Since the referendum result, my criticism has been of politicians (who are not business people in the main) loosing advantage for Britain by not pressing ahead with Brexit. Of course, it must be done with great care, that is a given. Good strategy cannot be cobbled together overnight. But it is a devastating reflection upon the entire political apparatus in this country that detailed plans for both possible outcomes were not drawn up in advance. I did not run businesses like that in my time, so there is even less excuse for an entire country with the importance of ours. What were all our civil servants doing? Not earning their corn, obviously.
Now, three months later, we still do not have a clear plan. There is much speculation and Saint Theresa of May is attempting to appear calm, unflustered and in control, not a bad thing in itself. But she was not on the prevailing side before the Referendum and so must accept part of the opprobrium for the lack of planning arising from then. That is what responsibility is about.
Brexit is a clear and voted-for intention, if not yet a planned reality, awaiting the world’s fifth largest economic power. A Castle in the Air is more like a pipe-dream. Thus, Britain is not the focus of this article but the EU. At the time of writing, its leaders are all ensconced in Bratislava Castle. Having been there, I can report it is beautifully sighted, way up above the Danube and of massive proportions and appearance but, despite this, its defenders were defeated a number of times and it ultimately fell into ruin, before being expensively restored last century as a museum piece, long after its intended purpose had ceased to exist.
It stands as a metaphor for the entire EU edifice and its apologists: a Castle in the Air.
There is no problem with justifying this apologue, the difficulty is what to leave out. In the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote, we have heard all manner of retaliatory measures proposed by EU member state politicians, all really speaking to their own home audiences. It culminated with ‘the popular’ (meaningless BBC and Graun adjectival phrase) Emmanuel Macron and Bernard Cazeneuve, both staunch socialist bankers (yes, you read that correctly, the world has indeed gone mad…), vying with each other to introduce a visa for Britons wishing to step foot in EU land. This was in order to score political points, which matter much more to the left than preventing massacres like Charlie Hebdo, Bataclan and Nice. The French people have clocked this tendency now and, next year, the left will get served with its just deserts in their general election.
At the dafter end of an already lunatic spectrum, we witnessed the Luxembourgish Minister for Meaningless Rhetoric, the very great Jean Asselborn, claiming: Anyone who, like Hungary, builds fences against refugees from war or who violates press freedom and judicial independence should be excluded temporarily, or if necessary for ever, from the EU.
Er, from which war, Jean? In order to get to Hungary from Syria, one has to pass at least three safe borders (not even including Turkey!) Kindly read the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and look at your map, before making an even greater buffoon of yourself. Worse still, most of these refugees are not even from Syria! Eurostat, the EU’s official statistics agency have admitted that 80% are not Syrian. Look at Asselborn’s photos and you will see he is rather more Marks than Marx.
But this is just the culmination of a number of pettifogging reactions to the result of the Brexit vote, made by people with totally disparate agendas, none of which actually concern us.
In the capital of Slovakia, we are beginning to hear some different sounds. I would suggest that these are the noises of frightened politicos, those who have peered over the abyss and realised at least some of the magnitude of the potential fall they now face as a bloc.
François Gérard Georges Nicolas Hollande has admitted that Brexit might present an existential crisis for the EU. Whilst contingently true, it may just betray an ulterior Sartrian tendency to bolster the cause of dodgy French philosophy – which could just prompt a typical Derridean response such as: To pretend, I actually do the thing: I have therefore only pretended to pretend.
Donald Tusk has at last recognised the reality: that unelected officials in Brussels have been dictating policy to the member states. A ‘sober’ look is called for by its leaders – that will be a first (interpret at will).
There is neither space here, nor need, to list the financial problems associated with managing the Euro, nor with the 20 years of qualification of EU accounts, my readers are far too well informed on those matters, anyway. Nor that the European Parliament does not have the authority to pass, amend or repeal any laws and is thus a pretence at democracy.
Chancellor Merkel has really trampled over the other member states, possibly to appeal to her left, thus assimilating into it herself. She extended her invitation for refugees to come to Germany without providing the wherewithal for them to make that long and complex journey. A minority of genuine refugees, plus a hoard of ineligibles, just trampled over so many other states, who had not been consulted about how this should be either managed or paid for. In itself, it illustrates how one person can override the freedoms of millions of others and thus strikes against the Values, the Objectives and the Fundamental Principles of the Union. No wonder we want out!
As Slavoj Žižek, that perfectly adorably Marxist-Leninist, says:
‘Less and less I trust the left… What was said of Yasser Arafat is true of the left – it never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity’.