Err, yes, yes

Your leader (“Hard Brexit is an epic act of self-harm,” Comment, last week) speaks of the damage about to be inflicted upon this nation. I agree, but I believe the harm will spread to the rest of Europe. In my 93rd year, I observe the UK’s imminent departure from Europe with dismay and I consider the actions of this government a scandal.

I am one of a few veterans left of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising (Warszawianka Company, Chrobry II unit), when the youth of the city rose against the Nazi occupiers and held out for 63 days, but 250,000 inhabitants perished and a similar number were displaced. I became a German prisoner of war, moved in cattle trucks from camp to camp. After the liberation, my unit became part of the British army of the Rhine. In 1946, we arrived in Scotland and dispersed. There was no prospect of returning to a newly partitioned and Communist-occupied Poland and I made my home in the United Kingdom.

By a quirk of fate, my grandfather, Theodore de Korwin Szymanowski, writing in 1885 (L’avenir économique, social et politique en Europe, The Future of Europe in Economic, Social and Political Terms), argued forcefully for European economic collaboration as a means of forestalling bloodshed and social turmoil.

As we face economic uncertainty and threats from without and from within, we should heed Szymanowski’s visionary appeal. We should work together, for social evils are by nature international and universal and can only be defeated by an international and universal coming together of governments, with their citizens and resources. If European governments were at least financially united, they could make common cause on these great questions. Szymanowski recommended a European central bank, a single currency, a customs union, a council of ministers and an exit formula. He said the time of petty nationalisms had already passed.

Refugee from two attempts to create a single European order insists that the third attempt must succeed.

32 comments on “Err, yes, yes

  1. If he can point explicitly to the documents that prove the youth of Warsaw rose up for “European economic collaboration as a means of forestalling bloodshed and social turmoil” then I’ll accept this old man’s drivel. Otherwise; no.

    Perhaps he might also like to explain how and when “Economic collaboration” became identical to the ECJ giving rulings on employers allowing or not allowing staff to wear headscarves.

  2. “Szymanowski recommended a European central bank, a single currency, a customs union, a council of ministers and an exit formula.”

    An exit formula is fine as long as it’s never invoked: is that the idea?

  3. In any country ruled by another, the most despised people are the collaborators.

    We call them MPs.

  4. Hey, I thought that after Brexit all old people were stupid and selfish and that we should no longer listen to them? When did it change? I didn’t get the memo from the Guardian.

  5. Ingrate Johnny Foreigner thinks he can lecture his hosts and benefactors.

    Send his wrinkly arse back to Poland.

  6. If you suggested that neighbours should get to know each other and avoid conflict by pooling their financial resources and by making decisions in common that they used to make individually, people would think you were mad.

    They’d point out that people have different dietary requirements and that they earn money at different rates and want to spend it on different things. They might even point out that some neighbours naturally work together without much organisation, because they like each other.

    Then you scale the concept up and it all goes to shit.

    Internationalism (as opposed to globalism) is for starry-eyed fools.

  7. It is interesting that this man is a Pole. Because if his grand father came from the southern part of Poland, he might have grown up in a world where many different nations did put aside their petty grievances and worked together for the common good.

    It was called the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

    It has a common central bank, a single currency, a customs union, a council of ministers but no exit formula. And it worked quite well until the Serbs went around shooting perfectly innocent Royals.

    So unless these sort of claims come with an apology and an explanation of why the Czech and so on nationalists were wrong (including the occasional Pole), I don’t think I am going to be much moved.

    By all means, I would support a Common European home presided over by anyone called Karl Thomas Robert Maria Franziskus Georg Bahnam. But no other.

  8. The Poles – God bless em – are always coming up with ingenious reasons for why other countries should defend them from the Roosians and Proosians.

    The following glorious butthurt is entirely home-grown though:

    If some level-headed pragmatism remained in government, perhaps the UK would have a chance. But the sensible people are gone, hounded out by a blinkered army of ideologically Brexiter-than-thou extremists, terrified of anyone with English as a second language, with a tight-lipped prime minister, white-knuckled at the wheel. The obedient opposition, headed by a shambling leader who neither opposes nor leads, is an irrelevant and self-destructive sideshow.

    The UK, soon to be just England and Wales, will be remembered as a great empire and an important democracy, that destroyed itself through fear of outsiders, stoked by spurious dreams of former glory. Peak postwar Britain was pretty great while it lasted.
    NK Guy
    London N17

    DAMN YOU, DEMOCRACY! YOU RUINED, ERR, DEMOCRACY!

  9. And I’m not sure this is what Levitt and Dubner had in mind:

    Your leader omitted to mention the vast transfer of resources from poor to rich that Brexit will lead to. Mrs May and her supporters are protected from the consequences of a plummeting pound by their investments in the buoyant FTSE 100. As inflation re-ignites, the poor will be hit very hard. They will have to sell what they can to survive and Mrs May’s friends will snap up the resulting bargains.

    Dr Jonathan Reeve
    Melbourn, Hertfordshire

    Brexit and Trump and the horrific failure of multiculturalism have worn away the Left’s myelin sheath, leaving their nervous system hypersensitive to even the tiniest of shocks.

    They were never well to begin with, but now they’re madder than a box of scorpions in a tumble dryer.

    We’re gonna need more mental health facilities for people who Literally Can’t Even.

  10. ‘argued forcefully for European economic collaboration as a means of forestalling bloodshed and social turmoil.’

    Non sequitur?

    I never heard of this guy, so I don’t know, but usually this type of argument is from one who wants common government, and will say anything to get it. ‘European economic collaboration’ does not require common government. And what’s ‘quirk of fate’ about this?

    His experience of being ‘moved in cattle trucks from camp to camp’ qualifies him to comment on Brexit how? Sure looks like a stupid appeal to pity.

    ‘social evils are by nature international and universal and can only be defeated by an international and universal coming together of governments’

    He comes clean. He IS a communist.

  11. Dear Mr Worstall

    ” … argued forcefully for European economic collaboration as a means of forestalling bloodshed and social turmoil.”

    And it works – it’s called trade, which makes us all richer and so we don’t like the idea of destroying it all in senseless war.

    Just keep governments out of the economy and we’ll prosper even more and be even less likely to engage in bloodshed and social turmoil.

    DP

  12. The old fool was –and still is on a much lesser scale– a victim of socialism. Now he wants more socialism. TIS is correct: deport the old moron back to Poland. Or Israel–he can lecture them about nationalism and how it is obsolete in the face of their so-friendly neighbours.

    As for our home grown traitors–well the ranters have that right–something they would deny us if they could get away with it. We should all do what we can to put the MSM carrying their dross out of business.

    The active legalists tho’ have had their chance. Treason and sedition charges all round for them.

  13. SMFS–Wrong. As Sean Gabb points out the Austro-Hungarians were the very model of running a multi-culti tyranny. A group of entirely unsuited crew forced into a Union. Which was still better than todays multi-culti because they were all in separate nations and not within one border.

    However if there was trouble in their Italian division they sent Poles to sort it out. No fellow-feeling there. Trouble in Hungary? Send Italians for the same reason.

    All the groups fighting with each other like a bag of ferrets while the scum at top float serenely. While each of the nations/ethnics seek help from the central state against their hated enemies.

    Exactly what TPTB are trying to do to us–even worse because the differing groups are on top of each other unlike the AHE where they were mostly separated geographically.

  14. Why are lefties so obsessed with national prestige at the expense of national sovereignty?

    Why do they think we have any such thing as the sleeping partner in a Franco-German customs union?

    Why don’t they understand that if we can’t change our mind about Europe, as would eventually have been the case, then we don’t have any genuine independence at all?

  15. Another idiot, and there are many on both sides, who failed to mention the number one item in the EU budget, and the prime reason for the Common External Tariff.
    And who isn’t aware there are 9 or so northern and western european territories that are not in the EU and seem to have avoided the self-harm that he predicts.
    But he’s had a crap life – so his view matters more than mine. I can accept his feeling matter a lot, face-to-face dealings at the DWP can’t compete with the Warsaw uprating for crapness.

  16. Szymanowski recommended a European central bank, a single currency, a customs union, a council of ministers and an exit formula. He said the time of petty nationalisms had already passed.

    But did Szymanowski ever recommend asking the people it would be imposed upon?

    The reaction to Brexit has been illuminating. Some of the opposition to it appears to be not that we are exiting the EU as it is today but that we won’t be a part of its glorious, but currently undefined, future state. Is that why Remain had few positive reasons to remain – They don’t know what the EU will look like in a decade but blindly assume it will be in our best interests to be in it?

  17. Refugee from two attempts to create a single European order insists that the third attempt must succeed.

    Ah, the hallmark of a True European: The inability to learn anything from experience.

  18. Gareth – Some of the opposition to it appears to be not that we are exiting the EU as it is today but that we won’t be a part of its glorious, but currently undefined, future state.

    The whole debate was weird. Remain conjured up a phantasmagoria of horrors should we exit the EU, and Continuity Remain has since mythologised the EU as some sort of enlightened guarantor of peace and prosperity and lollipops and rainbows and ponies for every princess.

    The EU as it actually exists barely factored into the rhetoric of the people who were supposedly defending it.

    Not that Leave was entirely fact-based in its propaganda (indeed, it would have been a mistake to do so, particularly against Project Fear.)

    E.g. Farage’s immigration poster. I’ve heard some Remainers and EU officials (correctly) point out that Brexit will not – in itself – solve our immigration problem. Though I’d argue it’s necessary if not sufficient.

    As you say, nobody knows what the EU will look like in future, if it exists at all. But its trajectory is dire: anaemic growth, uncontrolled regulatory proliferation, and a delusional unwillingness (outside Poland or Hungary) to defend itself from the ongoing Third World invasion.

    How a sclerotic 1950’s bureaucratic corporatist gravy train became synonymous in the British Left’s mind with modernity and progress is mystifying. But it’s abundantly clear progressives are on the wrong side of history.

    Reality is cruelly destroying their illusions, one by one. From feminism to multiculturalism to climate change to international relations, the tide has gone out and they now stand bollock naked.

  19. “How a sclerotic 1950’s bureaucratic corporatist gravy train became synonymous in the British Left’s mind with modernity and progress is mystifying.”

    My hypothesis for that is EUism here got subsumed for those pinker than the UK average since the EU is pinker than the UK average.

  20. How a sclerotic 1950’s bureaucratic corporatist gravy train became synonymous in the British Left’s mind with modernity and progress is mystifying.

    Nothing mystifying at all. The Left always assumes they’ll be the ones riding the gravy train. From their perspective, that would be real progress.

  21. “Peak postwar Britain was pretty great while it lasted.”

    Thats interesting, because I thought Fatcher has destroyed the Post War Consensus over 30 years ago and we’d been living in a neoliberal hell hole ever since. Has Maggie been rehabilitated? We are now at war with the Brexiteer masses and always have been?

  22. A thought just hit me. Wouldn’t be surprised if someone’s had it already.

    UK exports to the EU have a declining trend vs those to RotW. I’m assuming that’s still the case.

    (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11700443/The-EUs-dwindling-importance-to-UK-trade-in-three-charts.html)

    The EU is being a dick about trade to the UK, which is about to be RotW to them.

    The EU was a dick about trade with Canada, taking years to reach a deal.

    (free trade is what happens when the gov doesn’t get in the way, doesn’t interfere; so essentially it takes these idiots years to agree to not do anything)

    So the EU, by being dicks to the UK (soon to be a major non-EU economy), is demonstrating exactly why (from an export PoV) the UK needs to jump ship. The EU is twatty to the bit of the export market that is growing.

  23. “The Poles – God bless em – are always coming up with ingenious reasons for why other countries should defend them from the Roosians and Proosians.”

    To be fair, Poland’s one of the only countries in NATO to take its obligations seriously.

  24. Look, I love nationalist Poles (unlike this shitbird)- but let’s face it, World War 2 wouldn’t have started in the way it did if it hadn’t been for them grabbing territory that belonged to others- mainly German of course but also rightful Hungarian land.

  25. MattyJ – they do mate. I don’t blame them for their stances, but it is exceedingly tedious to hear the likes of the serpentine Radoslaw Sikorski lecturing us about Brexit and also constantly agitating over what “we” must do about Russia – a country that hasn’t been a threat to Britain in a generation and isn’t threatening us now.

    I reckon we’ve done more than enough for foreigners. As in the case of the embittered old geezer writing to The Guardian – or the “British-born” mass murderer in Westminster, come to think of it – it hasn’t bought us any gratitude, even when we let them live among us.

    Time to rediscover the wisdom of good fences making good neighbours.

  26. Mr Ecks – “Wrong. As Sean Gabb points out the Austro-Hungarians were the very model of running a multi-culti tyranny. A group of entirely unsuited crew forced into a Union. Which was still better than todays multi-culti because they were all in separate nations and not within one border.”

    It was hardly a tyranny. Those parts of Eastern Europe that were ruled by the Hapsburgs still have a noticeably better record on corruption than those parts that were not.

    Were they unsuitable? They were mostly Catholic and White. They worked pretty much alright together until Wilson took up a small number of cafe intellectuals and pushed ideas about folk nationalism.

    However you miss my point – if those groups could not live together in A-H, they cannot live together in the EU. Anyone who wants us all to live together needs to explain why the A-H was such a bad idea and why it failed. No one has done so. Everyone just assumes that the collapse of the A-H Empire was a Good Thing because nationalism is good but that the EU is a Good Thing too because nationalism is bad. There is a logic fail there somewhere.

  27. Smfs +1

    Free Czechoslovakia was unable to hold together after 1991. Austro-Hungaria split up after 1918. What is it about the EU that enables Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia etc etc to hold together now when they all wanted out in 1918?

  28. SMFS et al

    Viva the Holy Roman Empire. I have tears of nostalgia in my eyes.
    And glad I wasn’t in it

    Progress happens, even if the old farts on here and Guradina readers deny it.

  29. bloke in france – “Progress happens, even if the old farts on here and Guradina readers deny it.”

    If you are on the road to Auschwitz, or even the Gulag, calling it progress may comfort you, but only if you’re a guard.

  30. The good people in the European Union have always been people brought up in the tradition of that Holy Roman Empire. Old farts, as you put it, who rejected the modern world’s progressive ideologies.

    People like Adenauer. And that prime example of the A-H system, Pope John Paul II. As opposed to the people in the Nazi party and the Communists on both sides of the wall who continually claimed history was on their side and the Old Farts should get out of their way.

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