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.)
- Is The West's Loss Of Faith Terminal?
- Is There Such A Thing As A Religious Vote In The UK?
- The Pope, The Jew, And The Vision Of Blue Labour
- How Scotland Lost Its Mind
- The Bitter Battle For The Soul Of Bradford West
- Workers Of The Right, Unite!
- The President Blinked — The Ayatollah Didn't
- Learn It By Heart For The Sake Of Civilisation
- Discover Aeschylus With Virginia Woolf
- Mr Cameron, Show The Country That You Care
- Campaign Diary
- Defying Duopoly: The Rise Of The Insurgents
- Don't Rig The System In Favour Of Coalitions
- Warring Gangsters Who Run The Country
- Political Correctness Is Devouring Itself
- An Archival Treasure Trove—And All Online
- Do we value freedom of speech in Britain?
- Can Europe's Jews Feel Safe Alongside Muslims?
- We Cannot Avoid The Battle Over Blasphemy
- Inside The World Of 'Non-Violent' Islamism