The Truth about the EU and Brexit ‘from the very Heart of the EU.
A Review of ‘Adults in the Room’ (My Battle with Europe’s Deep Establishment) by Yanis Varoufakis.
It is difficult to know where to begin with Brexit. The tribalism, fake news, propaganda, schaedenfreude, and hysteria continue to dominate the media here, and put most sane people of ever wanting to discuss it. Who really cares about Tory party machinations? Or SNP manipulation? Or Labour confusion? or Lib_Dem post-modernism – ‘we want another referendum but its not a repeat’?! How can us ordinary punters be expected to understand such complex issues? Maybe we should just leave it to the ‘experts’ who of course have a clear grasp of what is going on!
There are two basic tribes. On the one hand there are those for whom the EU is epitomy of everything evil and getting Britain out will result in revival all round – politically, economically, socially, culturally and even spiritually! On the other there are those who regard the EU as a secular Nirvana, the peak of civilization, the centre of culture, the answer to all our woes. To even contemplate leaving it is an act of barbarism that causes them to weep. The EUphiles are as fanatical as any uber British Nationalist. To even question any aspect of the EU is to send them into fits of outrage and abuse – a claim which is usually met with outrage and abuse.
I of course am very interested in this subject. Having once been anti-EU, then pro-EU, then being persuaded by the arguments of Tony Benn to be against the EU – when the referendum came around I spent a lot of time reading and finding out for myself and eventually came to the conclusion that we should leave. (You can read about how I worked through this in my most read article to date- ). European referendum – The TIPPing PointI also thought that we wouldn’t. It turns out I was wrong about the Referendum result – the Establishment didn’t win – the rebels did. But I still think that the EU is so corrupt and its allies within the UK so duplicitous and fanatical, that it is still likely we will not leave in any meaningful sense. I hope I am as wrong about that as I was about the result of the Referendum, but we shall see.
By the way it is so irritating to have the smug, self-righteous Remainers (not all – but certainly the predominant group within the media) continually pontificate that those who voted Leave did so because they were lied to, ignorant and were now regretting it. I am not the only one who spent a great deal of time reading material from all sides and trying to work things out. To be then told by people who are so intellectually lazy that all they can do is repeat the mantras and memes sent out from party HQ, that ‘we don’t understand’ (they of course do) and we will come to our senses, is depressing.
I think it is really important for us to get the big picture. I read the Economist, Private Eye, the Guardian, the Courier and Prospect – all quite strongly anti-Brexit (as are the BBC and many news sources). I listen to the politicians (most of whom in Scotland regard being anti-Brexit as the default position of civic Scotland – if you want to belong you had better admire the Emperor’s new clothes) and get some pro-Brexit material (the Telegraph, the Spectator are more balanced than the explicitly anti-Brexit media) as well as the wonderful Spiked Online – who as a source of information and inspiration are hard to beat. I have also read a number of books – but rather than attempt to distill them all I thought I would share with you my review of just one of those; Yanis Varoufakis’s ‘Adults in the Room – My Battle with Europe’s Deep Establishment”.
Yanis was the left-wing socialist Greek Finance minister, who had to negotiate with the EU when the Greek economy collapsed and Greece was threatened with leaving the Euro and even the EU. It’s a good book to look at from my perspective because it shows an insiders view of how the EU works, sheds light on how the Brexit negotiations are being conducted, and carries a warning for all our political leaders. Furthermore it is written from the perspective of someone who is pro-EU and thinks the UK should have remained in the EU. So in that sense it is very balanced. It’s a long book – some 500 fairly detailed and sometimes technical pages and I suspect would be too much for most of us to work through. So once again – as is my usual style I will try to give a distilled version and let Yanis speak in his own words. The lessons are obvious.
Here are the basic principles on which the EU works – as evidenced by Mr Varoufakis.
1) There are Insiders and Outsiders
You are either in the club or out of it.
‘There are two kinds of politicians, insiders and outsiders. The outsiders prioritise their freedom to speak their version of the truth. The price of their freedom is that they are ignored by the insiders, make the important decisions. The insiders, for their part, following a sacrosanct role: never turn against other insiders and never talk to outsiders about what insiders say or do. They reward? Access to inside information and a chance, though no guarantee, of influencing powerful people and outcomes. (Larry Summers) p. 8.
This is a great summary of how the EU works. If you are on the ‘inside’ then you have a chance to have influence, providing you play the game. There is no room for the prophetic here. This is how the Scottish government works. You will search in vain for any evidence of the SNP being in any way critical of any aspect of the EU. Instead they feed the myth (which they know is a myth) of the benevolent, all-caring, compassionate, reasonable union of nations – of which Scotland would be as equal a partner as Germany!
2) The EU is run by Elites who are ultimately authoritarian rather than Democratic and who are prepared to be brutal to get their way.
“None of this will be easy. Networks will respond violently, as they are already doing. They will turn more authoritarian, more closed, more fragmented. They will become increasingly preoccupied with their own security and monopoly of information, less trusting of common people.” (Page 14)
When the EU turned to deal with Greece. They were brutal. I find it somewhat bizarre and a cognitive dissonance that self-styled left-wing leaders in the UK follow the Blairite lie, made up to persuade the erstwhile anti-EU Labour party to become pro EU – that the EU is all about protecting workers rights. How about asking the workers of Greece what rights the Troika (the EU Commission, the IMF and the European Central Bank) gave them? Yanis’s book is revelatory in that respect.
“In May 2010. The European Union and the IMF extended to the broke Greek government around €110 billion, the largest loan in history. Simultaneously a group of enforcers known as the troika – so-called because they represent three institutions: the European commission, which is the EU’s executive body, the European Central Bank and the International monetary fund – was dispatched to Athens to impose measures guaranteed to reduce Greece’s national income and place most of the burden of the debt upon the weakest Greeks. A bright eight year old would have known that this couldn’t end well. Forcing new loans upon the bankrupt on condition that they shrink their income is nothing short of cruel and unusual punishment. Greece was never bailed out. With their rescue loan and their troika of bailiffs enthusiastically slashing incomes, the EU and IMF effectively condemned Greece to a modern version of the Dickensian debtors prison and then threw away the key.” (Page 19)
3) The EU Commission is a Master of Spin (the euphemistic term for lying)
Varoufakis cites Jean Claude Juncker’s infamous quip, ““When it becomes serious you have to lie,” (page 26). Again I find it depressing how many politicians and journalists in this country lament rightly the ‘fake news’ of Trump and the nationalist right, but cite Juncker with approval as an authoritative truth teller! The man is a consummate liar and even boasted about it. But he is to be trusted!
The lie this time was an extraordinary one. They portrayed the second bailout of the French and German banks as a rescue of the profligate and lazy Greeks. The trouble was that the EU’s rules meant that government debt could not be financed by the EU. So what they did was both ignore their own roles and create a classic Brussels fudge – the loans would not be European but international from the IMF. But in reality it was still an EU bailout for an EU member state and even more so for German and French banks. It had nothing to do with helping the Greeks or saving their economy.
Another interesting lie that is put around by our left-wing pro-EU politicians is that the EU is anti-austerity. Yanis explains why this is not the case.
“If you have ever wondered why Europe’s establishment is so much keener on austerity than Americans or Japan’s, this is why. It is because the ECB is not allowed to bury the banks sins in his own books, meaning European governments have no choice but to fund bank bailouts through benefit cuts and tax hikes.” (Page 29)
This is such an obvious truth that one wonders why politicians have been so silent in pointing it out. Yanis’s explanation citing Upton Sinclair is as good as any.
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” (Page 32).
That’s why you will find so many of our politicians towing the party line – because their job and career depends on them not understanding! It’s always an interesting thing to do when confronted with ‘independent’ experts – academics, journalists, scientists, politicians, bureaucrats, arts counsel people, who invariably come out in favour of the EU; to ask them if any of their funding, either directly or indirectly comes from the EU? The EU knows how to feather the nests of those who are the opinion formers and create a dependency that cannot be broken. In the old days before the ‘alternative facts’ of the post-truth Western world, we used to call that bribery.
The culture of lies goes a long way. Again I find is fascinating that we are constantly reminded of the ‘lies’ of the Leave Campaign (usually it boils down to the one – the infamous £350 million) and never about the lies of the Remain Campaign (the day after we vote to leave there will be an emergency budget – each household will be £4,800 per year worse off, planes won’t fly etc.). But what is even more astonishing is that whilst every word of a pro-Brexit British politician is greeted with cynicism, every word of the EU politicians is cited as gospel truth from master negotiators! Yet as Yanis testifies.
“Now that we had accepted the EU – IMF bailout, we were no longer dealing with banks but with politicians who had lied to their parliaments to convince them to relieve the banks of Greece’s debt and take it on themselves.” (Page 38)
The EU insisted that Greece’s national treasures were privatized and sold off – not by the Greek government but by the Troika and their bureaucrats.
Yanis is not the biggest fan of the Euro (which itself was built on a lie – especially Greece’s entry into it).
“Two err is human, as they say, but to fail spectacularly and with stunning human cost, it seems we needed Europe’s grandest economic design, the Euro””(page 49)
4) The EU knows how to play the Media.
I was intrigued to get a reference from the Bible leading one of the chapters –
He quotes Jeremiah 9:3 “and they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil”
If you are going to tell lies then you need the media on your side.
“The bankers now took over the funding of the media in order to manipulate public opinion and thus control the political game that kept them in charge of their bankrupt banks. But, unlike the developers, the bankers were clever enough to eschew ownership of the insolvent television stations and newspapers. Instead, they kept the media alive by paying them ludicrous sums to advertise their services and more importantly granted them large extend and pretend loans just like the loans they were granting one another, just like the loans the EU and the IMF were granting the Greek state” (page 55)
I have seen this same principle in practice here. One wonders how much the various newspapers, broadcasting agencies and academic institutions receive directly and indirectly from the EU. Ask newspapers how much advertising they get from the EU or EU funded bodies? They certainly don’t want to bite the hand that pays them.
Another thing I found very revealing was his experience of how the EU uses propaganda – because we are seeing it happen through our own media and politicians.
“Meanwhile, operation Truth Reversal was in full swing. Through tweets, leaks and a campaign of disinformation involving key nodes in the Brussels media network, the troika spread the word that I was the one wasting time, arriving at meetings either with no proposals at all or without proposals that lacked quantification, consisting only of empty ideological rhetoric. In contrast, the troika succeeded in presenting itself as the champion of a wholly comprehensive solution that included reform of all aspects of Greece’s social economy.” (Page 310)
Does that sound familiar? It sounds just like the reports that some sections of the UK media have made about their own negotiators. They have swallowed the EU propaganda, hook, line and sinker.
“Bullies blame their victims. Clever bullies make their victims culpability seems self-evident.” (Page 311)
The EU knows how to use the media – and many of our media are happy to be used (especially if lucrative advertising goes along with it).
“Within hours, leaks to the media from the usual sources portraying Nicholas, one of the most congenial, cultivated, nuanced, moderate and brilliantly educated Europeans I know, as a brute, an imbecile and a spoiler” (page 345)
“In reality I am on my own, confronting a large, fully weaponised army without even a small shield for protection… Hell, without even a proper press office to let the world know of the solid policy work my tiny team is doing; let alone protect me from lies and distortions that would make Joseph Goebbels proud.” (Page 353)
5) The EU Commission is ruthless in dealing with its opponents
Yanis makes clear that the power in the EU lies with the ECB and the Commission – the Parliament is largely irrelevant. It is largely window dressing for those who want to maintain the fantasy that the EU is in any form democratic. Although I have to be fair to the SNP MP who tweeted happily that the EU didn’t need democracy because it was just a trading association! One has to hope that this is not official SNP policy!
Yanis also makes clear that when the European Commission has a will, it discovers a way. One of those ways is to play hardball with their opponents. The Commission is not answerable to the electorate and so doesn’t have to face the pesky risks of democracy – especially the electorate. He tells of how they divided the Greek government through a combination of bribery, flattery, threats and lies. Plus ca change – plus c’est la meme chose!
“The leadership were telling each other one story while the party faithful were being served a completely different one. It was a recipe for confusion, division and defeat against adversaries who are united, mighty and determined.” (Page 90)
They could also be really patient.
“EU and IMF officials would be in no hurry to negotiate with the government they wanted to undermine. They would sit on their hands, bide their time..” (Page 92)
And of course they sought to undermine individuals on the other side.
“It is a source of personal pride and joy to me that the troika’s cheerleaders within Greece use every opportunity they can to undermine me.” (Page 98)
I find it fascinating that this ultra-Left politician found support in the Conservative politician Norman Lamont. He indicates that Lamont stated that reform of the EU must be about democracy and the sovereignty of Parliament – not just economics and competitiveness. He also agreed that there was too much emphasis on austerity in the EU (page 123)
The Troika were prepared to be brutal. Again for those EU fantasists who see the EU as a bulwark against poverty, authoritarianism and austerity, this is a hard truth to face. The EU deliberately imposed an austerity upon Greece that we in the UK can only have nightmares about.
The economic effect on Greece has been devastating – unemployment has risen 160%. 3.5 million employed people now support 4.7 million unemployed. In 2013 36% of the population lived at risk of poverty or social exclusion.
And the Troika were brutal.
“Any moratorium on evicting families from their primary residence jarred terribly with the troika. It promised bankers the freedom to repossess and auction of all residences, large and small, primary or secondary.” (Page 284)
Remember that this is the EU which our politicians tell us we should remain in, in order to fight austerity!
The troika and their allies stopped the plan for dealing with tax evaders and for those who were using gambling to exploit the struggling Greek people.
“This is what happens when those with unwarranted power lose legitimacy and self-confidence: they turn ugly. No longer interested in winning the intellectual or ideological argument, the establishment resorted instead to character assassination and punitive measures new would result in less prosperity and less freedom. It employed brute force to impose policies that not even Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher would have endorsed” (page 481)
The EU Commission also works on the Thatcherite Tina maxim – ‘there is no alternative’. Again there is a lesson for Britain’s politicians here. We have Conservative, SNP, Labour and Lib-Dem politicians who insist that whatever happens you can’t walk away because you cannot have a ‘no-deal’. Yanis shows that the EU relied on this to force extreme austerity and poverty on the Greeks.
“Negotiate with the troika as toughly as you want but under no circumstances contemplate a rupture, they would tell me there is no point in entering a negotiating room if you’re not prepared to contemplate walking out, I would retort” (page 141)
“If you cannot imagine walking out of the negotiation, should never enter it. If you cannot fathom the idea of an on pass you might as well confine yourself to the role of a supplicant who implores the despot to grant him several privileges but output sets in the final analysis whatever the despot grants” Speech to the Greek parliament. (Page 227)
6) The EU is fundamentally anti-democratic.
One of the more interesting pieces of fantasy that I get tweeted regularly by EUphiles is that ‘the EU is more democratic than the UK’. ‘Scotland would have more of a say in the EU than we do in the UK”. They are never quite able to explain how having 8 Members of the European Parliament out of 751 is better than having 57 out of 650. It’s even worse when you realize that the European Parliament is effectively powerless and the real power lies with the unelected Commission, the ECB and the Euro-group – the finance ministers.
“The euro group is an interesting beast. It has no legal standing in any of the EU treaties and yet it is the body that makes Europe’s most vital decisions. At the same time most Europeans, including most politicians, know nothing about it.”
(Page 231)…. A reasonable and impartial spectator might easily have concluded that the purpose of the Euro group is for the ministers to approve and legitimise decisions that have already been taken by the three institutions” (page 232)
The contempt the EU has for democracy may not disturb those of our elites who don’t like it anyway. Why should the people be allowed a vote on anything substantial? It should be left to the ‘experts’ – i.e. themselves. If you want to know how the EU works this quote summarises it:
“Elections cannot be allowed to change economic policy” Wolfgang Schauble – chair of the Eurogroup.
The power in the EU lies with the bankers and the corporate capitalists. Yanis makes one interesting observation about the officials he had to deal with in the Eurogroup – “One day I realised what all the officials had in common – they were all Goldman Sachs alumni”…
The EU Commission is undemocratic but it has thousands of support staff to follow their every whim.
“Meanwhile the troika was able to draw on hundreds, if not thousands of support staff working at some of the world’s best resource institutions – the IMF, ECB and the European commission. The point men – and they were all men, at least in that first meeting – had years of experience of pushing their special adjustment programmes and bailout agendas down the throats of weak governments, Greek ones included.” (Page 251)
Yanis confirms the contempt for democracy that exists amongst the Technocrats who run the EU.
“Interestingly, the idea that the government should consult its people and a problematic proposal put to it by the institutions met with incomprehension and was treated with the disdain that bordered on contempt. How could we expect normal people to understand such complex issues? I was asked by Italy’s Pier Carlo Padoan. “ How intriguing that this is the line put forward by our own elites – everyone from Richard Dawkins and the Guardian to Tory grandees and Socialist MPs – how can we expect the common people to understand? It should be left to us – the experts (who incidentally are the people who most benefit from the EU gravy train!).
The EU does not like Referendums and will do everything they can to overturn them.
There has not yet been a referendum that has gone against the EU, which they have accepted. Every one has either been ignored or reversed. The Greeks held
A referendum in which they voted not to accept the troika’s terms – and yet the government overturned the result of that referendum because it was not what the EU wanted! This is precisely of course what the Lib-Dems, the SNP and some within the Labour party and the Conservatives are trying to do with the UK one.
7) The EU works on a divide and rule principle in order to maintain their power.
The Strategy of the EU Establishment is divide and rule.
“We were divided and ultimately we were ruled” page 292
This is why the EU – who warned against Scottish Independence, is now making positive noises to Scottish politicians. I wonder if our Scottish government ministers really believe what their followers tweet – ‘we will have as much influence in the EU as Germany because it is a partnership of 27 equal states’? They must surely have more intelligence than that! But I wonder if they realize they are being ‘played’ in this divide and rule strategy – as are the Irish, Welsh and anyone else the EU can manipulate.
The Troika were not interested so much in the money – they wanted the power. Which is why in Brexit negotiations we need to be aware that much of what will be done is done to stop encouraging any others to follow the same route. The EU bureaucrats won’t mind EU workers taking a hit if Britain is punished – because they are not answerable to EU workers through the ballot box! The British government is answerable to British workers.
The following is a really interesting summary of this:
“If they were not careful, dangerous ideas might infect the minds of other Europeans – Spaniards, Italians, possibly the French – such as the idea that it was possible, even within this Europe, to regain one sovereignty and to restore a nation’s dignity. For the troika, getting its money back would have been nice but, in the grander scheme of things, was of secondary importance”
“Divide and rule produced a farce featuring a troika appointee negotiating with the troika on behalf of a government elected to oppose it.” (Page 308)
Another aspect that is fascinating and that will make Brexit even more difficult is the way that the EU put pressure on the Chinese not to do a deal with the Greeks.
Yanis had arranged a deal with the Chinese but this had been scuppered by the EU, who told the Chinese that they should stay out of any deal with the Greeks until they were finished with them. Thankfully the UK is not Greece but we will need to stand firm against the bullies if we are to succeed.
8) The EU does not negotiate and does not need to because it answers not to its own electorate but to its major power brokers.
Another lesson for our negotiators.
“In every meeting you are positive, bristling with ideas regarding practical solutions. And they kept knocking your ideas down, even though they were good ideas, without proposing a single one of their own. Unbelievable!” (Page 339)
The Greek case shows the priorities of the EU Commission.
Yanis points out that in the end this all had very little to do with Greece. It was about protecting the euro. And about can gaining control over the French budget.
His dealings with Merkel are particularly revealing. The notion that the European Union is a collection of sovereign states working together is farcical. Merkel dominates. What she wants, she gets. The idea that Nicola Sturgeon would carry equal weight in a ‘Union of Interdependent equal nations’ is a laughable and dangerous fantasy. Emanuel Macron told Yanis “the people around Hollande do not want me to come to Athens. They are closer to the Berlin Chancellery than to our own government.” (Page 454)
Yanis also confirms what many of us have said for some time – the aim of the Eurocrats is not just economic but also political union. Something confirmed by Juncker even in the past week.
9) Whilst despising ‘populism’ and being based on elitism – the EU tries to create a populist EU movement –
“Meanwhile, the Parliamentary opposition had managed to persuade supporters to take to the streets in some numbers, waving EU flags and placards proclaiming, we are staying in Europe!” (Page 462)
I would have said that this has no chance of working in the UK. But when you see grown men crying on the streets, wrapped in EU flags, or hundreds of EU flags being handed out at last night of the Proms, or the National newspaper in Scotland having a front page of the EU flag stating ‘We Love EU” – then I begin to wonder if the propaganda might actually be working. Not amongst the working class – who tend to be both too patriotic and too intelligent for that (and with less vested interest), but amongst the ‘educated’ middle classes, who have developed an unthinking and uncritical ‘touchy feely’ approach to knowledge and who tend to believe what they are told and limit things to the small picture (their own particular world) then it may be having an effect – at least amongst some.
10) The EU Almost Always Wins
Because it is based on money. Because it is undemocratic and cannot be voted out. And because of the hypocrisy of so much of the opposition. One interesting anecdote if about a far left Syriza MP who approached Yanis – upset that capital controls were in place because owing to the restrictions and wiring money abroad, he was now unable to pay the mortgage on his house in London!
Yanis wanted to make a 40% cut in the ridiculously high salaries for CEOs and government officials. The troika repeatedly demanded that this should not happen and indeed after Yanis left the ministry salaries were raised by up to 71%. The EU looks after the elites, and the elites then support the EU. It’s a basic principle that works well.
The EU also relies on the Social Darwinian side of human nature – greed and the lust for power and domination. Most leaders can be bought off.
Sometimes it is those on our own ‘side’, our fellow countrymen – who can be the most vicious.
“I recall something my father said to me when he realised that, at a young age, I was becoming enthusiastic about left-wing politics. ‘When I was in the concentration camp as a communist, ‘he said, ‘I knew that, had our side won the Civil War, I would be in the same camp only with different guards. ‘Since my resignation, when witnessing the nastiness and blatant untruths of my former comrades, I have been reminded of my father’s prescience.” (Page 475)
Despite all of this Yanis advocates Greece remaining in Europe, and indeed the UK, but with a form of collective disobedience. His hope is fanciful. His experience testifies against it. Reading this ‘from the coalface’ book makes me realize that it is a good job that we are getting out before it’s too late. If we get out. As he was told “you can check out any time you want, but you can never leave”.
My view is that the EU will continue to use all its ‘principles’ cited above to either punish the UK or prevent us leaving in any meaningful sense. They will use the same principles that they used against Greece, not least the efforts of a fifth column within the UK to divide and rule. All the main establishment figures (with a few exceptions) are fundamentally tied more to the EU than they are to their own country. Blair and Campbell have been resurrected; Osbourne, Branson, almost all C of E bishops, the Church of Scotland, most of the arts counsels, almost all Principals of British Universities, most leading politicians, the CBI and other members of ‘Civic Britain’ are all supportive of the anti-Brexit project. Here in Scotland Sturgeon is prepared to bargain away independence in order for Scotland to remain in the Single Market (which is basically the same as remaining in the EU).
Why is this the case? There are a significant number, who whether they admit it or not, support the EU because the EU supports (i.e. funds) them. You just do not bite the hand that feeds you. In addition to that, if the EU is a club for the elites, its nice to think that you belong – and you are one of them. You are not one of the ignorant plebes.
But there is another more disturbing factor. A factor which helps explain why so many young people are pro-EU. A factor which helps explain the fanaticism for the EU and visceral hatred of those who dare to oppose it. Its what I call the secular utopian fantasy. And it’s disturbing to see how this cultish aspect of the EU has taken hold.
“Utopias are visions of a future state in which the conflicts and problems of human life are all solved completely, in which people live together in unity and harmony, and in which everything is ordered according to a single will, which is the will of society as a whole” (from “The Uses of Pessimism” by Roger Scruton)
In the old days you could believe in a policy because you regarded it as the least worst option. You could for example be supportive of Scottish Independence whilst recognizing its shortcomings, limitations and dangers. But in the fundamentalist world of the new politics it seems that doubt and disagreement is forbidden. When did you last hear an SNP or Lib Dem politician criticize any single aspect of the EU? We are in the era of the Twitterisation of politics – where only that which confirms my bias is true and worthy of being re-tweeted.
I am highly sceptical of many aspects of Brexit – but that does not mean that I give up on the whole principle. On balance I think the price of freedom is worth paying. But there is this fanatical adherence to the fantasy of the EU as the liberal Nirvana which is quite frightening.
It is something that is taught as a doctrine within many of our educational establishments – especially our Universities – who have largely ceased to be ‘universities’ – with a variety of views – but Monoversities – only one opinion permitted. It is little wonder that our young people having been denied access to the basic tools of critical thinking, and having been told that the EU is the provider and defender of all things good (travel, music, freedom, arts, universities, rap, sexual liberties, good weather, cappuccinos etc.) then regard the EU as their Mother…and of course they want to defend mammy.
“Having just emerged from an intense engagement with that very establishment, ‘liberal ‘is the last adjective I would use to describe it.” (Page 480)
Will Brexit happen? I have my doubts. My only hope is that the UK is not Greece and that we still have a relatively free press. We are much bigger than Greece and we have a stronger democratic tradition. Whether that is enough to see us through against the combined forces that the EU can muster (including those they own in this country) I just do not know. I do know that if our EUphiles succeed and keep us in some form or other within the EU, then to all intents and purposes, democracy within the UK is finished for the foreseeable future. And Scotland can forget about its independence. Just look at the way that an EU state (Spain) is dealing with an Independence movement within its own borders (Catalonia) and you will see the future for Scottish ‘independence’ within the EU.
Let me finish with a simple challenge – especially to the politicians. Read Varis Veroufakis’s Adults in the Room. I assume that many of you will have done so already – after all you are intelligent people who don’t just follow the party line and the HQ handouts and you want to be well informed about the decisions you make and the opinions you express. The key question is – what if what he recounts is the truth? (if it is not I would be very glad to hear your refutation of it). If it is then what are you going to do about it? Will you bury your heads in the sand and continue with the ‘EU as democratic saviour’ myth? Will you mumble truisms about being ‘in it to reform it?’ Or will you face up to the reality that the EU is fundamentally a corrupt, anti-democratic club for the elites and do your best to help create a UK that is democratic, tolerant and open to the world and especially its poor?
I leave you with the quote that Varis was given by an economist called Willem Butter, coming out of an EU negotiation- (one which I was given as I entered the Free Church College) – a quote which I would recommend that David Davies takes as his motto –
“Noli illegitimi carbirundum!”