Belfast Telegraph

Saying ‘yes’ to Europe isn’t the answer to the problem

By Kevin Myers

The warning by the Republic’s minister for European affairs, Lucinda Creighton, about the consequences of a ‘No’ vote in the next Eurovote — that it would give out a “wrong” signal to investors — will probably turn out to be the intellectual high point in the referendum campaign.

Ireland may as well have a referendum on the Higgs Boson Collider, or the engines of the Airbus 380, or anything else people can't understand, because it won't make any difference.

Everything about the European Union is about endorsing the decisions reached by an indoctrinated elite.

And whenever the Republic rejected their advice, it was simply asked the same question again.

What, Ireland was warned, would happen if it didn't ratify Lisbon? Was it something like this: it would have debts of many trillions, unemployment heading toward the half-million and mass emigration of the young? Well, that's what's actually happened.

The country was told to use a bogus currency, the interest rates for which were set to satisfy Germany’s needs, not Ireland’s. It was like giving children plutonium as Play-doh.

This much is obvious. The European Union does not work. The southern flank has leprosy and might well simply drop off.

Untold misery is being inflicted on the Greeks. Similar torment probably awaits the Spanish and the Portuguese and even Italy.

Ireland has no idea, none whatever, of where its misery might end, as the property market plummets like an anvil down a well.

And do you know why the ordeal is so unremitting? Because there is no Plan B. It must go wherever the Euro-elite leads. No matter the horrors, no matter the personal ruin that engulfs tens of thousands, and soon hundreds of thousands: the Republic must stick to the Euro project.

Politicians like Big Ideas. It makes them different from the rest of us. It also makes them dangerous.

Big Ideas give them the adrenaline fix that results from having a cause, a vision, an abstract objective. Also, they cannot leave well alone: their instinct, in all societies, is to meddle in people's lives.

Harness those endlessly intrusive ambitions with a Big Idea, and you have the EU equivalent of The Great Leap Forwards.

Look: I read every single newspaper about the forthcoming referendum in the south, but I still couldn't tell you what it's about.

I suspect it's actually rather like catechism classes: you had to remember to recite various verbal formulae without having the least idea what they meant.

But I guarantee you this: there will be no adverse consequences to voting ‘No'. Lucinda Creighton might wave her finger and mumble some mumbo-jumbo about it sending out the wrong message, but she won't spell out what she means. Because she can't.

Ask yourself this. Why has Canada got a different currency from the USA? Culturally and economically, they're virtually identical. But politically they're not and the Canadian dollar suits Canada's needs.

So why couldn't Europe learn from the most successful political and economic continent in the world? Politics first, currency second.

Instead, currency in Europe has been employed to drive a political project that is otherwise unsustainable. It's not putting the cart before the horse: the horse, after all, can at least push the cart. It's putting the plough before the horse.

For misery on a gargantuan, disaggregating scale, unheralded since the Second World War, now awaits much of Europe, while those intelligent industrious Germans follow their ancient compulsions to govern.

Now, I like and admire the Germans and they probably don't even realise that they are repeating their earlier experiments in dominating their neighbours, as in 1870, 1914 and 1939. But it's too much of a pattern for comfort. Now just watch as Germans buy the Greek islands, one by one.

And as for Ireland, in its desperate desire not to be British, it has embraced a Big Idea that doesn't work, instead of going for a small idea: free trade with the EU and its own currency, but not legal subordination and absolutely not freedom of population movement.

But the Republic wasn’t grown-up enough for that; why, it couldn't even legalise homosexual acts without Europe telling it to, which is probably the reason why its political elite became such uncompromising Europhiles.

Ah well, never mind. Now, wave goodbye to Queenstown, children. And look forward to the unsinkable voyage to the future.

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