Tuesday 1 March 2016

Fish fingers all in a line! What happens if the EU crashes and burns?

The Roman Empire.

The Soviet Union.

Seemingly invincible empires. What happened next. They evapourated. Not a trace remains (well actually there are relics, but that is all). What has this got to do with the price of fish fingers? Well the question no one has mentioned, not the Brexit mob or the Stay campaign. What would a Brexit do to the rest of the EU? Everything I've seen seems to simply assume that the EU will carry on regsardless. But what if it doesn't? What if the UK leaving precipitates the collapse of the whole house of cards?

I guess if you subscribe to the UKIP agenda, everyone will be massively better off and everyone will have their own mini free trade deals. It is quite reasonable to assume that some countries will do ok, but what about the newer members, those on the Eastern periphery. Those next to the Russian sphere of influence. Although individually these are relatively small markets for the UK PLC, add them all up and they become significantly more important. The question has to be how will a bearish Russia react. Will they sit idly by and say "thats nice" or will they take full advantage of the situation. Countries like Latvia, Lithuanian and Estonia will find themselves massively exposed. With their access to markets disappearing, the Russians will not miss the opportunity. They won't need to exercise military might. They will simply use their economic might to squeeze until something gives. Then there is Poland, Bulgaria, Slovakia and the other Balkan countries. How will they copw with such a shock.

Now you may not think any of this matters. You may think that security is not an issue in relation to the EU and that NATO deal with security. There is however more to security than guns and bullets. The USSR collapsed due to financial considerations, not because of bullets. The concept that Putins Russia will see a Brexit as anything other than a massive opportunity is very naive in the extreme. There is a view that this isn't our problem. But a fragmented Europe on our doorstep cannot be anything other than a risk.

For many of us raised in the 60's and 70's, the USSR seemed like a permanent feature, a fact of life. What replaced it? Look at the situation in the Ukraine and in Georgia. Stability has been replaced by war. I doubt whether anyone anticipated this when the Berlin wall came down. I dount too many thought the USSR would dissolve in the way it did, almost overnight. In the EU, should the UK go, many countries will be forced to re-evaluate their membership and put their narrow naional interests first. Whilst for rich, stable countries such as Germany and France, this is likely to not be a problem, the poorer nations that are relying on the EU to help them build prosperity, that couild be devastating. Who knows what sort of regimes will thrive in such circumstances. Wheras we now have economic migrants from Poland and other Eastern states, we may well find we get a wholly different sort of migrant, ones who need massive financial assistance.

Now all of this is wild speculation, but the truth is no one has a clue. Not you, me or David Cameron. All we know is that we are spinning the roulette wheel. It is more than the house that we are putting on number 13. Doesn't mean we won't win, but it is a massive leap into the unknown. The main argument for taking the risk that I've heard is so that we can free our economy from regulation and bureaucracy, but I've yet to see any examples of which rules and regulations will be dumped. To convince me, the OUT campaign need to give examples and demonstrate why these make itw orth taking the risk.

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