Well, we didn’t have to wait long for the EU to start demanding more money for its bloated budget, did we?
“It is extraordinary that the Commission should demand an increase in the EU budget that is bigger than the rescue package that was agreed for Cyprus earlier this week.”
They’re utterly shameless.
“Nobody knows what is going to happen. The economy could go into a free fall,” said Dimitris Drakopoulos, from Nomura.
The country has just lost its core industry, a banking system with assets equal to eight times GDP, and has little to replace it with. Cyprus cannot hope to claw its way back to viability with a tourist boom because EMU membership has made it shockingly expensive. Turkey, Croatia or Egypt are all much cheaper.
The way I see it, the Mediterranean countries should be queuing to get out of the EU now. But at the moment they all still seem to be strangely enamoured of it, as if it’s a dream they really really don’t want to let go of, even as it’s turning into a nightmare.
It’s not the only dream that’s been turning into a nightmare. I was wondering today whether every institution is prone to inevitable decay, and that what goes up inevitably comes down again not long after. A hundred years ago the medical profession was making giant strides in understanding diseases as caused by bacteria and viruses, and finding effective treatments for them, and thereby defeating diseases that had plagued humanity for millennia. But just one hundred years on, the same medical profession believes that more or less every disease is caused by… tobacco smoke! What a rapid reversion to mediaeval superstition! What a stunningly fast decline.
It’s as if, whenever a few medical or scientific giants grace the world, they are promptly followed by pigmies.
And it’s not just the medical profession. Science is afflicted with the same decay. Global warming/climate change evinces similar signs of derangement, and it has even burrowed deep into the one organisation that has embodied the best of science over the last 50 years: NASA. They have a wonderful set of achievements, including putting the first man on the moon. But now they also have James Hansen, who believes that trace amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere lead to runaway global warming, and compares coal trains to “death trains”. It’s another sad decline and fall.
Perhaps it’s all quite simple and predictable. A few scientific giants make their mark, and are held in justifiable awe for their achievements. Their successors, who take on their mantle when they pass on, are treated with the same awed respect – except that none of them are big enough for the role. They are all like so many Sergeant Bilkos who have been promoted to become generals.
It’s not just medicine and science either. All our politicians are small people these days. And they all have small, mean dreams. We have no statesmen (as Junican was complaining in the comments today).
And the media too. They’re in a state of terminal decay as well.
And philosophy is more or less dead too. I have recounted before how the great intellects of 1950s Britain could be watched debating earnestly with each other for hours, wreathed in clouds of smoke from their pipes, in the early days of television. There’s nothing like that now. A ‘debate’ seldom lasts five minutes these days. And even then it’s not really a debate. And of course they wouldn’t be allowed to smoke.
Everything is rotten.
And we seem to be living in a time of general dissolution, in which everything is dissolving, and everything is ceasing to work properly – but nobody can quite face up to the awful fact, and pretends that nothing has really changed at all.