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Conservative dilemma: Mrs Thatcher, seen here with Willie Whitelaw (left) and Peter Kirk, campaigned for a "Yes" vote in the 1975 referendum 

Europe, home to some of the worst and most unworkable big ideas down the ages, has done it again. The continent may have spawned the Roman Empire, the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. It may have given humanity Michelangelo and Mozart, Bach and Balzac, Canaletto and claret. But the European legacy also includes the Spanish Inquisition, Communism, Fascism and Nazism. To this formidable list of fanaticism and failure must surely now be added the euro — a lunatic project to impose the political integration of modern Europe through the creation of a single currency. 

It is not yet fashionable to see the euro and the European project of which it is the vehicle in quite such dramatic terms. The leaders and spokesmen for the various institutions trying to "save the euro" usually make bloodless statements against a bland bureaucratic backdrop. The effect is designed to be soothing and to distract us from the wickedness and irresponsibility of what is being done.

The headline record unemployment figure of 11.2 per cent in the 17 eurozone countries, though even worse than Britain's 8.1 per cent, masks the true extent of human misery involved. In the prosperous North unemployment is low, but in the South it is at dangerous levels as businesses fearful of the future lay off workers and stall on hiring. Austrian unemployment stands at just 4.5 per cent, German at 6.8 per cent but in France and Italy it is over 10 per cent, while in Spain and Greece the figures are 24.8 per cent and 22.5 per cent respectively. Youth unemployment in the Mediterranean countries is even higher. In Spain, among those aged 16 to 24, an incredible 53.3 per cent are now out of work. 

The euro is doing this. Countries which should have their own currencies, and be able to devalue in order to begin the process of recovery, are straitjacketed by a one-size fits all policy.

If the euro was misconceived from the start, its design and execution were criminally negligent — as some economists, especially in Britain, warned at the time. (Notable among them were the economic advisers to Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair respectively, Sir Alan Walters and the late Derek Scott, both derided and ignored by Europhile panjandrums.)

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November 27th, 2012
1:11 AM
What needs to be explained is that Britain's history is different and therefore our emotional responses differ to most of Europe.Ever since Edward the Confessor , England has had a legal system which originates from the people. Britain has had over a period of nearly a thousand years increased the freedoms and economic prosperity of the mass of the people more than practically any other countries in Europe , apart from N .Italy in the 14-15C and Holland of mid 17C. In addition,England has not beeen invaded for nearly a 1000 years. Consequently,Britain has offered more opportunities for advancementfor the lower and middle classes than most of Europe. The Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions were made by the lower and middle classes, not the aristocrats.In addition, there has been more equality before the law than in most European countries. The situation where the greater the elevation in rank ,the greater the legal dispensations the aristocrats received was common Europe but largely absent in Britain. From the end of the 13c, power of the English King was limited by Parliament and therefore prevented the development of the concept of The Divine Right of Kings which was an aspect of the French and other monarchies. Britain also enjored a high level of literacy and free press for the last 300 hundred years. From the end of the 13C, much of the military power rested with the yeoman farmer and lower ranks( Franklins, Freemen),not the aristocrat.It was the yeoman farmer and lower ranks who were archers. Medieval Europe largely comprised a military aristocracy employing mercenaries ( Swiss or Genovese): the peasants were unarmed. In medieval Britain, fertile soil enabled people to be better fed than in most of Europe. The various classes of serf, freeman , Franklins( less than 40 acres), yeoman (40-120 acres) and the fact that people were paid in coins, meant that a family could move from serf to yeoman over 3 generations: a degree of social mobility which was far less common in Europe. A kight owned more than 100 acres, so some yoemans were wealthier. Anyone who lived in London for more than a year and a day became a freeman. Therefore London became a magnet for the ambitious and in addition was run according to Saxon,rather than Norman customs. The setting up of Parliament at the end of the 13C allowed a voice for knights and burghers, classes which were largely ignored by the monarchs of Europe. The setting up of Trinity House, under HVIII to train pilots provided a career path for the able working and middle classes which meant that a technically superior meritocracy defeated a technically inferior aristocracy durng the Spanish Armada. The Merchant and Royal Navies became career paths for the lower and middle classes, not available in most of Europe. The setting up of many of the public and grammar schools from the 16c onwards provided access to education to the middle classes which was only provided if one joined a monastery, seminary or was a son of an aristocrat who was privately tutored; in most of Europe. In summary, the last 1000yrs, the British have enjoyed greater freedom of expression and action; greater social mobility,more more fair and just rule of law,less fear of invasion, more meat and protein for the mass of the population ( lack of protein for much of the European peasantry resulted in stunted growth and reduced strength)prodcuing a more emtionally mature and responsible populace which required a greater degree of competence and accountability from the ruling class. I would suggest ther was greater degree of national solidarity between the lowest and most high born in Britain than in most European countries over most of the last 1000 years. So let as accept Britain has evolved differently over the last 1000 years because of events and therefore our perception of the World and our temperaments may differ. After all are we not meant to celebrate diversity and maintain different eco systems? Britain should not expect to impose our views on others but als not accept having others impose their views on her.

Stuart Bramwell
September 24th, 2012
2:09 PM
How can a magazine that, rightly, attacks moral relativism then go on to promote such rubbish as the sentence below whilst keeping a straight face: "[...] the European legacy [...] includes the Spanish Inquisition, Communism, Fascism and Nazism. To this formidable list of fanaticism and failure must surely now be added the euro — a lunatic project to impose the political integration of modern Europe through the creation of a single currency." This is not the first instance of intellectual rot. There have been facile attacks on evidence-based thinking about human nature (unless it doesn't contradict Judeo-Christian dogma), and lame justifications for those who wish to deny homosexuals the right to marry. And now comparisons between the, undoubtedly flawed, euro project and the worst events in human history. My support for this magazine in the past has clearly been unwarranted.

September 1st, 2012
7:09 PM
Good article. Only one quibble: I don't believe Tony Blair was a eurofederalist. A eurofederalist would have moved heaven and earth to get Britain into the euro -- and Blair, in 1997, was in a position ot at least attempt it. Also, a eurofederalist would never have gone into Iraq with George W. Bush -- he would have aligned with France and Germany. I think Blair actually represented British "soft" europhilia -- that the EU was a good thing and that we ought to play along and try get the Europeans to accept a more "British" (i.e. less federalist) approach. Such an apporach was, of course, doomed, but the fact he muddled so often over Europe simply does not point to his being a supporter of eurofederalism.

August 30th, 2012
9:08 PM
"Nick Clegg ... such a Eurofanatic that he makes Tony Blair look like Daniel Hannan." LOL!

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