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Monday 12 December 2011

Verity Murphy | 13:12 UK time, Monday, 12 December 2011

Tonight we assess Prime Minister David Cameron's appearance at the Commons this afternoon as he explains his veto of EU treaty changes to MPs.

We will look at how Britain can "engage constructively" with the EU as Downing Street has said it will despite the move, and how damaging the veto will prove for the coalition government.

Plus in the first of our films looking back across the year, Paul Mason reports on the financial turbulence of 2011.

Afterwards we will be discussing the events with historian Francis Fukuyama, economist Richard Koo and US managing editor of the Financial Times Gillian Tett.


  • Comment number 1.

    Right or wrong, the real economic implications of what happened early last Friday morning is already making itself apparent - hearing stories of Dutch and German firms re-thinking using British SMEs or British contractors to work on projects in Europe.

    At the same time have heard more than one British contractor worry about whether to go ahead with rellocating to Europe for 12 months for work out of fear of the contract suddenly being cancelled - not good when you have made a 12 month committment to an appartment in Amsterdam, Frankfurt or elsewhere.

    The politicians are strutting their stuff and acting like children in Parliament, and the journos of the Westminster Village are excitedly lapping it up also like children, but there are serious implications already manifesting for people who actually need to work for a living.

    What a mess at a time when the economy is already on its knees.

  • Comment number 2.

    Just exactly what did Cameron veto last Thursday/Friday?

    That's what the NN team must find out. Which specific detail did he veto?

    Was it the Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) or a ban on short selling or that trades in euro-denominated products are to be cleared by central counter­parties within the eurozone rather than in London. I rather suspect that Cameron was simply vetoing City regulation per se last week.

    Also, brown-dog wrote last week something along the lines about those who control the the issuance of currency control the political system. Is there something to that (re the ECB) which is behind what has happened?

    What with the report about RBS today and the total lack of regulation by the FSA during the whole financial crisis smacks of engineered incompetence on the part of financial regulation in the UK. Hector Sants is even being promoted to Deputy Governor of the BoE after it takes over from the FSA. Lord Turner was even on R4 this morrning backing Sants' appointment when it was he that was one of the principal architects of the deregulation movement in the UK.

    Is it me?

  • Comment number 3.


    The BBC reported that he "did not want to be a distraction". Do we believe that?

    Why would we?

  • Comment number 4.


    And in that heading, I put down a marker for Corrupt Britain plc. But why should we NOT be corrupt? PARLIAMENT MAKES (and breaks) ITS OWN LAWS. If this 'democracy' is the 'best of a bad lot' as Churchill is said to have averred, then NO ONE IN POWER IS TRYING VERY HARD TO IMPROVE. Pass me a fag packet . . .

    For Parliamentary law-breaking go here:

    Why not empty the studio, and Green Room, of the usual performance artists (we all know who they are) and get some real people in, with a semblance of wisdom, gravitas and integrity? Our prospects would improve, orders of magnitude, in an instant.

    Weep - just weep.

  • Comment number 5.

    ;o) Are we teetering on the brink of an election? Who knows......
    About time the British public were given a Referendum on Europe.

  • Comment number 6.

    'Tonight we assess..

    May also I commend this thread on the topic du jour, before it gets closed..

    It's always a pleasure to learn what senior management 'thinks', and that they think because they think it, that makes it so.

  • Comment number 7.

    Upon reflection, it seems this this blogger that Merkozy at the EU summit had the wrong focus.

    The immediate issue was delineated within the eurozone and therefore it was really down to the 17 eurozone members to come up with a clear roadmap to Destination Eurozone Solvency.

    That alone would have been difficult enough to achieve so I am baffled as to why they felt they had to rope in the other ten non-eurozone countries, which failed due to the Cameron veto.

    The results of this flawed strategy are that the markets do not not really believe that a coherent Eurozone solution is in sight.

    At this rate, we in this country really will be like the passenger who missed his berth on the Titanic.

  • Comment number 8.

    At 15:49 12th Dec 2011, tawse57 wrote:

    Right or wrong, the real economic implications of what happened early last Friday morning is already making itself apparent - hearing stories of Dutch and German firms re-thinking using British SMEs or British contractors to work on projects in Europe.


    and I don't buy Dutch or German produce in shops when better quality & value British good are available, particularly UK foodstuffs.

    Dutch& Germans stiill have net trade surpluses with UK - so perhaps they had better be careful?

  • Comment number 9.

    Did anyone spot the PM's concessions to the Lib Dems today in House of Commons today:

    Concillatory tone and Lib Dems showed no reaction to today's PM speech as all informed in advance - i.e. given copy of cameron's speech in advance - at least to front bench of Lib Dems?

    Also, Campbell said he noted PM recognised that EU is a 'vital interest' for the UK?

    This makes about as much sense as 'national interest' as is another wonderful cliche for those in govt - and which are never explained to 62 million Brits.

    Has Newsnight got anyone on tonight as clever enough to explain what is meant by eg 'national interest' and 'vital interest'?

    'National' does that mean 'national' including/excluding eg Scotland?

    How does the govt know what is national if opinion based if we, the electorate have never been asked or had this explained if eg 'national' is to convey a sense of agreement?

    'Vital' does that mean 'strategically vital' in an economic or other sense? Just how vital is vital?

    Is UK world trade 'vital' as excluding EU trade or is that just 'super vital' and so important as to never be discussed with Joe Public as we're just a thick bunch of plebs & would not understand all this kind of stuff anyway?

    It appears that the UK is managed via a series of cliches which are used by those in Parliament and are never explained in public & not defined in party political manifestoes?

    For once NN - Have you got someone really, really clever to try & explain some/all of this?

    In the national interest, it is vital that we have an explanation?

  • Comment number 10.

    I look forward to this with interest:

    An expert on "Balance Sheet recessions", which we certainly have! But ask him about the liquidity trap too!

    @8 "Dutch& Germans stiill have net trade surpluses with UK - so perhaps they had better be careful?"

    Yes about our ability to pay our bills! We don't invest in manufacturing, and can only maintain notional solvency by the kind of financial piracy/privateering which will slowly but surely be outlawed in civilised countries - despite Cameron's "best" efforts - why did anyone ever think he was "brilliant"?

  • Comment number 11.

    @7 It's very sad JC - here is one pessimistic view from an American Europhile:

    Here is a slightly more hopeful view, but the first comment mentions the “Lucy and the Football” meme!

  • Comment number 12.

    Paddy Ashdown on Newsnight!..pass me the sick bag!

  • Comment number 13.

    Outstanding interview by Jeremy with Lord Ashdown.
    Killer lines so far (and a corker of an opening too!!!!)
    "What is the point of having you in government?"
    "What relevance did you have?"
    "Your party is not relevant to what happens"
    "You keep this uniquely inept man in office"
    "You are not in a position to act on anything, are you?"
    "Would you ever say you would not collaborate in this government anymore.."
    " Is Nick Clegg Gladstone or someone?"

  • Comment number 14.

    Jeremy: "You're not in a position to insist about anything" Ashdown "Blah"

    The Turkeys aren't going to vote for early Christmas. They betrayed their voters, and were shafted in their turn.

    "You are the weakest link - Goodbye!"

  • Comment number 15.

    Jacek Rostowski - what wonderful English - better spoken than many of our "educated" MPs. Does Mr Hague speak any other languages, apart from the Welsh National Anthem>

  • Comment number 16.

    @11 - Oops - I missed the second link!

  • Comment number 17.


    No tie - man of the people. Pin stripe suit - but a cut above them. Narrowed eyes - I have depths you cannot imagine. Face-eating smile - I am a terrified little boy.

    Poor Paddy: so involved in playing the statesman, no time for being real.


  • Comment number 18.

    :o) Practically everyone on Twitter wants Jeremy's version of "It's a Wonderful Life" to be released as a single and made a Christmas #1!

  • Comment number 19.


    Paul reported: "For the first half of the year, the economy grew by a half %age point."

    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 20.


    No contest.

  • Comment number 21.

    @18 It was funny mistress, but nowhere as good as this classic:

    George Bush Tony Blair - My Endless Love


  • Comment number 22.

    They had George Magnus from UBS on and didn't ask about UBS recommendation for investments-

    “I suppose there might be some assets worthy of consideration—precious metals, for example,” Mr. Hatheway said. “But other metals would make wise investments, too. Among them tinned goods and small calibre weapons.”

    No NN happy talk of being like Japan, which had exports to keep it going and the government borrowing almost exclusively from within the country from all those not willing to look elsewhere for higher returns, now Japan has 200% government debt to GDP. Here are a few recent articles that talk about the the reality of what is happening in Japan.

  • Comment number 23.

    It was mildly amusing to hear Richard Koo say that "we did'nt learn this at University" with respect to the behaviour of businesses that he has characterised as Balance Sheet recessions.

    Is economics really a science?

    Seems to me that it is very helpful to make it up as you go along, that is, use the empirical evidence as it unfolds to do something else; stepping out of the conventional straight-jacket if that is what it takes to solve the problem.

    The commentators Tett, Koo and Fukuyama seemed to agree that the ECB euro tap needed to be fully turned on and implied (in my mind) that a counter-cyclical eurozone policy needed to be developed ala Keynes.

    The discussion about 'social cohesion' certainly made one reflect that the Irish seem to have it and the Greeks definately do not. As for us English, well, following the summer riots, I am not sure that it is particularly strong in parts of England.

    Fukuyama pointed out that it would be very hard to even get the 17 eurozone members to agree a common policy, as George Magus (UBS) stated, time is running out, making for a bad 2012.

    Paul Masons little run-in with Mervyn King clearly showed that easy answers are not available.

    It is all going to get very messy.

    PS. As usual, this blogger gazed in wonder at the very lovely Gillian Tett.

  • Comment number 24.


    That is when the inability of Westminster Creatures to do anything but 'politics' will rise, Kraken-like, to add horror to horror. That is when we shall realise - too late - that we should have voted for integrity rather than rosettes. That is when Dave will be seen as nothing more than the most accomplished Westminster Creature; demon driven and self-serving. That is when my words will ring absolutely true:


  • Comment number 25.


    I remember when Tony used to do that. There is really no difference between a Kremlin Creature and a Westminster Creature.

    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 26.

    The history of bank deregulation is one of wholesale abuse of the UK's industrial base - asset stripping, loading with debt - then wild speculation, culminating in the credit crisis and bank bailout. But it's also the decline of one nation Toryism and the rise of the NeoCon, eurosceptic hard right, which made its money in the bonus culture of the City - which in turn now accounts for the majority of Tory Party donations.

    It is therefore a truism to say that the Tories ARE the Bankers' Party - indeed many MPs are or were City people - and so are their families & supporters - so Cameron's veto wasn't just on the grounds of so-called good governance to protect a vital part of the economy - in a very real way he is protecting his own.

    Think what EU regulation could mean - a transaction tax would end the profitability of marginal share speculation like spread betting - killing at a stroke the margin vampires who use stocks & shares like roulette wheels.

    Raising the capital requirements would remove the bankroll of depositors' money as their grubstake to gamble with.

    Banning the bonus culture who eliminate their core support and close off job opportunities in the City for their kith & kin.

    This is the reality - ending casino capitalism in the City would strike at the very engine room of the Conservative Party - Cameron doesn't want the EU to impose the sort of regulatory regime which would pull the rug out from under his supporters, even if their greed and corruption got the UK into the mess it is now in.

    Labour is criticised for its links to the Trades Unions - at least they represent several million people - the relationship between the few tens of thousands who directly benefit from the Tories' featherbedding of the City and its get-rich-quick culture looks much more like allowing the Mafia to control the government to me .

    Deregulation used to be justified on the grounds that it freed the City to make money, pay taxes and earn us export revenue - yet we know that the City's irresponsible risk taking culture has cost us all dear and its exposure to high risk investments threatens our entire economy. For Cameron to argue that this should be allowed to continue is simply outrageous.

  • Comment number 27.

    I don't know why they bothered with this report, nothing will happen about it! :(

  • Comment number 28.

    @26 Well said Richard!

  • Comment number 29.

    @23 Yes JC, I think Richard Koo went to the wrong university.

    There has been a quasi religious split amongst the ranks of economists, going back to the '70s. In the US there are "Freshwater Universities" like Chicago, and "Saltwater Universities" like MIT, which reflect these divisions:

    "......ask a grad student at Princeton or MIT, “How would a new classical macro guy answer this?”, and the student can do it; classes at freshwater saltwater departments teach real business cycle theory, and good students can tell you what it says even if their professors have a different view.

    But students at freshwater schools — or, alas, many of their professors — can’t return the favor. It’s been painfully obvious since the crisis broke that people at Minnesota, or even many people at Chicago, have no idea what New Keynesian economics is all about."

  • Comment number 30.

    '18. At 23:23 12th Dec 2011, Mistress76uk wrote:
    :o) Practically everyone on Twitter

    20. At 23:27 12th Dec 2011, barriesingleton wrote:

    But, is 'nearly' the same as 'practically'?

    Long and rewarding and often unique careers interpreting events await all who can find new and improved ways to report the answer... speaking for the UK public.

  • Comment number 31.

    Spare a thought for the Norwegians! So where is the EU Butter mountain when you need it?

  • Comment number 32.

    Top economists reveal their graphs of 2011

  • Comment number 33.

    Re link above

    Quote from Richard Koo re the fifth graph...

    RICHARD KOO, CHIEF ECONOMIST AT THE NOMURA RESEARCH INSTITUTE: "As this graph shows there is something very unusual happening. The British private sector, like the US private sector, is paying down debts, or increasing savings, despite historically low interest rates - near zero interest rates. This goes against everything we were taught at university, it goes against everything that the text books say, as ordinarily this should be a time to borrow money."

  • Comment number 34.

    Slum Dwellers Priced Out As Shacks Hit £50k

    Is this what they call globalisation?

    Sound like another bubble to me!

  • Comment number 35.

    Somebody called (Professor) Sir Nicholas Mackintosh FRS, was on R4-Today this morning commenting on advances in the understanding of the human brain that may raise questions over the age of criminal responsibility. The age of criminal responsibility in the UK is 10 years old.

    Age of criminal responsibility 'too low', experts say

    Professor Mackintosh has written the following books:

    Psychology of Animal Learning
    Conditioning and Associative Learning
    Cyril Burt: fraud or framed?
    IQ and Human Intelligence

    Cyril Burt: fraud or framed?...

    Remind you of anyone?

  • Comment number 36.

    Britain is ruled by the banks, for the banks

    Is David Cameron's kid-glove treatment of the City remotely justified, when it neither pays its way nor lends effectively?

    "Ah, but what about lending? After all, this is why we have banks in the first place: to channel money to productive industries. The Cresc team looked at Bank of England figures on bank and building society loans and found that at the height of the bubble in 2007, around 40% or more of all bank and building society lending was on residential or commercial property. Another 25% of all bank lending went to financial intermediaries. In other words, about two-thirds of all bank lending in 2007 went to pumping up the bubble.

    This doesn't look like a hard-working part of an economy humming along: it's nothing less than epic capitalist onanism. "

    Yes…I had to look up the word onanism as well.

  • Comment number 37.

    @26, Richard Bunning. Surely Labour were rersponsible too. Responsible for de-regulation and carrying on needless industrial decline, while dinning with bankers, and bankers being the main sector having the ear of the Labour Government. A transaction tax needs to be made world wide, not eu wide. It should be under the UK's control and eye, not the eu's. I don't think many people would disagree with you on most things you have mentioned. I would disagree on spread betting, as it helps to boost my wages to survive. I've done the 7 days a week, silly hours a day thing for too long and struggled.

  • Comment number 38.

    We're isolated ?
    The statement by the “EURO AREA HEADS OF STATE OR GOVERNMENT” of the 9 December ended with -

    “Some of the measures described above can be decided through secondary legislation. The euro area Heads of State or Government consider that the other measures should be contained in primary legislation. Considering the absence of unanimity among the EU Member States, they decided to adopt them through an international agreement to be signed in March or at an earlier date. The objective remains to incorporate these provisions into the treaties of the Union as soon as possible.The Heads of State or Government of Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Latvia,Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Sweden indicated the possibility to take part in this process after consulting their Parliaments where appropriate

    Nothing is certain yet.

    Also , all but two (UK and Denmark) of the 27 members of the European Union have treaty obligations (either from their EU accession treaty or from that earlier treaty of Maastricht (1992)) to join the Euro.
    Sweden is also suppose to join the Euro , but so far the Swedish people have rejected it via a referendum in 2003. A recent opinion poll showed that 88% of Swedish people would reject the Euro. Doesn't take much to see why.

    So I am not so sure how alone or isolated the UK will end up being.

    But, I do understand that the Liberal Democrats have aspirations of the UK joining the Euro, some day, and taking part in such eurozone negotiations for fiscal union would be of interest to them. But if Germany and France are not willing to give the required guarantees to protect non eurozone members access to the single market , you can not expect the conservatives to agree to such a EU fiscal union treaty. Besides it would probably trigger a referendum with an outcome as predictable as any new Swedish Euro referendum would be.

    As for the suggestion that the “veto” is not for using ?

    Strange. What has Germany been doing over the question of Eurobonds or the ECB printing distressed eurozone governments debts away ? They have been saying “Nein” , “not a starter” to all of these suggestions publicly for 18 months now. These were in effect “vetoes” before they even got to the conference table.

    France has used her “veto” on CAP reform 2003, with many more threats to use her veto (at EU level) over numerous GATT and WTO agreements, over many decades.

    Have any of these EU members been isolated or any suggestions of a threat to their membership made ?

    So why is it when the UK stands up for her interests its suddenly so wrong ?

    Besides most of the UK demands are just restating previous ECOFIN agreements.

  • Comment number 39.

    At least we've found out why the 17 eurozone mebers did not try to do a deal amongst themselves to solve the eurozone crisis :

    "Mr Barroso said the "greatest" risk of the summit, a split between the 17 euro states and the other 10, had been avoided.

    "This is not an agreement at 17-plus, but an agreement at 27-minus," he said".

    I would have thought that the greatest risk of the summit was a failure of the 17 eurozone members to come up with a coherent plan to save the euro but what do I know?

    There will be no safety in numbers if the whole edifice crumbles due to the papable lack of a coherent plan to save the euro and Europe's countries returns to a fragmented past.

    PS. My mother reminded me that the issue of Europe caused some big arguments in our house in the 1970's during the referendum. I'd forgotten, but apparently myself and my father voted for Europe (err, Common Market) and my mother and brother voted against. I am still, conceptually at least, pro-europe (and Mother is very against) but this Englishman is convinced that our half-hearted membership will never bring the full benefits of being in the EU, in the same way that our weak, almost non-existent, leadership of the Commonwealth has never really benefitted that organisation.

  • Comment number 40.

    I see the Durban COP was a success.

    And I see Canada is withdrawing totally from the Kyoto treaty now.

    I bet the EU , with their energy shortage, is fully signed up though.
    I don't suppose we can "isolate" ourselves from the EUs energy problems ?

  • Comment number 41.

    David Gow says I may have underplayed the significance of Jose Manuel Barroso's comments earlier.
    "Barroso has blown apart Dave's main justification that he was "defending the single market" by saying his six-point demand threatened it - and he, Barroso, tabled a compromise talking about protecting the single market and, specifically, financial services. The pent-up venom towards the UK is also now spewing out in the European Parliament - including from anglophiles.
    What people don't seem to get is that Merkel also went out of her way to help Dave as she doesn't want Germany irrevocably tied to France and is closer on economic policy etc to the UK. But the demands he tabled at 3am on Friday last week, senior sources say, were for an effective veto on all single market legislation: "obviously, out of the question." What if Merkel had demanded special protection for the German car industry - VW (soon to be the world's biggest car-maker), Mercedes and BMW? Or Sarko for the French energy sector - EDF/GDF Suez/Areva? Cameron would have gone crazy... "

  • Comment number 42.

    the financial situation created by the selfish idea to have a euro and then not back it by the ECB can cause regime change in the uk. its political arrogance by MPs to assume it couldn't.

    the uk is the 2nd largest net contributor [out of only 11 net contributors from 27] to the EU. So who are the real europeans? those who pay or those who get a free ride on the back of others.

  • Comment number 43.

    10. At 22:33 12th Dec 2011, Sasha Clarkson wrote:

    @8 "Dutch& Germans stiill have net trade surpluses with UK - so perhaps they had better be careful?"

    Yes about our ability to pay our bills! We don't invest in manufacturing, and can only maintain notional solvency by the kind of financial piracy/privateering which will slowly but surely be outlawed in civilised countries - despite Cameron's "best" efforts - why did anyone ever think he was "brilliant"?

    Coalition govt are wrestling with trillions £'s in UK national debts & liabilities & have inherited an over-sized UK financial sector that took 300 years to build & are therefore unlikely going to be unable to change much in a 5 year Parliamentary term?

    That isn't Cameron's or Clegg's fault - that is just how things are!

    I am a fan of DC as the rest of parliamentary parties /politicians have done UK immense damage - especially Labour? So he is probably best we could have at moment in terms of the mess left by & sheer incompetence of the remainder?

    DC is doing a good job as PM when his job has become so immensely complex in Coalition govt?

    "We don't invest in manufacturing, and can only maintain notional solvency by the kind of financial piracy/privateering which will slowly but surely be outlawed in civilised countries"

    UK, as a country has highest public AND private debts in world according to BBC Business Editor & private business sits on their cash & cannot see any margins/returns in UK business & does not invest?

    What do you suggest?

  • Comment number 44.

    the eu scaremongering by the euro fanatics is the worst sort of politics and deception against the british people.

    JP seemed hysterical. bad loser.

  • Comment number 45.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 46.


    In a world run to male principles, I suspect 'SIZE MATTERS' and 'BIG IS BEST', both extreme male concepts (Merkel notwithstanding) are the driving ethos, NOT fear of Eurostrife.

    With the modern level of interconnectedness: were we MATURE as individuals and states, PEACEFUL COEXISTENCE, however configured, would be the INEVITABLE way forward. Even the ghost of Churchill might agree, it is one-up on faux democracy, in avoiding war-war. But noting will be achieved while EU states persist in the folly of


  • Comment number 47.


    By 'DC', do you mean some new form of green energy generation? Or might you possibly be referring to Dave Trismegistus: he of the duplicitous visage, the indefensible Liar Flyer and the gratuitous vilification of friend-and-colleague Numpty Nick?

    How does one achieve such a stance?

  • Comment number 48.

    at the end was paxo going on about the bbc fake nature programmes? how does fakery make anyone 'feel good'? It just makes you feel cheated and robbed?

  • Comment number 49.

    At 14:29 13th Dec 2011, You wrote:

    Your comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.



  • Comment number 50.

    At 14:43 13th Dec 2011, barriesingleton wrote:



    Its very simple - Who do you think out of all the MP's currently in Parliament - Can you name one (or more) who, in your opinion, would make a better PM - NOW - than DC?

    I'm sorry BarrieS - but this is going to be hilarious!

    BTW, I have a lot of 'hang ups' also about much of/many in Conservative party as joined at the hip with big business & City of London?

    Thinking 'least bad' of a questionable bunch of MP's?

  • Comment number 51.

    38. At 12:59 13th Dec 2011, Steve-London wrote:

    We're isolated ?

    What do you mean by that - please explain?

    I'm just opening a a parcel I've received from Brasil - and I find a lot easier to trade outside of EU as much less red tape?

    We're 'isolated' or 'marginalised' in what way?

    I feel like I'm part of the global economy - I'm receiving e-mails from Brasil and other parts of world - I find the EU north central trading area to be difficult as doing trade from the UK - surely the EU has always been a central northern continental economy that has a distinct periphery - Scandinavia. Eastern Europe, Balkans, Sunmed & remainder including UK - this is mainly due to the 'Geography' & look which parts of EU are doing better.

    There are advantages also to being outside EU for those close to EU e.g. Norway has DIRECT discussions with EU occasionally as a sovereign entity over incursions into e.g. its fishing stock/fisheries - & the EU has to listen.

    I'm afraid your statement about being isolated does not make sense to me as it is a cliche and is pure rhetoric - UK is isolated only because of geography and EU is an ' ? disaster', (BTW, No swear word included in original either) overall, for UK in strict trade terms, due to UK's massive trade deficit with EU for most of, if not all of, the last 30+ years?

    26 countries have agreed in principle to discuss a new Treaty excluding the UK - Do you have any idea how diffiuclt it is going to be for e.g. Ireland to harmonise its corporation tax rate with the EU proposal & many other of the '26' likely to have issues with the new super tight straight-jacket that is heading their way as to consign their national economies to decades of stagnation.

    Isolated? Of course, we are - by the geography!

    EU works very well for continental, adjoining, mutually dependent economies in the north central hub - the EU has always had a periphery which doesn't do as well - this is nothing new - was more or less the same as when UK joined common market in 1970's.

    Please think about it - the UK cannot be moved it is stationery - economic performance in the EU is closely correlated with geography - it is not rocket science -look at a map of europe - ie a good quality demographic map of Europe & consider transport costs, communications, common border advantages etc. That is why channel tunnel was built - but there is only so much UK can do as in need of a different strategy, vision & set of ideas.

    Really this national EU debate has got very silly indeed!

    Think about why UK roads full of long distance haulage vehicles from all over Europe when road fuel is so expensive - and I sometimes wait 3 weeks for replies to basic communications from mainland Europe and get email replies from Brasil within about 10 minutes?

    EU is a 'mature market' for most of the UK & that includes our shocking EU trade deficit.

  • Comment number 52.

    I'M A GUNPOWDER MAN - ME (#50)

  • Comment number 53.


    Historically, it appears, the planet has known more (and more extreme) inclement weather than we currently experience. Should it return, the global interlude (and dream of some) will be over.

    If we get shot of demon-driven leaders and apply British ingenuity, coupled with indigenous raw materials and tidal power, in these islands, we might be quite cosy.

    Apocalypse now - please.

  • Comment number 54.

    52. At 15:08 13th Dec 2011, barriesingleton wrote:

    I'M A GUNPOWDER MAN - ME (#50)


    Barries - LOL - I knew you'd dodge the question!

    Anyone else on here - If not DC for PM right now - then who?

    Who could do a better job than DC?

  • Comment number 55.

    "Who could do a better job than DC?"

    What we have in Europe has boiled down to a clear confrontation between international finance and labour with pro-finance neo-con political leaders dangling in no-man's-land. Old man Trotsky once said that: "Individuals do not make history but history is made through individuals." In the case of Cameron, the City of London's interests were prosecuted through him with added pressure from Eurosceptic backbenchers. The actions of Sarkozy and Merkel are determined by the banks, ratings agencies and bond markets. Only the trade union rank and file that have taken strike action in Greece, Portugal, Italy and the UK against unjust austerity measures have acted with any semblence of principle or courage.

  • Comment number 56.

    At 15:54 13th Dec 2011, museV wrote:

    "Who could do a better job than DC?"

    So, if not DC - Then Who?

  • Comment number 57.

    anyone could do a better job than DC anyway why call someone after Washington?

  • Comment number 58.

    I'm sure there's room for just one more immigrant...


    Of course he would ebthe first immigrant PM...but that can't be too far away now given the demographics.

    "Mr Chavez promised "revolutionary" social policies, and constantly abused the "predatory oligarchs" of the establishment as corrupt servants of international capital.
    Never missing an opportunity to address the nation, he once described oil executives as living in "luxury chalets where they perform orgies, drinking whisky".
    Mr Chavez has also frequently clashed with church leaders, whom he accuses of neglecting the poor, siding with the opposition, and defending the rich."

  • Comment number 59.

    It's the LIBOR rate graph we need to watch closely (re a second credit crunch)...

    Also the Baltic Dry Index is another early warning barometer of any impending recession/depression turmoil...

    Both charts look OK, for now.

  • Comment number 60.

    Please visit my blog for an examination of the End of History by Francis Fukuyama


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