The Greek pretence game

Yesterday, the Greek Parliament agreed to an even more austere budget than previously in order to pay off debts to the European Central Bank (ECB) and a big bail out to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It’s only a pretence budget actually, just as the ECB and IMF have previously only pretended to be satisfied.

The IMF won’t play ball any longer, it seems. It knows that Greece hasn’t the faintest chance of ever paying its debts off. Yet what is Greece to do? Its unemployment is twice as deep and has been going on twice as long as America’s during the 1930s Great Depression.

The foreign ministers of the EU’s 28 countries are meeting today. The only realistic way out for Greece now is to default, leave the EU and establish a new foreign exchange rate for a restored drachma — and thus be able to export. But will the EU let it? — or force it? — or continue with the pretence?

David Cameron talking nonsense

Now rhat Kim Jong Un is talking sense at last — that North Korea will never make the first nuclear strike — our own David Cameron is talking nonsense about Europe.

He’s saying that if Britain leaves the EU it will increase the chances of war in Europe. If anything is happening by way of major tension in the EU it is already developing hand over fist between France and Germany. France wants bail outs from Germany. Germany is increasingly making itself clear that they’re not going to be made available. It refused Greece last year — a mere fraction of what France will shortly be requiring.

Divide and Rule for Europe

The cleverness of the EU bureaucrats in Brussels is due to the conjunction of the cleverest senior civil servants of this country. France and Germany when setting it up in the first place == and, of course, in manipulating enough of the senior politicians of the said countries to give it political approval.

Where they’ve been especially clever is in designing a pseudo nation-state with a pseudo Parliament — giving MPs lavish salaries and expenses — and to have, not one, but five Presidents!

There’s the President of the European Commission, the Euro Summit, the Eurogroup. the Central Bank and the Parliament. Like puppets on a stage each one can be brought forward to the stage or retired from it according to the problem at hand. They, of course, have immense salaries and expenses!

But why not just one President of the EU, just like any normal organisation? Ah, but he might start becoming too popular, perhaps even too democratic! That would be fatal to Brussels. No, they’ve read their Machiavelli and their Sun Tzu . Divide and Rule it is.

For how much longer will one country subsidise the rest of the EU?

Despite strong calls for more precise information by many of the British electorate in the present EU referendum kerfuffle, little more than what amount to earnest affirmations are being offered by both sides.

Those who want Britain to stay in the EU can give no convincing explanation of how the EU can ever achieve a common budgetary and taxation system for all its members. Those who want Britain to remove itself from the EU cannot specify what export markets it must develop if the Brussels’ bureaucracy plays nasty tariff tricks on our existing level of exports to Europe.

Neither side can explain why an association of 28 different cultures speaking 28 different languages can hold itself together for much longer when only Germany is actually adjusting with a positive balance of trade in the new economic world that came about when China went freelance in 1979.

Why Britain will vote to remain in the EU

By far the most popular response made by people being questioned in the street by journalists over which way they’ll vote in the 23 June referendum is: “We want to see more detailed figures of what it will cost the country whether we leave the EU or remain in it.”

Which is all very strange because on normal voting occasions, electors will almost totally vote strictly as to whether one party or the other has made specific promises, not for the health of the country as a whole, but in their own personal , or class’s, interests.

The arguments for and against remaining in the EU make no specific promises to individual or class interests, but to wider issues such as national sovereignty or future economic viability (or in other words, will our general standard of living go up or down?).

The reality is that the coming referendum is not about people’s interests but those of the top politicians. And by this is meant the senior civil servants — who largely succeed in being unobtrusive — as well as the elected populist MPs.

So what we actually have are senior civil servants and top politicians — of both the left and the right — voting to stay in the EU because they want to retain the predominant power of the non-elected Brussels bureaucracy.

The reason why the primacy of the Brussels bureaucracy is attractive to top British civil servants is obvious — it’s more of the same. But it’s also attractive to top politicians because its highly regulatory nature — and regulations are more easily dealt with by big business rather than by smaller businesses who constantly threaten them from below.

And, of course, it is big business which is more able to give well-paid directorships and consultancies to retired civil servants and politicians for help given to them in the past.

So what we have in Britain is a Labour Party which is largely partial to the EU because of its highly regulatory nature and a Conservative Party which is largely partial because it always goes along with the interests of big business. Thus, what we’ll have come 25 June is something near 50% of the population voting along their normal party lines to remain and 50% of presently undecideds who will split between yes and no.

We’ll only be leaving the EU when the whole construction collapses.

Big Businesses says Yes to EU, Big Businessmen say No

In a recent Letter to the Daily Telegraph 36 CEOs of the largest 100 businesses in Britain proclaimed their support for remaining in the EU. The remainder — who were sure to be asked — were either against membership or were indifferent. Interestingly the CEOs who would privately say they are against the EU haven’t signed another Letter because that would be against the interests of their company. The larger the company the more it tolerates EU regulations because it helps to keep smaller competitive businesses — which can’t afford the administrative staff — at bay.

However, ask the retired CEOs of major British companies and it’s a different story. The Vote Leave group has now published a Latter signed by 250 of them.

It’s not going well for the EU civil servants in Brussels and the tame politicians they manipulate, with two major problems — monetary and immigration — nowhere near solved. The one prevents at least five countries from ever reducing their national debts. The other has already broken the EU’s proudest achievement — the internal borderless zone. It may already be acquiring its third major problem — terrorism by Muslim State fanatics — against which cooperation between different police forces has been largely lacking,

Where’s the European culture?

The EU is bound to fail sooner or later because it lacks the unifying culture that is necessary. And that involves one language. Even at its very beginning it would never have got beyond the original six countries if all their leading politicians didn’t have English as a secondary language so they could it around one table and conveniently talk together..

For all the quasi-democratic words that are batted about in second-hand English by politicians of the 28 countries and which are supposed to bind them together, they all have different cultural meanings. But outside the conference rooms or the corridors of the Brussels’s civil servants the French remain strongly French, the German German, the Greek Greek and so on. A European cultural tradition can never emerge and that is the death knell of the EU.

France and Germany won’t be going to war . . . but . . .

The great paradox of the success — if you want to call it that ! — of the European Union (EU) so far is that almost all its members’ leaders — belonging to well-educated elites in their own countries — can talk together in their second language — English. The same can be said for the civil servants in Brussels. Without English being spoken between any individual of any rank and in any department, EU rules, regulations and treaties would never have been developed as fast as they have been — and which now spread themselves into all the functions of a nation-state.

Except nation-state it isn’t ! EU officials may say it wants to be an ever-closer united state — or ‘super-state’ as its critics call it — it is still little more than a monetary union — inside a regional free market area with high tariff walls around it. In his usual Monday article in today’s Daily Telegraph, Boris Johnson gives the impression that whether Britain votes to stay in it or leave it, the EU will carry on regardless. Therefore Boris Johnson is one of those who are purveying the fallacy that the Referendum on 23 June is a lifetime opportunity.

That’s nonsense — as already shown by Scottish National Party (SNP) since the Scottish referendum in May 2014 which they also characterised as a single lifetime opportunity. The SNP are already talking of another referendum ! Referenda can arise in any ‘democratic’ country where a crucial issue cuts right across conventional party lines.

I will be voting Yes to Brexit come 23 June, if only doing my little bit to make the future of the EU is little neater for historians. The EU is going to fold up anyway before too long. If Britain leaves the EU it’ll be just a little quicker. It won’t be able to act as a peace-maker any longer between France and Germany. They’re already beginning to fall out. This will be on top of the euro fiasco and the gathering problem of Third World immigrants.

France and Germany won’t be going to war because neither of them can afford an army — and America wouldn’t lend either of them the money this time — but also the Second World War was the last time that ordinary folk are going to be manipulated by their respective elites into killing other’s ordinary folk, particularly since they’ve become friends via tourism.

The EU cannot succeed because its creators couldn’t see the nation-state from enough perspective. Had they done so they would have realised that all nation-states are the products of warfare whch, when ended, is followed up immediately with the suppression of all languages except one in each case. In due course, one language helps to bring about one culture. There is no possibility of any of that in the case of the EU.

Make or Break for the EU today

Today, the leaders of the 28 EU countries are meeting with President Erdogan of Turkey for a crucial agreement to stop the migration route through Turkey before the weatber warms up. Apparently the civil servants have already squared up most of a deal whereby Erdogan will stop all migrants except Syrians proceeding to the sea traffickers taking them to Greece. In exchange, the EU will also take all those now parked in refugee camps in Turkey. Plus the promised 3 billion euros which Erdogan says he hasn’t received yet !

Continuing to accept Syrians is, of course, a political compromise to demonstrate that the EU hasn’t become totally brutal. But this then leaves the problem of what to do if a million or more Syrians continue to arrive in Greece in the spring and summer months. Austria is still refusing to let more than a dribble into the EU. And are the rest of the EU countries prepared to share the Syrians? They’ve twice promised to, and then subsequently failed to. Also more borders within the EU are now being re-established. It could be make or break for the EU today.

How will the EU finally break its back?

The incompetence of the EU is beginning to be unbelievable. In as short a period of 16 years, not only has the euro currency brought Greece to the edge of disaster — over which it may well topple before too long — but also two more, Spain and Portugal, which are finding it impossible to have straightforward balances of trade. As for Italy — an easy-going country at the best of times — nothing wrong with that normally — adds to its charm — is heading straight for the bail-out bin.

As for the gaffe of Angela Merkel — the only strong-weak politician that the EU has had for the last few years — in opening the doors of Germany — and by implication the rest of the EU — to millions of the Muslim wretched of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and various war-torn countries of Africa, then it has already wrecked the EU’s proudest accomplishment so far — borderless visa-free travel within it. What are the odds against the complete restitution of the Schengen Zone? Pretty substantial, I’d suggest.

How will the EU finally break its back? Probably when it finds that it, too, has no answer to the present impasse in world trading. However, whereas China, Japan and America, each with their own culture and unifying language, will get by in one way or another, the 28 member countries of the EU, already revolting against the civil servants in Brussels, haven’t a chance of any sort of unifying principle.

Disuniting America and Europe

The usual phrase used by EU supporters is “ever closer union” — that is, a United States of Europe in imitation of the United States of America.

Which, of course, America isn’t. It is becoming two nations. Because technology is developing faster than state education systems can deliver by way of enough sufficiently educated young adults then all advanced countries are dividing into two parts. These are approximately 20% of the population and 80%.

As the higher-paid 20% pay at least 90% of the taxes that subsidize the wages of the rest — or pay for their total benefits if they’re very poor — then the 80% will continue to breed themselves out of existence in due course as their birth rates continue to decline well below replenishment.

Whether the 20% want to start having more children than two per family remains to be seen. If they don’t want to give physical birth to more children then they’ll certainly want to adopt children from parents who can’t afford to raise them.  The prosperous 20% will want to maintain viable numbers in order to keep the infrastructure going.  And now that IQ tests can be successfully applied to children as young as two years old — and probably even younger in due course — then the existing intelligence divide between the 20% and the 80% will continue to widen.

Is the EU now breaking up?

Yesterday the Danish Parliament by an overwhelming majority passed a package of measures in order to deter asylum refugees.  Police will be allowed to confiscate personal valuables above $1500 and their families will not be allowed to join them for three years. All this despite protests from the United Nations.

These measures follow activities in other Nordic countries.  Swedish police are ‌checking identification papers of passengers travelling between Copenhagen in Denmark and Malmo in Sweden. In the meantime, Norway is trying to send back refugees who crossed over from Russia which won’t take them back.

These are major shock waves hitting the European Union Commissioners who are already trying to prevent Austria, Hungary and Slovenia from blocking Syrian immigrants coming from Macedonia and Greece.

The breakdown of the European Union is inevitable.

The European Union is breaking up.  That’s the only interpretation one can make about the breakdown in visa-free travel that has already taken place in the last two or three weeks.  On Monday next, 26 Foreign Ministers will be meeting to “consider” suspending the Schengen system for two years and re-imposing national border posts from 30 years ago.

How do they expect to bring visa-free travel back again in two years when the populations of most of the countries of sub-Saharan Africa are already bursting at the seams? And do they expect that there will be no wars in the Middle East?

Yesterday at Davos, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls warned that the crisis could bring down the entire European Union.  The “very idea of Europe” will be torn apart, he said.  But what was the “very idea”?  Was it a new empire?  If so, where is the army that could be available if necessary to subdue the colonies? Was it a United States of Europe? — in other words, a nation-state?  If so , where is the common culture? — more precisely, common language?

The EU has failed under migration pressure.  But it would have failed anyway under an inevitable breakdown of its monetary system.  The countries of the EU are now more at odds with one another than they would have been before it started.

The fundamental reason why the EU will split

Alan Sked, Professor of International History at the London School of Economics, describes how the EU was founded in today’s Daily Telegraph.  At the end of his article he is of the opinion that, at the next referendum in 2016 or 2017, the pro-EU campaigners will find it a great deal more difficult to fool the British people into remaining in the EU than in the original referendum in 1973 when they joined:  “especially given the obvious difficulties of the Eurozone, the failure of EU migration policy and the lack of any coherent EU security policy.”

No doubt trained in the humanities, like most politicians and civil ervants, and not the human sciences, which has a great deal to say why organisations hold together — or not as the case may be — still hasn’t grasped the main reason why the EU cannot hold together. It is that any stable organisation has to have a single culture, or enough of it to overcome — or to delay — devolution tendencies.

The minimum requirement for a single culture is a single spoken and written language.  During the formation of almost all nation-states == though some, like Spain and Italy have never been complete — a single language has been a high priority.  This is what the original EU plotters — as Prof Sked describes them — entirely missed out of account.  Failures of the EU migration policy and security policy are by-products of the lack of a single language and culture.

Europe not quite an abyss!

In apparent contrast to what I wrote yesterday (“The Decline of the West?”) Jeremy Warner in today’s Daily Telegraph writes that “Europe is sliding towards the abyss, and the terrorists know it.”  Clever chap, nowhere in his article does he specify whether he means Europe or the EU!  There are only two clues.  One where he talks of France abrogating EU spending policy in order to fight Isis, the other where he briefly mentions Quantitative Easing, an EU by-product.

So there we are then. But even in yesterday’s enconium to “Europe”. I only meant the countries along the northern fringe — the ones that, with America, win 95% of the Nobel prizes in science subjects. As the world economy inexorably proceeds in the next few decades to automation, high skills in every remaining job sector and the mass shedding of much of the ordinary work of today, I see no comfortable future for any country that doesn’t have a leading edge in at least one scientific subject and thus able to continue to trade high value products and services and maintain a high standard of living.

I don’t suppose that Warner would agree with my forecast for one minute but at least we’re agreed about the abyss facing the EU.

Not quite congratulations, Mr Tusk!

The fundamental reason why the EU can’t last is that it contains 28 different cultures aided and abetted by 28 different languages.  The one thing that the initial Brussels bureaucracy forgot to do was to impose one European language on them all — the sine qua non of any territorial power that hopes to remain united.

Instead, as a gesture, the EU has instituted the Schengen free-travel area so that labour can freely move from country to country without furnishing visas. What a brilliant idea!  Just like America, in fact! — the cat that the EU is trying to copy.

However, the significant feature of this is that the more skilled the individual in the social hierarchy the less able he is to move because the protective practices around each profession within each country become so much more culture-bound. Not at all like America! Businesses don’t re-locate either. Not at all like America!

And now, with a million Syrian, Middle Eastern and African immigrants within Europe and another million already on its way, one of the EU leaders is now saying what this blog has been saying for months:  “Without effective control on our external borders, the Schengen rules will not survive.” (Donald Dusk, President of the European Council)

And without free-travel within the EU it might as well say good-bye to any further 28-country agreements as issues emerge.

Congratulations, Mr Tusk!  But even then, this would not be enough.  What about the other vital ingredient?

Bank of England doing as it’s told

Mark Carney, the Bank of England Governor, is to make “a potentially seismic intervention into the debate on the UK’s place in the European Union.”

It will be hardly “seismic”!  Most people will take no notice at all. The Referendum is still far too far away yet (sometime before end 2017) for anywhere near the majority to have made up their minds (even though they may say they have to pollsters). Nearer the event, the fact that half-a-dozen forceful government ministers have already said that they want to speak out against remaining in the EU — and strongly against the prime minister no doubt — means that at least these will be well represented. People aren’t interested in dry-as-dust bureaucrats such as Mark Carney or Treasury officials — either that or they’ll be guided by other EU-related events going on at the time.

It all goes to show really that the Bank of England is not an independent institution.  It hasn’t been since the start of the Second World War nor has been within a whisker of it since.

There’s not enough in common between Europeans.

A very silly title on The Economist cover page this week.  It shows a rather slim version of the British Isles walking along carrying a brief case.  Above it are the words, “The Reluctant European”.

There’s a category error here. Brits are not Europeans. Europeans live on an island of their own which they share with Asia.  Most Europeans regularly speak two or three languages if necessary. Most British people speak only English. On the basis of language, an alien visitor would certainly rate the English as American rather than European.

We go to Europe on holiday or on business and we enjoy the place and its customs.  We love many scenarios in Europe quite as much as our own. But we are not Europeans and Europeans recognise any of us a mile off nothing other than English we’re ‘over the water’. Actually, the main problem is not our role compared with Europeans’, it’s their role compared with one another.

The EU is now so vast and contains so many different psychological cultures that Europeans are really only Europeans in vaguely generic terms.  As for  28 different types of Europeans, there’s not enough common abut them that ‘s going to hold them together year after year in the future.

Four provisos of staying in the EU

All of a sudden this morning, the British government comes out with a four-point statement that is both cowardly and extreme.  It’s cowardly in that it doesn’t mention stopping mass immigration, which is what the people feel most strongly about.  The four points are also extreme in that the EU would never accept any of them. Either Cameron has been successfully disguising anti-EU views for years or Osborne has just made up his mind and told Cameron what they’d better get a move on.

The four points are that: (1) we remain exempt from the EU founding principle of an “ever closer union”; (2) that the euro is not the exclusive currency of the EU; (3) ability of groups of member states to scrap existing EU laws; and (4) a new structure for the EU itself so that the non-euro countries are not dominated by the euro-countries.

Astonishingly, some pro-EU Cabinet ministers are satisfied that the above will make sure we will stay in.  Well, either they’re living in Cloud Cuckoo Land or I am. Or it could be that the four points are an invention of the Sunday Telegraph to stir up trouble.

The Brussels Politburo

There are three serious divisions now within the European Union.  Germany is part of all of them, not because Angela Merkel or Wolfgang Schaeuble have sought them, but because Germany is about the only viable country within the 28 and doesn’t intend to be deflected from its path of economic and cultural righteousness..

Firstly there’s the final North-South showdown with Greece, yet to take place when it has had its general election next week and the formation of a government willing, or not willing, to take on the austerity programme which the finance ministers of the other EU countries have laid out for it.  I’m still of the opinion that it can really only end with Greece’s exit.

Secondly, there’s the recent East-West division in the treatment of Syrian refugees between the newest EU countries such as the ex-communist countries of Hungary, Poland and Serbia (though not yet full euro-using members) and the more receptive countries such as Germany and Sweden.  The future of this, depending also on how many more people will be fleeing from Syria — and more recently from Pakistan and Afghanistan — is totally unguessable.

Thirdly, and undoubtedly what is going to be the most serious division of them all, is the fissure that is now widening between Germany and France.  Germany wants no more favours extended to countries which can’t put their financial houses in order.  France, which simply doesn’t have the necessary discipline to survive in an increasingly competitive world and senses that it, too, will be requiring bail-outs from the EU, is pressing Germany hard to become more generous.  Behind France are the Brussels Commissioners, their president Jean-Claude Juncker and Italy, which will be another supplicant before too long.

The political impossibility of laying down the essential fundamentals of a future United States of Europe which any new nation-state in the past did as a matter of course — a centralised taxation and budgetary authority, and one official language (even if, in this case, it had to invent a new Euro-esperanto, by no means an impossible task) — then the EU should have remained what many, such as Britain, intended it to be for the benefit of all the European countries — a Common Market.

A Common Market could have been achieved with a comparatively small bureaucracy such as NAFTA’s between America, Canada and Mexico. But such a modest servicing operation wouldn’t have offered the same opportunities for yet more power to the senior civil servants of Britain, France, Germany, etc. who are as keen for an unelected bureaucracy in Brussels as the Politburo in China is keen to maintain its.  Mind you, the Chinese Politburo might yet succeed, due to its cultural coherence going back to Confucius.  A Brussels Politburo with no cultural adhesion between the people of its member countries, doesn’t have a chance.

The failure of the Brussels bureaucrats

The highly intelligent and supremely rational EU bureaucrats of Brussels are now as much in a total mess over the immigration issue as they are over the monetary system.  They are now having to fall back on the politicians — those whom they normally manipulate when everything goes swimmingly.

The politicians, being more instinctive than cerebral, know that underneath them are electorates that, once stirred, can be dangerous.  This is why, whatever weasel words they’ll use to pacify the ‘politically correct’ in the coming weeks and months, they’ll have to decide to stop immigration into Europe altogether, whether humanitarian or economic.

The Middle East will be in a state of civil war for a generation yet.  Africa’s population is enormous and still growing enormously.