In Your Face

In Your Face
Thought provoking opinions on topical issues.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

The EU Constitution - The Longest Suicide Note In History

Much has been written about the proposed EU constitution; there are those who claim that it is a blueprint for the future of the EU, and there are those who claim that it is the harbinger of a new European dark age.

Now that it has been placed into the deep freeze, ie killed, by the leaders of the EU I would like to add my "two cents" to the discussion. However, unlike other commentators, I will be brief and get to the heart of the matter.

The EU constitution was destined to fail for the following reasons:
  • It is over 300 pages long, no voter (or indeed politician) on the planet could possibly understand it. The American Founding fathers wrote a constitution, which was a success, of a mere 20 pages.

  • The US constitution begins "We the people..", the EU constitution begins "His majesty, the King of the Belgians..".

  • Those countries that ratified the constitution did so via their own politicians, they did not trust their people to support it. Two of the three countries that trusted their people, France and the Netherlands, were given the two finger salute. In other words, the citizens of the EU do not want a European constitution.

  • The US constitution was written with the support of the people, who had just fought the War of Independence. The EU constitution was written by an isolated political elite, who did not consult the people.

  • The EU constitution attempts to impose an outdated model of state intervention on the citizens of the EU. Many of those citizens live in countries that have abandoned state intervention, in favour of free market economies. Until the member states of Europe agree as to whether they want a free market or outdated state intervention, the European project will go no where.
Any new attempt to revive a European constitution will have to take account of the above points, if it is to have any hope of success.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Make Poverty History

There is currently quite a media frenzy over the forthcoming concert in aid of the "Make Poverty History" campaign.

People are being encouraged to go along to the concert, march on the G8 summit at Gleneagles and to buy a white wristband.

The idea being that this will spur world leaders into canceling the debt owed by Africa, and to channel more aid to that region.

This is all very well and good. However, it is naive in the extreme:
  • Canceling the debt will not serve the people of the region. At some stage they will need to borrow more money, those that have lent money in the past and have had that debt cancelled will not be inclined to lend more money in the future.

  • Channeling large sums of money into Africa does the people of the region little good. The majority of that money goes straight into the pockets of the corrupt leaders of Africa, as they equip themselves with ever more luxurious palaces and larger fleets of presidential aircraft. Until Africa addresses its internal corruption, money sent there will never reach its target. In fact aid does nothing more than perpetuate the corruption.

  • The purchase of the white wristband has turned into a nothing more than an egotistical fashion statement. People are using the band to pretend that they care, and to go along with the media frenzy that has accompanied this campaign.

  • The white wristbands have been made by sweat shop labour in China, the purchase of these fashion items in fact does more harm than good; by lining the pockets of the sweat shop owners.
The solution to Africa's ills lies in the hands of Africans, not ours.