The Euro: a mechanism for passing the buck
Actually, maybe he can. But this euro business causes him some temporary amnesia on the previous affronts, or relegates them for the moment to lower levels of significance.
It has often been asked why Europe’s politicians would purposely seek to surrender their sovereign power; why they might choose to bind their authority; why they would voluntarily neuter their political omnipotence: what do they have to gain? The answer is now plain for all to see.
The Greeks, the Irish and the Portuguese peoples may elect their governments, but the relationship between responsibility, accountability and the assertion of power is so far removed from democracy that the political order of these nations ought to deny them membership of the very supranational body which demands democracy as a prerequisite to membership.
The EU is one great quango: it is a democratic scam which permits the politicians of each member state to promise the earth to get themselves elected, and then blame ‘Europe’ that their manifesto pledges could not be fulfilled. This then permits each political leader to stare their electorates in the face and say, quite truthfully, “Our hands were tied; we could nothing about it; we were bound by our treaty obligations, etc., etc.”
The Greeks are rioting, the Irish bending under the yoke of oppression and the Portuguese don’t quite yet realise what’s about to hit them. Isn’t it convenient for their Social Democratic Party that they rejected the deficit-cutting austerity package proposed by Sócrates, only to have it now forcibly imposed by the EU? The pain will be acute, but the fault will not lie directly with Portuguese politicians. The peoples of Greece, Ireland and Portugal will protest and riot against their respective austerity packages, but dismissing their governments will not change fiscal policy: their sovereignty has been removed.
No government in these countries has obtained a mandate from the people for these measures, and neither will they acquire one. As with agriculture, fisheries, the environment, energy, transport, VAT, human rights, etc., etc., the will of the people is irrelevant, and national governments are impotent.
The UK will be contributing a further £4.2bn to the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (EFSM) to assist Portugal, since we are treaty-bound to contribute to its coffers, in exactly the same way as we are obliged to pay into the IMF.
Ah, but this is a loan, not a gift, you say: the British taxpayers will get their money back.
His Grace is loath to be the messenger of bad news on such a lovely day, but Portugal will default on her debts, exactly as she has always done. If the EU writes off the debts of Portugal, it will have to concede the same for Greece and Ireland. And the resulting fiscal mess and political turmoil will not be the fault of any national government:
And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.