How they managed to miss the fact that the EU is a political project intended to create a single European state with a single government in Brussels, destroying nation states and neutering their democratically elected governments on the way, I don’t know. It’s not a secret. The “ever closer union” mantra is pretty explicit, I would have thought.
Except to the left, that is. The admission of their ignorance all this time is a revelation of their stupidity – because, according to their logic, if the only people against the European Union are patriots, Little Englanders, old-fashioned Conservatives and the swivel-eyed fruitcake loons of Ukip, then clearly the correct stance is the opposite. No need to do any research, just tick the right boxes, mouth the right platitudes and away you go. That’s what passes for thought with these people.
Now, rather suddenly, the reality confronts them, and like children who have been constantly warned not to stick their fingers in the fire, then do precisely that, they’re running around screaming, “but I didn’t know!”
The arguments against the whole project have been rehearsed (and ignored) repeatedly, as have those against the single currency, which is a prerequisite for full political union. The left cannot keep blaming the economic mess on laissez-faire neoliberalism or accusing the northern states of deliberately engineering the exploitation of the southern states. Nor can they blame banks and capitalists, urging the Greeks to default, for, as Tim Worstall points out:
There’s one really rather simple reason why this Greek debt problem is so intractable. It’s one that is obvious, but isn’t generally pointed to. It’s that there are no capitalists or bankers who hold that Greek debt. Therefore the problem cannot be solved by just nicking the money off the capitalists and or bankers. Which, given that that is the way that most debt problems are solved, is something of a problem. Nearly all of the money is owed by one set of taxpayers to some other set of taxpayers. And so we can’t really say that democracy is winning or losing in a solution: it would be whose democracy is winning or losing at best.
It was inevitable that something would expose the EU for the elitist, anti-democratic racket that it really is. Problems with mass immigration and the consequent growing nationalism in many member states are one symptom. These are issues that can be played down by the EU. The economic carnage being wreaked in Greece, however, cannot be sanitised and contained by compliant media and politicians. When you see Guy Verhofstadt, MEP, shouting at Alexis Tsipras in the European Parliament you know the elites are desperate to keep their little empire intact.
Whether the British left has either the nous or the courage to reject the European project is another matter – they embraced the EU thirty years ago for purely electoral advantage against the Maastricht-beleaguered Tories, so they’ve proved themselves lacking in integrity. On the other hand, since the situation is now reversed and it’s the Conservatives who are pro-EU, the upcoming referendum would give them a great opportunity to put the frighteners on Cameron. It must be tempting.
If they do turn, though, one of the first things they can do is openly acknowledge that those Little Englander, swivel-eyed Ukip fruitcakes and Conservative throwbacks they reviled were right all along, and apologise to them.