The European dream lies in ruins…(Amerika, Too!)
By Janet Daley
17 Sep 2011
I have to say that even in my most apocalyptic Eurosceptic moments – when I had moved on from thinking the federalist project simply preposterous to believing that it was criminal folly – I never anticipated this. What I expected was growing disillusionment followed by an almost imperceptible unwinding which would be finessed with political double-talk and diplomatic duplicity. The implosion would come, but it would be with a whimper, not a bang. Faces would be saved and enormous numbers of lies would be told, and somehow the thing would be brought to an end – or made so vestigial that it would no longer matter.
Well, so much for that idea. This is going to be huge: so cataclysmic that it may summon up forms of ugliness that we have not seen walking abroad in Western Europe for half a century. This is where the story goes beyond irony. The European federal dream was devised by its architects to be a definitive repudiation of the ideological conflicts of the 20th century. Pragmatism, consensus and regard for the greater supra-national good would reign where once wicked nationalism and zealotry had prevailed. But what strikes me when I hear the surreal statements emanating from those emergency summits and absurd Franco-German-Greek conference calls is that this is precisely a continuation of the old ideological delusions of the European past. The EU leadership and the Greek prime minister announce implacably that Greece will not leave the euro (ever), as if their uttering of the words made them indisputable. In fact, this is simply a statement of political will that dares the world to defy it.