Stephen Hill feels the angst as the stars align for European integration
The Agnelli family is buying a larger stake in The Economist for ’287 million and sees it as a good deal, but one assumes Pearson Group's new CEO has a similar view and is selling it. Visiting the dentist, I idly picked up an out-of-date July edition, and when I read its main leader as to why the City needed the UK to stay in the EU, I realised this rag is at least 22 years beyond its sell-by date.
The Economist says a Brexit will be a very big concern for the City. Here we go again! Back in 1993 the City would collapse if we didn't take the euro – remember? Well, we didn't, and the City thrived like never before.
Now The Economist says that all the banks that arrived in 1990 came to London to trade across the eurozone – so why didn't they go to Paris and Frankfurt then, when we opted out of EMU? Because the European Customs Union, like all customs unions, is only about trade in manufacturing, that's why. And they didn't come to London to trade across Europe, but across the world.
Ah, now, you see, says The Economist, the bank bosses are worried that they will lose 'passporting rights' whereby they can do business throughout the EU under the sole supervision of British regulators.
Haven't they heard of the EU's European Banking Authority, or its European Securities and Markets Authority, which are barging into the UK with their AIMFID this and MiFid that, plus all the other regulations? And Basel III is in the works too.
It then continues: 'In theory Britain could negotiate to retain such privileges. In practice that is wishful thinking.' Why? And why 'in theory', when it would be the next inevitable step following a Brexit? The EU's exports to Britain are twice as much as Britain's to the EU.
It quite improbably adds that the settlement of transactions in euros 'will evaporate' and attracting the best employees with a less liberal immigration system would be harder. Why would the UK government not make exceptions for those with jobs, which they have done anyway? I have never read such stupid guff – self-serving smug faux-intellectualism.
What The Economist completely fails to see are the dangers of staying in a system where the laws are made to suit interests other than Britain's, especially where the move is on in the EU to enter into a political, fiscal and monetary union run by unelected bureaucrats and French technocrats within an undemocratic structure of their own devious making.
The Maastricht Treaty talks of harmonisation throughout, and this dangerous concept is useable in any way the bureaucrats want to: remember when milk quotas came in, in 1984, and farmers lost their herds?
Well, what about quotas on FX trading, asset management, pensions, bank lending? The list is endless, in the name of the bureaucrats' dream of harmonisation, a dream to destroy the UK's prominent position in global markets, of which they are so jealous.
The Economist is just another EU fifth column, along with the BBC, the FT, which was a sister of The Economist until the sale, the CBI and their like. Their arguments are invariably assertions not related to any realisation of the EU horrors reserved in the treaties.
It concludes by saying that the City is often accused of crying wolf 'trying to protect its profits', and says the boy who cried wolf was eventually eaten. Yes, but as Churchill said: 'An appeaser is a man who feeds a crocodile hoping it will eat him last.'