Double speak

posted 23 March 2005

Something strikes me as odd in the EU's discussions about economic liberalisation, which is being resisted by France and Germany. In particular, this paragraph:

Critics - including Germany and France - believe liberalisation could result in companies shifting staff to cheaper bases in Eastern Europe, undercutting large EU economies and undermining social protections.

There are also concerns about the number of workers from eastern European countries who will head west, exacerbating the already high unemployment levels in Germany.

Why would workers be flocking west if there are no jobs to be had there? Especially if the jobs were migrating east. It seems to me that the reason all those people are heading west is because there are jobs to be had, and if you liberalised then all those jobs would move east, to where the people are, and there would be no extra immigration and no further job losses.

Of course, this falls down if there is an incentive to move west even if you can't get a job: a welfare state that supports the unemployed is already iffy in my eyes, and even more iffy to people who have suddenly migrated thousands of miles to be unemployed. But all you have to do is enact some welfare reform to resolve that.

But maybe I'm just a naive, idealistic neo-con?

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Picnic in the Hyde Park

posted 23 March 2005

Do you know me well enough to have my mobile number? Then this Friday, if the weather's nice, then go to Marks & Spencer*, buy yourself some strawberries and cream and any other picnic food you fancy, and then give me a call and I'll tell you where we are in the park.

* Really, nowhere else will do for this kind of thing.

Update: Sorry, that's Hyde Park. Although really, it's the only one worthy of the name The :-)

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