On My Terms Only

The EU FlagI’ve been examining these claims that the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) (who are currently gathering favour in Britain amongst voters) don’t bother attending votes at the European Parliament.

As a nation, we currently stand at 79.8% participation, or 26th out of 28. And according to votewatch.eu, that average is pulled down by a number of UKIPpers. The top score is Croatia, a recent addition to the union achieving 94.82%. The top participating long standing member of the EU was Austria, scoring 91.25%.

Other significant scores were economic powerhouse Germany (87.21%), and the bordering bankruptcy states (Portugal: 87.63%; Spain: 84.1%; France: 83.68; Greece: 83.45% and Ireland: 82.59%). I will also point out the only real success story of socialism, Sweeden (86.32%), and the recently bank looted Cyprus (81.87%). They’re all benefiting from the EU, and they’re all more active than we are.

As I look at this I want to ask: how often do we decide we have to do things only on our own terms? Why is it that when we see the European Union managing things poorly that we insist that a clear exit is the only way to go. How many jobs have been lost because neither union nor employer would compromise? And how often do we say this over day to day matters too?

I believe it is a dangerous pride when we as members of society start to say ‘it’s my way or the highway’. It might sound good in a charismatic speech, but in a world where there is 101 ways to skin a cat, and 101 different people, it’s an arrogant stand.

A united Europe is actually a good thing. I personally relished the opportunity to travel this summer in my own car across five member states, crossing borders at 130kph. Free trade, world wide economic bartering power and the sharing of wealth to make opportunities to others less fortunate are noble goals.

Sure, in its current state, the said union is in a big mess. But is the solution to write it off as a bad job? Or is it to be pragmatic and fix it? If the UKIPpers wish to be dog’s in the manger, expressing their protest through converting the people’s voice into an all or nothing ultimatum, then what they are really doing is turning the European crisis into a self fulfilling prophecy.

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Glass Half Full?

Image Credit: Mike Smith, Las Vegas Sun for USA Today

Image Credit: Mike Smith, Las Vegas Sun for USA Today

Why do I feel bad for what I believe?
I find that what seems instinctive others don’t conceive.
When I look around and see that people are oblivious,
To an oncoming catastrophe that’s going to be hideous!

They say my glass is only half full,
And that living my ideals makes life so dull.
Yet a part inside of me is shouting the line,
That if we carry on as we are, things are far from fine.

It’s nice going after the individual to be caring,
But saying the individual needs to care for themselves is so daring.
It plucks the emotions and makes you feel warm,
But destroys their independence in every form!

But just a little is okay, I hear them say,
That would be nice, to our fellow human beings?
Well the road to hell was always paved with good intentions, and in every previous generation of society if you didn’t work you didn’t eat. Nature took care of that.

But in today’s world we think we can beat natural laws,
With political union, written scrip and clause.
And no matter how we hide it, living on borrowed time cannot last,
Soon we’re going to find ourselves living back in our past.

by Christopher Barker