Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt mentioned the EU and the Soviet Union in the same sentence, with predictable results in certain quarters: bleating and baying and gnashing of teeth.
That’s pure reflex, like a dog reaching for its lead when hearing the word ‘walkies’. The likes of Oliver Kamm, one of the most idiotic columnists in Britain, are barking ‘inflammatory’ and ‘false’ in the same canine response.
All Mr Hunt said is that the EU seeks to punish every member trying to leave, and in that it resembles the USSR.
Of course to the Kamms of this world any negative remark about the EU is ipso facto inflammatory: their tinderbox is always ready to go off. But how is Mr Hunt’s statement false?
The USSR did punish those trying to leave its tender mercies, as the denizens of East Germany, Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia will confirm. Hence until its disintegration the USSR never lost a single satellite.
It only ever lost one constituent republic, the Karelo-Finnish one (not because it was allowed to secede, but because its entire population quietly slipped across the border into Finland).
In the same vein only Britain has so far tried to leave the EU. And the EU is trying to respond with punitive measures.
These aren’t the same as in the USSR, but the objective is the same: to make sure that once in equals never out, and that all other members get the message. The USSR relied on violence, the EU relies on perfidy and blackmail, but that’s a distinction without a difference.
Thus the EU has tried to rig every national referendum or, that failing, make the offending nation vote again until it got it right. That’s precisely what the EU and its British quislings are trying to engineer here with the help of economic blackmail.
The list of threats is long: all European firms will pull out of Britain, the City of London will be boycotted, British planes won’t be allowed to land in EU countries, Britain will starve – that sort of thing.
All in all, any unbiased observer should be satisfied that the narrow parallel drawn by Mr Hunt is justified both factually and historically.
For sure, a broader parallel between any two political entities will always be fraught with oversimplification and inaccuracy, and a complete analogy is well nigh impossible.
Yet no political contrivance is new under the sun, and one is completely within one’s right to point out both the differences and similarities.
In this case, I’d suggest that any similarities between the EU and history’s most diabolical regime are damning, and these are plentiful.
Like the USSR, the EU is based on a lie. The founding Soviet lie was that power would rest in the hands of workers or peasants. Yet whenever those groups tried to claim even a modicum of independence, they were machine-gunned or poison-gassed en masse.
The founding EU lie was that it pursued no political goals, and its aims were mostly economic. Yet back in the early 1950s, one of the EU godfathers, Jean Monnet, explained that was subterfuge:
“Europe’s nations should be guided towards the superstate without their people understanding what is happening. This can be accomplished by successive steps, each disguised as having an economic purpose but which will irreversibly lead to federation.”
The EU started as it meant to go on. Every statement issued by its operators or supporters is a lie or, to be charitable, a falsehood.
It’s not committed to free trade, as they claim. On the contrary, the EU is a protectionist bloc, which is rather the opposite of free trade.
Contrary to their mendacious claims, it’s the US nuclear umbrella and NATO that have preserved peace in Europe since 1945 – not the EU, which was only created in 1992.
Nor has there been peace in Europe. Just ask the Serbs, Croats and Bosnians – they’ll tell you. Or else talk to the Ukrainians and Chechens, who are also European denizens. In all those cases, the EU made matters worse rather than better.
What EU functionaries mean by peace is the absence of war between Germany and France, whose bureaucrats jointly concocted the idea of post-war European federalism while the latter was still occupied by the former.
The post-war shape of Europe the Nazi and Vichy chaps envisaged was remarkably similar to what the Nazis planned if they won the war. In this aspect, the EU follows not so much the Soviet as the German model.
This goes back to the Prussian-dominated Zollverein, the customs union Prussia used to unite most German principalities under its aegis. The resulting pan-German federation was a reduced model of the federated pan-European Third Reich and then the federated EU.
Yet in many other aspects the EU does resemble the USSR – mutatis mutandis. True enough, the EU has no concentration camps, it doesn’t murder millions of people, and it relies on bribery and blackmail to keep itself together, not untrammelled violence.
That hardly needs pointing out, as all those dogs pouncing on Jeremy Hunt insist on doing. But that doesn’t mean there are no similarities. There are, plenty.
Political power in the free world derives either from divine right or democratic vote or, as in Britain, both. In both the USSR and the EU it derives from neither.
Like the USSR, the EU is led by bureaucrats, unelected and, which is worse, unaccountable. The European Parliament exists only in a rubberstamping capacity, like the Supreme Soviet did.
In both the USSR and the EU, power radiates from the centre (Moscow and Brussels respectively) to the periphery, where it’s personified by obedient figureheads typically despised by the locals.
In both the EU and the USSR, politics trumps economics. It doesn’t matter if the people are impoverished as long as the state hangs on, and the ruling elite enriches itself. Talk to the Greeks, Italians, Spaniards and Portuguese if you’re interested in details.
Or even talk to the French themselves, throttled by the garrotte of EU red tape in addition to their own. They – and most other EU members – will also tell you how the yoke of the euro makes them less able to compete with the Germans.
The single European currency, like the single European state, is about not economic prosperity but political control. In that too the EU resembles the USSR.
If Jeremy Hunt had said all that at the Conservative Conference, he would have been not merely abused, but drawn and quartered.
As it is, he only has to contend with vituperative and hare-brained columnists, like Kamm, and boozy, fanatical EU functionaries, like Juncker. This way Mr Hunt only has to pinch his nostrils, not duck.