Daniel Plainview wrote:
Fooled by randomness wrote:
The key point Farage makes in the European parliament is "stop digging when you are in a hole". Until European leaders hear that message, whether they hear it from him or from the markets, I'm on his side.
That's his key point? What does it even mean?
The "hole" can't be debt or deficit - on a Euro Zone level neither debt nor deficit levels are extended whatsoever. The Euro Zone is undergoing a crisis of confidence, and it is pragmatism that will solve it; idealism has hamstrung the potential solutions, the last thing we need is even more idealistic nonsense.
I think Daniel and Mossy went off down a different tack than where I was going with this comment; so to clarify:
What Farage relentlessly points out is (i) the European institutional response to the crisis isnt working and (ii) the various EU leaders do not really have a democratic mandate to do the things they are trying to do, and they are not being honest about going and getting one. This bit he shares with Ganley and many other critics of the EU and the leaders of large Eurozone countries and he's spot on.
Farage of course, goes on to indulge himself in all kinds of other stuff as roc points out. He also has a style of speaking and accent designed to irritate a lot of Irish people. But frankly, thats irrelevant. He's not going to be in power anywhere anytime soon, thanks to the UK electoral system and his own internal inconsistencies.
As to what "the hole" is, well its two things really. One is that the debt and the deficits ARE unsustainable. Daniel P's comment that the debt and the deficits are not a problem would only be correct if the EU had an institutional structure like the US. In reality, the tax-raising power which is the core of sovereignty is vested in individual sovereign states and many of those states are hopelessly indebted and so are their private citizens. What DP says is like saying a six foot person can cross a river that is only five feet deep on average, and then you discover that its ten feet deep in the middle; you simply drown. Until we have a single tax raising authority across the Eurozone, the debt and the deficits matter.
The second and related problem, is the inadequate constitutional and institutional framework in Europe and the poor calibre of the incumbent leaders. Its not just the Euro which was jerry-built. The EU budget has never had a clean audit and the Commission itself is out of its depth. Remember those Irish MEPs who turn up to collect their Friday allowances before getting the lunch time flights to ski resorts ? Fancy turning to them for leadership ?
This is why Barroso saying something as dumb as "we can solve this within the treaties" matters. It underlines two things - firstly how out of touch the EU Commission are and secondly how arrogant they are not wanting to go back to national parliaments (never mind the Europeans they seek to rule) to get authority and support for far reaching change. They have an instinctive bias for the crappy temporary fudged solution over a real solution and a serious aversion to trusting any democratic process. It follows a long line of ludicrous statements by Commissioners in this crisis and it demonstrates that solutions are unlikely to come from Brussels. Its not surprising that he was contradicted by the Bundesbank within 24 hours.
Ditto Hollande - he is going to have a rude awakening on the tax and spending front and he had better have it soon or France will be in no shape to play any useful role. Ask yourself, are Farage's UK positions any nuttier than Hollande telling the French austerity will just go away ?
To come back to DP's point, I think idealism is going to be needed before long. Someone is going to have to persuade Europeans to create new institutions and fudged solutions wont work. The kitty is bare and it will be tough to bribe the electorate. Idealism is going to be all they have.