How the world turns

Niall Ferguson (picture Harvard)

It is not only the world of politics that is turned upside down by the European banking crisis and the ineffectual way in which political leaders are dealing with it.  Historical and cultural commentators, too, are in turmoil.

Niall Ferguson, poster boy of Atlanticism, is interviewed in the Sunday Times (£) today, advocating a federal union of Europe:

I am not a federalist, but the costs of the single currency disintegrating are really so high and would impact so many people, that the only responsible thing for me to do is to argue urgently for the next step to a federal Europe. I see no alternative at the moment that isn’t a great deal worse.

Mind you, he has quite a good track record of supporting European integration, for many of the same reasons as this website.  See here, for example:

The choice is no longer between national foreign policies and a European foreign policy, but between national irrelevance and collective influence.

 and he was a supporter of the European constitution, as he explained here.

Will Self

But the traffic is not only one way.  The BBC website carries a piece by novelist and journalist Will Self, in which he writes that

For myself, I had always been an enthusiastic pro-European and an unashamed believer in a federal European state. Like many English people of my tastes and proclivities, I rather fancied myself propping up zinc bars, sipping pastis and listening to the musical chink-clank of petanque.

However, the experience of the EU is changing his mind:

But times and opinions change: the continent’s sixty year double-thinking reverie has turned the European dream into something of a nightmare … And you know, perhaps they – and we – should give up trying; an end to the European Union in its current banjaxed form might allow all of us to experience a new dawn,

Will Self’s despair at the difficulties encountered by the European Union is comprehensible, but Niall Ferguson’s explanation of the reasons why Europe needs to unite remains important enough for the project to be worth preserving with.  The world turns, but not that much.

2 thoughts on “How the world turns”

  1. Simon Blanchard

    I have to agree with Will Self above. I have often been to Europe and enjoyed the bars, the resorts, skiing and the divercity of its peoples, distict and different in nature,and language but this european idea to Homogenizing its people into some blend of new european, will not work without proper democratic representation and the usual executive controls and accountability. It definity does not sit well if members of the Commission are above the law and cannot be prosecuted and peoples who create laws and regulations are not elected, and cannot be removed from office and do not represent the peoples who they effect.
    The setup of the EU is not a true federal model and is seen as having a democratic deficit. Federal government should like the United States be 100% elected, where the European government handles just the periferal subjects that are not domestic. A hands off approach, but simple minimal standards, not the full on control, regulation, cataloguing of every minutaie of life.
    A well known federalist said “government of the people, by the people, for the people”
    and the EU is not it.

  2. John Harmer

    Reply to Simon Blanchard
    I do not know when you were last in Europe but you are too late. I have spent four nmonths touring European countries and return five days ago.
    The message is :
    Countries have ceased to exist- there are no borders whatsoever. (The internet is making the nation state irrelevant)
    There is in effect one currency.
    Prices and products are getting to be there same in every country.
    There is little or no sign of British goods and services
    By comparison with France, Germany and Italy the UK is shabby and dilapidated. Many of the other countries make Britain seem shabby also

    THis is my opinion. My interpretation is that Brian has no material allies (other than on random subjects ) either within or with our the EU.

    I have got most of my wealth out of the UK. I advise you to do the same.

    The action so fthe British are too dangerous to contemplate

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