Take the Next Left to Euro Socialism

Article excerpt

Byline: ANDREW ALEXANDER

What we are not reminded of is that joining the Common Market was seen at the time as a way of arresting our drift towards socialism. The six members of the Common Market were then keener than Britain on free-market economics.

But, hardly surprising, no mysterious osmotic process took place which halted the Leftward drift in Britain (by both parties). We had to sort out our own problems.

It is a supreme irony, after our own home-based economic revolution, that it is now our membership of the EU which threatens to drag us into a regime of more regulation, more power to trade unions, more state control of markets - in short into more socialism.

THE fact that many millions in lottery grants have been spent on 11 British films - all but one box office flops - reminds me that, many years ago, a government minister asked me if I would consider joining the official body which then financed films.

He explained in so many words, some of them uncharitable, that it would help to know how these people's minds worked.

My reply was that while approving of poachers turning gamekeepers, I did not think the reverse desirable.

Besides, it could be embarrassing to be associated with films which tossed taxpayers' money down the drain, however much I might oppose particular decisions.

ON TOP of which, since films are one of the biggest selling commodities of the day, I could not and cannot see why a penny of taxpayers' money should be involved.

There is nothing mysterious about public funds proving wasteful for films - or other arts activities.

These arrangements are a licence to lose money. When the cost of capital is nil, profits are liable to be nil, too. At the very least, the normal commercial disciplines are weakened.

Which brings me back to an old theme about grants for the arts from taxation. They are a means by which the middle classes make the working classes pay for their pleasures.

Ministers, of course, are usually middle class, so they see little wrong with this. In the end, however, this leads to absurdities such as unmade beds and dissected sheep being called art.

In music, taxpayers' money can be used to produce music and operas of stupefying dissonance and a staggering lack of musicality.

It is called being 'adventurous'.

But if the cost of being adventurous is nil, what can you expect to follow but foolishness?

HE annual publication of government papers of 30 years ago is always fascinating. We learn this year, for example, that when it came to the political implications of joining the Common Market, Ted Heath was not being stupid or short-sighted - merely dishonest. …