And although some people may find it overtly anti-European or anti-Euro, I do not think so. I found it so incredibly balanced and describes all the various issues in a really clear and effective manner. It has been a really good book for a layperson to understand and relate to all the various issues.
I would say he really thinks that things cannot and should not stay the same. That is not to say we should leave the EU, only if it is unable to change.
I am still an undecided voter though. But I do think David Cameron's election pledge to hold a referendum will be excellent for the UK but also really really good for Europe. I think it will help to drive the agenda for Europe in very positive ways.
For me, it has been an excellent book to read at this particular point on my learning curve.
I have summarised below just some of the points that I have found interesting. And I am sure that some of these will feature in more detail in subsequent blogs.
1. That it was a political union from the outset, based on the Treaty of Rome. I am sure this was played down in the UK referendum in the 70's.
2. What are the political benefits of this Union? If it is a political union then it needs to rectify the democratic deficit that has built up over time. When politicians can't be removed and are isolated from the electorate, decisioning making becomes poorer.
3. He says that France was against German Reunification, and only agreed on the basis that the Euro was launched earlier than envisaged, even though the Germans felt that all the various economies were not properly synchronised, i.e. too early.
4. The discussion on how the state of the world when the EU/EEC was being formed was so vastly different.
Firstly, at the time the USA and the USSR were the dominant partners, but this power axis has changed significantly and the influence of countries like China, India, Japan and Malayasia and Brazil has increased. All these econmies feature much more significantly in the balance of economic power than in the 1950s and 1960s.
Secondly, the impact of technology on the communications system, e.g the internet, on creating a truly global economy in a manner that increased the ease with which countries can trade.
The changes have undermined the original rationale for the development of the EU.
He also highlights how compared to the dramatic development of these other economies, Europe has just underperformed relatively, focusing on trying to development the internal economy within Europe in isolation from proper development of the potential with the rest of the world.
A really good read, that I found actually quite encouraging!
.....the undecided voter