Thursday 27 October 2011


Imagine Yugoslavia as an example. A federation of republics bound together largely by autocracy - dictators tend to get their way - and then by a rotating presidency; that last bit sounds familiar, I’ll bet they even had a single currency. Then they had civil war.

War - what is it good for, apart from (as Harry Hill reminded us on the weekend) ITV drama serials? German chancellor Angela Merkel raised the danger in a speech to the Bundestag yesterday, strong arming them into approving measures to improve the Euro bailout fund. “Nobody”, she pointed out “should take for granted another 50 years of peace and prosperity in Europe”; which sounded remarkably similar to my father’s response to a query on the purpose of the EEC. My Dad - and I’ll grant, the chancellor - have a point. 25 years ago I had to concede there were advantages to a common market; bringing nations closer together in a way that is to the benefit of all, reduces the chance of conflict.

Merkel however would go further. “If the Euro fails, Europe fails” she tells us. And because she had the courage to raise the bloody history of our continent, no-one has the nerve to question whether the medicine will avoid a repeat, or achieve the opposite - well, she started it! There must be far gentler ways to bring the people of Europe together - and I’d question whether it requires government. It’s usually governments that cause these things in the first place.


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