Levantine’s interview

OK, the interview meme has finally caught up with me … Ahmed Weir has picked me at random to answer five questions of his choosing. So here’s my answers:

Should the UK go more into the EU and adopt the Euro or should we withdraw?

I’ve got mixed feelings about the EU, because on one hand countries need to be part of international bodies to survive, unless they are an empire. When Britain had an empire, of course it didn’t need the EU; others (like Germany and, earlier, Poland) carved empires out of their neighbours’ countries rather than far off countries. I’m not entirely happy about some of the stupid legislation that comes out of Brussels (such as the impending new copyright laws, which are said to be even more stringent than America’s DMCA), and we don’t get the full benefits anyway (like being able to travel to the continent without a passport). I fear that it’s a choice between the EU and NAFTA, and I prefer the EU.

I don’t mind anymore one way or the other about the Euro. On one hand, it’ll lead to price gouging when it first appears and also binds us much closer to countries like Portugal and Italy which have long been notorious for their worthless currencies. On the other, if they cough, we’ll get a cold anyway.

Why Indigo Jo?

It’s a long story, and it relates to an interest I had in the mid-1990s, about which I used to run a website. I pulled it down in 1997, but when I left Uni in 1998, I took the Hotmail address indigojo [at] hotmail dot com, because I couldn’t think of a better nickname.

Should Turkey join the EU?

I used to think that Turkey’s joining the EU would lead to some of its anti-Muslim laws being struck down on human rights grounds, but in light of what has happened in France, I’m not so sure. I suspect it will lead to Turkey’s reactionary military losing its influence, which can only be a good thing. I raised this issue on the Fistful of Euros blog a few weeks ago; people seem so concerned about an Islamic party winning an election and forget the fact that this is a country with a history of military coups.

Who should Muslims in the UK vote for at the upcoming General Election?

Generally, I’d say the Lib Dems; but Muslims should vote tactically for candidates known to be sympathetic to civil liberties and to wider Muslim issues. I’d say don’t vote Tory, because they’ll drag this country in the direction of Australia, and don’t vote for a Tony Crony, for obvious reasons.

Should corporeal punishment be brought back into schools, and would it solve the discipline problem?

I’m not sure it would solve the discipline problem anymore; as discussed elsewhere, I think the breakdown of the family and poor diet has as much to do with poor discipline as the lack of corporal punishment. Some kids would refuse to be caned anyway, or respond with violence. I’m not against it in principle, but I don’t like the idea of it being used against petty rule-breakers and people who answer back a teacher, and not against kids who attack other kids for no good reason.

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