On a recent BBC Newsnight debate, Jeremy Paxman drew applause by popping up on a screen a photo of Herman Van Rompuy, the rather nondescript Belgian president of the European Council, and asking the audience whether they had voted for him and even knew who he was. Argument over: of course we’d rather not be bossed about by unelected officials whom we can’t even name.But naturally, it take a Briton to really understand that the issue is one of self-interest, having long-since shed the notion that there is such a thing called enlightened self interest. Writing in the Times of London, Bill Emmott reminds us that there are even bigger temples of dysfunction trying to exercise “global governance”, and that Europeans have been following along with all manner of nonsense with the UN, IMF, and a bunch of other alphabet soup outfits with a childish optimism about human nature.
Except for this. It was tosh. Why didn’t he also put up photos of the Secretary General of Nato, or the head of the World Trade Organisation, or the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the International Maritime Organisation, or even the head of Fifa? We didn’t vote for any of those either; they come from funny foreign countries and we don’t even know their names – except perhaps the President of FIFA.
The side effects have been the shaky legal ground this leaves them on, insofar as they really don’t actually say they’re ceding sovereignty on one matter of another when they are, and the irreversibility of it all:
The point is that a crucial part of British policy since 1945 has been that of setting up, and joining, international organisations to agree upon common rules for various activities, to foster co-operation rather than conflict, to increase collective security, or to promote freer trade. All of them involve the pooling of sovereignty in exchange for an expected benefit – rather as the FA joined Fifa to play in international tournaments and to all follow the same rules of football. We could be independent and set our own rules. But it wouldn’t get us very far.[ ... ]
Is the extra degree of sovereignty regained enough to make it worthwhile? Is the then less Common Market still common enough? Is the loss of Britons’ automatic right to live and work in Spain, Italy, Germany or elsewhere a price worth paying?No-one asked you that either, did they?
What’s the end result of all of this? Pretending to be a helpless, servile victim of these imagined external powers with a sort of universal power ascribed to them by the well promoted feeling that international institutions are of man’s way to build some sort of “heaven on earth,” with harmless, pointless lives for everyone. A case in point is a headline. Forget the content, just look at the tone, and the assumption of who’s in charge:
IMF tells eurozone to turn on printing pressesActually, you really don’t HAVE to, friend.