The cat i' the adage

"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" Karl Popper (1902 - 1994)

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Towards the New Europe

Charles Moore has some interesting thoughts concerning the European crisis:

It reminds me of the spring of 1992, when people began to realise that the pound's fixed minimum value against the deutschmark of 2.7780 was a doctrine of officialdom, not a fact. In September of that year, the pound fell out of the Exchange Rate Mechanism and floated free. Since then, the reputation of the Conservative Party has never recovered, and our economy has never looked back.

I do not know whether the euro zone will break up (though I wouldn't mind taking a small bet that it has less than 18 months to go in its present form), but Stern's advice interests me for the same reason as the results of the Dutch and French referendums. They are all symptoms of that exciting moment in politics when reality starts to intrude upon the lives of statesmen.

This is part of the fun of following politics: the relation to reality is generally delayed, but is always there in the end. Unreal schemes often appear and even dominate for a time - fascism, Communism, the League of Nations are examples. But the truth eventually finds them out. I am sure that the "ever-closer Union" on which the European Union has been built from the beginning is one of these unreal schemes, since it believes in two falsities - uniformity where in fact there is diversity, and the primacy of government over people. The two main instruments by which truth reaches politics are votes and markets, which is why political Utopians instinctively dislike both. In Europe, the voters have told the truth, and now the markets are watching.

And Old Europe is fearful for the future. Der Spiegel offers this opinion:

“If the Franco-German couple breaks up, Great Britain will be handed Europe on a platter.”

I'm not sure that we want it. I'd settle for having my own country back.


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