London mayor and newspaper pundit Boris Johnson has a good article in his usual Daily Telegraph redoubt and it is getting a lot of attention, as it should:
“The Greek debt crisis is deepening, in other words; and there are only two options. We could continue down the road we are on, in which the euro shambles becomes an invisible and surreptitious engine for the creation of an economic government of Europe. Indeed, there is a sense in which the slow-motion disaster of the PIGS – Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Spain – has been terrific for the federalist cause. Bit by bit we seem to be creating a fiscal as well as a monetary union, in which huge sums – including about £20 billion of UK bail-out cash – are being transferred from the richer to the poorer parts of the EU. The idea is that Germany, France and others should “socialise” the debts of the periphery – take them on, in other words – so as to keep the eurozone together and to stop the domino effect, with all the attendant damage it is feared that would do to the European banking system.”
“These profligate and improvident countries would be obliged, in return, to submit to a kind of economic supervision that is now proposed for Greece. Taxes, spending, benefits – all the panoply of economic independence – would then be subject to agreement with Berlin and Brussels. I sometimes think Kohl, Mitterrand, Delors and co instinctively knew that this would happen.”
Oh, they knew. They wanted this to happen – maybe not in the wrenching, embarrassing way that has manifested itself in the case of Greece, Ireland the rest, but they surely wanted economics to be melded to the service of politics.
“They probably calculated that if only they could achieve monetary union, the euro would create such strains that the de facto creation of a United States of Europe would be impossible to resist. The trouble is that there is just no democratic mandate for anything of the kind.”
Democracy, schemocracy, as Mel Brooks might have put it.