Whitehall got the taste for petty power sometime after 1915. Under the guise of wartime exigency, the central State regulated for the first time a raft of matters that had hitherto been decided locally, or had not been decided at all. Alcohol Control Orders were originally made for just the areas around the Royal Ordnance Factories - to prevent well-paid munitions workers from drinking themselves silly. Some rural areas remained unlicensed until the days of peace, when Whitehall decided that it was a jolly good idea that should be rolled out across the nation. Our ardent spirits were diluted by law down to the strength they remain at to this day. It's been a long time since our Rum was ardent. You see, once the ratchet of wartime powers is applied, it rarely goes backwards.
The Second War saw central State powers extended to an unimaginable degree - necessary to win the war, perhaps, but when war segued seamlessly into a Socialist State at peace, the wartime central command and control structures became institutionalised. The civil service is based not on the principles of Northcote-Trevelyan as it sometimes fondly imagined, but on those of Das Kapital. In wartime it's necessary to restrict rich people's access to food, fuel and clothing, to regulate the portion sizes and fat content of restaurant meals, to ration petrol, to impose swingeing taxes, to grant extraordinary powers to the police and to regulate human behaviour with a carrot-and-stick combination of penal measures and State rewards. But once the regulators - Whitehall - have got a taste of it, they're always keen to extend it. The wartime State reached its apotheosis under the last Labour government; the 'enemy' that justified the continued control over the minutae of our lives was not just 'terrorism' but cardiovascular disease, cancer and other health imperatives, inequality-of-outcome for its own sake and the wholly artificial construct of 'relative poverty'. State spending went up to 46% of national output.
Well, all this must come tumbling down. State spending must fall to 30% or less if we are to be free of the debts run up to save the foolish and greedy bankers. Whitehall must give up its wartime powers. And so must the EU - and here hangs another tale. You see, the Hun administrators were just getting into their swing when Germany carelessly lost the war. In the last days of April 1945 they were still issuing Directives such as the one that allowed the substitution of 25g of barley-sugar sweets for 25g of chocolate as part of the special daily ration for balloon-observers, but only if they has ascended over 100m for at least an hour. At a time when the Reich had not a single observation balloon surviving. After a decent period of obscurity, they resumed the insanity under the badge of the EU.
The boldest commentators today are predicting either the death of the Euro or the formation of a United States of Europe (without the UK as a member) by the end of the year if not by the end of the Summer. The former would liberate Europe, whilst the latter would create a permanent wartime bureaucratic super-nation on our doorstep. The choice seems clear to us - but don't underestimate the capacity of the rest of Europe to seek solace in the biggest Big State solution the world has ever seen.