Arnold Kling  

A Sentence that I Doubt

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from Timothy Garton Ash:


The passive consensus in favor of Europe is bigger than it appears in Great Britain.

If I were to draw this as a cartoon, he would be the pet shop owner in the famous Monty Python sketch. "British support for Eurocracy isn't dead. It's just restin'."

Pointer from Tyler Cowen. He also points to Wolfgang Munchau, who thinks that the parrot will be deceased within ten days, unless some remarkable things happen quickly, including


a fiscal union. This would involve a partial loss of national sovereignty, and the creation of a credible institutional framework to deal with fiscal policy, and hopefully wider economic policy issues as well. The eurozone needs a treasury, properly staffed, not ad hoc co-ordination by the European Council over coffee and desert.

At this point, it may be that Europe and its banks are in for a hard landing no matter what. In that case, emergency measures that stifle popular democracy would not seem to be the best way to preserve political stability. The way I look at it, in order to rule you need some combination of an intimidating aura, personal charisma, and popular legitimacy. The eurocrats don't seem to have any of those. In that context, I am inclined to bet that one year from now national sovereignty will be stronger, not weaker, than it is today.



COMMENTS (2 to date)
Eelco Hoogendoorn writes:
I am inclined to bet that one year from now national sovereignty will be stronger, not weaker, than it is today.

One may hope. Personally, I am affraid this is will be to the united states of europe what the civil war was to the unites states of america; the end of federalism.

Tim Worstall writes:

"The passive consensus in favor of Europe is bigger than it appears in Great Britain."

Garton-Ash is confusing (as so many do) passive acceptance of the status quo with an opinion about Europe.

We're in the EU, most don't think it all that important one way or the other, certainly not against all the other things in life that can be considered.

However, when you ask people to focus upon the subject of Europe, make a decision about it, then the majority are against it as it is: and a minority advocate further integration and a majority partial or full withdrawal.

We see this in the elections. Local council or Westminster elections my own party (UKIP, advocating complete withdrawal)gets some pittance of the vote. 2%-6 or 7% in the polls right now.

In the euro-elections (for the European Parliament), when people are actually thinking or voting about Europe, our vote soars. We came second last time: behind the Conservatives and ahead of Labour and the Lib Dems.

As I say, Garton Ash is confusing rough acceptance of the status quo with an opinion on Europe.

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