Category Archives: Van Rompuy, Herman

In the halls of Eurocracy

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 08.41.15Being a member of the European political class, writes Dalrymple,

means never having to say you’re wrong.

As a member of this self-perpetuating magic circle,

you don’t have to learn from experience, consider the evidence, apply logic, or worry about the consequences. There are always expenses at the end of the tunnel.

Like the white man who speaks with forked tongue,

or the Muslim permitted to use taqiyyah to mislead the infidel, the Eurocrat never quite means what he says or says what he means. What he says is compatible with almost anything, and this quality of emptying meaning from grammatically formed sentences full of polysyllables has been a characteristic from the inception of the European Union.

Dalrymple cites one of its founders, Jean Monnet, who said:

We want the Community to be a gradual process of change. Attempting to predict the form it will finally take is therefore a contradiction in terms. Anticipating the outcome kills invention. It is only as we push forwards and upwards that we will discover new horizons.

It would be wrong, says Dalrymple,

to conclude from this mixture of mystical exaltation and interdepartmental memo that Monnet did not know what he was about. He wanted a federal state of Europe, but knew that public opinion would not stand for it anywhere if it were spelt out in so many words (which is why he used so many words). Centralisation by stealth was what was needed.

Take Herman Van Rompuy. His electoral record, Dalrymple notes,

makes Stalin’s shine. Stalin received too many votes, Van Rompuy none at all.

Van Rompuy,

Monnet’s spiritual heir, grey of face, grey of suit, grey of speech, and grey of thought, declared national sovereignty in Europe dead. His position was that of a murderer who stands over his victim’s corpse muttering, ‘He’s gone, he’s gone!’

Dalrymple points to Belgium.

After 180 years of cohabitation, the Walloons and the Flemings cannot agree on common interests deep or wide enough to make a central government acceptable to them both.

One might have thought

that the failure of a country small enough to drive across in two hours to unite after nearly 200 years of experience of trying to forge a workable political identity would give the Eurocrats pause. One would be wrong.

The Eurocrat is

highly imaginative, if an ability not to draw the most obvious conclusions from the most obvious facts, but to draw quite opposite conclusions, counts as imagination.

About Belgium the Eurocrat would say

that the problem is the existence of Belgium, that if only the Flemings and the Walloons could be united administratively with the Lithuanians and the Greeks, the Belgian problem would be solved. Likewise Yugoslavia: If only it had been Euroslavia. The linguistic difficulties entailed are of no account, for everyone — everyone in le tout Bruxelles sense — speaks Engleurish, a kind of Esperanto with the beauties of the latter removed.

To the Eurocrat,

the Finns are really Portuguese, who are really Austrians.

All news is good news to the Eurocrat,

because whatever problem arises leads to the same conclusion: ever closer union.

One might have supposed, for example, that

the slight difficulties over the Greek debt would give intelligent and thoughtful people, and even unintelligent and thoughtless people, reason to wonder whether the single currency had been such a good idea. One would be wrong. In the halls of Eurocracy, they are like the Aztecs who thought that they needed yet more human sacrifices to defeat the Spaniards.

The work of supposedly necessary unification is being carried out by the European Commission,

a body with about as many checks and balances on its exercise of power as the Committees of Public Safety.

It is

carrying out a revolution, though strictly one from above.

Is it not obvious, asks Dalrymple,

that there was a connection between the vaunted unified banking market and the Greek swindle-cum-débâcle? How else would the Greeks have been able to borrow so much for so long on the same terms as the Germans, and reward their grotesquely inflated public sector so magnificently?

To the Eurocrat,

reality is what Nature was to the Marxists, an enemy to be wrestled to the ground, subdued, defeated, in order to yield what Man wanted.

Why, asks Dalrymple, does the Eurocrat

have this impossible dream?

Why does he

treat reality the way Dominique Strauss-Kahn is said to treat women?

The answer is that he is a

frustrated megalomaniac, resentful at the tiny scale of the national stage upon which he would have strutted if national sovereignty still existed.

In the old days, Van Rompuy, for instance,

could have been sent out as governor of an area of Africa 20 times the size of Belgium, impossible to drive across in two months, let alone two hours. Such a position would have been consonant with his estimate of his own talents: likewise with all the other Eurocrats. And this is another way in which the empire strikes back.

Arachnophobia

It's not quite what the British people agreed to in the 1975 referendumFor years, writes Dalrymple,

doubt about the wisdom of a European project (whose end can only be seen as through a glass, darkly) was attributed by its enthusiasts to a quirk, one that combined some of the features of

  • mental debility
  • arachnophobia
  • borderline personality disorder

One would not be surprised to learn that the European Union had sent lobbyists to Washington to have Euroscepticism included as a category in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

By now, though,

even the most convinced European projectors must have noticed that their project is not going swimmingly.

But

the projectors suggest that the solution to the difficulties is the granting of even more powers to themselves or people like them, that is to say those who conjured up the difficulties.

Morbid conditions

are never equally distributed geographically, and Euroscepticism was originally a predominantly British disease, an amusing consequence of our insularity; but it is spreading throughout Europe. The débâcle of the common currency, which will no doubt have a dénouement but not necessarily a solution, has lowered the estimate of the union in the eyes of practically all member populations.

What if the results of referenda turn out unfavourably?

The history of the union suggests that they will either be ignored or that there will be more referenda until the population gets the answer right: the European variant of African post-colonial democracy, that is to say one man, one vote, once.

And people like Habermas, Van Rompuy, Barroso et al.

are capable of boring the people of Europe into submission. You can bamboozle people so long as politics does not really interest them because their lives are going along quietly and smoothly, and they do not pay it much attention.

But

once their attention is caught by such things as unemployment, evaporation of  their savings, constantly increasing taxes and collapsing living standards, more precision will be needed.

Words that

connote human solidarity but denote bureaucratically administered and enforced transfer payments — on a scale that make Marshall Aid look like pocket money — will no longer suffice.

Openness, says Dalrymple,

is not the same thing as the incontinent abandonment of character, any more than hospitality is the indiscriminate welcoming, without any exclusion, of all and sundry into one’s home.

Multiculturalism as an official doctrine,

complete with enforcing bureaucracies, undermines the rule of law because it seeks to divide people, formalise their cultural differences and enclose them in moral and intellectual ghettoes. The rule of law requires a common cultural understanding, not merely the means of repression to enforce a legal code. Once that cultural understanding is lost, all that remains is repression, effective or ineffective, and experienced as alien and unjust. Nothing remains but conflict or surrender.

Supranational courts cannot supply the want of a national understanding, for two reasons:

  1. They are designed to escape any national tradition, as Rousseau knew Man, but not men. Just as the European Central Bank could set interest rates adapted to none of the member countries’ economic needs, so a supranational court or organisation can produce rulings that correspond to no one’s traditions, principles, requirements or interests.
  2. Supranational organisations, unlike international ones, escape the kind of checks and balances that can operate on a national scale. In the French press the need for such checks and balances is not even mentioned, probably because it is not thought to exist. In Napoleonic tradition, every problem is conceived as an administrative one; and even as the scant legitimacy among the French population of Europe seeps away, so it is proposed that the powers of a European administrative class be increased.

Dangerous excitements of a Sunday afternoon in Aberystwyth

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Dalrymple says (from 7:04) that Herman Van Rompuy, former president of the European Council and the ‘finest flower’ of the European élite, makes ‘a Sunday afternoon in Aberystwyth seem dangerously exciting’

 

The faintly disgusting slipperiness of the British prime minister

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David Cameron: trail of slime

Physiognomy, writes Dalrymple,

is an inexact science, but it is not so inexact that you cannot read the bemused feebleness [on being confronted with the Ukraine débâcle] on the faces of people such as Van Rompuy, Hollande, and Cameron, the latter so moistly smooth and characterless that it looks as though it would disappear leaving a trail of slime if caught in the rain.