The Moral And Intellectual Cowardice Of The Pro-EU Left

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The modern Left loves the EU because having lost the public argument for socialist policies, they see in Brussels their last and best hope of imposing their left-wing ideology on an unwilling population

Tom Slater has an excellent piece in Spiked, in which he takes to task all of the big name lefties – some of whom previously toyed with supporting Brexit as they watched the EU’s antidemocratic behaviour with growing horror – who are now supporting the Remain campaign, and thus betraying democracy when it truly matters.

Slater writes:

The last few prominent Eurosceptics on the left have started to peel away. They’ve been confronted with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to smash power, to strike out for democracy and to put the future of European politics firmly in the hands of the people, rather than a faceless, byzantine bureaucracy. And they’ve bottled it.

First there’s Yanis Varoufakis, the flash stepdad of European leftism and the former finance minister of ailing Greece. This is a man who has experienced the tyranny of the Brussels set firsthand. His modest proposals for rescuing debt-laden Greece from EU-enforced austerity were ignored. ‘Elections’, he was told by German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble, ‘change nothing’. He quit government in protest as his Syriza comrade Alexis Tsipras signed an agreement that would once again shackle Greece to Troika diktat. What is the self-styled ‘erratic Marxist’ up to now? He’s touring the UK, telling Brits to say ‘Oxi’ to Brexit so that we can ‘reform the EU from within’.

Then there’s Owen Jones, the Corbyn choir boy who has followed the Labour leader’s transformation from Bennite Eurosceptic to apologetic Remainer. Last summer Jones called for the left to campaign for Brexit. After the horrors of Greece, he wrote, it’s time to ‘reclaim the Eurosceptic cause’. Now, just 10 months on, he’s joining Varoufakis on the campaign trail. His flirtation with principle over, he wants to ‘unite with people across the continent to build a democratic, workers’ Europe’. How propping up a democracy-thwarting institution puts you in line with the little guy is beyond me. Not least when said institution has effectively abolished workers’ rights in austerity-battered countries like Greece.

But perhaps the most glaring retreat of them all has come from Paul Mason. The former Channel 4 economics editor and ‘radical social democrat’ actually had the brass to pen an article titled ‘The left-wing case for Brexit (one day)’. One day. Those two, trembly words sum up the sentiment of these fair-weather Eurosceptics. Yes, yes, democracy – one day. Not now. Especially when, as Mason sees it, a Brexit would allow Michael Gove and Boris Johnson to ‘turn Britain into a neoliberal fantasy island’. He’s in favour of democracy, you see, just not when the pesky demos elects a government he doesn’t like. This is hypocrisy dressed up as strategic nous.

Tom Slater is absolutely correct to denounce each and every one of these reversals as a shameful failure of courage. His piece is entitled “The Progressives Afraid Of Change”, and regrettably that is exactly what we see from the supposedly ideologically pure Corbynite Left. Yet after having grown in prominence and power primarily by denouncing the compromises and betrayals of the centre-left, these virtue-signalling true believers are now selling out British democracy in exactly the same way, proving that they are no better than the Blairite New Labour government which they so despise.

This blog has also taken each of the prominent leftists identified by Tom Slater to task for their utter failure of courage and vision. My critiques of Owen Jones are here, herehere and here, Yanis Varoufakis here and Paul Mason here.

Slater continues:

In fact, it’s worse than that. It’s often said that the shift in left-wing attitudes towards the EU over the past few decades has been the result of pure political contingency. When, in the 1970s and 80s, the EU was seen as an avowedly capitalist project, Labourites and trade unionists took arms against it. Now that it’s been given a social-democratic lick of paint, replete with talk of workers’ rights and free movement, it gets the nod. But there’s something even more sickening going on here. These turncoat Remainers, these radicals for the status quo, don’t just bristle at the turn of public opinion, on economics or migration – they’re scared of it. Their Brexit-phobia is really a fear of the demos itself.

You see this in their panic-stricken talk of the furies Brexit might unleash. ‘We don’t know… how the plebeian end of the Leave campaign will react if they lose. My instinct says: badly’, writes Mason. Varoufakis, meanwhile, is even more pessimistic. Only fascists and racists, he says, will profit from the demise of the EU. A Brexit now would mean ‘anti-migrant racism, pandered to by the political establishment for decades’, writes a commentator in the New Statesman. There is constant talk of chaos. Democracy is seen not only as disagreeable, but as dangerous. The left, once intent on stirring the passions of the people, now wants to keep a lid on them at all costs.

This is why you shouldn’t take the left appeals to ‘reforming the EU from within’ seriously. Not only because Cameron’s paltry renegotiation revealed an EU incapable of making even minor concessions. Not only because the only salient proposal Varoufakis’s Democracy In Europe Movement has managed to come up with is livestreaming council meetings. But because the cowardice of the left in the face of Brexit is bred of the very same fear of an unshackled demos that forged the European Union in the first place.

Devastating, and utterly correct. For the European Union itself was deliberately designed to muffle and constraint the voices of national electorates, replacing them with the cool, cerebral and detached government of a supranational European elite, which is exactly what the pro-EU Left now want – a tool to suppress what they see as the “dangerous” authentic voices of the people.

Slater concludes:

The modern left’s detachment from the masses, its sneering distaste for our habits and desires, has fostered a profound fear of change itself. Their paranoia about where unleashed public passions might flow has led them to cling to the status quo for dear life. These are progressives terrified of change – and terrified of us. Faced with the opportunity to demolish an anti-democratic order, they are standing athwart, yelling Stop. History will not be kind to them.

But it is worse than a mere lack of vision and fear of change. Most offensive of all is the grubby desire of the pro-EU left to bypass democracy altogether, to give up on trying to persuade national electorates of the value of left wing policies and simply impose them from the EU’s unaccountable, supranational higher level of government.

As this blog recently put it:

The Left look around and see free markets accepted and delivering prosperity in nearly every country, including those who have sworn eternal opposition to capitalism. And despite the Corbynite takeover of the Labour Party in Britain, there is still no evidence of a groundswell of public longing for 1970s style statist economic policies to be brought out of mothballs. What chance, then, does the Left have to bring more of the economy under state control other than the extreme long shot of seizing control of Europe’s supranational layer of government on the back of the supposed European left-wing popular movement (DiEM25) talked up by Varoufakis and Jones?

As Varoufakis admits, “the retreat to the nation state is never going to benefit the Left”. The Left can only advance their cause by sidestepping nation states altogether, which means taking control of the EU, where national legislatures are bypassed and unpopular and even hated policies can be imposed on the peoples of Europe with very limited opportunity for effective resistance (see Greece). This may seem laughably unrealistic – and it is. But it is the Left’s only remaining hope, and so they cling stubbornly to their delusion even if it means betraying democracy and supporting the EU in its current form (and with its current policies) until the time comes for their popular revolution.

And that, to my mind at least, is the most disappointing thing of all. Even pugnacious, articulate left-wingers like Owen Jones and Paul Mason are unwilling to achieve their desired ends by first winning the public debate and then winning a national election. Their commitment to democracy is so feeble that they would rather see their preferred policies foisted on an unwilling British people from above by the European Union rather than do the hard work of winning support for those policies among the British electorate.

Of course, they don’t explain it this way themselves. Talk to Owen Jones and Paul Mason and you’ll get an earful about their deep concern for workers’ rights or some other emotive issue. But when push comes to shove, they would rather live in a country where their minority opinions were forced on the majority by Brussels than do the hard work of convincing voters of the necessity for left-wing policies.

And the Left are perfectly entitled to that opinion. They are entitled to advocate for Britain to remain in the European Union because they do not trust the British electorate to support what they see as essential policies at the ballot box. They can do all that. But they cannot any longer call themselves supporters of democracy.

 

Postscript: Look at the image at the top of this article, showing a quote by filmmaker Ken Loach, in which he openly boasts that the chief advantage of the European Union is that it thwarts the will of democratically elected national governments. This is the toxic, antidemocratic position which left wing favourites like Owen Jones and Paul Mason have decided to embrace. Shame on them.

 

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Yanis Varoufakis And Owen Jones – The Failed Promise Of The Eurosceptic Left

This joint therapy session between Owen Jones and Yanis Varoufakis fails to dispel the cognitive dissonance created by their respective decisions to argue against Brexit despite being such vocal critics of the European Union

Less than a year ago, this blog was remarking on what a good time it was to be a eurosceptic in Britain.

Our longed-for referendum was finally on the way after the UKIP surge and David Cameron’s desperate concession to staunch the bleeding of his own MPs to Nigel Farage’s insurgent party. Meanwhile, the Left finally seemed to be rediscovering their long-misplaced euroscepticism after witnessing Greece’s treatment at the hands of the eurogroup and finally realising that post-democratic, supranational governance is not the shining utopia they had been so sanctimoniously claiming.

Back to the present day, and once again there are many reasons for thinking British eurosceptics to despair, and precious few reasons to hope. The Leave campaign is being conducted by an official group comprised primarily of B-list politicos who actually seem to think that a group of mostly right-wing politicians prancing around the country screeching that Brexit will Save Our NHS will be a) remotely believable, and b) a referendum-winning issue.

But perhaps most depressing of all is the fact that the awakening left-wing eurosceptic movement seems to have rolled over in bed and gone back to sleep.

This is most evident in Owen Jones, who last year seemed on the cusp of rediscovering the euroscepticism of Tony Benn, only to fall back into irrational support for the European Union as the Greek crisis receded and the EU referendum drew closer.

But we also see the same syndrome appear in people who have direct and harsh experience of the European Union’s antidemocratic ways, but who nonetheless come rallying to its aid – as though their limited imaginations simply cannot comprehend a world without the EU. The prime example here is that of Yanis Varoufakis, who should know better than almost anyone the degree to which Brussels is antidemocratic by design and utterly resistent to fundamental change.

And now, in a new YouTube video [see top] we have Owen Jones and Yanis Varoufakis together in a joint therapy session, perhaps to work through the immense cognitive dissonance that both must currently be feeling from spending 2015 railing against the EU, and 2016 telling us how it is our humanitarian duty to keep the rotten enterprise afloat.

Varoufakis’s view in a nutshell:

The Left should never lose sight of the history of the 1930s. After 1929, the Left failed to create the coalition with other democrats that was necessary to prevent the descent into the abyss of the 1930s.

Now, I see such an abyss opening up in front of our eyes in the centre of Europe today. And if it does, we are going to unleash very vulgar and brutal ultra right wing forces throughout Europe, and various xenophobic tendencies that will be turbocharged by the disintegration of the European Union.

Brexit would speed up the disintegration of the European Union and in the end the only beneficiaries will be those ultra-nationalists, xenophobes, racists everywhere, including in Britain.

In other words, Britain should sacrifice her own freedom and democracy because the rest of Europe is a perpetually backward powder-keg of barely suppressed “ultra right-wing” populism and resentments which will lead us back to war faster than you can say “Treaty of Versailles”, unless we dissolve our individual national identities into a common European body.

Note how Varoufakis says that Brexit would “speed up” the collapse of the EU, not that it would precipitate the collapse. That suggests that he strongly believes that the EU is doomed regardless, but still wants Britain to remain inside the burning building along with Greece to the bitter end. Quite why Britain should sacrifice our own democracy and future economic and even political stability in this way is never explained by Varoufakis or Owen Jones.

Note too how Varoufakis is keen to say that the only ones looking forward to Brexit are the foaming-at-the-mouth racist mobs which are apparently just waiting for their signal to wreak havoc on the streets of Britain. This is a variant on the claim that we should remain in the European Union because Vladimir Putin would apparently like nothing better than for us to leave. That’s certainly an interesting way to run a country – doing the precise opposite of what Vladimir Putin might want at every single decision point – but as a general rule one would have thought it was best to focus more on what is best for Britain rather than what is worst from the imagined perspective of some other world leader.

Then we get the same pigs-might-fly optimistic leftist vision for Europe that Owen Jones has also promoted, and which Jeremy Corbyn spoke of in his recent pro-EU speech at Senate House:

Our criterion should be a broad, pan-European, democratic movement for preventing the post-modern 1930s from hitting us and future generations.

[..] I feel it in my bones that to all of us we have a duty to band together across borders throughout Europe to prevent this decline, this degeneration into an ultra right wing cesspool of xenophobia, of deflation, of loss of jobs, and this is something we can only fight at the level of Europe. It cannot be fought at the level of Scotland, of Wales, of northern England.

This is an attempt, maybe Utopian, to say “Okay, forget that we are Greek, Scottish, English, German, Italian, let’s get together as European progressives and ask ourselves a very simple question: ‘how do we stop this decline?'”

So it’s not about democracy at all. It’s about leftists from across the European continent banding together to inflict their particular worldview on a reluctant continent. Varoufakis may want to use the European Union as a megaphone to amplify his neo-Marxist message and leftist policies, but he has no intention of his Brave New Europe being a democracy – at least, not if the majority of voters prefer more right wing, capitalist ideas.

Note that Varoufakis says that these right wing terrors (mostly existing only in his mind) cannot be fought at the home nation or English regional level. But he conspicuously fails to mention that they cannot be addressed at the UK level – because, presumably, he believes that they can. Which once again brings up the question of why Britain should remain part of the European Union when Varoufakis himself tacitly admits that Britain is not in need of Europe’s help.

Varoufakis goes on to make legitimate criticism of the lack of real democratic accountability and responsiveness within the member states themselves:

What is the enemy? The enemy is the contempt for democratic processes in our national capitals and in Brussels, because the contempt that the elite has in London for democracy is only reinforced by the contempt that Brussels has.

We make decisions in pure opacity. You have no idea what George Osborne says in Ecofin on behalf of you.

But while he keeps offering More Europe as a solution, at no point is it explained why each member state should not simply strive to become more democratic in their own way and in accordance with their own traditions, culture and history.

The British parliament’s oversight of the government’s handling of EU matters is abysmal at present, with ministers, diplomats and MEPs rarely being held to anything like proper account for the decisions that they make on our behalf in Brussels. That is something which could be changed with sufficient political will – ideally as part of a far more widely reaching constitutional convention, but as a lone issue if necessary. But this is change which must come from within – the EU is never going to start issuing directives instructing national parliaments to pay much closer scrutiny to their own government’s interaction with Brussels.

Ultimately, the problem with Varoufakis’s argument is that it basically amounts to a vain struggle to bring greater transparency to European institutions which nobody wanted in the first place. Live streaming meetings of European finance ministers (to use one of his examples) is all well and good, but it does not change the fact that the entire foundations of the EU were built without the expressed democratic consent of the people.

If your right to decide unilaterally what new car you want to buy is taken away and vested in a group including of 27 of your neighbours, your family is unlikely to be greatly mollified by being allowed to watch your joint deliberations on the internet as together you hash out a compromise. Because they reject the fundamental premise of the exercise, attempting to add a thin layer of democratic gloss over the top doesn’t make it any better.

But half way through the video, Varoufakis makes an important concession, with great emphasis, saying:

The retreat to the nation state is never going to benefit the Left. Never.

And there you have it – the real reason why even the EU’s strongest critics, like Yanis Varoufakis and Owen Jones, ultimately just can’t abandon their commitment to the European Union. Because the only realistic chance they see of imposing their left-wing policies on broadly centrist or centre-right populations is by doing it through the remote and unaccountable auspices of the EU.

The Left look around and see free markets accepted and delivering prosperity in nearly every country, including those who have sworn eternal opposition to capitalism. And despite the Corbynite takeover of the Labour Party in Britain, there is still no evidence of a groundswell of public longing for 1970s style statist economic policies to be brought out of mothballs. What chance, then, does the Left have to bring more of the economy under state control other than the extreme long shot of seizing control of Europe’s supranational layer of government on the back of the supposed European left-wing popular movement (DiEM25) talked up by Varoufakis and Jones?

As Varoufakis admits, “the retreat to the nation state is never going to benefit the Left”. The Left can only advance their cause by sidestepping nation states altogether, which means taking control of the EU, where national legislatures are bypassed and unpopular and even hated policies can be imposed on the peoples of Europe with very limited opportunity for effective resistance (see Greece). This may seem laughably unrealistic – and it is. But it is the Left’s only remaining hope, and so they cling stubbornly to their delusion even if it means betraying democracy and supporting the EU in its current form (and with its current policies) until the time comes for their popular revolution.

Meanwhile, the young Left have simply grown up with the European Union, do not see it as a threat or even a problem of any kind, and have been repeatedly told that opposition to the European project is synonymous with racism and ignorance – and so they support it unquestioningly. And this puts left-wing figureheads like Owen Jones and Yanis Varoufakis (and even Jeremy Corbyn) in a pickle, because there is only so far they can lead their flocks or step outside their side’s own Overton window before the people take fright at being made to think unthinkable, heretical thoughts.

This was not a problem for the late Tony Benn. Benn was able to trash talk the European Union and talk about democracy, and he was indulged much like a crazy but beloved uncle or grandfather. And that enabled Benn to make a compelling case against the European Union and for Brexit, drawing not on left-wing or right-wing political objectives but purely on his respect for democracy.

As this blog explained:

When asked his own thoughts about the European Union, Tony Benn did not do what most contemporary Labour Party personalities do, and talk about the virtues of undemocratically imposing more stringent social and employment laws on Britain (an irritatingly less social-democratic country than our continental friends). Because Tony Benn understood that the left-wing case against the European Union was about democracy, democracy and more democracy.

Tony Benn understood that some things are more important than whether Britain might happen to move in a slightly more left or right wing direction as a short and medium term consequence of Brexit. He understood that self-determination and democracy – particularly the ability for the citizenry to remove people from office – is the first and most important consideration in determining the democratic health of a country.

And Benn understood that living in a democracy where his own side would sometimes win and sometimes lose was far preferable to living in a dictatorship where his own preferred policies were implemented through coercion with no public redress.

Unfortunately for Corbyn, Jones and Varoufakis, they do not command the universal love and respect enjoyed by the late Tony Benn. They cannot make a case for Brexit to their followers based on democracy, because in truth their followers generally do not care about democracy – they care about getting their way, and imposing their values and policies on Britain whether the people want them or not. In other words, the Left’s most high-profile EU apologists are being led by their followers – and it shows in the paucity and half-heartedness of their arguments against Brexit.

And it is in this context that we should view this fifteen minute televised therapy session between Owen Jones and Yanis Varoufakis, two intelligent people who know deep down they are on the wrong side of democracy, and are desperate to find as many reasons as possible to soothe their burning consciences.

 

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Yanis Varoufakis: The Remain Campaign’s Best Spokesman For Brexit

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Think that the EU is a hopelessly outdated, cumbersome, anti-democratic tyranny of the technocrats and unaccountable elites? So does Yanis Varoufakis. But he would very much like for you to vote Remain.

If you were searching for a passionate, eloquent case against the EU and the increasingly discredited idea of European political union from a non-Briton, you could do little better than the first 80% of Yanis Varoufakis’ latest Op-Ed in the Guardian.

In his article, Varoufakis uses anecdotes from his brief and tumultuous period as Greek finance minister to give the reader an illuminating and deeply unpleasant close-up view of exactly what it is like for a national government minister to face off against the EU’s leaders and technocrats in defence of their sovereign national interest (spoiler alert: advocating for national interest, like sovereignty, is verboten).

If you stop reading the Op-Ed before the final six paragraphs, you would come away thinking that this is a man who has stared into the cold, dead eyes of supranational European governance, seen its soul and come away understanding just how misguided and dangerous is the anachronistic, mid-century experiment known as the EU.

But then Varoufakis executes one of the sharpest journalistic handbrake turns you will ever see, wilfully ignoring his own bitter experience at the hands of supranational governance for the “common good”, and somehow arriving at the conclusion that everything will be better if we simply double down on our commitment to European political union.

His response upon being burned by the flame of unaccountable, supranationalist technocracy is apparently not to recoil his hand, but rather to go marching briskly on into the inferno.

Thus Varoufakis goes from this, when describing the nature of his negotiations with the Eurogroup (and German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble in particular) at the height of the Greek Euro crisis in 2015:

An alliance of states, which is what the EU is, can of course come to mutually beneficial arrangements, such as a defensive military alliance against a common aggressor, coordination between police forces, open borders, an agreement to common industry standards, or the creation of a free-trade zone. But it can never legitimately strike down or overrule the sovereignty of one of its member states on the basis of the limited power it has been granted by the sovereign states that have agreed to participate in the alliance. There is no collective European sovereignty from which Brussels could draw the legitimate political authority to do so.

One may retort that the European Union’s democratic credentials are beyond reproach. The European Council comprises heads of governments, while Ecofin and the Eurogroup are the councils of finance ministers (of the whole EU and of the eurozone respectively). All these representatives are, of course, democratically elected. Moreover, there is the European parliament, elected by the citizens of the member states, which has the power to send proposed legislation back to the Brussels bureaucracy. But these arguments demonstrate how badly European appreciation of the founding principles of liberal democracy has been degraded. The critical error of such a defence is once more to confuse political authority with power.

A parliament is sovereign, even if its country is not particularly powerful, when it can dismiss the executive for having failed to fulfil the tasks assigned to it within the constraints of whatever power the executive and the parliament possess. Nothing like this exists in the EU today.

For while the members of the European Council and the Eurogroup of finance ministers are elected politicians, answerable, theoretically, to their respective national parliaments, the Council and the Eurogroup are themselves not answerable to any parliament, nor indeed to any voting citizens whatsoever.

Moreover, the Eurogroup, where most of Europe’s important economic decisions are taken, is a body that does not even exist in European law, that keeps no minutes of its procedures and insists its deliberations are confidential – that is, not to be shared with the citizens of Europe. It operates on the basis – in the words of Thucydides – that “strong do as they please while the weak suffer what they must”. It is a set-up designed to preclude any sovereignty derived from the people of Europe.

While opposing Schäuble’s logic on Greece in the Eurogroup and elsewhere, at the back of my mind there were two thoughts. First, as the finance minister of a bankrupt state, whose citizens demanded an end to a great depression that had been caused by a denial of our bankruptcy – the imposition of new unpayable loans, so payments could be made on old unpayable loans – I had a political and moral duty to say no to more “extend-and-pretend” loan agreements. My second thought was the lesson of Sophocles’s Antigone, who taught us that good women and men have a duty to contradict rules lacking political and moral legitimacy.

Political authority is the cement that keeps legislation together, and the sovereignty of the body politic that engenders the legislation is its foundation. Saying no to Schäuble and the troika was an essential defence of our right to sovereignty. Not just as Greeks but as Europeans.

To this, in his pivot towards advocating a Remain vote:

Our European Union is disintegrating. Should we accelerate the disintegration of a failed confederacy? If one insists that even small countries can retain their sovereignty, as I have done, does this mean Brexit is the obvious course? My answer is an emphatic “No!”

Here is why: if Britain and Greece were not already in the EU, they should most certainly stay out. But, once inside, it is crucial to consider the consequences of a decision to leave. Whether we like it or not, the European Union is our environment – and it has become a terribly unstable environment, which will disintegrate even if a small, depressed country like Greece leaves, let alone a major economy like Britain. Should the Greeks or the Brits care about the disintegration of an infuriating EU? Yes, of course we should care. And we should care very much because the disintegration of this frustrating alliance will create a vortex that will consume us all – a postmodern replay of the 1930s.

It is a major error to assume, whether you are a remain or a leave supporter, that the EU is something constant “out there” that you may or may not want to be part of. The EU’s very existence depends on Britain staying in. Greece and Britain are facing the same three options. The first two are represented aptly by the two warring factions within the Tory party: deference to Brussels and exit. They are equally calamitous options. Both lead to the same dystopian future: a Europe fit only for those who flourish in times of a great Depression – the xenophobes, the ultra-nationalists, the enemies of democratic sovereignty. The third option is the only one worth going for: staying in the EU to form a cross-border alliance of democrats, which Europeans failed to manage in the 1930s, but which our generation must now attempt to prevent history repeating itself.

This is precisely what some of us are working towards in creating DiEM25 – the Democracy in Europe Movement, with a view to conjuring up a democratic surge across Europe, a common European identity, an authentic European sovereignty, an internationalist bulwark against both submission to Brussels and hyper-nationalist reaction.

Is this not utopian? Of course it is! But not more so than the notion that the current EU can survive its anti-democratic hubris, and the gross incompetence fuelled by its unaccountability. Or the idea that British or Greek democracy can be revived in the bosom of a nation-state whose sovereignty will never be restored within a single market controlled by Brussels.

Just like in the early 1930s, Britain and Greece cannot escape Europe by building a mental or legislative wall behind which to hide. Either we band together to democratise – or we suffer the consequences of a pan-European nightmare that no border can keep out.

In other words, the European Union as it is presently constituted and governed is a colossal, anti-democratic behemoth, but trying to leave this decaying mid-century relic to embrace the kind of inter-governmental and multilateral cooperation which befits a modern, confident Britain in a globalised world would “create a vortex that will consume us all”. Britain is stuck with the decision it made in 1975.

This is the Sajid Javid school of thought – the heart feels eurosceptic and yearns for Brexit, but the head worries that the world is too dangerous and uncertain right now for us to risk a small outbreak of democratic sovereignty by voting Leave. Incidentally, it is also the same mental cowardice that would have seen the thirteen American colonies never declare their independence from an overbearing, undemocratic British Crown with which they increasingly felt little affinity.

Or is it?

Much like the battered spouse convinces themselves that they are the ones at fault, or that their abusive partner can change, Yanis Varoufakis seems to have convinced himself that with enough “grassroots support” a pan-European democratic movement (his own DiEM25) can spring up and accomplish the following lofty goals at the drop of a hat:

  1. Willing a true European demos and sense of European identity into being, and
  2. Wresting the true levers of power within the EU away from political and economic elites, and vesting them in the newly-invigorated common European institutions created in Step 1

But it is pure wishful thinking. The EU’s architects (those who bought into the original vision of a process leading to a single European state) and current beneficiaries (political elites who enjoy the lack of full accountability to their own electorates) will not take such a brazen power grab lying down. Varoufakis, if he recalls, was finance minister of Greece until the powers that be froze him out, forcing his resignation.

And were they to succeed, DiEM25 would only be yet another entirely elitist group seeking to impose their own top-down vision of supranational governance on the peoples of Europe. Two of its founder members (Noam Chomsky and JK Galbraith) are Americans who have no damn right to decide how we choose to govern ourselves in the first place.

(Look beyond the flashy website and the picture of a smiling Caroline Lucas and read the manifesto, and you’ll see that the talk of democracy is just a window dressing for the same integrationist dogma, only bolted on to a bunch of miserablist, left-wing nonsense)

Apparently Varoufakis’ idea of an alternative to the current hegemony of the Brussels elite is to replace them with a new academic elite instead – to cram the European Union’s institutions with tweed-jacketed professors in place of sharp-suited lobbyists and bureaucrats.

One can understand why Yanis Varoufakis might want to agitate for a mini-revolution within the European Union to displace his many recently-acquired enemies and install more people like him (cerebral, academic types) in their place.

One can even admire his chutzpah for trying to engineer such a coup in broad daylight, and his shamelessness at exploiting the very real suffering of his Greek compatriots in an attempt to bring about another elitist vision of European political union (which will fail ordinary citizens just as the current model fails Europe’s citizens).

But what Varoufakis utterly fails to do – having devoted the majority of his Guardian Op-Ed to correctly explaining why the EU is a democratic black hole – is advance the slightest argument as to why Britain should aid and abet him in his grubby scheming by voting to remain in the European Union this June.

 

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The EU Aims To Depose The Greek Government, Again

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By Ben Kelly, blogger and editor of The Sceptic Isle.

‘Mr Dijsselbloem suggested even if Greece voted to approve the bailout plan it would be hard for its eurozone partners to continue to trust Mr Tsipras’s leftwing Syriza government to implement it — hinting a new government would be necessary.’

The EU is escalating its campaign of intimidation against the Greek electorate in order to push them towards the “yes” vote they seek. Now efforts are escalating to oust the democratically elected Greek government whatever the result of today’s referendum. President of the EU Parliament Martin Schulz has called for the Syriza government to be replaced by “technocrat” rule until stability can be restored in Greece after its economic collapse. We have been here before. 

We have already witnessed a post-modern, bloodless coup d’état in Athens before, as we did in Rome. Elected prime ministers were given a final, firm push and removed from power and replaced with Eurocrats appointed from Brussels, a former Vice-President of the European Central Bank and a former European Commissioner no less. They were appointed with the mission to impose policies approved by the EU but rejected in general elections.

Mario Monti appointed himself finance minister as well as prime minister and a government was installed in Italy without a single elected politician. The fragile pretence of EU democracy collapsed, and the dictatorial nature of the centralist new European empire was exposed. Apparachiks in Brussels ruling through colonial governors in Athens and Rome, overseen by the ECB in Frankfurt and the government in Berlin dissolved national democracy. The electorate in the Euro colonies were cut out altogether.

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EU Bullies Have Overplayed Their Hand In Greek Standoff

Lego Acropolis - Greece - EU - Euro Crisis - 1

 

The Greek Euro crisis is not a game; it is a deadly serious question of who really holds the power in the EU and the eurozone – the people or the institutions. Unfortunately, EU bureaucrats and European heads of state have chosen to close ranks and continue their reckless game of chicken with desperate, depression-weary Greece, making a total mockery of European ‘solidarity’.

 

Anyone hoping that Greece’s dramatic decision to put the EU’s death-by-rolling-bailout terms to a popular referendum might bring the country’s intransigent creditors to their senses will have been sorely disappointed today. Once the initial shock that a sovereign country dared to stand up to to the EU wore off, it soon became apparent that the EU’s leaders were determined to call Greece’s bluff and double down on their uncompromising position.

We should not be surprised. The very idea of a solitary European democracy acting muscularly in its own self interest is clearly horrifying to the EU elite, who have been so busy constructing their unwanted political and economic union that they are no longer capable of even comprehending dissenting opinions.

Of course, the chancelleries of Europe did the bare minimum in order to make a public show of being conciliatory to Greece – emphasising their supposed fraternal concern for the country and desire to help the Greek economy return to growth. But their actions said differently, and spoke volumes about their real priorities.

The Guardian puts it quite plainly:

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