Category Archives: European Union

A sure way to revive German nationalism

Oddly enough, the Germans don’t seem keen to furnish the bazooka

Impose redistributive loans on Berlin for Keynesian purposes!

Dalrymple observes that negative-yielding bonds, representing a quarter of debt issued, are

hardly a resounding vote of confidence in the future. They are like an umbrella to protect us from an approaching monsoon.

He points out that economic gloom

is growing in Europe, where growth remains low and youth unemployment in many countries is high.

Yet-lower interest rates, penalising savers,

will not revive EU countries’ economies. Having lost control of their currencies as a result of monetary union, these countries cannot apply a fiscal stimulus.

Lagarde thinks she has the answer

We hear calls, echoed recently by Christine Lagarde, for a large European budget that can apply a stimulus to various countries as necessary. Such a budget, Dalrymple explains,

is seen by some as an antidote to the growth of populist nationalism in Europe, supposedly the consequence of the continent’s economic woes. An editorial in the Guardian, daily bible of the bien-pensants of much of the English-speaking world, was headed: The nationalism that taps into people’s angst and dislocation can be effectively challenged with a bazooka of a eurozone budget. In other words, if only governments of countries in which populism—that is to say, the popularity of one’s opponents—spent enough money to revive their economies, the people would return to their senses and re-enter the social-democratic fold that has served Europe so well—even if it led to the present trouble.

Where will the firepower of the proposed bazooka come from?

There can be only one answer under the present dispensation: from Germany. Oddly enough, the Germans don’t seem keen to furnish the bazooka. They have had some recent experience of large-scale lending, and it was not altogether happy in its results, economic or political.

A genuinely closer political union (the supposed aim of the European Union, but which Europeans have repeatedly said they do not want) might impose redistributive loans on Germany for Keynesian purposes—other countries in the EU outvoting Berlin.

It’s not easy to imagine the Germans accepting this. There could hardly be a better way to revive German nationalism, one of the eventualities that is the target of the proposed bazooka to destroy.

The situation would be even more dangerous because Germany

has achieved its pre-eminent economic position, in part, by not allowing a commensurate increase in the standard of living of its people, who may not be pleased to play the role assigned them by the EU. Polls already suggest that this is so.

Motherfucker of parliaments

The political class has set itself against the people’s will

Dalrymple writes that the temporary suspension of Parliament by Boris Johnson

has been depicted, in the world’s Press and in Britain, as all but a coup d’état, the manœuvre of an incipient dictator, at the least an authoritarian measure.

It is, he says,

the opposite. It is designed to prevent a coup. The mirror-image of truth has largely prevailed.

Three years of manufactured chaos

Dalrymple lays out the facts.

Parliament agreed to hold a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union. Although it had no force from the purely constitutional point of view, it was not intended as a glorified opinion poll and it was implicit that the winning side would decide the issue. No strong objections were raised in advance by those in favour of Britain remaining in the EU because they felt they would win with ease. Despite — or because of — the support of David Cameron and Barack Obama for the campaign for Britain to remain, those in favour of leaving gained 52% of the votes. Parliament, the majority of whose members were in favour of remaining, passed a resolution in obedience to the result; it would have been too brazen a defiance of the popular opinion that they had canvassed to have done otherwise. But having done this, they opposed both the deal negotiated by Theresa May and the withdrawal of Britain without any agreement. The EU had reiterated that it would not renegotiate the terms: it had no reason to do so, given May’s surrender on all fronts. Thus Parliament wanted neither the only deal then possible nor no deal.

The élite knows best

Parliament was

attempting to prevent any kind of withdrawal whatsoever, even in May’s extremely attenuated form. It set itself up against the will of the people as expressed in the referendum. Parliament was expressing its authority over popular opinion, presumably on the ground that it knew best what was good for the people on whose opinion on the question it had sought. If anyone could be accused of mounting a coup, albeit a slow-moving and indirect one, and of political authoritarianism, it was Parliament.

Suppose, says Dalrymple, that the vote had gone the other way — that 52% of those who voted had done so to remain.

Does anyone suppose for a moment that the disappointed leavers would have refused to accept the vote and manœuvred to thwart the will of the majority? A few might still have argued for eventual withdrawal, but would not have obstructed or threatened the continuance of the government as the remainers have done. Who are the democrats round here?

Those who demonstrate against Johnson’s manœuvre

do so because they claim to want Parliament to have its say. But Parliament has had its say for three years, without resolving the issue, and with a determination to thwart implementation of the resolution it had passed — because it never had any intention of carrying out the people’s wishes as expressed in the referendum.

Dalrymple notes that

to hold a plebiscite and ignore the result is now a European tradition, but to call it a democratic procedure is to twist the word beyond any possible meaning. Both the French and the Dutch publics voted against the proposed European Constitution by a wider margin than that by which the British voted to leave the EU, but got it anyway in a revised form, as a binding treaty rather than as a constitution. The political class thus triumphed over the population, banking on the fundamental apathy of the latter. But this a dangerous game.

Outraged dignity

The protesters against Johnson’s manœuvre

are not trying to defend parliamentary democracy, about which they do not give a fig: what they are protesting against is that the votes of those persons whom they consider ignorant, uneducated, prejudiced and xenophobic have a chance of being taken seriously, indeed as seriously as their own. This is an outrage to their dignity.

But as Dalrymple points out,

the educated are not ipso facto wiser than the uneducated, nor are they necessarily the stoutest defenders of freedom, a fact evident on many American campuses where opinion is free only as long as it coincides with the doxa. Among the greatest foes of freedom today are many of the educated. They are the anointed whose vision must prevail, and mirror-image truth serves that end.

He adds that

time is short, but ample enough for further betrayal.

The political class is a law unto itself

A real ray of sunshine: Philip Hammond is one of the leading Quislings

The anti-Johnson protesters are enemies of democracy

Dalrymple writes:

You would have thought, from the howls that greeted Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliament, that he had appointed himself prime minister for life. Our democracy was in danger, said the demonstrators, meaning that Johnson’s manœuvre had made it harder for Parliament to obstruct the wishes of the people as expressed in the referendum.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, he says,

was right when he said that the outrage was bogus: it was that of a spoiled child who doesn’t want to go to bed.

Plebiscitary democracy,

in which a government puts questions to the population in the expectation of getting the answer it wants, is dangerous. The modern European tradition is to hold a plebiscite and take no notice of the result if it is ‘wrong’. This is what the demonstrating ‘defenders of democracy’ want. If they had objected beforehand to the procedure, pointing for example to the absurdity of deciding so complex a question on the basis of a single vote decided by 50% of the votes plus one, they might have had a point. But they did not. They expected to win the referendum and only turned against it because of the unexpected result.

Parliament, Dalrymple points out,

has conducted a long rearguard action against putting into effect the vote that it called. The majority of MPs were opposed to Brexit, but instead of coming straight out with it, they prevaricated so long and so efficiently that they almost scuppered the whole process. Having canvassed public opinion in a supposedly binding referendum on a vital subject, to ignore the result can only strengthen the impression that the political class is a law unto itself.

The philosopher-kings of the EU don’t want any damned-fool population getting in the way

Dalrymple notes that those British legislators who agitated most vociferously for Brexit declined, when the time came, to carry out the policy. They left it to a woman, already well known for her political maladroitness.

Dalrymple early grasped that May’s appearance of negotiating with the EU was

shadow play. She never intended to produce the complete break that just over half the electorate—but not the political class—wanted.

The impasse, he says

will probably lead to Britain never leaving the union.

Most legislators are opposed to Britain leaving the EU without a deal,

and the Union, knowing this, has no reason to negotiate further.

Dalrymple writes that the European approach to democracy is as follows:

If the voters get the answer wrong, either ignore the verdict or make them vote again until they get the answer right.

Whether the British population will take it lying down

remains to be seen, but after three years of deliberately created political chaos, it is likely that Britons will simply shrug and get on with their lives.

It should have been obvious from the first that

the EU would never want an agreement that was anything other than disadvantageous to Britain—for if Britain did not suffer markedly by departure, it would be a disaster for the Union, already not exactly at the height of its own popularity. If nothing else, the Union has successfully united the vested interests of the European political class.

Dalrymple declares:

The philosopher-kings of the EU do not want any damned-fool population getting in the way of the implementation of their wisdom. The founders of the ‘European project’ over 60 years ago wanted to eliminate messy politics through neat, clean administration.

Britain

has been humiliated by the episode, but history has no end, and Yugoslavian-style wars of secession may yet occur.

Brussels triumphant

The EU has successfully united the vested interests of the European political class

Dalrymple notes that the European Union’s approach to democracy is:

If the voters get the answer wrong, either ignore the verdict or make them vote again until they get the answer right.

Whether the British population will take it lying down

remains to be seen, but after three years of deliberately created political chaos, it is likely that Britons will shrug and get on with their lives.

Dalrymple writes:

It should have been obvious from the first that the EU would never want an agreement that was anything other than disadvantageous to Britain—for if Britain did not suffer markedly by departure, it would be a disaster for the Union, already not exactly at the height of its popularity.

Britain has been humiliated by the episode, but, says Dalrymple,

history has no end, and Yugoslavian-style wars of secession may yet occur.

Fools and shysters manœuvre for a second referendum

Dalrymple writes that the present impasse

will probably lead to Britain never leaving the European Union.

He explains that

except for a hard core of about a fifth of Parliament, the legislators are adamantly opposed to Britain leaving without a deal; and the Union, knowing this, has no reason to negotiate further.

But the legislators

will not agree to the deal as negotiated. They want a second referendum, in the hope that the result of the first will be reversed. (And if it is, there will never be a third.)

An extension to Britain’s departure

will be granted only if Britain has a concrete proposal to offer—and the only such offer it can make is to hold the second referendum.

Rejoin the EU the better to leave it

Wait for it to blow itself apart until there is nothing to leave.

On the other hand, writes Dalrymple,

the political determination to keep the European Union together, whatever populations think, is considerable and should not be underestimated. M. Macron’s unified European army is not to defend Europe from outside invasion, but to repress the population should it ever revolt against the EU élite.

The opinion of the populace solicited and ignored

Britishers who wish to remain in the European Union are demanding a second referendum, dubbed a ‘people’s vote’, as if, writes Dalrymple,

the previous referendum had somehow excluded the people. By the word people, they mean, of course, the people who agree with them: the others are not truly of the people, they are enemies of the people.

It is not certain, though it is likely, that the remainers would win such a referendum. If they did not,

the whole situation would be once more up in the air; but if they did, Britain would join the lamentably long list of European countries in which the opinion of the population had been solicited and then ignored, either simpliciter or by means of calling another referendum to get the answer right according to the opinion of the bien pensant bureaucracy.

Dalrymple notes that if this were to happen,

one of the main aims of the European ‘idea’ or ‘project’ would have been fulfilled: the abolition of politics in favour of technocratic administration by a supposedly wide and solicitous, but certainly self-appointed and self-perpetuating, class of bureaucrat.

The legacy would be

a deep and bitter division in the British population, and increased tension in other countries in which support for the European Union is far from rock-solid.

The purpose of Macron’s unified European army

Emmanuel Macron has admitted, Dalrymple notes, that if a referendum had been held in France, there would have been a larger majority than in Britain for leaving the European Union,

though this has not dampened in the slightest his ardour for ‘deeper’ union.

Perhaps, says Dalrymple, we should wait for the EU

to blow itself apart.

On the other hand, he says,

the political determination to keep it together, whatever populations think, is considerable and should not be underestimated. Macron’s unified European army is not to defend Europe from outside invasion, but to repress the population should it ever revolt against the EU élite.

The European Union is foundering

The so-called European project, writes Dalrymple, is

to build a superstate whose most likely eventual destiny is break-up, either violent or peaceful but bitter, on the rocks of nationalism.

Nationalist feeling, he points out, is

far stronger than pan-European feeling, which is, at most, a very pale ghost of the nationalist variety.