There is no pony.

Leaving aside scepticism about the Euro for a moment, and turning to the European Union, Nosemonkey argues that the idea of “auditing the costs of EU law” is silly. Well, it’s a Cameron policy proposal…but enough snark.

British Eurosceptics tend to like estimates of the “costs of regulation” a lot. But there is a big problem with this argument. Specifically, if the British public love economic libertarianism so much, why don’t they vote for it?

Getting rid of the costs of regulation by leaving the EU only makes sense if, as well as completely re-orienting foreign and trade policy, we also completely revolutionise our internal policies in a whole range of fields. The libertarian claim for Euroscepticism is that we’d have the utopia, if it wasn’t for those pesky kids, or rather, foreigners. But there is no evidence that the UK electorate would vote for this implied, but never stated, political programme. The Libertarian Alliance is not a big force in British politics, to say the least.

Further, where’s the evidence that the UK has become a more regulated economy since 1973? Europe didn’t seem to slow down Thatcher much. Big Bang, privatisation, the campaign against the unions, various macroeconomic nostrums, we got them all.

Eurosceptics should be honest, and say that they intend to leave and then pass a massive program of economic Texanisation. Or else, they should sit down and shut up – at least as far as bignum forecasts of regulatory savings go. They can’t deliver them, because the British won’t vote for them.

Meanwhile, perhaps the Euro has too many friends and the European Union too few.

5 thoughts on “There is no pony.

  1. I agree with all your points, but that is irrelevant to this argument.

    “Specifically, if the British public love economic libertarianism so much, why don’t they vote for it?”

    It’s not really been an option for them up until now – expect the next election campaign to contain far more mainstream economic libertarianism options than any previous election.

    “Further, where’s the evidence that the UK has become a more regulated economy since 1973?” – um, because we have more & more complex laws now, 30 years later.

    Seriously, you don’t need much more of a complicated answer to win over the Daily Mail crowd than this, ergo Europe = Bad.

    “British Eurosceptics tend to like estimates of the “costs of regulation” a lot”. This goes for British conservatives in general as well and it is an easy sell because the definative answers are complicated and elusive. Who cares if our exports are decimated by leaving the EU? It might not be that bad and we will have unfettered libertarian utopia with its free hands and ponies etc to make up any short falls. The point is that the EU passes laws we have to follow and we naturally don’t like that, even if our beaches are cleaner, our lorry drivers less tired etc. What did the Romans ever do for us?

    The EU is an easy bogeyman and DC has been far to worried about looking like a serious centerist to demonise it. But, as the enormity of our man made economic disaster becomes clearer and less “spinable”, I fully expect the Tories to go full metal Eurohater to try and regain some of their lost UKIP votes. God knows they aren’t getting many from anywhere else.

  2. In 1973, Andy, we had nationalised aircraft factories and steelworks and a ministry of industry. we had foreign exchange controls. we had mortgage quotas. electricity board showrooms (and I don’t mean the club in Shoreditch). the British economy was a lot more state-dominated then than it is now by any measurement I can think of.

  3. Meanwhile, perhaps the Euro has too many friends and the European Union too few.

    Perhaps the single wisest sentence ever posted here.

  4. Pingback: Brussels blog round up for 21 – 27 July: German pensions under threat, NATO stagnates in Europe, and is Spain heading for a full bailout? | EUROPP

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