hms iron duke

hms iron duke

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Zombie Europe

Alphen, Netherlands,12 September.  It is election day here in the Netherlands and my Dutch wife has just gone off to exercise her democratic right.  Having watched the campaign on TV I am struck by how small these Dutch politicians are and how little able to grasp the enormity of the events that are engulfing the Dutch people. Only in last night’s TV debate did the issue of Europe and the Euro really ignite. 
The simple fact is that my life and that of millions of other Dutch taxpayers is now decided elsewhere often by unelected officials who care little for my well-being and who want only to ‘transfer’ what little money I have to Europe’s super-debtors so they can avoid the consequences of their own actions.  Dutch politicians are not alone in their increasing irrelevance as ever more unaccountable power is passed to European institutions in a desperate bid to save a currency that simply does not work. 
It is not without a certain political elegance that the day the Dutch turn out to vote the European Omission is setting out plans for a banking super-regulator to oversee the Eurozone’s six thousand banks as a first step on the road to full banking union and who knows what thereafter.  It will, of course, all be overseen in my name by Mario Draghi – Super Mario – and his increasingly (dangerously) powerful European Central Bank.
In the euphemistic language of the Omission banking union is yet another attempt to ‘mutualise’ the debts of the super-debtors.  Or, to be more exact, ‘banking union’ is an indirect way to load the costs onto me for the appalling decisions of appalling politicians over whom I have no influence.  Whether I or other northern, western European taxpayers pay directly or via the banks one thing is clear; sooner or later my little savings will be raided (again) to pay for this mess, be it via tax or currency inflation…or both.
Worse, the Omission’s proposed banking union breaks the link between risk and responsibility by making sound northern European banks, such as my own Rabobank, responsible for the bad lending and sovereign debt decisions of all.  This will only encourage the profligacy that created this mess and render less likely vital structural reforms.  There will be rules, I am told, that will ensure the European Stability Mechanism and the European Financial Stability Fund is properly overseen.  However, in reality Super Mario will be in charge and it is clear that he places the interests of his fellow southern Europeans well before my own.   
My last formal hope for effective European democratic oversight was also dashed today.  The German Constitutional Court ruled that a permanent European bail out mechanism was legal under the German constitution.  The decision means the ESM and EFSF can now be enshrined in German law and the German government can go on transferring German taxpayer’s money to the super-debtors and by extension my own, as the Netherlands is little more than a German colony administered from Brussels these days. 
As of now my last hope rests with the common sense of the German people.  There is a faint hope that German public unease will see demands grow for a referendum in Germany.  This will not happen anytime soon as the way is now clear for the next massive tranche of my money to vanish down the black hole of the super-debtors.  However, when all of this again goes wrong, as it will, I am confident the German people will say “enough”!  And then finally some German common sense will be applied to the appalling tax on my future that the European Onion has become.
The sad truth is that the election campaign here in the Netherlands has for the most part been about anything but Europe, even though it is by far the biggest issue facing the Dutch people.  In their collective desperation to hide their impotence Dutch politicians have focused on the tactical rather than the strategic.  Several of them have actually called for more Dutch ‘power’ to be given to ‘Europe’ further undermining any residual value in Dutch democracy.  
The Euro-Aristocracy is now well on its way to cementing its power.  How long before free speech becomes the next victim?  Indeed, unelected Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has already called for a summit on what he calls "populism".
The sad truth is that zombie politicians are leading zombie states into an increasingly zombie Europe.  Europe today is full of empty democracies.  
Oh how I weep for my democracy.  Oh how I weep for my Europe.
Julian Lindley-French

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