Tuesday 21 January 2020

Kevin Myers: We may as well have a referendum on the engines of the Airbus 380 or anything else that we don't understand

Lucinda Creighton's warning yesterday about the consequences of a "No" vote in the next Eurovote -- that it would give out a "wrong" signal to investors, whatever that might mean -- will probably turn out to be the intellectual high point in the referendum campaign.

Yes, the blonde leading the bland. We may as well have a referendum on the Higgs-boson Collider, or the engines of the Airbus 380, or anything else we can't understand, because it won't make any difference anyway.

Everything about the European Union is about endorsing the decisions reached by an indoctrinated elite, who have been baptised in the waters of a Euro-Jordan. They have seen the light. They know. We must follow. And whenever we rejected their advice, we were asked the same question again, with some added voodoo threats about the consequences of failure to comply.

What were we warned would happen to us if we didn't ratify Lisbon? Was it something like this: that we'd have debts of many trillions, unemployment heading toward the half-million, mass-emigration of our young, over half of all mortgages would be in negative equity, and the government would have to borrow over €40m a day to keep ticking over? Well, that's what's actually happened to us good compliant little Europeans. We were told to use a bogus currency, the interest rates for which were set to satisfy German needs, not ours. It was like giving children plutonium as play-doh. The consequences are for all to see: the greatest disaster since the economic war, which was also self-inflicted for similarly ideological reasons.

This much is obvious. The European Union does not work. The southern flank has leprosy, and might well simply drop off. Untold misery is being inflicted on the Greeks. Similar torment probably awaits the Spanish and the Portuguese and even Italy. We have no idea, none whatever, of where our misery might end, as our property market plummets like an anvil down a well to Alice Springs. And do you know why the ordeal is so unremitting? Because there is no Plan B. We must go wherever our Euro-elite leads us. No matter the horrors, no matter the personal ruin that engulfs tens of thousands, and soon hundreds of thousands, we must stick to the Euro-project, just like the old communist states would have to stick to perpetually revised, never-ending Five-Year Plans.

Politicians like Big Ideas. It makes them different from us. It also makes them dangerous. Big Ideas give them the adrenaline fix that results from having a cause, a vision, an abstract objective. Also, they cannot leave well alone: their instinct, in all societies, is to meddle in people's lives. Harness those endlessly intrusive ambitions with a Big Idea, and you have the EU equivalent of the Dnepropetrovsk Dam, or The Great Leap Forwards.

Look: I read every single newspaper yesterday about the forthcoming referendum, but I still couldn't tell you what it's about. I suspect it's actually rather like catechism classes: you had to remember to recite various verbal formulae without having the least idea what they meant. But I guarantee you this: there will be no adverse consequences to our voting 'No'. The blonde above might wave her finger at us and mumble some mumbo jumbo about it sending out the wrong message, but she won't spell out what she means, because she can't. Nothing worse will happen than the catastrophe that has already befallen us.

Ask yourself this. Why has Canada got a different currency from the USA? Culturally and economically, they're virtually identical. But politically they're not, and the Canadian dollar suits Canada's needs. So why couldn't Europe learn from the most successful political and economic continent in the world? Politics first, currency second. Instead, currency in Europe has been employed to drive a political project that is otherwise unsustainable. It's not putting the cart before the horse: the horse, after all, can at least push the cart. It's putting the plough before the horse. The euro is now actually an impediment to union.

For misery on a gargantuan disaggregating scale, unheralded since World War Two, now awaits much of Europe, while those intelligent industrious Germans follow their ancient compulsions to govern. Now I like and admire the Germans, and they probably don't even realise that they are repeating their earlier experiments in dominating their neighbours, as in 1870, 1914 and 1939. But it's too much of a pattern for comfort. Now just watch as Germans buy the Greek islands, one by one.

And as for us, in our desperate desire not to be British, we have embraced a Big Idea that doesn't work, instead of going for a small idea: free-trade with the EU, and our own currency, but not legal subordination, and absolutely not freedom of population-movement. But we weren't grown up enough for that; why, we couldn't even legalise homosexual acts without Europe telling us to, which is probably the reason why our political elite became such uncompromising Europhiles. Ah well, never mind. Now, wave goodbye to Queenstown, children! We're off on an unsinkable voyage to the future!

Irish Independent

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