Do you remember that far-off day, two years ago this month, when the people of Britain voted for Brexit – a decision so stubbornly obstructed by the establishment that it is not one hair’s-breadth closer than it was on the day after the referendum? Do you remember, too, the dire forebodings we were invited to entertain both by the EU nomenklatura and its Remain-besotted fellow travellers here in Britain?
In that scenario, our pathetic little island would face the wrath of 27 powerful EU states: vengeful, implacable and so closely united you could not put a cigarette paper between them. And even during the course of Brexit negotiations they would be pursuing still closer integration under the leadership of France (i.e. Emmanuel Macron) and Germany (i.e. Angela Merkel) to create a mega-state based on a single currency. So ran the message. Be very afraid.
The reality turns out to be rather different. The monolithic EU project looks more like a sackful of fighting stoats. Poland and Hungary have become semi-detached members of the EU, ruthlessly dismantling the Marxist remnants of past subjugation and resolutely refusing to liquidate their culture by admitting large numbers of Muslim immigrants at the behest of Brussels.
These Visegrad states are now philosophically light years removed from Brussels’ globalist view. Hungary has compelled George Soros to sling his hook and proclaimed the substitution of Christian democracy for liberal democracy. That is a concept with significant potential traction elsewhere in Europe.
The EU apparatchiks, the people who banned curved cucumbers and are now trying to censor the internet, fear Poland and Hungary may be sliding into “authoritarianism”. That would be the kind of authoritarianism, in the case of Hungary, where a government secures for the third time a supermajority and submits all major policy issues to mini-referenda between elections? That kind of authoritarianism – the dictatorship of the universal-suffrage electorate? We used to call it democracy.
Austria is now governed by eurosceptic “populist” (i.e. representative of the electorate) parties with deep concerns over sovereignty and intractable opposition to any further EU integration. Like many other states Austria desires looser, not tighter, EU structures. Immigration is a key grievance there too.
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Then we come to Italy, where the parody of democratic government reached its climax with the imposed president Mattarella’s rejection of a highly qualified finance minister. Short-sightedly the Five Star leadership surrendered on this point, but an immeasurable amount of grief will still come to Brussels from the Italian coalition. The measures taken by the EU nomenklatura to conciliate the Italian populace demonstrated the arrogance and detachment of the elites.
First, Günther Oettinger, EU budget commissioner, boasted that the EU would teach the Italians the consequences of voting for eurosceptic populist parties. That went down well in volatile Calabria. Then Jean-Claude Juncker put in his euro-worth, in a surreal intervention.
“I am in deep love with Italy,” he cooed. “Bella Italia.” (Excuse me, Mr Juncker, sir, don’t you think you’ve had enough?) Then, in classic Brussels didactic style, he proceeded to instruct the Italians on the need to reform their lifestyle. “That means more work. Less corruption. Seriousness.”
That programme should work wonders for future compositions of Italian opera. Did it never occur to Juncker to ask himself why in Italy, a country of innumerable political factions, no domestic politician had ever attempted to court the electorate with that agenda? Nor did he seem to grasp the irony of the head of the Brussels kleptocracy whose auditors have refused to certify its accounts for two decades lecturing Italians on corruption.
Within hours, Brussels bureaucrats were desperately insisting his remarks had been taken out of context. Both Oettinger and Juncker have apologized and that is significant. It shows how beleaguered Brussels now is. The notion of the EU’s big beasts apologizing to anyone was unthinkable five years ago. They were never previously challenged; like all spoiled brats, the one word they had never heard, until Britain spoke on 23 June 2016, was No. Now they hear it increasingly and it will become a chorus over the next decade.
Greece, of course, remains a running sore and – oh yes – as a minor irritant the Spanish government has just been brought down today and replaced by Spain’s Corbynistas.
But what of the big two: Germany and France? Germany’s official opposition is now the eurosceptic AfD: that is how high the tide is rising up to the chins of Eurocrats. German politics for the immediate future will be static, the slow Götterdammerung of Angela Merkel. As for the ludicrous Emmanuel Macron, he is still En Marche towards closer Eurozone integration, a Pied Piper who has not yet looked back over his shoulder to discover he has no followers.
The cack-handed interventions of Oettinger and Juncker demonstrated that the fissures running through the EU are deeper even than the issues of incompatible economies constricted within a single artificial currency: they are cultural differences that are irremediably incompatible. The attempt by Germany to virtue signal its post-Nazi ethnic openness by inviting millions of immigrants into Europe and then trying to disperse them to other EU states typified that cultural blindness.
The European Union project is being destroyed by immigration and the euro, both self-inflicted crises. It is not only the Eurozone that is doomed, but the entire bogus Union. All that is in question is the time scale of its dissolution and how much suffering its citizens are willing to bear. Now it is in a trade war with the greatest economy in the world, the United States. We should congratulate ourselves on getting out of this tottering edifice before the debris crushes us.
Looking at the terminal condition of the European Union and its desperate need to claim £40bn from Britain under false pretences, it is obvious how many cards the United Kingdom holds in any negotiations with the dying hydra. Unfortunately those cards are in the hands of Theresa May, a politician who makes John Major look like a statesman.
It is time the British elites abandoned their obstruction before they face a tsunami of public anger. Just as nobody (apart from Theresa May) defers to the naked emperors in Brussels any more. Get us out of the EU. Completely out. Now.