Wednesday 23 January 2013

Europe and civil society

So now we have it. At last, the speech. What I find interesting about this debate is how it is always pitched in terms of what is good for the UK and the assumption that the rest of the continent has different interests.

In fact I suggest the direction of travel set out by the PM is good for Europe too. The European institutions are too focused on bureaucracy and aggrandising powers to themselves. It is a Europe of institutions, not people.

The EU needs to decentralise its decision making. It needs to involve civil society more in how the system operates and build more power to communities and citizens, not for the EU institutions. The move to more central control for the Eurozone is a process that will ultimately fail because it does not deliver people and communities. So Cameron is right to argue for looser links with Brussels. But this is what the rest of Europe needs too.

I'm just back from a great breakfast at the St Pancras Booking Hall with Sarah Neville form the FT. An eggs benedict to set me up for the day, with Eurostar in the background appropriately!

And finally, I'm indebted to my brother's daily retail news column for the following quote.

Gerard Way, the lead vocalist of the American rock band “My Chemical Romance”:

“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching”.

How appropriate for a third sector Leader.

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