Saturday, 19 November 2011

The Eurosceptic Reaction.

"Angela Merkel is an unfuckable lard-arse." - Silvio Berlusconi 

As the crisis hit the Eurozone we have seen the usual wing-nuts of the Conservative Party go ballistic on the question of EU membership once again. It has led to amusing spectacles of toffs talking tough, with Jacob Rees-Mogg spitting out with references to Shakespeare's Henry V not to mention Bagpuss. John Major has labelled the plan a "heat-seeking missile" aimed at the City of London. It is interesting to find that the defence of banking and the matter of national sovereignty converge in the hollow heads of Conservative politicians. The possibility of a financial transactions tax across Europe is well overdue, actually it is a decent step towards a tax on international banking as a whole. The Eurosceptics are opposed to any move on the part of the state to tax the wealthy, while they muddle up the intervention to save the mega-rich from higher taxes with some kind of patriotism. Unsurprisingly, the banks have pumped £42 million into the Conservative Party since 2005. Some might think these people want to pull-out of the EU so our country can become a plaything of international finance.

Meanwhile good old-fashioned Europhiles like Michael Heseltine are still standing by the Euro, for we should not forget that the Euro was always a right-wing project and the European Central Bank does not care about unemployment. It was the old Tory position which was held by everyone from Churchill to Heath. It was renegades like Enoch Powell who were so vehemently opposed to integration with the Continent. It is no coincidence that the same opposition within the Conservative Party, as well as from UKIP, comes from admirers of Powell. This is the irony of the situation, David Cameron has a lot in common with Angela Merkel. Both of them are conservatives in leading states, not to mention deficit hawks, who are suspicious of the French. The nationalism of Powellite thought provides easy answers to the problems festered by the untrammeled forces of the market. It is no coincidence that Enoch Powell stuck to his line on immigration as Thatcherism, which he supported, broke the back of the working-class.

The answer to the Eurozone crisis is not withdrawal and British schadenfreude is neither wise nor appropriate in a time of such turmoil. The parochial attitudes of nationalism are most unbecoming for the UK, whether it be the resentment with which foreigners are greeted; the deluded view of our own past or the suspicion of our neighbours. It is convenient for the dispossessed, and even more for those who dispossessed them, to spread the lie that the EU is the source of everything wrong with Britain. The people of this country have been fucked over by the mega-rich and their allies, we deserve answers and we look for them. Sadly in the wrong places often. The despair at Whitehall has been channeled towards Europe, benefit scroungers and immigration, so that the fears of working-class people might converge with the elite interests. We have seen the lowest voting turn-outs in Britain since the establishment of the vote. Only fear can drive people forward in this supposedly post-political age.

The position of 'national sovereignty' has a convenient blind-spot, from where we can't see Trident is a part of the American nuclear-command system. Not one of these people seem to care that the British foreign policy is just an extension of the American foreign policy. The last independent decision on foreign policy was over 40 years ago when Harold Wilson refused to support the criminal war in Indochina and send British troops to die in Vietnam. US foreign policy has often trumped the decisions of British policy-makers. It was Dean Acheson who remarked at the peak of the missile crisis in 1962 "Britain is our lieutenant, the fashionable word is partner." The British ruling-class prefer the fashionable word to the blunt truth. At the height of the missile crisis in 1962 US planners treated Britain with utter contempt, keeping the UK government in the dark as they took actions which could have led to the destruction of Britain in a nuclear exchange with Russia.

The so-called "special relationship" is mostly an illusion generated by the close proximity of interests that the British elites share with the American ruling-class. This is the reason it is only "special" on this side of the pond. The Common Good does not enter into this at all and the working-classes of both countries are mere playthings. At the same time the British elite experience a duality of interests, torn between the US and the EU, as well as a fear that the UK might lose its position as Uncle Sam's lieutenant in Europe. If you want to see a real special relationship look at American relations with Israel. Still it has to be said that the miserable liars who govern us have relationships of convenience with American Presidents. Think of the millions Tony Blair is currently shoveling into his pockets as he rubs salt into the wounds of people devastated by US foreign policy. The Medal of Freedom has been awarded to Tony Blair, John Major and Margaret Thatcher for their subservience.

In the Cold War a united European state had the potential to stand as a social democratic bloc independent of the US and the Soviet Union. The superpowers could have been balanced off against this bloc. Now there is only the American empire, with emergent powers in the East, to which Britain has become a mercenary state without the political grandeur of Israel. We shouldn't kid ourselves with referenda: the choice is not Whitehall and Brussels, it is between Washington and Brussels. Europe still has the potential to emerge as a bloc of independence from American power, there is still a long way to go before the EU is perfect of course. The democratic deficit in Brussels is an embarrassment, but the democratic deficit in Washington is a disgrace and only the American people can solve that problem. We have yet to build a solid European labour movement and organise a serious push for a greater standard of living in Europe. The struggle will be a difficult one granted, but there is no future with the Americans.

No comments: