Off you go matey. Have fun

History suggests that the current crisis requires the immediate creation of an Anglo-American style fiscal and military union of the eurozone – a \”democratic union\”. This would involve the creation of a European parliament with legislative powers; a one-off federalising of all state debt through the issue of union bonds to be backed by the entire tax revenue of the common currency zone (with a debt ceiling for member states thereafter); the supervised dissolution of insolvent private-sector financial institutions; and a single European army, with a monopoly on external force projection.

This is the only solution that will enable Europeans to mobilise in pursuit of their collective interest rather than against each other, and integrate Germany economically and militarily into the larger whole, without disenfranchising the German people or any other population of the union.

The British and the American unions made history. If we eurozoners do not act quickly and create a single state on Anglo-American lines, we will be history too – but not in the way we had hoped.

No, really, best of luck to you too.

Note that German tax revenues will now support Italian, French, Spanish etc debt. Which will be nice for Germany.

Note also that it\’s eurozone, not EU. Which means that we\’ve got that multi-speed Europe thing, which is also fine. And note also that there\’s absolutely no fucking way that Britain would ever join such a monstrosity. So, really, do, have fun.

32 thoughts on “Off you go matey. Have fun”

  1. But it’s entirely fine for English tax revenues to underwrite Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and various far-flung sheep farms and tax havens.

    We assume the Anglo and American unions work because the whole is more than the sum of the parts, irrespective of the wars and arguments along the way to getting there and the ongoing tensions and jealousies. If London declared UDI both London and rump England would be worse off.

    So the correct question is would this idea make most people better off in the long run? The answer might well be no (indeed even your truly resident europhile tends to that view) but “no because the costs are greater than the benefit” rather than “no because you smell of sausages/garlic/piri piri …”

    Oh, and two-speed Europe has always been a reality.

  2. Presumably he’s not a supporter of Scottish independence or the UN’s position on self determination then.

    By the way, I read somewhere that Australia was the only country created without bloodshed – can anyone think of another example?

  3. Well, at risk of being called a racist by the usual people, can’t help noticing the writer of that article’s a chap called Brendan Simms, drawing an obvious but maybe erroneous conclusion & wondering which side of a Union of the British Isles he’d come down on. Because if one’s advocating learning from history it’s worth learning from history.

  4. It’s worth noting, of course, that Germany’s been pulling the same trick on the rest of the EZ that we pulled back in colonial days: lend them money to buy trinkets, sell them trinkets, repeat until they’re bust, and then point out that you own their arses. A bit of fiscal punishment is well deserved.

    I can’t think of a single definition under which Matthew L’s statement would be true.

    Australia, Canada and New Zealand were all created (in the sense of “achieved independence as sovereign nations) without civil wars or wars of independence.

    Australia and New Zealand were both created (in the sense of “settled”) without white people’s blood being spilled by other white people apart from the usual mutinies, shootings and hangings, whereas Canada had a proper war with the Yanks and some wars with the French.

    Basically for the theory to work you’d need to be referring to settlement rather than nationhood, and to count Maoris as people but count indigenous Australians as not people. This is admittedly fairly close to policy at the time, but not a definition that many people would be keen to run with these days.

  5. James: The creation of the colonies might have, but federation was achieved entirely through talking. Nobody fought a war to keep WA in or New Zealand out.

  6. Its not that simple. Money is collected in London and sent to Scotland which is spent on goods made in the the England. This causes permanent Unemployment in Scotland. The same would be true of a Euro transfer Union. Would the people living in Germany, Greece and Spain be happy with such an arrangement.

  7. I wonder what the lovely Arnald has to say about this. He probably thinks the idea is wonderful, unlike we evil free marketeers and our “race to the bottom”.

  8. “I wonder what the lovely Arnald has to say about this…”
    He’ll have consulted his Cure songbook.

    “To Wish Impossible Things”

  9. The United States worked because the people of the American colonies were more or less already a nation. They were united by blood, language, culture and religion. Still, it took a catastrophic civil war to later cement that union.

    The UK works for similar reasons, although we’ve had our own wars and repressions too.

    I’m not optimistic on the chances of a European Union surviving without its enemies being dispossessed, jailed or liquidated somewhere down the line.

  10. Brendan is Irish – hence the phrase “we eurozoners”.

    He’s analysing the eurozone’s problems, not the UK’s – and the analys is pretty much spot on.

    The Krauts have to either accept a federal union and that “that German tax revenues will now support Italian, French, Spanish etc” (as Tim notes) or just bin the whole damn idea.

    It’s that binary.

    By the way, having been taught by him at uni, I can confirm that Brendan knows his Krauts.

  11. Jono – after such a long and bitter struggle for independence, it’s remarkable how quickly and how eagerly the Irish threw it away.

  12. “it’s remarkable how quickly and how eagerly the Irish threw it away.”

    Indeed. All that Celtic Tiger bollocks went right to their heads.

  13. It’s worth noting that the broader point made in the article is right: if you want to make the Euro work, that’s pretty much what you need to do. Which just proves what I keep saying about it being a political problem rather than an economic one.

  14. Offshore Observer

    On the Australia point, I don’t think New Zealand qualifies as they were simply a British Colony which achieved independence.

    Australia was a collection of British Colonies which federated creating a new Nation, without bloodshed in the civil war sense. Of course they didn’t become independent until the Statute of Wesminster in 1931 (and some would argue the Australia Acts of 1988 represent the final severing of colonial ties).

    Also as an Aussie I can’t possibly acknowledge that NZ might be as good as Oz.

    But there was defintely plenty of bloodshed in the settlement of those colonies, just ask the Tasmanian Aboriginal Tribes …. oh wait you can’t we massacred them all.

    Now to the point of the post, the difference between Australia, Canada, Us, Mexico, Germany and other federal states is that generally they share a common cultural history (Oh alright forget canada and those pesky Quebecois). No such identity exists in Europe. It is difficult to see how it ever will when politics is a game played for the national interest.

  15. OO>

    Common cultural history? Well, don’t the English and the French share common events like Waterloo and Trafalgar?

  16. Dave said: *It’s worth noting that the broader point made in the article is right: if you want to make the Euro work, that’s pretty much what you need to do.*

    If the builders of the Eurozone wanted the currency to work like any other currency why didn’t they build it that way from day one?

  17. Gareth>

    Presumably because it’s politically unacceptable. I’m not completely convinced, but it’s perfectly plausible to me that the Euro has brought the people in the Eurozone countries closer together, simply because it created an us-and-them mentality – but even so, it’s still not politically acceptable now.

    The correct thing to do was probably to have a new kind of currency that deliberately doesn’t work like other currencies, rather than one which aspires to do so and fails. It would be very interesting to see what would happen if the national currencies were restored in parallel with the Euro; I see no reason why a country like Greece can’t use both.

  18. Simms is a big believer that, historically at least, domestic politics often followed foreign and economic politics rather than the other way around. He also has believes in the centrality of Germany to the European system.

    I suspect the idea that was is essential a foriegn and economic question might re-shape German domestic politics and in turn Europe, might appeal to him.

  19. Johnathan Pearce (#8) – he’s gone AWOL which he sometimes does unless the post specifically relates to Tim’s ongoing feud with Richard Murphy. Oddly both of them are rather ambiguous on many aspects of the EU – they take umbrage when it’s pointed out that the behaviours of the various multinationals (See Murphy’s latest – Over here and under taxed) domiciled in Luxembourg and Ireland for tax purposes is inherently legal. But you are correct, as I made the point to Arnald yesterday – to eliminate tax competition would require some form of Global administration which would be a power so potentially tyrannical I wouldn’t trust a Saint with it, let alone the likes of him and Murphy.

  20. “there’s absolutely no fucking way that Britain would ever join such a monstrosity”

    Are you sure? Have you asked Dave?

    After all – let’s face it – WE won’t be consulted.

  21. Well i had always assumed that the move to greater ever union, was always such an uncontroversial p.o.v on the continent not because of anglo-american history but because of the shining state building examples of Bonaparte, Bismark and Cavour.

  22. They could’ve had a working common currency if it had been either commodity currency (gold and silver were once international currencies) or a true fiat. You just can’t have a state-managed currency on the current model without political union. It just can’t work.

  23. Offshore Observer

    Ian B – absolutely, the gold standard worked perfectly well for years until it didn’t any more.

    There is no way a common monetary policy and 17 different fiscal policies will ever work. But then again I am pretty sure that they were told that at the outset.

  24. Ian>

    No reason it would have to be fiat. If the EU had simply said ‘here are some notes, use them if you like (and by the way, we’ll accept them as money)’, and people had then adopted them as money, it would be a natural currency, not fiat. That’s pretty much what I think the Euro should have been. Europe (and the world) needs a non-national currency, rather than to be united into one country with a single national currency.

  25. does any of this matter.
    We akready have the example of Blair etc
    You can pretty well ignore public opinion and need by simply mass importation of totally disimilar foreigners.
    The police wiull repress disent.
    Thus the politiciu get what benefits them the most.

  26. Johm: Bit too much cleaning fluid on the cornflakes this morning?

    Someone pointed out an answer to my question @2 – Slovakia.

  27. OO: Canada still fits your definition – collection of colonies that federated without bloodshed (between 1867 and full independence in 1982, which is comparable to Australia’s 1901-1986 timeline)

    ML: if you’re going to include countries like Slovakia that devolved from another state without civil war (rather than countries that were created by aggregation as OO suggests) there are shedloads. New Zealand, Singapore – and a large majority of the British colonies that gained independence after 1960.

  28. Offshore Observer

    John B, I agree that Canada does fit the definition apart from the fact that they did fight a couple of wars on the way. War never directly affect Australia until the Pacific conflict in WWII and the bombing of Darwin. So I suppose if there is a difference it was that Australia didn’t experience War until after it was created.

    But hey lets not split hairs. I think Canada is a fantastic place, almost as good as Oz

  29. New Zealand fought a series of civil wars not long after the founding document was signed. Singapore works though. How many of the independent colonies didn’t have militant independence movements?

  30. OO: Darwin was bombed 43 years before Australia achieved independence… 😉

    ML: I think this is another “only true if Maoris count and Aborigines don’t” point, isn’t it? There was fatal conflict between indigenous people and white people in both countries throughout.

    As far as the colonies go, post-1960, violent insurrection wasn’t much of a thing because we wanted them to be independent and everyone knew that – this is quite a good timeline as an indication (where the green starts). For most of the ones after 1960, bloodshed either hasn’t happened (Oceania, Caribbean), or happened after independence (Africa)…

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