The Disintegrating EU

Britain isn’t the only European country on the brink of division. Richard North writes:

Hundreds of thousands of Catalans packed the streets of Barcelona yesterday. They were there to demand the right to vote on a potential split from Spain, their ambitions boosted by the Scottish referendum, scheduled for next week.

Participants, estimated as many as 1.8 million, dressed in red and yellow, the colours of the Catalan flag, and lined up along two of Barcelona’s main arteries to form a huge “V” for “vote”, visible in aerial footage. Many wore T-shirts saying Ara es l’hora (“Now is the time”) in the Catalan language, in a festive atmosphere on Catalonia’s national day.

And he points at one of the principal reasons why this is happening:

And there lies an interesting dynamic. With Scotland, “on the slab”, so to speak, other European separatists are watching developments with more than academic interest. If Scotland does manage to break away, there will be plenty of other movements wanting to repeat the experience.

The interesting thing here is that the growth of separatist movements is in part a reflection of the weakness of the national governments which have hitherto held together the disparate parts of their domains.

Now enter M. Monnet, his friends and successors, who have spent lifetimes undermining nation states, all in the interest of creating their glorious supranational state.

But the irony now seems to be that, rather than paving the way to a United States of Europe, weakening the nation states is lifting the lid on a wholly different can of worms. Instead of unifying states, reducing their power is having the opposite effect, fragmentation rather than unification.

The “colleagues” might thus have to confront the daunting prospect (for them) that their great guru was wrong. Far from being the fount of all evil, nation states were (and are) the only thing standing between us and a fragmentation that, once started, will only continue.

At the end of the line are the terrors of tribalism, and the Scots may find that they have unleashed forces over which they have no control. A spilt from London may not be the end of it, with the Orkney and Shetland islands to follow.

That dirty word, “nationalism” may have to be rehabilitated. The nation state may be the only thing standing between us and chaos.

 In the Telegraph, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard says much the same:

Europe is disintegrating. Two large and ancient kingdoms are near the point of rupture as Spain follows Britain into constitutional crisis, joined like Siamese twins.

The post-Habsburg order further east is suddenly prey to a corrosive notion that settled borders are up for grabs. “Problems frozen for decades are warming up again,” said Giles Merritt, from Friends of Europe in Brussels.

He sets out the prospect of a chain reaction:

“If the Scots and Catalans go, the Flemish will follow. The precedent creates so much pressure,” says Paul Belien, a Belgian author and Flemish nationalist. The separatist Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie is the biggest party in the Flemish parliament.

“I am not happy. I fear the Scottish experiment will end in economic disaster and discredit our cause. We are the ones who subsidize Wallonia, so we’re really in the position of England,” he said.

Less understood is how this domino effect is spreading to a new group of stranded people, the irredentists left on the wrong side of Europe’s borders at the end of the Great War, victims of Versailles and Trianon. You can feel an icy chill of history. “We thought we had solved the problems of Europe’s borders, but as the glue comes off in one place, it is losing its hold elsewhere,” said Mats Persson, from Open Europe.

“Scotland is our example,” says Eva Klotz, leader of Süd-Tiroler Freiheit movement in the Italian Dolomites. “What is happening in Scotland changes everything for us. That the Scots can vote – and crucially that England respects it – shows that it’s possible to achieve self-determination democratically, without war and violence,” she said.

Yet there is a twist. The sub-plot of the Süd-Tirol campaign is reunification with Austria, 100 years after it was torn away and handed to Italy as a strategic barrier, or spoils of war. There are many such pockets across Europe: the Swedes in eastern Finland, the Germans on the wrong side of the Belgian border or indeed across much of Alsace, the Irish Catholics of Derry, and soon perhaps the Shetlanders within a new Scotland. Above all there are the Hungarians.

Europe’s stability since 1945 is built on the sanctity of borders, a universal acceptance that nobody will reopen this Pandora’s Box, even if they have legitimate cause. It is why Russia’s seizure of Ukraine has been such a shock, so dangerous since it drew a chorus of apologists within the EU, some aiming to exploit it, others useful idiots.

The problem may be that, with the entire European political class in thrall of the EU, and largely ignoring their own citizens, while imposing more and more EU rules and regulations on them, the ignored citizenry now seek to escape from what increasingly seems like tyranny, and become their own masters again. And for some, the means of escape is independence. And for many Scots, independence looks like independence from the UK. For many English (like me), and the UK Independence Party, independence looks like independence from the EU. But the motivations are all essentially the same: to restore autonomy.

And if the European Union might be thought of as being a couple of dozen large sacks of flour, bound together by an ever-tightening rope of “ever closer union”, the outcome may well be that, as the rope tightens, the sacks simply start bursting, and what’s left of the European Union will be a few empty, ragged sacks tied together at a single point of “closest possible union”.


About Frank Davis

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21 Responses to The Disintegrating EU

  1. harleyrider1978 says:

    Even if Scotland doesn’t break away the contangion is there and its worldwide……………..I believe we went thru this very same thing before and it seems each and everytime forced compliance to any unity of the people is bound to Failure. Long live Nationalism and freedom from the Nazis!

  2. harleyrider1978 says:

    as the rope tightens, the sacks simply start bursting, and what’s left of the European Union will be a few empty, ragged sacks tied together at a single point of “closest possible union”.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      We already have a stomach flu epidemic going on here in Kentucky. Caught it yesterday and sister inlaw has had it for 8 days back pain,fluish watery eyes muscle aches, cramps……..the whole nine yards!

      • Tom says:

        Get well soon. Maybe there is something in the water. We had that in Santa Cruz Mountains decades ago and it was one of the local tiny water company’s filtration pump was broken and awaiting parts repair. Meantime the unfiltered water built up bacteria and an epidemic broke out. Everyone got put on meds and the water plant was forced to rush repairs pronto. Maybe get bottled water for the next week, see if that helps.

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          Naa this came in from the west and its sickened children in Kansas city and st Louis too then Paducah ky 2 weeks ago………… its hit us and Wisconsin even has the same viral bug.

          Gurgle gut gurgle and that fukin fluish feeling in the body and chills…………….yuk!

    • waltc says:

      That was a brilliant analogy, Frank.

  3. Some French bloke says:

    OT. A little piece dedicated to a departed friend:

    Two weeks ago today, a close friend of mine, who happened to smoke, died from a ruptured aortic aneurysm, aged 52. These are circumstances that afford an occasion for old acquaintances to meet again and during the following reunion, things turned sour with one of them in the café (where at least half of the patrons were freely smoking!) when I tried to broach my favourite subject, with him accusing me of trying to get him to take up smoking again (the old straw man argument), and turning his head the other way when I tried to rekindle the conversation! (Note: he’s a rather literate fellow and by no means part of the intellectual dregs of society).
    Anyway, I had spoken to him on the phone two days before and he mentioned that he had done some web research on the subject of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). I subsequently did my own research about that condition and it turned out Tobacco Control had ‘been there’ with e.g. the wikipedia page prominently stating: “Greater than 90% of people who develop a AAA have smoked at some point in their life
    I was reading in Richard White’s Smokescreens that that particular condition was only added to the tobacco-obsessed Surgeon General’s list in 2004, and the first relevant study cited on wikipedia was a retrospective one published late in 1999:
    Wilmink TB, Quick CR, Day NE (Dec 1999) “The association between cigarette smoking and abdominal aortic aneurysms”. J Vasc Surg 30 (6): 1099–105
    Quoting Rich White: In fact, in the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report the authors rejected the retrospective studies and focused on the remaining studies; it speaks volumes that forty years on the medical establishment now accepts flawed methodologies that were rejected in the past for being unreliable.
    Here’s a description of the method used in the 1999 ‘study’: “A nested case control study was performed within a population-based screening program for AAA for men over the age of 50 years in Huntingdon, UK. A nested case control study is defined as a study in which the cases and control subjects were drawn from the same cohort of screened men. This reduces the effect of potential confounding variables.
    The SG 2004 report’s citation itself is from 2003:
    Lederle FA, Nelson DB, Joseph AM. Smokers’ relative risk for aortic aneurysm compared with other smoking-related diseases: a systematic review. Journal of Vascular Surgery 2003;38(2):329–34
    Since AAA cases “occur most commonly in individuals between 65 and 75 years old” (wikipedia) that means the subjects in the 1999 ‘study’ were mostly from the 1924-34 generation and took up smoking en masse during the 1940s and 50s. so what it essentially tells us is that in the mid-20th century, most people in Huntingdon smoked (as did 87% of doctors in the Doctor’s Study, back in the 1950s). And this is publicized to a 2010s population where smoking rates have plummeted to about 20%, making it all sound much more specific…
    In addition (or, more aptly, subtraction), of course no biological clue is available in any study as to how smoking can cause aortic dilatation on the one hand and thickening and narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis) on the other.

    So concerning that old acquaintance’s attitude, what’s the use of having the power of the internet at one’s fingertips if it’s used as just another idiot box, and we let ourselves become esay prey for ‘confirmation bias’?
    Turning dead friends into mendacious statistics, granted, far from qualifies as the most horrendous in the dizzying list of TC’s crimes and misdeeds against mental, physical and financial health, but it should never be forgotten.

  4. smokervoter says:

    In response to yesterdays comments concerning NorCal vs SoCal:

    Sorry for all of the silence lately. I’ve been having some aggravating and ongoing computer problems.

    I think that the good Mr. Draper has succeeded in getting enough signatures to place the Six California’s Initiative on the ballot for November 2016. I’m all for it naturally. My newly proposed state of South California voted 58%-42% to break Glantz’s grimy, larcenous little fingertips during his failed pickpocketing attempt back in June 2012.

    It’s feasible that super-ventilated, designated smoking bars could become a reality once again in the new state. There are pockets of smokerphobia about to be sure, but they consist of the usual suspects – rich, white, leftist enclaves filled with lots of sweaty gyms, bike paths, Starbucks’ and Whole Foods Markets — along with their requisite Democrat-voting Mexican gardeners and nannies.

    As to the Mexican angle, Governor Brown hosted the President of Mexico in Los Angeles a short while ago and basically invited the entire country of Mexico to invade California. Ignore the immigration laws of this country, no problema, Senor. Native born resident smoking a legal cigarette in the wrong place, big problema.

    It’s an exceedingly frustrating place to live. But it’s my home state and I’m not going anywhere. I’ll stand and fight the bastards to the bitter end.

  5. harleyrider1978 says:

    A Souvlaki, chips and a fag – what’s not to like?

    To every law-maker and pressure group worker, doctor and council busybody, this is anathema. The Greeks are everything that we are daily warned against being.

    How strange then, that they should have a life-expectancy longer than that of the UK. Or the US. For all the billions spent on health and safety, the incessant bullying of anyone who dares to enjoy a quiet cigarette after work, the constant harassment of drivers, and an annual landslide of surveys and resultant articles telling us caffeine is good for us/bad for us/etc, we are failing to live any longer than a nation that has the third highest smoking rate in the world.

  6. chris says:

    An Italian friend tells me that not only is the Suedtirol movement gaining traction, Lega Nord, who want the northern regions to secede from Italy are rejuvenated as well. And don’t count out the Basques, Bretons or Welsh.

  7. Bill says:

    European Union = Ragged Sacks
    …beautiful Frank simply beautiful.

  8. Am I the first to argue the opposite? Surely smaller entities, no doubt all desperate to stay in the EU, will make Brussels’ authoritarianism even more aggressive.

  9. beobrigitte says:

    Lets face it: you introduce something (e.g. smoking ban) which fragments any population within society, you get DISINTEGRATION at any level.

    Well done, Tobacco Control&”friends”!!!
    And guess what; non-smokers hate you as well!!!!

  10. DP says:

    Dear Mr Davis

    Regionalisation is the EU’s agenda. Scotland is in the vanguard of the EU’s desired administrative arrangements, with a regional authority controlling all public services on a regional basis. Scotland’s police forces have been merged into a single force, as have the fire brigades, both being created on 1 April 2013.

    An ‘independent’ Scotland divorced from the UK is fully in accord with EU plans: carving up countries by nibbling round the edges is relatively easy. Breaking up the large ones like England is much harder, but not impossible. One way is to establish alien colonies in the target country and when they are large enough, encourage them to clamour for regional autonomy to protect their culture. A promise of EU largess from its cohesion fund helps. Anyone who objects is a racist. Job done.

    Welcome to the EU of The Regions.


  11. Pingback: Independence articles round up - Anonymong

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