So how did such morally and intellectually superior people get so many things wrong in so many ways. I am not just talking about the failed Euro single currency project of course, thought we will restrict ourselves here to looking at that issue only.
We do not need hindsight to be aware of the the flaws in the Euro project; they were in plain view at the outset and were widely commented on by people from many business, political and economic backgrounds. It was never realistic to ram so many widely divergent economies into a single monetary system and expect them to function. The reckless of bending rules to ensure the admittance of Italy and Greece to the new currency when their government debt was at twice the permitted level of 60 per cent of GDP was pointed out with dismay by supporters of the EU as a free trade organisation and with high glee by nationalists and opponents of the Union. In spite of the warnings however, every national parliament, every central bank, every university faculty, every television and newspaper editorial meeting, there was a collective suspension of disbelief.
So what were these people who are supposed to be so clever thinking? Review what Euro-integrationists were saying when the single currency was launched and you hear a subtext. It's not so much that they liked the Euro and the internationalist, global government agenda, it's that they disliked the people who opposed it a. Listen, for example to former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy in 2002:
"The euro, despite gloomy predictions from anti-Europeans, has proved to be a success. We cannot afford to be isolated from our biggest and closest trading partner any longer."
Or to left leaning Conservative Ken Clarke:
"The reality of the euro has exposed the absurdity of many anti-European scares while increasing the public thirst for information. Public opinion is already changing as people can see the success of the new currency on the mainland."
For such men, the issue was never really economic, or even political, but tribal. Having defined the question, in their own minds, as a Kulturkampf between enlightened progressive one-worlders and ignorant xenophobic bigots bigots, they simply lost interest in facts and went to dwell in the land of ideologues (which lies to the East of Eden - h/t John Steinbeck).
The extraordinary thing is that many Europhiles and one worlders are still saying the Euro cannot be allowed to fail no matter what the cost. They are not in the least embarrassed by the economic destruction of ancient nations or the way the Brussels Bureaucratic Dictatoriat have trampled on democracy in Greece and Italy, or by the way things have turned out in general with a majority of Euro member states now in financial difficulty.
Take this example of detachment from reality written by historian Norman Davies writing for the Financial Times in November 2011:
What happens when continental banks put up the shutters and the cash machines are emptied. Will Minestrone kitchens appear on the streets of Rome or the Spanish bullrings house the destitute? Will the vaults of Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, be opened to provide shelter for the dispossessed?. Are Europeans going to relearn the art of barter (a lamb and two chickens for that Ford alternator). When the cash flow stutters back, machines distribute Deutschemarks, Drachma, Franc Escudos, Pesetas etc. The one worlders will try to blame Britain, Sweden and Denmark, the Euro refuseniks but especially us Little Englanders who they are sure have always ben a bunch of reactionary imperialists and are determined to resist in every way possible the establishment of the New World Order..
The weird thing is British eurosceptics are not enjoying the economic turmoil on our doorstep and more than we are enjoying the economic meltdown presided over by one Barack Hussein Obama across the pond. It is plainly in our interest that the European Union which takes 40 per cent of our exports, and comprises our oldest and best allies and friends-should prosper. That's precisely why we are alarmed at the readiness of eurocrats to sacrifice their peoples' and the community's future prosperity to keep their dream of a Single Superstate, an empire stretching from the Black Sea in the east to the Atlantic Coasts of Ireland and Scotland in the west and all of it run by unelected elitists. The other weird thing is that the Obama administration is enthusiastically taking a federalist, anti democratic stance (Federalism in the form of a European Constitution was resoundingly reject by the only two nations allowed to hold a referendum, France and The Netherlands. A vote was cancelled in Britain when the government of one - worlder Tony Blair realised their case was not just unwinnable, the result would be a major embarrassment.
Not that people like Norman Davies is much interested in what eurosceptics actually think, he is one of those lefties who think dissent should be suppressed by law. One of the oddities of the whole debate is that euroenthusiastic commentators who are quick to spot prejudice in others when it comes to racism, sexism or xenophobia are quite unable to detect it in themselves when it comes to people who don't share their Weltanschauung. None of this would matter were federalisation simply an academic debate but it is not, it is an argument about the furture of the western nations (and when we consider the one worlders' ambition to extend the European community to include Turkey, the near east and some north African nations it becomes clear what kind of future these people have in mind. The trouble is that the people running the EU refuse to learn anything from their errors. Since the crisis began four years ago, they have had only one response: massive loans. They have reacted to the failure of each bailout by accelerating the policy, until it has acquired a momentum of its own, like a runaway train: bailout-and-borrow, bailout-and-borrow, bailout-and-borrow.
Why this stubborn determination to pursue a strategy that has obviously failed and is impoverishing Europe? Supporters of the project have taken to offering the old cure-would-be-worse-than-the-disease shtick. They no longer dare argue that the euro has brought benefits two thirds of the citizens who use it believe it has made them poorer, according to Eurobarometer resorting to fearmongering instead by claiming that leaving would be more painful than the everlasting austerity that will be required to keep them in..
The tactics have a familiar ring in Britain. When the Exchange Rate Mechanism, the euro's baleful predecessor, was dragging down our economy, supporters of "the agenda" lined up to argue that, whatever the flaws in the system, we now had no option but to stick with it. Pulling out, declared John Major, would be "the inflationary option, the devaluer's option, a betrayal of the future of our country". In the event, of course, Britain's recovery began the day we left the ERM and continued for a decade before the Labour government blew it away to buy the votes needed for re - election.
A return to national currencies would present massive problems but none that are insurmountable. By definition, all the countries in the euro have recently managed precisely such a changeover: that's how they joined in the first place. Oddly enough it is impossible to find records of any eurocrats at that time raving about the huge costs and complexities of having to replace your banknotes. And, indeed, the switch would be easier now than it was a decade ago, because more money is digitised, and banknotes represent a smaller proportion of the currency in circulation.
Nor should leaving a currency union be any more complicated than joining one. The seventeen member of the Eurozone managed to change seamlessly from national currencies so why will it be any more difficult to change back? Well there is one simple reason. Because, to repeat what I have said in other articles, the euro was never about the economics. As Angela Merkel told the Bundestag in October: Nobody should take for granted another 50 years of peace and prosperity in Europe, and that's why I say, if the euro fails, Europe fails. We have a historical obligation: to protect by all means Europe's unification process begun by our predecessors after centuries of hatred and bloodshed.
Put like that of course the issue is literally beyond argument. If you oppose the euro, Mrs Merkel suggests, you're in favour of war. I invented a name for that style of politics, Populist Authoritarianism. The trouble is that, on any objective measure, the euro is stoking rather than soothing national antagonisms. Relations between Germany and Greece haven't been so poor since ... well, since the Second World War.
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