After some 5000 years of trading amongst the
peoples of Europe, with varying degrees of enmity and success,
along comes the European Community and a raft of legislation
nailed together in a couple of decades.
Permit me to be a little controversial and sum
up the EC in a couple of paragraphs, before we get to the
point of this month’s News Analysis.
The EC was initially an international
protection racket designed to provide a basis to discourage to
warring Europeans from being beastly and beating up on their
neighbours for the 3rd time in a century. This was based on
the view that since world wars one and two were mostly based
on economic imbalance, then if everyone in Europe was to enjoy
the same basic economic conditions, there would be no need to
pop across the border for a spot of blitzkrieg, rape and
pillage. Thus was the idea of the EC largely cobbled together
at the end of world war two between the French( who had just
taken another all-round kicking), and the Germans, who had
been bombed flat and torn in half by the allies, mostly to
appease the Russians who didn’t fancy the notoriously
bumptious Germans attempting to place their towels on the
benches of St Petersburg again in a hurry. The idea was joined
by their immediate cronies and natural allies (who had also
taken a kicking), while the Brits just sat and basked in
glorious victory, while the Empire was dismantled in a series
of fire sales to help pay the Americans for various goods and
services rendered to keep the war effort alive.
The EC was thus conceived as a relatively
simple concept and idea, designed to provide a basis of
tariff-free trade between its members, by application the
simplest rules of economics – hence the name that we were
all sold when we eventually joined: "the Common
Market". That it has latterly become a social club with
intentions upon creating a Federal Europe is now well
documented, and not much appreciated by some, notably those
nations who have been inclined in the past to fight for the
independence rather harder than some others.
However, although the Brussels regime felt it
was on a roll as the states of Europe were trapped into
needing to join or suffer the consequences of exclusion, at
the end of the twentieth century, along came the Internet.
This is simplest and most efficient conduit for international
trade ever seen, and offers the opportunity to completely
replace and supersede the (by now) stunningly costly and
unnecessary practises and customs of the European Community.
The Internet has provided a global community that is of the
people, by the people. Credit card purchases and logistics
business like FedEx and UPS have brought any net businesses to
the letter boxes of the world without the need for anything by
way of national identity reengineering; moreover and most
significantly, it has not created any sort of unaccountable
administrative gravy train. The internet is run by its users
with minimal political interference.
Not surprisingly, since the joys of being part
of the Brussels gravy train are many and varied, the incumbent
"servants" of the EC have been reluctant to want to
change their ways and accept that their game is up;
nevertheless, the state of the Euro currency has sent out a
few clues in the past year and might reasonably be regarded as
a vote of no confidence.
Most recently, a "directive"
(Brussels speak for instructions from a bunch of bureaucrats
that you and I have barely any influence over) has appeared
that attempts to set down the rules of engagement for trading
on the internet. In brief, the intention is to ensure that
consumers should be able to have access to the goods and
services of another Member State on the same terms as the
population of that State.
If you fancy reading the entire tripe-laden
directive, then surf along to http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/en/lif/dat/1997/en_397L0007.html
and you will be regaled by such verbiage as:
"Whereas a Member State may ban, in the
general interest, the marketing on its territory of certain
goods and services through distance contracts; whereas that
ban must comply with Community rules; whereas there is already
provision for such bans, notably with regard to medicinal
products, under Council Directive 89/552/EEC of 3 October 1989
on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law,
regulation or administrative action in Member States
concerning the pursuit of television broadcasting activities
(9) and Council Directive 92/28/EEC of 31 March 1992…"
Eh..? You’ll doubtless hear more about the
efforts by Brussels to suggest ways to shove the internet
genie back its bottle and think of reasons why the EC should
still bother to exist at all – but you’ll also soon hear
about genuinely international initiatives to bring secure
trading practices to the net that are not in the dubious gift
of Brussels bureaucrats, but are of the people, and by the
First amongst these are several initiatives
that seek to give people back the control of their online
identities, free from the invasive attention of the sinister
attentions of various credit agencies, Brussels or Jack Straw.
The net is where it is today almost entirely
without political or government involvement, and yes there is
much scope for misuse for the net, so it’s up to you and I
to respect the opportunity we have to disengage the clammy
hand of over-government from all aspects of our lives, , and
give the busybodies no reason or scope to meddle.