Let's *NOT* Follow Europe!
blueoval at 1SMARTISP.NET
Mon May 30 20:08:27 MDT 2005
Europe is an indulgence we can't afford
By Mark Steyn
The Eurofetishists can't seem to agree their line on this
referendum business. On the one hand, the Guardian's headline
writer was packing up and heading for the hills - "Europe is
plunged into crisis" - and EU leaders warned that "Europe" might
cease to function.
Oh, come on. We won't get that lucky.
On balance, Jean-Claude Juncker, the "president" of "Europe",
seems closer to the mark in his now famous dismissal of the will
of the people: "If it's a Yes, we will say 'on we go', and if
a No we will say 'we continue'."
And if it's a Neither of the Above, he will say "we move
You get the idea. Confronted by the voice of the people,
"President" Juncker covers his ears and says: "Nya, nya, nya,
can't hear you!" There are several lessons worth learning from
French vote. The first is that the Junckers are a big part of the
Only in totalitarian dictatorships does the ballot come with a
pre-ordained correct answer. Yet President Juncker distilled the
great flaw at the heart of the EU constitution into one
straightforward sentence that cut through all the thickets of
Giscard's unreadable verbiage. The American constitution begins
with the words "We the people". The starting point for the EU
constitution is: "We know better than the people."
After that, the rest doesn't matter: you can't do trickle-down
nation-building. The British, who've written more constitutions
for more real nations than anybody in history and therefore can't
plead the same ignorance as President Juncker, should be
especially ashamed of going along with this farrago of a travesty
of a charade.
Ah, say the Eurofetishists, but you naysayers are gloating
undeservedly: the French didn't suddenly see the light and decide
British Eurosceptics had been right all along; they rejected the
EU constitution because they thought it was an Anglo-Saxon racket
to impose capitalism on their pampered protectionist utopia.
But so what? Britain's naysayers don't have to reject the
constitution for the same reason as France's commies, fascists,
racists, eco-nutters, anachronistic unionists, featherbedded
farmers, middle-aged "students", Trot professors and welfare
queens, bless 'em all. If they want to go down the Eurinal of
history clinging to their unaffordable welfare state, their
30-hour work weeks, 10-month work years and seven-year work
decades, that's up to them. If Britain doesn't, that should be up
For decades, some of us have argued that "Europe" is too diverse
to form a single polity, that the British and French are in fact
foreign to each other. Sir Edward Heath and his ilk scoff at such
crude language: why, today's young cosmopolitan Britons are
perfectly comfortable drinking Beaujolais and eating croissants
and flaunting their wedding tackle on the Côte d'Azur. True, and
irrelevant. What Sunday's vote underlined is profound differences
in political culture. Britain's anti-Europeans and France's
lunatic fringe are united only in their reluctance to be bossed
around by a regulatory regime that insists a one-size-fits-all
rulebook can be applied from Ballymena to the Baltics. It can't.
The alleged incompatibility of our dissatisfactions makes the
point: all politics is local; despite the assiduous promotion of
the term, electorally speaking there is no such thing as a
Incidentally, that "lunatic fringe" in France now accounts for
about 60 per cent of the electorate. That's another lesson for
decayed Euro-elite. One of the most unattractive features of
European politics is the way it insists certain subjects are out
of bounds, and beyond politics. That's the most obvious flaw in
Giscard's flaccid treaty: it's not a constitution, it's a
perfectly fine party platform for a rather stodgy
social democratic party. Its constitutional "rights" - the right
to housing assistance, the right to preventive action on the
environment - are not constitutional at all, but the sort of
things parties ought to be arguing about at election time.
Instead, Europe's "consensus" politics has ruled more and more
topics unfit for discussion, leaving voters with a choice between
Eurodee and Eurodum, a left-of-right-of-left-of-centre party and
right-of-left-of-right-of-left-of-centre party. None of these
plodding technocratic parties seems eager to talk about any of
faintly unrespectable subjects on the minds of voters - Muslim
immigration, increasing crime, Turkey, EU labour mobility. So
voters, naturally, are turning elsewhere, and in five years' time
the entire Continent could end up with the same flight from the
centre as we've seen in Ulster.
As to whether Turkey is European, evidently it was a century and
half ago when Tsar Nicholas I described it as "the sick man of
Europe". Today the sick man of Europe is the European, the gilded
princeling like Chirac or Juncker, gliding from one Eutopian
planning session to the next, oblivious to the dreary parochial
concerns of the people. In The Sunday Telegraph, Douglas Hurd,
typically, missed the point in his analysis of the French vote,
arguing that Europe needed "new leaders". Our colleagues
it, "Two men and a woman who can save Europe". No, no, no. Europe
doesn't have a lack of leaders, it has a lack of followers.
I mentioned to a theatre chum the other day that the EU reminded
me of Garth Drabinsky's Livent company. They were the big theatre
producers in the Nineties: they revived Show Boat and produced
Kiss of the Spider Woman and Ragtime and Sweet Smell of Success
Toronto and on Broadway and brought most of them to the West End.
And they were all critically admired, yet didn't seem to make any
money. But Livent took the view that somehow if you produced a
enough range of flops they would add up to one smash hit.
They're gone now. But their spirit lives on in the EU, critically
admired (at least by the Guardian and Le Monde) but not making
money, and clinging to the theory that if you merge enough weak
economies they add up to one global superpower. The big story of
the past three decades is that the more it's mired itself in the
creation of a centralised pseudo-state, the more "Europe" has
fallen behind America in every important long-term indicator,
economic growth to demographics. "Europe" is an indulgence the
real Europe can't afford. The followers recognise that, even if
the leaders don't.
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