Wednesday, 22 June 2016

A turning point for Europe

Whatever the verdict on Friday, I have a genuine feeling that we are about to witness change on a massive scale. I think this is why even Corbyn has been made to support remain. The European establishment does not know what to do about what is coming, it's fairly sure it cannot do anything to prevent it, and whatever it does do; it will most certainly be deeply unpopular and done without consent.

And I suppose it really depends how you read the signals. France is rioting and proving to be both ungovernable and unreformable. It is taken as a sign that social order is collapsing in France. But when you look at the last seventy years of French history it doesn't seem to be much of a deviation from the norm.

There is a widely held view that Greece has fallen, but then there are some sound fundamentals, and depending on who you believe, the reforms in place may well dig Greece out of a hole. Italy is said to have struggling banks which may set off a cascade failure, largely provoked by widespread corruption and a huge informal economy. Some might say this is a sign of acute stress, others might say this is, like France, this is entirely normal.

Much of the reports we get are highly questionable without context and written by junior reporters who have never seen anything like it but lack the experience to see it as part of a pattern. So I don't know. I find it unwise to give way to the hyperventilation because the media is hardly ever trustworthy. The only time you will finding me sharing a link from the MSM is if it seems plausible.

What I do know though is that the refugee problem has not gone away and it is going to get bigger, and and it is going to see massive disruption and violence within the camps. We are not going to be able to keep the barriers up forever and we can't keep people out of Europe without massive human rights abuses. No-one can say what will happen. All we know for certain is that a storm is coming.

I think we are going to see widespread unrest and a long period of uncertainty regardless of Brexit. And in this some people are predicting the EU's collapse. I do not think so. The currency will creak along surviving this crisis and the next by the skin of its teeth, mostly because the people who use the Euro do not want it to collapse.

But the single market, insofar as it exists in reality will largely disintegrate. With cuts to civic governance all over Europe, observance of EU rules and practices will fall by the wayside while the Commission turns a blind eye. Its head will travel deeper into the sand.

In that eventuality, the EU will have pretty much collapsed in all but name. The institutions will still exist and diktats may still flow outward from that place, but in the same way Hitler commanded tank divisions on a map deep in the bunker, which were no longer coherent fighting units in reality.

So long as we believe in the illusion of the EU then it will not collapse. Underpinning the maintenance of that illusion is Britain's membership of it, because we have a remote relationship with it. We're not quite as well attuned as to why it is a broken entity.

So in the most ironic way, the country most widely expected to leave the EU first is actually the last fully compliant member doing as it is instructed. Just ponder that for a moment. If you are laughing at the absurdity of it then you've understood the point.

And so when that refugee crisis happens and we are safely distant from it, over the Channel thinking "sucks to be you", we will in fact have already witnessed the death of the EU without even realising it.

The only place where the EU writ will still have credence is in London, in which case we have just relocated the capital of the UK to Brussels. And why not? We've outsourced everything else. Maybe we can outsource Norfolk to the Netherlands as well?

What we can say is that the EU dream is most certainly pining for the fjords. Whether that sees civil strife erupting into a full blown civil conflict is anyone's guess, but I have a feeling a new political order will impose itself on Europe if we do not seek to organise one.

That will largely see a reversion to old Europe while maintaining the EU institutions mainly because nobody really wants to admit that it's pointless. This is why I say we should leave now so that we're ahead of the game and we can set about building a Europe of concentric circles with institutions that work. To remain in the EU is to deny a force of nature. It is to deny the future. It is a perilous denial of change. The old order is dying.

The post war settlement has run its course. The circle is complete. There are times when politicians must show their people leadership to lead them from dark times. This is not one of them. This is one of those times where the people must show their politicians that leadership and shake them out of their complacency. We cannot afford their delusions and longer. We cannot afford their vanity nor their posturing and we cannot afford their denial.

Brexit is our one chance to extend the peace that we have so enjoyed. To hit the factory reset button on a political system which has drifted far from the path. If as citizens we shrink from this duty then we are just as guilty as they. Their cowardice will be a reflection of our own - and we will have earned whatever wages it brings.

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