The friend I’m talking about is the columnist Edward Lukas. I can only profess my friendship for Mr Lukas vicariously, for I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting him.
And the demise I mention has nothing to do with his dying, an event I hope won’t happen for many years. No, it’s just that after his article The EU’s Empire Is a Mess but We Must Stick by It I’m not sure I feel very friendly towards Mr Lukas.
My previous warm feelings were based on his articles about Putin’s Russia, for the columnist Lukas is one of the few pundits who see that kleptofascist state for the global menace it is.
Possessing such clarity of vision despite the fog of ignorant effluvia enveloping Putin in our press takes an analytical, dispassionate mind impervious to intellectual fashion and ideological befuddlement. One would naturally hope that such admirable qualities would be transferred on to other areas that catch Mr Lukas’s interest, affecting his comments on other menaces threatening us all.
Such as the EU, a contrivance not yet as violent as Putin’s Russia but rivalling it for corruption, mendacity and most refreshing amorality. Alas, as Mr Lukas’s article shows, when writing on this subject he leaves his intellectual assets behind, relying instead on meaningless, factually incorrect waffle, of the kind we gratefully receive from Dave, George and their jolly friends.
Why must we ‘stick by’ the EU? After all, such adherence involves denying two millennia of English, subsequently British, political history in the course of which England demonstrated to an envious world her most glorious achievement: the knowledge of how to run a country in a just, balanced, relatively nonviolent, civilised way.
At the heart of this glorious achievement, recognised as such by friend and foe alike, lies Britain’s unique sovereignty based on the monarch, Parliament and, in the phrase of my good friend Gerard Batten, the monarch in Parliament.
This sovereignty by definition has to be compromised, nay abandoned, when it has to be pooled in one giant concoction with the sovereignties of other countries whose political track record is, to be kind about it, less admirable.
Make no mistake about it: this is a tremendous, cataclysmic sacrifice to make, and it can only be made for overwhelmingly persuasive reasons. Alas, so far I haven’t heard a single one that doesn’t fall short of overwhelmingly persuasive, instead touching upon false, disingenuous and daft. And my former friend Edward Lukas hasn’t changed this lamentable situation at all.
He praises the EU for possessing “the most long-standing bulwark of the empire… the competition directorate, a formidable bureaucratic weapon… charged with maintaining the integrity of the single market. Without it, monopolies and goverment subsidies would disadvantage consumers.”
This is basic economic illiteracy that shouldn’t see the light of day lest both the author and the paper be grossly embarrassed. To start with, ‘competition directorate’ is an obvious oxymoron (we can just about accommodate, say, a ‘watchdog’), especially when qualified by the adjective ‘bureaucratic’.
Mr Lukas’s concern for the interests of consumers is truly touching, and his belief that government subsidies would be inimical to such interests is laudable. But surely he must know that the whole EU economy is one giant subsidy, a transfer of funds from competitive economies to moribund ones by way of bribing them into docility? What does he think, say, the Common Agricultural Policy is, if not a competition-stifling subsidy? What does he think happened in Greece a few months ago?
Surely a man of some intelligence must realise that the EU is a political, not economic entity, and claiming the opposite means just repeating EU propaganda? Apparently not.
Then Mr Lukas displayes his evidently sole area of expertise by correctly describing Russia’s gas export business as “abusive and discriminatory”. However, he then undoes his good work by crediting the EU with destroying it, “to the huge benefit of those once in its grip.”
What degraded (far from ‘destroyed’) this business, Mr Lukas, isn’t the EU that has been playing lickspittle to the KGB junta for decades, but the global collapse in hydrocarbon prices, augmented by the US-led advances in hydraulic fracturing. As a result, it became feasible for European countries to seek alternative sources of oil and gas, those not run by organised crime. The EU with its protectionist practices isn’t so much a facilitator of this process as a huge hindrance to it.
What else? Oh yes: “It is now possible to see how the common currency can work.” Exactly what made Mr Lucas’s eagle eye so acutely penetrating? The current and recent performance in the Eurozone, in which the euro acts as an unmistakeable millstone pulling struggling economies to the bottom? The plight of France being murdered by German competition because she can’t control and devalue her currency? Really.
And so on, in the same vein. Practically the only mild problem Mr Lukas has with the EU is its democratic deficit, something that has the potential of driving European electorates into the proffered embrace of the National Fronts of this world.
I’d say this is the least of the EU’s problems, for a political entity doesn’t necessarily have to be democratic to be just. The real problem is that the EU is a wicked ideological contrivance rivalling Putin’s junta and the Muslim threat for destructive potential.
One can only pray and hope, against much evidence, that the British people will find the strength to extricate themselves out of this mess in 2016.
A Happy New Year to all, including Mr Lukas who, one hopes, will henceforth stick to writing about things he understands.