Ed Driscoll

"You Can't Do Trickle-Down Nation Building"

I don’t know how Mark Steyn does it: he just constantly cranks out fantastically written topical columns. Here’s his latest for England’s Telegraph on France’s EU vote:

On balance, Jean-Claude Juncker, the “president” of “Europe”, seems closer to the mark in his now famous dismissal of the will of the people: “If it’s a Yes, we will say ‘on we go’, and if it’s a No we will say ‘we continue’.”

And if it’s a Neither of the Above, he will say “we move forward”. You get the idea. Confronted by the voice of the people, “President” Juncker covers his ears and says: “Nya, nya, nya, can’t hear you!” There are several lessons worth learning from the French vote. The first is that the Junckers are a big part of the problem.

Steyn’s just getting started though. His conclusion is marvelous:

Europe’s “consensus” politics has ruled more and more topics unfit for discussion, leaving voters with a choice between Eurodee and Eurodum, a left-of-right-of-left-of-centre party and a right-of-left-of-right-of-left-of-centre party. None of these plodding technocratic parties seems eager to talk about any of the faintly unrespectable subjects on the minds of voters – Muslim immigration, increasing crime, Turkey, EU labour mobility. So voters, naturally, are turning elsewhere, and in five years’ time the entire Continent could end up with the same flight from the centre as we’ve seen in Ulster.

As to whether Turkey is European, evidently it was a century and a half ago when Tsar Nicholas I described it as “the sick man of Europe”. Today the sick man of Europe is the European, the gilded princeling like Chirac or Juncker, gliding from one Eutopian planning session to the next, oblivious to the dreary parochial concerns of the people. In The Sunday Telegraph, Douglas Hurd, typically, missed the point in his analysis of the French vote, arguing that Europe needed “new leaders”. Our colleagues headlined it, “Two men and a woman who can save Europe”. No, no, no. Europe doesn’t have a lack of leaders, it has a lack of followers.

I mentioned to a theatre chum the other day that the EU reminded me of Garth Drabinsky’s Livent company. They were the big theatre producers in the Nineties: they revived Show Boat and produced Kiss of the Spider Woman and Ragtime and Sweet Smell of Success in Toronto and on Broadway and brought most of them to the West End. And they were all critically admired, yet didn’t seem to make any money. But Livent took the view that somehow if you produced a big enough range of flops they would add up to one smash hit.

They’re gone now. But their spirit lives on in the EU, critically admired (at least by the Guardian and Le Monde) but not making any money, and clinging to the theory that if you merge enough weak economies they add up to one global superpower. The big story of the past three decades is that the more it’s mired itself in the creation of a centralised pseudo-state, the more “Europe” has fallen behind America in every important long-term indicator, from economic growth to demographics. “Europe” is an indulgence the real Europe can’t afford. The followers recognise that, even if the leaders don’t.

I was just about to wrap up blogging on the EU vote–but the writing here was too good not to link to.