Friday, 24 June 2011

Brussels will live on in Whitehall

If Martin Kettle's opinion piece in the Guardian this morning isn't quite an obituary for the EU it's the closest I've ever seen to one from a Guardianista;
The question facing Europeans is therefore this. Not to forge an ever closer union in which, for all the EU's successes, the word forge seems unhappily to be increasingly appropriate. But how to manage the now foreseeable breakup of the EU in a responsible and restrained way, preserving and strengthening such forms of co-operation as we can. The goal would be to minimise the dangers of war between states, ethnic conflict within them, and immiseration of the most defenceless: all more real dangers in the next generation than the last. But that, ironically, was why the EU was created in the first place.
Though the EU and its institutions are the focus of popular antipathy, we may get a nasty shock if we expect Westminster to regain a range of powers at the EU's demise; those powers will stay where they have been for many years now, in Whitehall. The demise of the EU will serve only to expose that our true masters are not in fact the sleazy, avaricious and corrupt elected MEPs in Brussels but a cabal of zealous and unelected officials in Whitehall, who have long been working in league with a similar cabal of equally zealous and equally unelected officials in Brussels; Whitehall, twinned with Berlaymont. 


And yes, zealous is the right word. Civil servants should have no business being zealous, you might have thought, but I've met them. I've worked with them. They're zealous. They believe that they alone have been entrusted with the good of the commonweal, that they alone can work towards goals of social justice, peace and international equity, they alone can interpret what is a responsible defence of the national interest. They hold themselves responsible to a vague locus they term 'the Crown' - not the person of the monarch, you understand, like the loyalty of simple soldiers, but to the symbol of monarchy. And above all they believe that for our own good we cannot be trusted to exercise the powers of government ourselves, that management of everything from Whitehall is the most beneficent and fair of all options. They genuinely believe  not only in the rightness of their collective outlook but that their stewardship of the nation is a good rather than an evil. They are not only zealous, they are well-meaning. They are proud that their treacle-like impact on the plans of politicians dilutes and delays change and prevents extreme swings; like diodes they gatekeep, allowing through legislation that benefits their aims and blocking and revising that which doesn't. They are neither of the left nor the right. They are central Statists. 


And as for Kettle's belief that it was the EU that had as its aim to "minimise the dangers of war between states, ethnic conflict within them, and immiseration of the most defenceless" I think this is exactly the core of belief of Whitehall and its Euro counterparts, and they genuinely believe that only they stand between a fair and ordered world and anarchy. And this is the most dangerous delusion of all.

13 comments:

right_writes said...

So if this Kettle bloke is seeing the light over the first of UKIP's objectives Raedwald, perhaps he might see the merit in its second constant objective...

The introduction of binding direct democracy at all levels of government...

The first objective enables the second and the second ensures that the first cannot happen again.

Richard North (who definitely does not support the UKIP!), has a great phrase to describe the phenonemon which you and Kettle talk about here...

"You can take the UK out of the EU, but it is not so easy to take the EU out of the UK"

A phrase he uses in support of his simpler version of direct democray... "Referism", which has much merit.

Blue Eyes said...

I love the clever lefty bollocks that Kettle pedals: the reason Greece is collapsing is not *because* of the stability pact but *because* the stability pact was torn up almost as soon as the notes and coins started circulating. If Greece hadn't lied to itself about the amount it had borrowed the country would not be in its current mess.

Never mind, if Greece causes the EU to collapse then it can perhaps regain the title of "cradle of civilisation".

Anonymous said...

40 years of re-education, social engineering and control.
Statist dominance, is now almost total[itarainism], we are now told what to think, eat and drink. The end game, finally - like in Saddam's Iraq, there will be only one candidate on the ballot paper, it saves all the waste of having three 'individual' political parties - they've been joined at the hip since the early nineties and maybe even before that.

Orwell was warning us about this long ago, how stupid, unseeing and docile have we been to allow it to happen?

Micro-management, insidious, cunning and so effective - done up like Kippers.
The only beast on the horizon, which can stop the 'new order', ironically is one of their own making - in their rush to bastardize the nation, they've opened the door on a far more primative and [dare I say it] fundamentally potent foe.

The inexorable march of the shadow of the crescent casts a forbidding umbra... and is now imo unstoppable, "as you sow, so shall you reap."
Multikulti, back to haunt the secular, humanist, control freaks - irony indeed.
I am minded to allow the fundo's their day and then the real 'fun' will commence.

Alan said...

We are always presented with a false choice - that of ever greater union or breaking up. Why is 'this is far enough' never suggested?

Kettle said: "The goal would be to minimise the dangers of war between states, ethnic conflict within them, and immiseration of the most defenceless: all more real dangers in the next generation than the last. But that, ironically, was why the EU was created in the first place."

We already have the consequences of war between nations just without the shooting. Ethnic conflicts are being stoked by politicians continually seeking to play groups against each other with them in the middle rather than treat people equally. Wealth is being handed over to southern Europe because they have cannily worked the system. The Eurocrats are convinced that anything less than complete union would be a disaster so spendthrift nations are able to hold them to ransom. Elites have been appointed and they are largely unaccountable to the people.

He does have a point though - war has stalked Europe for centuries. Leaders came to the view that a united states of Europe would prevent it. It is madness of course. The forced setting up of a federal Government is just as likely to provoke a civil war as prevent one. But the madness abounds. A simple thought process that says before there was union there was war. If we provide a union there will be no war. Correlation is not causation, though on a certain level it works because union would be the natural consequence of war anyway.

Budgie said...

Alan said: "Why is 'this is far enough' never suggested?"

It is frequently suggested - mostly by middle of the road Tories. 40 years has shown it does not work. The EU functions by the process of "ever closer union" and stopping that closer union is not on offer, despite frequent promises in the past.

Budgie said...

Raedwald, a fine post. You are right that UK civil "servants" (they are, of course, no such thing) have a "house" world view, both zealous and managerialist, and as you describe.

The only niggle - you say "unelected officials in Whitehall, ... working in league with a similar cabal of equally zealous and equally unelected officials in Brussels".

Though largely true, I do not think that is quite fair or accurate. Some, despite the 'house' europhile view do, at least, keep a UK perspective. They also work a lot more closely with the Anglosphere than with "the colleagues".

Anonymous said...

Yes indeed, a very fine post Raedwald.

Ian R Thorpe said...

Good post. It's not the EU bureaucrats we need to fear but the global bureaucrats. They may well be shape shifting lizards, they are certainly a non human species preparing to take over the world.

Matthew said...

I fear we might be missing the point.

These people have spent 60+ years on this project.

The 'beneficial' crisis is how they have always progressed - it's actually part of their plan because they can then force more federalisation on states and peoples in times of fear and panic than would otherwise be the case.

The end result of this latest screw-up - if they get their way as they have on every comparable occasion in the past - will be a eurozone transfer union and a fully fledged United States of Europe.

DP111 said...

Quote: The goal would be to minimise the dangers of war between states, ethnic conflict within them,

You mean between the English and Scots?

Yes indeed there is ethnic and religious conflict in the future- for which we have to thank New Labour.

Raedwald said...

Budgie;

*Though largely true, I do not think that is quite fair or accurate. Some, despite the 'house' europhile view do, at least, keep a UK perspective. They also work a lot more closely with the Anglosphere than with "the colleagues"*

Perfectly right, and I should have brought this out.

Budgie said...

Matthew said... "These people have spent 60+ years on this project. The 'beneficial' crisis is how they have always progressed ..."

I agree. I am quite amazed at people who should know better stating that Greece is bankrupt (apparently true) and consequently, since it is all dominoes in a row, the whole EU will collapse immediately Greece defaults which will be very soon.

Ain't gonna happen. The colleagues will use every eurocent from their hapless taxpayers (all of us, but especially Germans) to shore up their project. There are lots of things the really powerful EU elite can still do, and they will do everything, 'legal' or otherwise.

This is primarily a political fuss (about Greece) to intimidate the Greeks and the German taxpayers.

DP111 said...

The EU is an acid that corrodes and destroys the political foundations of nation states. But now we are confronted within (thank you NuLabour), by an acid destroys the cultural heritage of a nation. It destroys the bonds that hold us together as a nation with a unique culture. Its effect will be catastrophic leading a long night, very very long night- as there is no comeback from an islamic state.