War In Europe

I first turned decisively against the EU when I learned that the EU had declared war on smokers in late 2009.

I realised then that the EU was going to start micro-managing people’s lives. I didn’t think the EU had any business doing that.

I also realised that the EU wasn’t bothered about making some 150 million of its smoking citizens into second class citizens. Why make enemies of your own people? It seemed to me to be a remarkably stupid thing to do. And it didn’t seem to me to be very likely that a new political organisation that did stupid things like that was going to survive very long.

I also learned that the EU parliament was pretty much a rubber-stamp outfit to approve legislation that had been entirely put together by the EU Commission, which isn’t elected.

The more I learned about the EU the more undemocratic and unaccountable it seemed. I’ve read that its structure was based on the old Soviet Union, and maybe that’s true.

Mikhail Gorbachev: “The most puzzling development in politics during the last decade is the apparent determination of Western European leaders to re-create the Soviet Union in Western Europe.”

When Britain entered the EU it was called the EEC or Common Market. It was sold to Britons purely as a trading organisation. But now it’s become much more than that. It’s become an empire stretching from the Atlantic to the Ukraine. David Cameron wants it to extend as far as the Ural mountains, deep inside Russia. But, so far as I know, Russia is not being invited to join.

The EU is currently beset by a variety of deep-seated problems, which include a) over-regulation, b) a one-size-fits-all currency, c) mass immigration, d) Islamic terrorism.

With the EU Referendum weeks away, and opinion polls showing that Leave and Remain are roughly tied level, I’m wondering: Why should anyone possibly want to remain inside it?

I suppose that if you’re a member of the political left, and love big government, and in particular loved the Soviet Union, you’ll probably want to stay inside it.

I suppose that if you travel a lot in the EU, and do business there, you’re probably glad of its open borders, single currency. and free movement of people.

I suppose that if you still think of it as the Common Market, you probably would want to remain within it. This was my own view until 2009.

It might also be that many people think that “history is marching in this direction”, and we are inevitably going to be part of the EU, and are powerless to resist “progress”.

But another reason is that the Common Market began life as a trading organisation that would tie Germany and France together, and thereby prevent any future war between these two countries (there had been three of them inside a single century). David Cameron has even invoked the possibility of war if Britain votes to leave the EU.

I see very little chance of a European war starting if the EU were to break up. When those past wars were fought, nearly all of the participants were either imperial powers, or wished to become imperial powers. There was a great deal at stake. But now that all the empires have been dissolved, there’s very little at stake. All the countries in the EU trade with each other, and all benefit from this trade. What’s there to fight about?

I would argue that the real threat of war doesn’t lie in the disintegration of the EU, but instead in its continued growth and expansion. For instead of being a collection of rival empires as it was 100 years ago, it is now becoming a single European empire – a sort of new Habsburg empire. And it’s this that poses a threat to peace, as the EU empire has expanded eastward, helping to trigger revolution in Ukraine, and bringing NATO troops to the borders of Russia.

The creation of this new empire also serves to recreate the conditions at the outset of the First World War. Gavrilo Princip, who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in July 1914 was a Bosnian Serb nationalist who wanted Bosnia out from under the thumb of the Austro-Hungarian empire. If Bosnia had been a self-governing sovereign state, there would have been no such assassination. It is instead the creation of empires that inevitably breeds nationalism, as the states absorbed into these empires seek to restore their former autonomy. And we are now seeing within Europe the emergence of precisely such nationalist movements. How long will it be before there are attempts made on the lives of senior EU politicians?

Far from being a bulwark against war, the EU empire is itself a growing danger to peace. It is itself now an expansive imperial project of the kind which generates multiple possibilities for conflict.

The optimal solution would be for the European political class to reverse their drive towards a centrally-governed European empire (“Ever closer union”), and revert to a loose trading block along the lines of the earlier (and fairly successful) Common Market.

And I think that internal and external tensions will eventually force something like this, with the nations of European recovering their autonomy, and their own currencies, and liberating themselves from hyper-regulation by Brussels. Then there would be no new Gavrilo Princip, and no possibility of war with Russia.

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About Frank Davis

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30 Responses to War In Europe

  1. Harleyrider1978 says:

    Remember hitler and Napoleon were just corporals too just common market men UNTIL!

  2. Frank Davis says:

    H/T prog for this Pat Condell video

  3. jaxthefirst says:

    “Why should anyone possibly want to remain inside it?”

    It’s fear, Frank. Not the kind of fear generated by the Remain campaigners, most of whose words are, I think – just like those of the equally missing-the-point Leave campaigners – falling on deaf ears, but fear of change. People in the UK have become incredibly scared of anything that they don’t know. And most people, unlike those of us old enough to remember, simply don’t know any situation other than the UK as part of the EU. Why else would so many of them vote in their droves for either the Tories or Labour at the last election, when surely the most obvious vote for what is clearly a fairly large number of Euro-sceptics – if the current estimates are to be believed – would have been UKIP? True, UKIP gained far more votes than translates into seats in Parliament, but compared to the vast numbers of votes garnered by the Big Two, the numbers were still small. My feeling is that many Euro-sceptic voters were lured by the promise of David Cameron’s (ultimately empty) promise of “reform” of the EU, and voted that way because it held out the hope of some controls being wrestled back from Europe and avoided the need for that scary change business. They were, of course, as those of us more politically savvy than them knew all along, completely mistaken in this belief, but it hung around until the General Election (i.e. long enough for the existing powers-that-be to maintain the status quo), and lasted, for many right up until those disappointing few weeks when the promised “reforms” were announced. And my fear is that it will be that fear of change which may hinder our escape from the EU, far more than any manufactured scare-stories pumped out by the Remain campaigners.

    • Rose says:

      I thought that Cameron’s masterly use of that ancient alarm “The Scots Are Coming!” at the last minute, was what swung English voters from UKIP to line up in battle formation with the Conservatives.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I take your point. But we’re getting change anyway, largely thanks to the EU, in the form of hordes of migrants, suicide bombers, crazy laws (i.e. smoking bans).

      I don’t like change either. And it’s to stop change that I’m voting to leave.

  4. Tony says:

    I agree with jaxthefirst but I’ll add that ignorance about the EU is hugely important. If people knew they were being asked to vote for or against being governed by an undemocratic superstate with ambitions of empire then they’d be horrified. I think Leave would win close to 100% of the vote.
    The trouble is that they don’t know and are not interested. Many people I know just say ‘don’t talk to me about politics and especially not the EU because it is so boring’. What’s more if you try to tell them about the true nature of the EU they’ll just accuse you of scaremongering. Everybody knows, or thinks they know, that the fight for democracy was won a long time ago.

    An illustration of the ignorance of the Remain crowd and even the key campaigners was this interview of Harriet Harman MP on the BBC Daily Politics show. She was shown the photos and job titles of the seven most powerful people in the EU. She couldn’t name even a single one. And she’s campaigning for them to rule over all of us including her:

    PS I have to admit that although I’ve taken an interest in the EU, even I could only name four of them which probably goes to show just how little publicity they get in the UK.

    • Frank Davis says:

      The trouble is that they don’t know and are not interested.

      Until 2009, I didn’t know and wasn’t interested either. But given that when people do become interested and get to know, they become horrified, I suspect that now that it’s a hot topic, a lot more people are getting interested – and becoming horrified.

      I don’t think about the EU very much, but right now I’m thinking about it much more than usual. In fact I’m spending most of my time thinking about it in one way or other. And maybe it’s not just me. Maybe everybody is thinking about it more. Even the people who are not interested. So I rather expect to see more and more people becoming horrified over the next few weeks. And those people are going to vote. They’ll wade across piranha-infested rivers to get to a polling station. And the people who are not interested probably won’t.

      And if it’s already pretty interesting, I think it’s set to get a lot more interesting. I think we may be entering a political crisis here in the UK, that will see David Cameron being toppled, whichever way the referendum goes.

      I also think that the dire threats being uttered by the Remain camp are likely backfiring. Like this in the Guardian yesterday.

      Britain should be punished by its European partners if it votes to leave the EU in order to discourage other countries from leaving, former European ministers have said.

      I think that even people who are not interested, and even people who are pro-EU, are likely to react badly to being told “Vote Remain… Or Else!” And this is in the left wing Guardian. They’re reporting it.

      So I think things are swinging towards Leave. Whether it’ll swing far enough, quickly enough, we’ll find out in due course.

      • prog says:

        ‘Britain should be punished by its European partners if it votes to leave the EU in order to discourage other countries from leaving, former European ministers have said.’

        Just about sums the it up.

        It’s interesting that the true feelings and facts all too often emanate from retired interested parties.

  5. Tony says:

    The optimal solution would be for the European political class to reverse their drive towards a centrally-governed European empire (“Ever closer union”), and revert to a loose trading block along the lines of the earlier (and fairly successful) Common Market.”

    I’m afraid I think there is no chance of that whatsoever. The eurocrats are utterly committed to ‘The Project’ and they’ve worked hard on it for over half a century. The ‘Common Market’ was only ever a temporary cover and in any case, tariffs have fallen away right across the world, making such a structure pretty irrelevant.

    “Europe’s nations should be guided towards the superstate without their people understanding what is happening. This can be accomplished by successive steps, each disguised as having an economic purpose, but which will eventually and irreversibly lead to federation.”
    – Jean Monnet

  6. Marvin says:

    A brilliant podcast from Dr Paul Craig Roberts on why we should vote OUT

    http://themindrenewed.com/interviews/2016/885-int109

    • Frank Davis says:

      That was very interesting. I’m never quite sure what to make of Roberts, who used to be in Reagan’s administration. Anyway, he said what Ambrose Evans-Pritchard said, that the EU was the creation of the CIA, for the simpler management of Europe (one government instead of dozens of governments). Apart from that, he said pretty much what I’ve been saying – except that he thought the danger of war with Russia was much greater than even I imagine. He said that Reagan and Gorbachev had wanted to remove the threat of nuclear war, but their accomplishments had been set to nought, and both America and Russia had now adopted nuclear first strike doctrines. He also said that in the event of war with Russia, the Russians would win very quickly (I don’t know why).

      He recommended that Britons vote to leave the EU, because if they didn’t Britain would cease to exist as a country (I agree). But he also said that if they did vote to leave, the pound would come under intensive attack, causing it to plummet in value, and forcing the British government to override the vote, and remain in the EU.

      So that’s two people who’ve said that the EU is a CIA construction. The fact of US dominance in the Western world has been a fact of life for 70 years. Perhaps it shouldn’t be too surprising if the control is much stronger than I have generally thought.

  7. margo says:

    I agree. Fear and laziness are why people support Remain. Asking around, I find that the more personal research a person has done, the more likely he/she is to support Leave – because the more you find out about the EU the more you see it’s a deeply nasty organisation. Sadly, I think that most people will not bother but will just swallow the propaganda and obediently stick with Remain.

  8. Timothy Goodacre says:

    For me it is all about sovereignty. We should make our own rules and only admit who we want. Vast areas of our country and our lives are being overrun by immigrants, many of whom are hostile to us. If we don’t get a grip of this we will have Sharia law. We must defend our culture. Therefore I and everyone I know will be voting for Brexit !!!

  9. prog says:

    The Remainers and ditherers should at least ask themselves one question – why are we even having a Referendum? There’d be no need if things were OK.

    One thing can be guaranteed – things in Europe will continue to deteriorate regardless. Yes, there’ll be a period of uncertainty and adjustment if Brits make the right decision, but isn’t that always the case with a separation. It’ll be like a weight lifted from our shoulders. The current elite and hangers on will be swept away and politics will become a whole lot more interesting.

    The sun may even shine again.

    • Rose says:

      We are having a referendum because Cameron was so scared of UKIP

      22 February 2016
      “It must have seemed like a good idea at the time.

      When David Cameron was finally persuaded to back an in/out referendum, it was designed to shoot the UKIP fox ahead of the 2014 European elections. It didn’t.

      It must also have seemed like a fairly safe promise to make, when just about everyone thought the best the Tories could hope for was another coalition government after 2015.

      The Lib Dems could be relied on to block the vote.

      But as soon as David Cameron won a majority in May, the referendum became a reality.

      Now, suddenly, a Prime Minister who looked completely in control of events is at their mercy.”
      http://www.itv.com/news/meridian/2016-02-22/camerons-future-depends-on-eu-vote/

  10. harleyrider1978 says:

  11. PJH says:

    “With the EU Referendum weeks away… ”

    Oops, too late; I’ve already voted…

  12. Frank Davis says:

    UK voters leaning towards Brexit, Guardian poll reveals

    Phone and online survey shows a 52-48 split in favour of leaving the EU as referendum campaign gathers steam

  13. Timothy Goodacre says:

    I hope it is Brexit. Take back control of our borders before we are overwelmed by Muslims.

  14. Tony says:

    The creation of this new empire also serves to recreate the conditions at the outset of the First World War. Gavrilo Princip, who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in July 1914 was a Bosnian Serb nationalist who wanted Bosnia out from under the thumb of the Austro-Hungarian empire.

    That is quite an insight, I’m amazed that I’ve not seen the point raised before. Thanks for that.

    It means they’ve ended up creating the very thing that they were trying to avoid. It reminds me of learning to fly a hangglider. Bear with me a moment. If when looking for a safe landing spot, you see a tree, the very worst thing to do is to concentrate on that tree with a view to avoiding it. You’re virtually guaranteed to hit it if you do that. The best plan is to concentrate on a safe spot and put the tree to the back of your mind.

  15. Smoking Lamp says:

    Another ban falls… Port Arthur, Texas just amended its recently enacted smoking ban to allow bars and select entertainment venues to allow smoking. According to the local TV News (12 News) on Mat 31, 2016, “An amendment allowing bars, private clubs, bingo halls and non-profit fraternal orders to be exempt from the smoke-free ordinance, passed during Tuesday night’s council meeting. The the city-wide smoking ban had been in effect for just three weeks.
    http://www.12newsnow.com/story/32108677/port-arthur-no-longer-a-comprehensive-smoke-free-city

    • prog says:

      The owner of the Capri Club, Jeffery Childs, says “I’ve lost 50% of my business year to date…It’s about the right to choose.”.

      Not too much to ask for, is it?

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