'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Monday 12 December 2011

Selfish, selfish, selfish

This EU business. The general reaction from these shores seems to be all about me, me, me. Or rather us, us, us.

For example, Cameron hasn’t signed the treaty because it’s not 'in Britain’s interests'. And there seems to be a general view from the right that with impending Eurozone disaster on the horizon, thank goodness we’re retiring to a safe distance to rubberneck at the accident. Or as Michael Portillo has put it:

“The euro is a burning building with locked doors, and it seems to be a pretty good idea to be out of that.”

But to me, that’s the real problem.

When your neighbour’s house is on fire, you don’t shrug and say ’thank goodness I live in a large detached house some way from the inferno’. You fight tooth and nail to get into the house to help save them, and then you do everything you can to put the fire out

Isn’t that the right thing to do? Won’t that mean they are more likely to reciprocate next time you find yourself in similar circumstances?

(And as David Cameron himself was pointing out not so long ago, that seems a pretty good way of making sure the fire doesn’t spread next door. I rather think he’s forgotten that).

And this seems to me to be the main problem with the narrative, not just over the last few hours and days, but weeks and months.

It’s all about what’s in my interests or our interests. And not what’s in everyone’s interests.

I’m not saying the Eurozone are any better. I don’t suppose the Frankfurt Group have lost many hours sleep wondering how they can make Britain’s life easier.

But at the end of the day, the European project is about making sure we do all we can for those members of the group who most need it, when they need it.

If I see the Titanic going down – I hope I send my life rafts in its direction. And not just thank God that I missed the boat


  1. Richard, I agree with you. However, it is for that exact reason why I would have been against the deal. I don't think its in anybodies interest for Germany or a central institution to be behaving like wanker bankers when events outside a countries control go wrong to say "You breached the rules, its not your fault but we're going to put these sanctions on you now rather than saying "ok, things outside your control went wrong, how can we help? Is there anything we can do in order to safeguard this in the future."
    Of course, we should have been safeguarding the Single Market, allow our parliament to rigorously regulate the City as we see fit. Should've been also putting forward the case that you cannot ban future governments from performing Keynesian economics if they so wish and if its the democratic will of the people.

  2. ah, interesting - that's exactly why i'd have stayed in - a neutral voice to stop german or French plans being imposed on others....

  3. I probably like your post. Thanks!