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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited
Edited by John Coleman
Deputy Editor Aidan Rankin
At the time when a substantial enlargement of the European Union (EU) is in prospect, it is appropriate that a number of issues which go beyond, even well beyond the present Union should be considered.
The reactions of a Polish Eurosceptic are significant not merely because they are sceptical, but because of the amazing growth of Euroscepticism in that country and also because they point to a wider political scepticism globally, including within the EU. This article, which the author is planning to follow up with a book on the subject, should promote some serious thinking.
Even more significant than global political scepticism are the warnings on the question of nuclear proliferation from Michael Douglas, prompted by scientists telling him after the Three Mile Island accident that 135 of the 160 "fail safe" steps had failed. If his warnings and those of the Oxford Research Council are not heeded then perhaps it will not matter what kind of Europe we are shaping. This leads Aidan Rankin to reflect on the past failure of nuclear disarmament movements to move beyond the cultural ghetto of pacifism, and to engage properly with those who support conventional defence. He recalls the revival of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament when he was a schoolboy and student. He disagreed with the unilateralists at that time, but felt a sneaking sympathy for those whose motives were ethical rather than merely contrarian. Rankin welcomes the initiatives by Douglas and Elworthy, and hopes they will lay the foundations for a broad-based movement, acting in good faith.
The next piece comes from a regular contributor to this journal, Thomas Orszag-Land from Hungary. It surveys and analyses the preparation for a huge trans-shipment boom in the Baltic ports. Such a boom will surely have the effect of bringing Russia firmly into the European Economic Area and will revolutionise the significance of the EU itself. On the one hand, it will perhaps help to clear up an environmentally disastrous region of Europe and, on the other, it will enormously increase economic growth with unforeseen consequences for Europe and the rest of the world. We should ponder long and hard on its implications.
This is followed by a piece on the global aspects of unemployment. This journal has always believed that some radical reforms in the tax system are the only way to avoid catastrophe and a mindless "anti-capitalism" more destructive and anarchic than anything produced by Marxism in the twentieth century.
Aidan Rankin's report on "The Simultaneous Policy", by John Bunzl, stresses even more emphatically the need for a form of capitalism in which the growth of small creative businesses is vital to make the system work and keep people reasonably busy and reasonably satisfied. Bunzl, he says, is "the first writer on the 'sustainable society' to advance beyond rhetoric and grapple with the problem of how such a society might be achieved". Rankin speaks of the underlying problem being moral and spiritual, not political.
The report on "The Good European's Dilemma", by Robin Guthrie, also written by Aidan Rankin, is friendly but critical. It comes back again to the moral and spiritual question and the potential of the Council of Europe's original ideals to avoid "the heavy-handed regulation (of small business especially) and sycophancy to corporate power" which characterises the present direction of the EU. Speaking of the buildings which house the EU institutions in Brussels, Rankin quotes Guthrie in full:
The concept and design of these buildings speak not of access, transparency and democracy, but of power and exclusion. Mussolini would have been proud of such manifestations of domination.
He points out that Guthrie, unlike some right-wing Eurosceptics, does not seek a return to nationalism. He believes that the Council of Europe returning to its original aims could offer a positive, alternative European vision and set a moral example to the EU.
The letter from Hazhir Teimourian, as well as his and Andrew Mango's articles in previous issues, highlights the need to look at the Turkish question objectively. At this point it is hard to resist quoting the opening of a speech by Julius Caesar in the Roman Senate at the time of the Cataline Conspiracy:
It is the duty of all men, Conscript Fathers, in their deliberations in subjects of difficult determination to divest themselves of hatred and affection, of revenge and pity. The mind when clouded with such passions cannot easily discern the truth nor has any man ever gratified his own headstrong inclination and at the same time answered any worthy purpose.
In conclusion, it may be appropriate to refer to another journal, International Minds "Money in Politics", by John Brademas, where he shows how money and corruption are going together in politics: "The abuse of public office subverts popular confidence in the very idea of self-government".