The expansion of the eurozone from the original six to sixteen has been an unmitigated economic disaster
The expansion of the eurozone from the original six to sixteen, embracing Club O’Med, a Celtic tiger and an exploding volcano, has been an unmitigated economic disaster, as many who railed against the Treaty of Maastricht in 1993 foresaw with consummate ease. Back then I edited, contributed to and published the symposium edition Visions of Europe, a rallying call to the Euro-realists:
“The grim reality is Europe could implode under the weight of the most costly social security and payroll tax structure in the world, compounded by a severe deflationary monetary policy at a time of world recession.
“A single currency would bundle the national debts into a single debt behind a single currency – with no democratic accountability, and therefore focus, on managing and repaying that debt.
'The Treaty is an unrivalled rationalist folly, an idiocy set to consume the wealth of nations…'
I could go on. Remember those who told us the UK only had a future inside the eurozone? The names of Hurd and Lawson, who ambushed Thatcher in Madrid in 1986 over the Single European Act, and of Clarke and Heseltine, who kept their backs to the wall as they shared a pro-platform with Mandelson, flow trippingly from the denouncer’s tongue, along with many fine captains of industry, such as Sir Ian Vallance and Sir Chris Gent, and that’s just the telecoms sector. Well, they are all as quiet and as out-of-view as that other great economic under-achiever, the brown badger of Kirkcaldy, as they share the same stinking set.
One of the latter species, however, Peter Sutherland KCMG was even an EU Commissioner at the time, until he went on to become a director of RBS and chairman of BP, a neat trio of disasters if ever there was one. The eurozone is threatening to implode and cause Banking Crisis 2, RBS was the epi-centre of Banking Crisis 1, while at BP he oversaw the sacking of 3,500 engineers, which has turned the Gulf of Mexico into a giant killing zone for pelicans and a graveyard for millions of stinking fish, and possibly BP itself.
Oh, and I nearly forgot, he was chairman of Goldman Sachs International, when they made Greece’s debts conveniently disappear at the time of her EU entry.
Having attested to Peter Sutherland’s obvious achievements, I must now inform you that, alas, the gentleman is completely bonkers, as proven by just one line in his recent article in the FT: 'Without the single currency, Europe would be an economic wasteland.' [Pause to catch your breath.] Then he asserts that 'the original system of governance for the European single currency was intellectually and politically schizophrenic.' (Well, yes, some of us realized that at the time, seventeen years ago – see above.)
So, now he proposes “further integration of the European political economy”, which is Euro-speak for every member of the club being emailed their annual budget, no questions allowed, from Frankfurt, via Berlin.
Berlin? That’s why the crumpled Herman Van Rompuy, the Belgian President of the EC, was told to go to 10 Downing Street and look at the UK’s budget before its rightful promulgation before the House of Commons; his request was politely declined, but he was told he could have some breakfast before he left by the most famous door in the long history of democracy.
The next week the snap Belgian election returned the NVA party (No Value Added), with 30% of the vote, and they promptly called for the dissolution of Belgium as a state as it didn’t in reality exist any longer. That’s the Berlin bit coming in, you see. But, hang on a mo’, under Title V of that blasted Treaty, any ‘High-contracting Party’ could in the event of suffering an invasion call 0800-I-AM-UNDER-ATTACK and King Leopold of Belgium would immediately send the remains of his army to the rescue. Yeah? Well the number’s being quietly moved to Berlin, as sure as armies follow the money.
Res Pactae Sunt; or, fings ain’t wot they used to be. With just those three fine words, a proper Englishman, like Henry VIII, would have just torn the wretched Treaty up, before chopping off the heads of all the traitors who had promoted it, for the crime of being economically illiterate.
Oh, those were the good old days, when England ruled the world with its common sense and uncommon devotion to duty! But Sutherland, you see, is just an Irishman, and look where those unfortunates, who took the EU’s shilling, are right now: lost and bewildered in an economic wasteland, without an exit. Just ask those pelicans how they feel.