06 Jul

The collapse of the Fourth Reich?

Is Greece about to take her leave of the Fourth Reich?

“Fourth Reich” – what’s that when it’s out? Surely Germany is a model of modern democracy, having thrown off long ago all that Fascist nonsense and the ambition to control Europe? That’s what it looks like on the surface. But the fact is that what Bismarck failed to achieve by military means in 1870, the Kaiser by similar means in 1914 and Hitler again in 1939, Frau Merkel has accomplished by peaceful process.

Well, peaceful if peace may be defined as a bullying economic hegemony accompanied by consistent financial punishment of the southern states in the EU. EU economic policy – which really means German economic policy –has caused permanent recession in Italy, Portugal, Spain and, of course, Greece, with high unemployment and cuts in wages for those fortunate enough to be still in work. Youth unemployment in those countries is at a catastrophically high level – in Greece over 60%.

This is hardly a recipe for the peace and stability which the EU compliments itself on having established and sustained for forty years.

I have suggested here that Germany dictates events in Europe. That’s not quite true. She does it with the connivance of France. So we should really speak of the Franco-German axis – an extension of the collaboration which existed during the Second World War.

But now Greece is showing that, to quote Yeats, “the centre cannot hold.” Perhaps today we are seeing the beginning of the end of the European Project?

The EU as presently constituted never could hold as a satisfactory political arrangement. For that, there would need to be a single currency. Well, there is a single currency, isn’t there, the euro? On the face of it, yes. But a single currency is not workable when imposed upon countries with such disparate economic bases. For while Germany is a modern, industrialised technocracy producing and exporting top-of-the-range motor cars, washing machines and a thousand different sorts of gadgets and machines, the southern states are still largely agricultural: Greece, in particular, survives (or barely survives) on olive oil and tourism.

In order to preserve the illusion of the EU, two things are required: subsidies from the advanced nations of northern Europe – principally Germany – and ever fiercer demands – also issued by Germany – for permanent austerity in Italy, Portugal, Spain and Greece.

You can try this solution if you like, but you can’t keep it up. First, because the German people are fed up of paying taxes to support the inefficient southern regimes which they regard as a shambles; and secondly, as we see today in Greece, the people of the southern nations will not put up with perpetual austerity.

A Grexit is a distinct possibility – though never underestimate the lies, fixings, institutionalised skulduggery, threats and bribes with which the leaders of the corrupt bureaucracy of the EU will resort to in order to preserve the facade of political union.

And if the Greeks leave, the other southern countries might think about following them.

Personally, I should like to see Britain lead the rush for the door: better off out.