Thursday 6 February 2020

EU overthrowing democratically elected governments

Lord (Nigel) Lawson in a letter to the Times last year said:
The principal author of Article 50 was John Kerr, aka Lord Kerr of Kinlochard. I have known John for quite a long time, and enjoyed his company: when I became chancellor in 1983 he was my principal private secretary. He explained to me some time ago, before the referendum, that the purpose of Article 50 was to make it as difficult as possible for a country to leave the European Union. A clever man, he did a good job.

I did not know, until I read it in the Spectator this week, that Lord Kerr doesn’t believe any other country will be so ‘stupid’ in the future as to use Article 50, which was only drawn up to allow the EU to get rid of a country which had become a dictatorship – as many feared Austria would do thanks to Jorg Haider.

I had forgotten that story, 
the most shamefully antidemocratic moment in the EU's history.

Jorg Haider's Freedom Party stands in the long national-liberal tradition in Hapsburg politics and is the descendant of the men of 1848, not of the interwar dictators Schuschnigg or Dollfuss, who were the forefathers of today's Christian Democrats, and 
not of that famous Austrian Hitler. As members of the Slovak version of the Freedom Party told me in Bratislava in 1990, the Freedom Party were Thatcherites, though now they would better be described as Thatcherite populists. 

In 2000, after the Freedom Party unexpectedly came second in the Austrian 1999 parliamentary elections, it entered government, as the larger of the two parties, in a conservative coalition with 
the People's Party (ÖVP). Normally, Haider should have become chancellor but he did not take office at all, because of fear of strong EU disapproval and the ÖVP leader Wolfgang Schüssel did instead.

The other EU governments refused to meet officials of the Austrian government in protest.

This was, I am pleased to say, completely counterproductive and in September 2000 the EU dropped its embargo. Since then the EU has got rid of governments it didn't approve of in Greece and Italy but has failed to get rid of the governments of Poland and Hungary. Boris Johnson has also withstood the EU, so far.

I read recently that the EU cannot throw its weight around in international affairs, like Erdogan, Putin and Trump do, because the EU is a 'peace project'. In fact it is because it has no real foreign policy because its members do not have common interests except of a vapid, deracinated type. Being a peace project sounds attractive but it is not as attractive as it sounds. It is part of being an intolerant, anti-democratic, anti-nationalist, liberal project with little or no room for genuine conservatives or real socialists. 

I quote the distinguished historian (and in his retirement a first-rate journalist) Professor Robert Tombs of Cambridge University.

'If Europe needs a security guarantee for some of its borders, it comes from NATO, of which Britain remains the leading European member. But the real guarantee of European peace is that its states are democracies. Democracies do not go to war with each other. The only threat to European peace is whatever threatens its democratic stability, which I fear today includes the EU itself.'

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