours with a problem. Saying we will not help because it will harm our financial sector is not in any way supportive.
If the actions taken by the euro countries work then Britain will be seen to have taken no part. If the actions do not work and the euro collapses Britain will suffer from that problem. So now, either way, Britain does not come out well.
It would be very easy to believe that a millionaire cabinet is more concerned about looking after the millionaire money speculators than the British people who once again will have no say in the world where they do the paying.