Vincent Browne

The EU, its elites and its hyper fans had this coming

By Vincent Browne
The European Union, its elites, its hyper fans had this coming to them.
They deliberately devised a supposedly idealistic project of a united Europe, founded on the subversion of democracy across the continent – the exclusion of the meddlesome masses, on an agenda that, inevitably, was going to deepen inequality.
All the bluster of a “social Europe” was just that. It was, essentially, never about anything other than the further enrichment of the rich, right from the inception of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951.
One of the “visionary” founders of the European project, Robert Schuman said that European Coal and Steel Community was “to make war not only unthinkable but materially impossible” – and he may have believed that.
But what became of it was a huge cartel that enriched the shareholders and managers of the coal and steel industries. And so it has continued ever since.
The Euro project has progressed by similar deceptions.
Lisbon problems
Just recall the machinations that underpinned the infamous Lisbon Treaty. In its original form, it was a new Constitution for Europe to replace and extend the then existing European Treaties.
It was agreed among the Member States in October 2004 and went for ratification among them.
Some such states, including Ireland, had to ratify the Constitution via referenda (incidentally, Tony Blair promised a referendum in the UK on the Constitution).
The French and Dutch people decisively rejected the Constitution in July 2005, after which the Constitution project was abandoned.
A “period of reflection” was undertaken.
Then, deception
That reflection led to a decision effectively to deceive the people of Europe and have the essence of the Constitution ratified, without resorting to annoying referenda – except in Ireland.
This was what became the Lisbon Treaty, drafted in such a way as to make it indecipherable to the mass of people throughout Europe.
Then when Ireland voted against it again – thereby scuttling the project once more, for the Treaty required ratification by all member states – remember what happened?
Ireland was required to vote again, under the guise of significant changes to the Treaty (a lie) and under the threat of expulsion or marginalisation from the EU if the Irish people didn’t comply (another lie).
We wilted and approved.
Ironically, had we refused again to approve that Treaty, it might not have been possible for the UK to leave the EU for there was no mechanism to do so until the Lisbon Treaty came along.
Subverting democracy
Incidentally, our own Supreme Court had ordained in the case Crotty V Taoiseach in 1987 that all changes to EU Treaties required the consent of the Irish people in a referendum, for such changes amounted to changes in our own Constitution.
This case had been opposed vigorously by the then Irish government and by our domestic elites who argued that, essentially, the Irish people were too thick to comprehend the subtleties of EU Treaty changes, just as people now argue that the British people were too thick to comprehend the consequence of withdrawal from the EU – precisely the arguments that were proffered in opposition to universal suffrage.
Bit by bit, the European project has subverted democracy by overtly and covertly drawing power from Member States to the centre – most notably via the Maastricht Treaty which led to the creation of a single currency which seemed so sensible at the time.
But at a cost, unsuspected by most of us, for it deprived us of control over monetary policy – ultimately over budgetary policy – and created a Leviathan in the form of the democracy-free-zone, the European Central Bank (ECB).
The promises that an “independent” European Commission would fairly reflect the interests of all Member States, including the minnows, and that a further empowered European Parliament would give a modicum of democratic oxygen to the EU were treated as nought when the crisis broke.
Did anyone even refer to the European Parliament during the years of the bail-outs and did anybody bother what the Europeans Commission thought?
Europe openly became the plaything of the Germans and their creation, the ECB.
Remember how Angela Merkel, with her then sidekick Nicholas Sarkozy, got rid of the Prime Ministers of two Member States, Greece and Italy?
Remember when we were brow-beaten into absorbing the €72 billion bank debt for which we had no responsibility or ownership?
Remember the bomb going off in Dublin and not in Frankfurt or was that another delusion of Michael Noonan?
And as we agitatedly wring our hands over Brexit, the Germans and their allies are engaged in devising yet another ruse – a “more flexible Europe” – an EU where they and a few other sidekicks would openly run the show and the rest of us would be spectators (actually not much different to how it is now).
No gumption
There is a chance of reversing much of this if Ireland and a few other States had the gumption to do so but be assured there will be no gumption coming from the Irish side, at least.
The Irish side did not even manage to come up with a contingency plan until Brexit happened – claims to the contrary by Enda Kenny and Michael Noonan that they had been working on this since the British election a year ago have been shattered by Brendan Howlin’s casual assurance that he knew nothing of this even though until 6 May he was Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.
What we should want
There are a few things we could insist upon: an end to the Euro and the European Central Bank, the replacement of the Council of Ministers with a Senate comprised of two Senators, democratically elected from each Member State (this was a proposal of John Bruton of some years ago before he was colonised).
But there is no chance of that or of anything other than the further consolidation of the power of Germany and the ECB and the further enrichment of the already rich.
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