Everybody’s talking about Dave’s epoch-making oration on Europe, which he originally planned to deliver on 22 January.
He’s now going to speak next Friday because Angela and François told him to. So what was that about a more independent stance vis-à-vis the EU?
The whole thing about winning concessions from the EU is mendacious on so many levels that one would need to write a book just to list them. The very premises from which Dave proceeds render impossible even a remote approximation of sound thinking or indeed veracity.
If Dave honestly thinks that the EU will accept a longer lead to keep Britain on, that’s even worse than simply lying. For even to harbour such a hope spells a tragic misunderstanding of what the EU is, what it’s for and what brought it about in the first place. Yes, of course, for purely tactical reasons Angela and François may agree to take a step backwards, but only in the confident hope of then making giant forward strides.
The EU came into being as a result of acute personality disorders suffered by France and Germany. Ever since 1870, when Prussia served notice of the new balance of power in Europe, the French have been paranoid about the Germans. But, as we know, even paranoiacs can have real enemies, and Germany did her best to stoke up France’s psychosis.
The Franco-Prussian war was initiated by France, by the way, or specifically by Napoleon III who sought to outdo his uncle in martial grandeur. Prussia’s victory and the subsequent unification of Germany imbued France with eternal fear of the new country’s military – and above all economic – might. This explains France’s unremittingly aggressive policy towards Germany in the early 20th century, something that the testosterone-rich Germans were only too willing to reciprocate.
Every subsequent catastrophe of the 20th century, from the First World War to the Second, from the Bolshevik revolution in Russia to the Nazi revolution in Germany, was either a direct result of the Franco-German enmity or at least its highly predictable indirect consequence.
But after the Second World War, both Germany and France found themselves at the margins of world power. The meaningful shots were either fired or at least called by the USA and the USSR, and the fragile self-confidence of the two erstwhile enemies suffered serious attrition.
Essentially, the Germans no longer wanted to be Germans, but the French did. Neither were in good mental health.
Quite rightly horrified by the cannibalistic beast having sprung out of their collective breast, the Germans opted to channel all that ferocity into making toasters and fridges. The French, who had for all intents and purposes belonged to the Third Reich during the war, realised their chances in any economic battle against the newly vegetarian Germany were even slimmer than in a military confrontation. France’s hopes of regaining a respectable place among the great powers were going the way of the Maginot Line, made irrelevant by the outflanking Boches.
The interests of the two countries began to converge: the Germans were hoping that the French would give them a course in anger management; the French wanted to ride Germany’s economic coattails, what with their own clothes threadbare.
The more ruthless and unprincipled Franco-German politicians then got together and mapped a strategy for either tricking or forcing other countries into a union dominated by Germany and France. The blueprint they followed was provided by the 19th-century Zollverein, initiated by Prussia as a mere customs union and then gradually used to bring most German principalities under her sway.
The interest of other countries, including Britain, never even came into it. They were swept aside by Germany’s desire to redeem herself morally, France’s urge to redeem herself economically, and both seeking to regain worldwide status.
In every substantive sense, both countries had lost the war, and their people yearned to reclaim some self-respect. Or rather such impulses were exploited by politicians who themselves were driven only by a manic quest for pan-European totalitarianism with a human face (preferably without bloodshed and concentration camps).
Any totalitarian setup depends on staying totalitarian to stay alive. One tiny push against it, and those dominoes may start tumbling one by one. How totalitarian power is projected is immaterial compared to the dire necessity of indeed projecting it.
In expanding its own totalitarian power, the EU has relied on bribery, blackmail and an endless stream of lies. The euro is a child of all these commendable stratagems: it enabled the EU to pour oceans of Monopoly money into the members’ coffers, thus bribing them into ultimately ruinous spending; the EU then blackmailed the members into accepting the bribes even after their pernicious effects became evident; and the EU lied through its teeth every step of the way.
The EU represents a triumph of moral, historical, political, social and economic evil. Such triumphs are always short-lived, but their consequences aren’t. Europe has never really recovered from the first big war a century ago, and it’ll never recover from the evil of the EU. At best, the disease can be kept in check, its symptoms mitigated.
Where does this leave Dave and his non-starter of a speech? He either doesn’t understand or pretends not to understand that the true desiderata of the EU are not economic but political, springing not from rational thought but from a variety of psychoses, insane powerlust prime among them.
Neither he nor, to be fair, anyone else has ever come up with a single intelligent argument in favour of the EU, and especially Britain’s belonging to it. All one hears is stupid, ignorant noises, such as about the EU, rather than NATO, having been the guarantor of peace in Europe. Or that the EU makes Europe more prosperous, a claim for which there’s no empirical evidence, as opposed to the plainly visible mountain of evidence against. Or that trading with Europe would be impossible without belonging to a single European state. Or that no European country can prosper outside the EU – and Dave even has the effrontery to offer Norway and Switzerland as proofs, whereas they prove exactly the opposite.
Any courageous statesman wouldn’t even mention a referendum, for ours isn’t a plebiscitary democracy. Instead he would use his position to launch a campaign for immediate withdrawal from this morally corrupt concoction. That would be merely reversing a constitutional outrage for which there has never been either political consensus or plausible justification.
Alternatively, a statesman lacking the courage of his convictions would offer an immediate in/out referendum – and use the power of his office to campaign for the out vote, which would be the easiest campaign in history. He would thus pass the buck to the people, while ensuring the right result anyhow.
Alas, Dave isn’t a statesman but a PR flak with spivocratic tendencies. Next Friday he’ll prove this by talking much and saying next to nothing. At best, he’ll declare slightly better terms of surrender than Germany managed at Versailles in 1918 or France at Compiègne in 1940.
We need the Black Prince and Henry V. What we have is Neville Chamberlain with a touch of Bernie Madoff.