Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Europe: the Tories' Takeshi's Castle

Like a drunk, bloated singleton the EU makes itself hard to love. Whether it's Cash to Agro-Plutocrats, inaction on unemployment or action on how to serve olive oil (tip: heavily regulate canned spinach before you kidnap her), the list of what's bad about it is long, and the flipside is a one-liner: we get to be in the single market. With big beasts like Lawson, Portillo and Gove calling for us to go it's tempting to trust their economic nous, even if wild bureaucrats couldn't drag you to their barbers.

Everyone agrees that access to the single market is essential, but those calling for us to exit are guilty of doublethink with their plan to leave the brothel and still get laid. They want to withdraw from the EU because it prioritises petty bureaucratic meddling over the economic interests of its member states. But we'll still get all the benefits of free trade, they say, because denying them would be petty and bureaucratic and totally contrary to members' economic interests.

It's like running a business with your wife, which is going great, but wanting to leave her because she's always telling you to take your shoes off and spending your money on artificial Hungarian beaches. The divorce won't affect the economics of your business at all, but you can still kiss it goodbye.

Also, the lesson from America seems to be that if we weren't complaining about a foreign government strangling our businesses with regulation, we'd be complaining about our own government doing exactly the same thing.

So seeing as we're stuck with the EU we should think of more reasons to love it and here's one: it's the Takeshi's Castle of the Tory party. One and a half governments down and they're talking about it more not less. Imagine Osborne and Cameron dressed in outsized foam pound signs trying to run up a muddy hill while a laughing Herman Van Rompuy bombards them with a baguette cannon. It's not much but if you're pro-EU you have to take what you can get.

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