Before our eyes, the European project is disintegrating, and yet nobody seems especially perturbed. It’s bizarre. Have we forgotten that this thing was created to make sure that Europe would never again be visited with catastrophic wars? Even though it was hardly an unqualified success, given the slaughter in Yugoslavia, at least it kept the major powers from each other’s throats.
Regional wars we can live with. World wars we cannot, and that’s the harsh truth.
As I speak, we witness the incompetent spectacle of David Cameron vetoing measures in the European Union, the first time such a thing has ever been done, and yet going home empty-handed. Whenever leaders in the past have threatened a veto, they extracted some sort of concession, but Cameron, it seems, has simply succeeded in isolating Britain from its 26 partners in the EU, while gaining no advantage. Furthermore, he seems to have alienated his coalition partners, the Lib-Dems, by failing to inform them before dropping the V-bomb.
Nick Clegg said that he was bitterly disappointed at Cameron’s actions, which can’t bode well for continued cooperation between his party and the Conservatives. And the extraordinary thing is that Cameron was fighting, not on behalf of the British people, but on behalf of the bankers in the City of London. In order to protect a financial elite, Cameron decided to remove his entire nation from the European decision-making process. In many ways, Cameron is like an educated, articulate Bertie Ahern, going to bat for the people who really pull his strings, at the expense of his electorate.
Clearly, gobshitery isn’t the exclusive preserve of Irish politicians but the Brits do it with more class. Cameron looked like a worried schoolboy as he headed home from the meeting, and ultimately, perhaps that’s all Dave is — a pampered public-schoolboy with all the rhetoric and none of the historical insight.
Isn’t it worrying that the future of Europe is in the hands of such people? Dave has no substance. He’s a Hooray Henry who got lucky and is now utterly out of his depth. The Germans, under Merkel, have no taste for dominating Europe. Despite what people suggest, Germany is a nation still traumatised following its actions in WWII and reluctant to take a governing role in Europe. Sarkozy, on the other hand – a prating coxcomb – seems to be intoxicated by power. He detects his moment at hand and he wants to extract every last smidgin of hubris from it.
Let’s not worry too much about Germany. The real threat in this drama comes from France, and what’s more, comes from one man’s ego. Congratulations for nabbing Carla Bruni, Nicolas. Wouldn’t we all envy you? But that doesn’t make you a statesman.
As every minute passes, the threat to the euro and to the European project grows, but what about Ireland? Where will we be if it all implodes? In the modern world, a tiny country like ours has no chance of survival without strategic partnerships. We simply don’t have a historical accumulation of wealth and resilience, unlike other small nations such as Holland, Portugal and Denmark, who built up vast reserves by robbing from the Africans and the indigenous people of South America. I have no doubt that we’d have done the same thing if we could, but unfortunately, the English thieving kings beat our local thieving kings and that screwed that.
I never liked rollercoasters. They always frightened the shit out of me but I know one thing about them: no matter how scared you are, you don’t jump out. Hold onto your seat, close your eyes, and wait for the ride to stop. Then you can complain.
We are in the grip of the biggest geopolitical upheaval we have ever known. None of us has ever lived through such dangerous times and, like it or not, being part of a huge economic and political alliance like the EU is the only thing that will save us. When the ride stops, we can complain, but now is not the time.
There are may things about our current relationship with the EU that I dislike but the alternative is something I like even less. And yet, we need an alliance with a major power. If not the EU, then what — the United Kingdom? That’s the choice, folks. Think about it long and hard.