To Jam or Not to Jam

There are, would you believe, European inspired rules about what is, and isn’t, jam (the Jam and Similar Products (England) Regulations 2003). Mad, but true. It reminds me of the Yes Minister episode about the Euro sausage. It amazes me that time and money is really expended on such nonsense.

Let me be clear, I’m no Daily Mail reading EU hating UKIP voting Little Englander. I believe we are better off as a country being in the EU than not. However, I also believe its institutions are in major need of reform: a budget that consistently fails audit; an organisation that is forcing savage austerity on some of its members yet wants to spend more on itself; the bloated extravagance of the Common Agricultural Policy; the obese bureaucracy; and expenses that would British MPs salivate, to give a few examples.

I would prefer an EU that is better governed and less wasteful; an EU that promotes less neo-liberal economics and more social liberalism; is less bureaucratic and has a looser grip on its member states. I don’t swallow Cameron’s take on it as his policy is a sop to his right-wingers, it doesn’t flow from any genuine belief. Right-wing Euro scepticism is not a British phenomenon, there is growing anti EU feeling across the continent, especially in those countries like Greece forced to take austerity medicine. The EU needs to seriously reform itself, make itself more democratic and accountable, adopt more liberal social policies and rein in the rampant neo-liberal economics that have caused the current crisis and have no answers as to solving it. I believe reform is vital, but whether the EU is capable of carrying it out, especially as it continues to expand, is doubtful. And if it can’t use this economic crisis as a spur for doing so, you have to ask what the point of it is.

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