Sunday, October 04, 2009

The dolorous stroke

Falling towers
Jerusalem Athens Alexandria
Vienna London

Hitchens (1):

A great grey Tower of Babel reaches up into the sky over Europe, lopsided, full of cracks and likely to collapse in the fullness of time...

For Britain, Europe’s oldest continuously independent sovereign state, [...] it is the end of 1,000 years of history, as predicted by the Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell as long ago as 1962...

In the EU, Ireland – no longer a Tiger – takes its place alongside Slovenia and Lithuania as a quirky, minor possession on the damp and unvisited fringes of the Continent, with almost no voting power.

Shorn – as it is now – of its ability to get in the way, it may find that the flow of subsidies will become much thinner in years to come...

The ascent of the EU happened to coincide with several decades of unheard-of prosperity and growth. But the EU did not cause that prosperity...

It was based on American Marshall Aid and helped along by American and British willingness to spend heavily on defending Europe against the USSR, while most of the EU nations kept their military budgets small.

The EU also cannot guarantee that Europe’s prosperity will go on forever. With so many member nations, many of them devastated by decades of Marxist misrule, its capacity to hand out subsidies is running out.

The credit crisis has not finished yet, Western Europe is fast running out of its own energy supplies and the shift of economic power to the Far East is speeding up, not stopping.

The European nations have not worked out how to deal with the enormous Muslim minorities which they have encouraged to settle on their territory and which increasingly demand the right to live according to their traditions.

Nor can they stop the slide of the manufacturing industry towards the regions where labour is cheapest.

Germany, still in a sort of post-traumatic shock over the cost of absorbing the Communist East, may not forever be willing to share a currency – and so a joint bank account – with the poorer and less well-run nations of the Eurozone.

Hitchens (2):

... At the coming Election, refuse to vote for any of them, and do so in such numbers that they can no longer claim they have any mandate to rule, so that their zombie parties collapse in a heap of dust and worms, and we can start again.

The alternative is the accelerating death of our civilisation.


People often wonder why national leaders are so ready to hand their powers to Brussels. Each successive EU treaty has weakened national parliaments, yet each has been enthusiastically ratified by those same parliaments, often in overt defiance of public opinion.

What makes the politicians do it? [...] Perhaps – let’s be blunt – they are defying their electorates in the hope of getting lucrative positions in the EU when their terms expire.

I realise that this is a big claim. But, in ten years as an MEP, I’ve seen it happen time and again.

I’ve watched people arrive in Brussels as moderate Euro-sceptics, but change their views as their lips become clamped around the teat of the expenses. I’ve watched ‘No’ campaigners turn into Euro-enthusiasts after being given sinecures.

Now Tony Blair is plainly not in that category. He was a Euro-enthusiast to start with, albeit in a rather vague, pro-Italian-holidays kind of way. And he’s hardly poor...

No, the charge against him is not that he abandoned his beliefs, but that he abandoned Britain’s interests...

Could the issue of the [EU] budget have been linked in Blair’s mind, even subliminally, with that of the presidency?

... if Blair really did seek to buy the presidency with British taxpayers’ money, he was almost literally selling his country – and there is a very unpleasant word for people who do that.

For those who believe in history with a human face, perhaps this is a punishment, for believing we could create some small and imperfect version of an Earthly Paradise, where even the poorest man would have a voice in his government, and have hope to better his position in society; where the bully would be held back by fear of punishment, and the powerful restrained by the apprehension of condign retribution.

My wife says she feels aggression everywhere, people arguing with bus drivers that they shouldn't have to pay. I say the hungry sheep look up and are not fed; we are lost and leaderless ; those at the bottom of society live in fear of the future, despair, impotent rage, having nothing but meagre dole given them with grandstanding condemnation and impossible promises of opportunity.

Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help, said the Psalmist.

Le Prince d'Aquitaine à la tour abolie
These fragments I have shored against my ruins

It always ends in a building project, whether the new EU Parliament or Ceauşescu's Casa Poporului...

But that two-handed engine at the door
Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more

It's not for us to take up arms. Worldly powers will rise and fall. Our defence, and the future, is the family. That is the nearest we can have to the Earthly Paradise.


OldSouth said...

And St. Paul weighs in by reminding us: ...For we are not contending against flesh and blood but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness...

hatfield girl said...

Two tablespoons of Blake and an earful of Lieder should help, S.

There are such antidotes to the meaness of modern England.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

"Our defence, and the future, is the family."


And that is why the powers of darkness (read: New Labour and all its works) are so determined to eliminate family influences and values in everything.

They will fail, but it may take some time, and horrors - perhaps worse than we have so far seen - will continue until they fail.

They cannot triumph for ever.

Anonymous said...

But these matters neglect the powerful intellectual argument in favour of "greater EU co-operation". Making these nations join together as one great entity will eventually make the EU as powerful as the US - in fact more so, since its GDP is higher. In any case, the boudaries of each nation is nothing more than an ephemeral accident of history, forged from beliefs long since abandoned and forgotten. The international socialist has no time for barriers forged from the mythology of religion, or the skin deep obsession with race (although the average radical left winger would draw the line at allowing the Jews to join of course).

Conservatives are a more pragmatic bunch. They understand human nature. They alo understand the danger that all of Europe might choose to work in Germany and the UK and then retire en mass to Spain. Hardly a viable proposition, but entirely possible under Schengen.

Sackerson said...

I have a half-formed theory that coalitions/unifications have a destabilising effect. If, as with Germany and its customs unions in the 19th C, the result is greater efficiency, energy is released and the system attempts to expand, with the results we saw in the 20th C; if, instead, the system becomes less efficient, as with some giant commercial company mergers, the result is decay and contraction as inefficiencies fail to be addressed in a timely manner. I think the EU is / will be an example of the latter.