Potiphar12's Blog
An Octogenarian in the modern world

COMPETITION AND THE EU

The conflict goes on day after day with not much new being said on either side. Every claim is disputed, or branded as an outright lie.An unavoidable fact is that we just don’t know what will happen if stay or if we go. Given my own state of ignorance, the voting decision is bound to have an emotional element. I do want my nation to be independent and I don’t want it to be told what to do by foreigners. But I ask myself whether my stance as a firm BREXITEER has any other justification.

I am reading a book called “The rise and fall of the great powers”. It is mostly about European regimes and attributes the dominance of one or another for a long period to the political diversity of Europe and the impetus that competition gave to technical, scientific, economic and intellectual development. The writer compares this with centralised bureaucracy which stultified China and the Mogul Empire and the Ottoman Empire. The spirit of the EU is about centralisation and conformity and bureaucratic control and the elimination of diversity. It is anti-experiment and anti-progress

Competition is a matter of US against THEM. That can’t be denied and will always upset some people. But competition means progress. If you form a local football team then your first need is for an opponent to measure your effectiveness against. If your team gets thrashed, you immediately look for ways to improve. You think of ideas that you did not think of before. To some extent you drum up an atmosphere of enmity towards your opponents to motivate your team to try harder. It normally stays within bounds because each side needs the other. Competition can’t exist without diversity. If the other team beats yours easily then they must be doing something differently.

Here is a contemporary example of new thinking that challenges conformity. Eddie Jones has just helped England to win a rugby match against Australia (in Australia)  by substituting a player before half-time. Apparently that is most unusual. Eddie says, “Why not?” He saw that the way the game was being played demanded a player of a different style. So he acted. It goes back further, to the appointment of Australian coaches to both English Cricket and English Rugby. There was a recognition in high places of the fact that in this area we were just not good enough. Outside the EU we shall be forced to compete. Inside the EU we shall be forced to cooperate in a dull, doomed desperate descent into mediocrity.

Any England v. Australia gets people heated up on both sides. But how awful it would be if either country withdrew!

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