To continue on from a previous post in which I stated that, despite all the recent set-backs, we have an obligation to continue with our quest to democratise Europe.
I have to admit that this new challenge is a big turn-around for me. Not the democratise part, I hasten to add, but the change of strategy.
I have slowly come round to this way of thinking due to a number of reasons:
- The events in Greece over the past 8 months have proven that the B-List countries of the EU/Eurozone (ie. the deficit states which for the most part are the Southern European countries) will always have to follow the rest. They will never, ever call the shots. So, while they may have elections and each political party will make all sorts of promises to the electorate, the deficit of democracy will remain. Sure, at regional and local levels, democracy can and will be meaningful. But at the national level, forget it. This means that every government in office, irrespective of their political leaning (left/centre/right) will carry out the instructions from Brussels. The Greek experiment proved this…..”it’s our way or the highway!” And the highway is most likely the route to economic suicide, as difficult as this idea is to swallow. The dreamers amongst us (and I was one too) had this vision of Greece telling the rest of the EU to take their Euros and to shove them……and Portugal and Spain and……….but it will never happen. Why? Because this is the way that the system was set up, and most Europeans went along with this, knowingly or in ignorance. So this leads us to conclusion No.1 – a national government will not be able to change its status quo in the Eurozone or in the EU (under the current treaties and agreements).
- I have finally had to accept that, although the greater body of experts might not all agree on the solutions, they do agree on one thing. Crashing the EU or the Eurozone would be a catastrophe. So, any plan that might impact on this is just a non starter. Some of us can dream about drachmas, escudos and pesetas but that is where they will stay, in our dreams. This means that we are going to have to do things the hard way. The EU and Eurozone cannot be removed or replaced. Things are now just too advanced to try to turn back the clock. As faulty as they are, things will just have to be fixed. But fixing something European is going to require the Europeans to fix it. The Italians are going to have to “feel” European again, likewise the Spaniards, the Germans, the Greeks and the rest. This is very possible to do, I think. In many ways, the EU achieved this goal in the past, except that they could not make it stick. Things have unraveled a bit since then but things do not seem irrepairable. In the strangest paradox, whilst some are building fences, others continue to build bridges between our European nations. Conclusion No.2 – we are going to have to Europeanise the Europeans….again!
- Europe is being used as one of the world’s political footballs. I am not privy to the geo-political influences, the behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing, but one thing seems very clear to me. It is time for our politicians to get some back-bone and tell the rest of the world to eff-off and stop interfering in our regional affairs. This interference is not doing any of the citizens of Europe any good, it is not uplifting our economic prospects and it is not giving us any greater feelings of security. In all cases, the reverse is true. Conclusion No.3 – Europe must call the shots in her own backyard….again!
- Europe, as it is embodied in the EU, is a great idea and it has many merits. However, the principles of democracy in order to run this big state, fairly, openly and with the continued support of its citizens have been whittled away. The sham of the current European parliament is now obvious for everyone to see and no one is fooled any more. I am certain that the citizens of the EU nation states would not object if the pretense of their national democracy was to be replaced with meaningful and real democracy at an EU level. Conclusion No.4 – we need more democracy, not less.
Who else thinks this way and are they prepared to do something about it?
Like all plans, brilliant or otherwise, devising the plan is usually the easy part. The difficult part is finding people who are ready, able and talented enough to take on such a challenge. Now, what I am proposing is no small task. It is huge! In fact, we are going to need someone with a big pair of cojones to take this one on. Someone who is not put off by criticism and ridicule. Someone who is probably not like the average “you” or “me”. This is going take someone with a “big character”, who shrugs off set-backs as if they hadn’t occurred. But someone who can relate just as well to the person-in-the-street as he would to the EU-elites. Bearing in mind that one of our major issues is economical, we are going to need someone with a pretty good background in economics. However, our ideal candidate is going to be required to think “outside of the box” and consider radical ideas if necessary. This is going to be a “greenfields” project. Nothing will be a given and everything will be considered. Political experience would be handy, but a career politician is not what we are looking for. Double-speak, protecting-my-back, feathering-my-own-nest……these are political concepts of the old Europe, not the new one.
So, if you think you have what it is going to take; willingness to go against the flow and the confidence to upset the status quo……not just for the hell of it, but to achieve a desired goal. Do you have sufficient knowledge and self confidence to speak in public, everything coming from your own mind and nothing from stupid advisers? Above all, do you have the integrity to deal with the pressure of the task and the responses that you are likely to get. Then maybe you are our man (or woman, a name springs to my mind immediately) for the job……”A Man for all Seasons”.
Funnily enough , I think that I have the perfect person in mind for this task. And, as luck would have it, he is in-between jobs at the moment.