Digression

It’s a strange world. I used to regard Norman Tebbit (who was a prominent and outspoken figure in the Thatcher government) as something not far off the Devil Incarnate. But these days I just read his prominent and outspoken blog.

When David Cameron became leader of the Conservative Party, it was on a staunchly Eurosceptic platform. In 2007, for example, he offered an unconditional promise – the “cast-iron guarantee” – that he would give the British people a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. That unredeemed pledge haunts his leadership, a ghostly guarantee that would have been difficult enough to exorcise even without the catastrophic wounds now being inflicted on the European and world economy by the turmoil within the eurozone.

Yet the truth is that the current crisis should have come as no surprise, either to Mr Cameron or to the wider public. Indeed, it has been precisely forecast since before the euro came into being. The would-be masters of Europe knew, just as we critics did, that the euro would eventually fail unless it was supported by a single economic policy wielded by a single treasury within a single government.

The calculation in Brussels was – and is – that the damage threatened by the currency’s collapse would frighten both the leaders and the led into the ultimate stage of “ever closer union”: namely, another burning building without fire exits or windows, but with even stronger locks on the doors. That union could not be a democratic one, not only because of the circumstances of its conception and birth, but because, as Enoch Powell observed many years ago, there is no such thing as a European demos.

This is the outcome that I’ve recently been wondering about. The ‘ever closer union’ in this case is a European fiscal union, with centralised taxes and finances, all brought in as a double-or-quits solution to the current European crisis.

So I’m half expecting David Cameron and other EU leaders to announce that they have agreed that such a fiscal union is the only way out of the current crisis. Would there be a debate in parliament about it? Probably not. It’ll just be announced that this is what is going to happen. After all there isn’t going to be any real debate on Monday whether to hold a referendum on the EU.

And Tebbit’s point about the undemocratic nature of the EU maybe highlights the real attraction of it for professional politicians. Here we are in Britain – a country which struggled for centuries to slowly put together a parliamentary democracy in which political power could be held accountable -, and it can all be set to nought simply by merging Britain into a larger non-democratic state – and a state which, in this case, seems to have been consciously modelled on the old Soviet Union. Once Cameron and Hague and all the rest of them have been rewarded with plum jobs as apparatchiks within the new EU Kremlin, they can forget about the electorate, and get on with the business of implementing EU-wide smoking bans and carbon emission targets and wind farms to their hearts’ content. It’ll probably take another 500 years before the EU becomes sufficiently democratic for the trick to need to be repeated again.

Probably much the same happened during the unification of England when the Kingdom of Wessex was united with Mercia and Northumbria in 927 AD. It took another 600 years to get anything remotely democratic.

And the same also maybe with the Roman Republic as it expanded to become an empire ruled by – guess what? – a single unelected dictator, the emperor Augustus, in 27 BC. It had all been getting a bit too democratic, and it had to stop.

I suppose an analogy might be with a successful small firm that builds up its own vibrant internal democratic culture in which people are promoted solely on merit, and is then bought by and merged with a multinational corporation with an authoritarian command structure, where everyone has to leap out of bed at 6 am to sing the Red Flag, and in which the only way to get promoted is to marry one of the boss’s ugly daughters (e.g. someone like EU VP Catherine Ashton).

Or like a little democratic fish that’s eaten by a bigger undemocratic fish, and which in turn is eaten by an even bigger and even more undemocratic fish when it shows signs of becoming democratic, and so on, …if you see what I mean. The state of democracy may well simply be the front door of tyranny, and tyranny begins when elected politicians  hand the keys of the city to the wolf at its gates. Just when you think you are master of your own affairs, a new tyrant steps onto the stage.

Or, in a further trying analogy, like a noble Etruscan family, descendants of Aeneas, marrying into a family of rat-catchers.

We tend to think of ‘progress’ as being a slope up which we steadily walk, slowly getting higher and higher (and richer and savvier). But perhaps it’s not like that at all (and this is the real error of the ‘Progressives’), and instead it’s more like walking step by slow step up a staircase, coming to a stop on each step, panting with breath, as if each were a mountain. Or as if each step was like a sand dune, up which we stumbled, only to find at the crest that ahead there lay another and then yet another dune.

It’s all cyclical. Time doesn’t go in a straight line from past to future. It goes round and round in circles, history repeating.

Or at least, it might do…

Maybe it’s just me, but I find cyclical explanations of events peculiarly alluring. There are no loose ends. You just have to look at the clock to know where you are. If you can read clocks, that is. It’s hard to keep up with clock technology these days. When I were a lad a clock had something called ‘hands’ on it. Two of them. They pointed in different directions. And some of them glowed in the dark. But now they’re all just numbers from 00:00 to 23:59. Whatever will they be next? Will people still wear wrist-watches like manacles, in illo tempore?

But I digress.

What are these politicians going to do next? I don’t trust ’em an inch.

Update:

New euro ’empire’ plot by Brussels

European Union chiefs are drawing up plans for a single “Treasury” to oversee tax and spending across the 17 eurozone nations.

The proposal, put forward by Herman Van Rompuy, the European Council president, would be the clearest sign yet of a new “United States of Europe” — with Britain left on the sidelines.

The single Treasury plan emerged in Brussels yesterday as Europe’s finance ministers tried to find a way out of the crisis engulfing the eurozone. A full-scale rescue plan could cost about £1.75 trillion.

About Frank Davis

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15 Responses to Digression

  1. Junican says:

    I keep saying it…over and over…….POLITICIANS DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO!!!! They know too little about anything in detail. They can only do what the advisers tell them to. What does Cameron know about Trade Treaties in detail?

    It is not really a question of whether or not politicians can be trusted because it is not really about politicians, It is about the REAL governors of this country – the New Aristocrats behind the scenes. Until we know who they are and what they are doing, we are all knackered.

  2. harleyrider1978 says:

    Tony Blair took your guns and david camerons going to take the last of your freedom!

    Might as well start learning to GOOSE STEP if the EU becomes the mother country!

  3. Walt says:

    Aren’t there enough Brits left who still care about independence and autonomy and the last dregs of liberty to take to the streets, go to the barricades, tweet up a flash mob? Or are we again, or still, at another pass where “the best lack all conviction and the worst are full of passionate intensity.”? Though, as you describe it, it sounds as though the worst also lack conviction and just casually drift towards hell.

    I’ve come to admire Vaclav Klaus. Maybe the new chant should be “Go east, young man.”

  4. George Speller says:

    “I used to regard Norman Tebbit (who was a prominent and outspoken figure in the Thatcher government) as something not far off the Devil Incarnate.”

    There you go again, taking the very words out of my mouth.

  5. harleyrider1978 says:

    EU probing further ways to stub out smoking
    The European Commission is looking into the possibility of banning flavours and additives from cigarettes aimed at making them more appealing to smokers.

    Speaking at the local launch on an EU anti-smoking campaign, European Commissioner for Health John Dalli said the current review of the existing directive on tobacco was analysing the ingredients in cigarettes on the market to come up with a formula banning flavourings and colours often used to make cigarettes appealing to children.

    The review is also looking into extending smoking bans in public across the EU – currently such bans are at the discretion of member states.

    Such bans were effective, Mr Dalli said, arguing that at the very basic level they helped undermine the idea of the cigarette as being a social lubricant.

    “The fact that you have to interrupt whatever you are doing at an entertainment site and go outside, sometimes in the cold, to smoke a quick cigarette is not very appealing,” Mr Dalli said.

    He was speaking at the local launch of the Ex-smokers campaign, an anti-smoking initiative that is targeting young people aged 25 to 34.

    Mindful of the statistics, which list tobacco as the single largest cause of avoidable death in the EU, accounting for around 650 000 premature deaths per year and some two million diseases, the Commission has prioritised campaigns against its use.

    “It’s the equivalent of a plague wiping out Malta’s entire population in eight months,” Mr Dalli said, explaining the Commission’s focus on smoking. The Commissioner was keen to point out that any measure in the new directive would require the approval of a majority of member states and the European Parliament but was emphatic on the need to combat smoking, given the devastating effect it was having on people’s health and quality of life.

    Unlike the shock effect sought by the graphic images being carried on cigarette packets, the campaign’s message is “positive”, emphasising the potential and quality of life lost to smoking.

    http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20111023/local/EU-probing-further-ways-to-stub-out-smoking.390265

    • Frank Davis says:

      Such bans were effective, Mr Dalli said, arguing that at the very basic level they helped undermine the idea of the cigarette as being a social lubricant.
      “The fact that you have to interrupt whatever you are doing at an entertainment site and go outside, sometimes in the cold, to smoke a quick cigarette is not very appealing,” Mr Dalli said.

      Somehow or other I found myself translating that into:

      Such bans were effective, Mr Dalli said, arguing that at the very basic level they helped undermine the idea of beer as being a social lubricant.
      “The fact that you have to interrupt whatever you are doing at an entertainment site and go outside, sometimes in the cold, to drink a quick beer is not very appealing,” Mr Dalli said.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Which reminds me to ask: how long will it be before smoking is banned in Libya?

      I can well imagine how it will come about. Libya will need investment for reconstruction, and will go round the EU cap in hand. But the aid will be conditional on a few slight improvements. Like a comprehensive smoking ban. Either the new Libyan government will agree, or they won’t get the investment.

  6. jredheadgirl says:

    Oh, and speaking of “freedom” in Libya:

    “”We as a Muslim nation have taken Islamic sharia (law) as the source of legislation, therefore any law that contradicts the principles of Islam is legally …”

    http://tehrantimes.com/index.php/middle-east/3853-libyan-leader-promises-to-uphold-islamic-law

    As a woman, if I lived in Libya, I’d be planning my escape now.

  7. harleyrider1978 says:

    Oh it can get worse, Problem is who does the anti-smokers in the EU controlling the dollars for investment ally itself with,freedom or AL QUIEDA!

    Fred Thompson Explains Al Qaeda, Baffles Media
    Posted by Paul

    Published: September 9, 2007 – 10:53 PM Fred Thompson was giving a speech yesterday and he mentioned that one of the reasons the locals threw Al Qaelda out of Anbar was the prohibition on smoking. This apparently baffled one reporter by the name of Richard Sisk from the NY Daily News who thought it was a nonsensical answer.

    Fred Thompson: Al Qaeda smoking ban pushed Iraqis to U.S.
    BY RICHARD SISK (who doesn’t read enough)
    SIOUX CITY, Iowa – Freshly minted GOP White House hopeful Fred Thompson puzzled Iowans yesterday by insisting an Al Qaeda smoking ban was one reason freedom-loving Iraqis bolted to the U.S. side.

    “They said, ‘You gotta quit smoking,'” Thompson explained to a questioner asking about progress in Iraq during a town hall-style meeting.

    Thompson said the smoking ban and terror tactics Al Qaeda used to oppress women and intimidate local leaders pushed tribes in western Anbar Province to support U.S. troops.

    But Thompson’s tale of a smokers’ revolt baffled some in the audience of about 150 who came to decide whether the former Tennessee senator is ready for prime time.

    “I don’t know what that was about,” said Jim Moran, 72, who had driven from nearby McCook Lake, S.D.

    http://wizbangblog.com/content/2007/09/09/thompson-explains-al-qaeda-baffles-media.php

  8. harleyrider1978 says:

    Tobacco Gangsterism and Terrorism Link

    Cigarette Bootlegging and Terrorism
    The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has stated that tobacco is the new commodity for terrorists. The ATF has concluded that contraband cigarette trafficking funds international money laundering and terrorism. The ATF reported that in 2002 Mohammed Hammound was sentenced to prison for using his cigarette bootlegging operation to fund terrorist activity. Mr. Hammound and nine other men, including his brother, Chawki, conspired to buy cigarettes in North Carolina, which had a 5-cent per pack tax, affixed phony tax stamps, and sold them in Michigan which had a 75-cent excise tax. Over four years, they amassed $1.5 million profit which they shared with Hezbollah –an avowed enemy of Israel and America.

    https://michaelbenjamin2012.wordpress.com/2010/11/26/tobacco-gangsterism-and-terrorism-link/

  9. jredheadgirl says:

    ““I don’t know what that was about,” said Jim Moran, 72, who had driven from nearby McCook Lake, S.D.”

    …Clueless people…Just like the fact that there were so many folks (including Ivy League economists) just “didn’t see” the current economic collapse (here in the U.S.) coming around the bend like a raging tsunami. There were houses (small, bungalow, working class houses) going for as much as $700,000 (here in L.A.) ! While all of this was taking place, most of the new “jobs” (if you could get one) being advertised in corporate downtown L.A. were offering a mere $9 an hour!! …All the while, City Hall ( & in city halls across the country) was working fervently to make it impossible for restaurant and bar owners to do business by putting into place the most draconian regulations/ordinances (ie., outdoor smoking bans on patios, etc..) that they could conjure up in their crony heads. Hmmmm….So with so many people now under and un-employed, who’s going to be able to afford that $700,00 house when most people can’t even afford a studio apartment in many of our larger cities? .How can some people be so oblivious to the facts of reality? What really baffles my brain is how all of the “experts” were able to remain so oblivious when there were so many signs of a crisis emerging. I’m a musician (ie., not an economist) and I saw it coming for chrissakes. Similarly, it is not hard imagine a shift taking place in the political landscape (partly) due to smoking bans which have ushered in an era where the erosion of our (worldwide) individual and economic freedoms (especially for the small business owner) have become commonplace. Of course people are going to get mad and shift alliances.Why would Iraqis be any different?

    • Frank Davis says:

      What really baffles my brain is how all of the “experts” were able to remain so oblivious

      Maybe because the ‘experts’ weren’t really experts at all. After all, most of the antismoking ‘experts’ and the health ‘experts’ aren’t expert at anything. Why should it be any different elsewhere?

      • jredheadgirl says:

        …all that I know is that some of the so-called experts came from institutions that are known for being highly intellectual…

        I remember an occasion…about 5 years ago…Jules and I went to a town-hall type meeting that was sponsored by a local public radio station…There were several prominent and well known economists speaking on the panel…One of the speakers/economists (..forgot his name) was from Harvard. I distinctly remember him saying that there was no impending housing crisis/bubble, and thus, no economic crisis looming on the horizon. I remember being quite stunned by his analysis. Jules and I both looked at each other and wondered what planet he was living on. We saw it coming, how could someone of his magnitude and intelligence not at least see what we ourselves were seeing and experiencing on a daily basis? …Maybe he was lying?…or maybe he was just oblivious…? Neither one of us could be certain. In hindsight, one clear truth has arisen: he was dead WRONG!

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