In the eurozone, there is no “we” capable of exercising control. The absence of a “demos”, of a legitimate political community able to act collectively, explains why the richest, most educated region on the planet is paralysed – to the undisguised amazement of the rest of the world. The walls of the prison in which the eurozone has incarcerated southern Europe and Ireland have been described often enough. National governments can no longer tell central banks to print money to pay off debt. They have no control over interest rates or exchange rates. Their currencies are as fixed as if they were in the gold standard and set at a permanent competitive disadvantage against Germany. Decisions are taken by the IMF, Brussels and Germany rather than sovereign electorates. As we know, power has passed beyond national control.
The European elite’s bovine response can still generate incredulity, however. “I can say the medicine is beginning to work,” announced José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president, last month, as youth unemployment in Spain passed 50% and the Greek and Spanish banking systems careered towards a crash.
I knew he was moving right but when do we need to get out the purple bunting?