11/7/11, "The Euro elite are totally out of touch with the modern world," UK Telegraph, Matthew D'Ancona
"One of the many errors the Founding Fathers of the euro made was to underestimate the resilience of the nation state. Yes, we live in a world in which technology, money and people flow across borders with greater ease than ever before. Globalisation makes the planet dramatically interdependent: Philip Bobbitt, the constitutional historian, has written brilliantly of the emergence of what he calls the “market state”. Even so, the nation has retained much of its cohesion, its significance and its grip on popular loyalty. One of the reasons that international elites hate Israel so much is that it is the clearest and most passionate example of this durability.
In the case of the euro, nation states have, predictably, followed fiscal strategies that suit them, rather than the rules and pacts that support the currency. That’s what nations do – which is why the euro will need some kind of formal fiscal union if it is to survive, an even bigger pooling of sovereignty than the abolition of 17 national currencies (most recently, in January, the Estonian kroon).As nation states have survived more than five decades of euro-bombast, so supra-national politicians are finding themselves increasingly at odds with what might be called “referendal” politics. Direct democracy, plebiscites, e-petitions, the “Occupy” protests around the world, even the culture of phone voting in television shows: it is here that the impetus and the energy lie, uncoordinated and multidirectional though the phenomenon may be. The entire Cannes summit was nearly thrown off course by the wild-card threat of a referendum in Greece on the latest rescue plan. The psychology of the EU – a postwar elite bureaucracy – is entirely out of kilter with this very modern surge of popular protest: technology-driven, non-hierarchical, anti-elitist. It is like
- trying to connect an old ribbon typewriter to an iPad.
This crisis is about much more than the fate of a 12-year-old currency. It is a test of what politicians are for, what they can achieve when pitted against market caprice and fiscal incontinence. John Major used to say that this country belonged “at the heart of Europe”. Now, David Cameron is among the ring of medics yelling “Clear!”, as defibrillation is administered to the very same failing organ. Turns out that the heart of Europe was dicky all along. And for that cardiac frailty, the global body politic may yet pay a deep and terrible price."