Potiphar12's Blog
An Octogenarian in the modern world


Right now some Scots want out of Britain and some Brits want out of Europe. The arguments for and against an independent Scotland seem very complex and will never be proved either way because you can’t go back afterwards and try the other thing. But I can understand the emotional need for an independent identity, in no way subject to the will of outsiders. I can see that it is an attractive vision. What bugs me a bit is that the Scots should feel that their national identity needs any burnishing. Everybody knows they are different from the English. They have their own football league and their own Rugby team and their own accent and their own climate. Their national identity is unassailable. The Scottish regiments are equal to the best English ones.

Are the English messing them about in the same way Europe is messing us all about? Today we have Cameron arguing for restriction on immigrants and the EU saying that freedom of movement is a basic element and non-negotiable. There are three variables in this equation – Population and National Wealth and Political System. If Population goes up and National Wealth remains the same then the average quantity of goodies per body goes down. If the Political System is broadly egalitarian then the level of deprivation is more equal and we all suffer a decline in living standards. If the Political System is skewed then some suffer much more than others. If the people who swarm from poorer countries into richer ones in search of a better life are the less able members then living standards will fall. UNLESS, that is, the receiving country can find a way to generate extra wealth.

It is almost like water. If you have six  jars on a table, each with a different level of water in it, the levels will remain different as long as the jars are not connected. If you fix a tap at the bottom of each and connect all six together, then the levels will equalise. Is that the intention of the EU bureaucrats? If so, the people in the jars that started off with an above average level are going to see things get worse. They will have to work smarter or harder in some way. It seems unjust to deny freedom of movement and in the long run it is probably impossible. But we ought to understand the impications. We ought to work out a strategy that will ensure against levelling down.


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