Sunday, 12 February 2017
Future Europe, Future You
Unless you really are an inward-looking Little Englander you must have noticed the rising panic and hysteria among the ruling classes and their acolytes over the future of the European dream. If you haven’t yet watched Katya Adler's documentary - After Brexit: The Battle for Europe – you really should. Fences are going up and animus is rising and all because the EU cannot do what it needs to do; cannot be what it needs to be, a simple free trade area.
The EU from its inception was intended to be exactly what the peoples of Europe never wanted – a supra-national, unchallengeable, top-down system of governance controlling every aspect of people’s lives. Rewording history, ‘interpreting’ the will of the demos, imposing curbs on freedoms in the guise of freedoms. When Churchill talked of a United States of Europe that is exactly what he had in mind; not the external and remote monarchy that the United States fought to be free of and the EU has become.
People like Martin Schultz pour scorn on the likes of Beppe Grillo and Italy’s Five Star movement, dismissing it all as angry words – sometimes funny, perhaps – but comprising of rhetoric alone. Odd, though, how the left have always survived and won elections by the power of words alone – powerful enough to overcome the evidence of failure that socialism always provides. But as always, for the Schulzes and Verhofstadts and Junckers, the project cannot be compromised; the solution for unease about the EU is always more EU, closer union... big government, in exact contrast to what a clear majority of ordinary working people want.
Who knows what the collapse of the EU might bring in the short term? I’m seeing street parties and spontaneous outbursts of joy. I’m seeing people recover national pride in a good way and taking back control of their daily lives. I’m seeing new/old ways of trading emerge and the prospects of new opportunities enriching individual lives. And most of all I’m seeing hope materialise for many, especially the young who have up to now been told their future has been stolen. It hasn’t, it’s right there ahead of them and now they have a real chance to shape it.
But they might want to get a move on. Lay down the pointless placards, kids and put away the tissues; dry your eyes and get out there. Grab the opportunities and don’t wait for government to do it for you. Here’s a novel idea – pay for it all yourselves, that way you are in hock to nobody. Work hard, play hard and recover a sense of balance and a sense of humour. The people who voted for Brexit wish you no harm; they are rooting for you. Don’t let them down. Go for it, but for heaven’s sake, start right now.
Because the establishment will re-form. It might take a while, but no matter how popular, how sensible, a new governing order is at first, it will one day become the establishment and it will one day cease to understand its purpose. Once a government becomes big it becomes detached. It begins to imagine a higher calling and the gravity of international politics will once again pull together the bigger beasts. The EU won’t die but for a generation or so it might stay hidden, licking its wounds. Make the most of it while you can.