Now, if you live north of the Watford Gap in the United Kingdom, there might be some difficulty in grasping what the U.K. economy actually is and there is enough evidence to suggest that, despite the cuts, the NHS and higher education remain the economic pillars of many communities. In fact, in much of the United Kingdom they are not only the main employers, they are the sole employers of any note. Therefore, while the German press hardly takes note of the fact that the Opel factory in Rüsselsheim will no longer produce the Astra, something which could mean the loss of up to 3,200 jobs in Bochum because of production of another car being moved to Rüsselheim from there, the news that production of the Astra will be moved to Ellesmere Port near Liverpool is given no little exposure in the British media. What is not such a big deal for one macro economy, would appear to be one for another economy.
The point is, in Germany there is still a manufacturing base, a rather big manufacturing base, with cars and machines being exported all over the world. That is why, when the Guardian reports that David Cameron believes that Britain is setting an example for the eurozone in overcoming the current crisis and that the United Kingdom was “moving in the right direction”, we are entitled to laugh. After all, although he does at least have the sense to mention that without the recent German growth figures Europe would already be in a recession, it is exactly those very same austerity measures that are supposedly restoring competitiveness in the United Kingdom that are being applied elsewhere in Europe. The fact is Mr Cameron, whether we like it or not, the economies of many European countries, including dear old Blighty, cannot compete with that of Germany in particular.
Nevertheless, there is another factor which London in particular should consider, and that is in a united Europe it is not that important that everyone competes. For, while the “little Englanders” like it or not, identity is not static, there is a European identity taking root throughout the continent and when we look to Germany, Austria and the Scandinavian countries as being the economic powerhouses on which the rest of the continent depends, we might also accept that in a united Europe this is not necessarily a bad thing. Well, we can at least be sure of one thing; when it comes to looking after the periphery, Greece, Spain, Ireland and Portugal will be left with substantially more than Liverpool, Gateshead and Glasgow, which, of course means that should the eurozone survive Europeans will be less alienated from one another than the people of Liverpool, Gateshead, Newcastle, Leeds etc are from that ruling little clique that does the City of London’s bidding and who remain a hinderance to any real restructuring of the economy.