Natalie Solent

Politics, news, libertarianism, Science Fiction, religion, sewing. You got a problem, bud? I like sewing.

E-mail: nataliesolent-at-aol-dot-com (I assume it's OK to quote senders by name.)

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( 'Nother Solent is this blog's good twin. Same words, searchable archives, RSS feed. Provided by a benefactor, to whom thanks.
I also sometimes write for Samizdata and Biased BBC.)

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Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Only one-third of Britons see benefit in continued EU membership, says the Eurobarometer survey as reported by Fraser Nelson in The Business.

Unfortunately every time I try to call up the PDF of the Eurobarometer survey it gets stuck on "2 items remaining", so I can't read it. I'll have to go on the Business article and this post in EU Referendum (which is where I got the story). Richard North comments:

For the Tory leadership contest, the report has some considerable significance. Compared with the tentative steps suggested by the candidates to effect a selective withdrawal from the EU, the survey shows that public opinion is way ahead of what is on offer. Arguably, the two Davids are misreading public opinion and risk missing the boat.

Anything that brings the day we get out of the swamp closer is good news, including evidence that might convince politicians that getting out is good politics. However the survey does not, alas, give me the impression of either a Europe, or even a Britain, of suppressed free marketeers and liberal internationalists. Um, nooo. One of the paradoxes of debate about the EU is activists for withdrawal are usually far less prone to security-blanket nationalism than the general public.

Although The Business says:

The survey had much to support Blair’s theory that voters are ripe for liberalism. Of all various words tested, “monopoly” solicited the most hostile reaction (69%). Next came “protectionism” (49%) and then “globalisation” (46%). Concern for unemployment was he highest in its 30-year history. Some 47% of respondents said the EU should prioritise fighting unemployment. Blair wants the EU to liberalise to meet this goal.
I fear that the first and last sentences of the paragraph above are wishful thinking on the part of The Business. Hostility to the word "Monopoly" may signal hostility to corporatism, rent-seeking and big business in bed with the State to the sophisticated writers of business-oriented journals but to most people it signals hostility to capitalism; hostility to "globalisation" needs no further explanation; and I have a feeling that when they say the EU should prioritise fighting unemployment they are more likely to mean the introduction of a compulsory 35 hour week than its abolition.

Still, it was nice to see "protectionism" in the list of hostility-arousing words. I wish I knew the overlap between those respondents who didn't like protectionism and those who didn't like globalisation. If large, it means there are a lot of idiots out there who oppose globalisation in the same way that Defoe said the country fellows of his time opposed popery - without knowing whether popery was a man or a horse. If the overlap is low it tells me that there are some right-minded and some wrong-minded folk: a more optimistic scenario. However this next set of figures from Eurobarometer did not dispel my gloomy feeling that the ideology that will really capture the hearts of Europeans is one that will allow them to support both Naomi Klein and Jean-Marie Le Pen:

The 440-page Eurobarometer report offers several other insights on the EU, especially the growing hostility towards the United States, which a majority of 55% consider to be a “negative force” for peace. Only 25% consider it a “positive force”. Britain is found to be little different, with 47% seeing the US as a negative force, and only 23% disagreeing.
Seeing or not seeing the US as a "positive force for peace" is code for "Do you support the Iraq war?" While I am sorry to see so many of my countrymen would prefer tyrants to stay in power, I suspect this opposition does not, especially in Britain, translate into growing hostility to the United States per se.

(Tried to see the actual survey again. Nope. Still jams up.)

Never mind, never mind. Dank November it may be, but Spring is in the air when I read words such as these:

Particular dismay with the EU was found in Britain, where a majority – 42% to 40% – believe the UK has not benefited from its 30-year membership and only 36% of those questioned considered membership “a good thing”.

Of the 25 members, only 10 countries say they have a “positive image” of the EU. Again, Britain is at the bottom of this poll, with only 28% regarding Brussels in a positive light. Ireland records the highest satisfaction, with 68%.

All 10 new EU members are shown to be going cold on the euro, with a marked drop in those believing it would be good for their countries, the fugures falling to 38%, from 44% and interest in the single currency is now a minority issue, at 48%.