hat can one make of this speech of President Macron’s in Athens, on the 7th September? Clearing the bar of abject banality by no more than a whisker, it threatens to set a criterion for the next five years. One thing at least is clear: Macron is perfectly happy to make enemies of presidents Juncker and Tajani, of the European Commission and Parliament respectively, by threatening their prestige. And what should Mutti think? Had the speech been given on the floor of the Bundestag instead of al fresco in Athens, its Teutonic length would have been called into question even by the Empress of Europe.
Macron and Merkel appear to suffer from different strains of utopian delusion. Although at opposite ends of their political careers, both have had apotheosis cast upon them. We are in for a bruising time, then, as matriarch and upstart negotiate the paths of their respective, improbable, and dissonant agendas. Macron is for the siphoning of power from the member-nations into the super-nation, that is, from Berlin to Brussels. No can do. His proposals, as outlined in the speech, sound academic and corny at best: not the best marks of statesmanship.
The speech from the Pnyx is best taken, if taken at all, at a gallop. It is turgid and repetitive, rambling and at times incoherent, although by no means devoid of content. It has been translated by The Europeans from LREM’s transcript, with a clenched-teeth determination that far exceeds the call of duty. Why? Because a ‘Macron baseline’ would be useful, if only to judge the development of his rhetoric over the next five years. Continue reading “Macron in Athens”
mmanuel Macron, French presidential candidate for the movement En Marche!, former investment banker and Minister for the Economy, professing to be neither of the Left nor the Right, has picked up the stale scent of François Hollande’s winning metaphysical prejudice that France is an ‘idea’, and does not constitute an ‘identity’. Continue reading “Candidate Macron”
Returning to the economist Thomas Piketty’s blog entry for 30th June, 2016, in Le Monde, he begins thus:
❝ Let’s be honest: until dawn on 24 June 2016 nobody really believed that the British were going to vote for Brexit. Now that the disaster has struck, it is tempting to feel discouraged and to abandon any dream of a democratic and progressive re-foundation of Europe. However, we must persevere and live in hope, for we have no other choice: the rise of national self-seeking and xenophobia in Europe leads straight to disaster.❞ [The Europeans’ italics]. Continue reading “Thomas Piketty, Optimist”
Roger Scruton’s little book of lucid prose, How To Be A Conservative, is his first work to have been translated into French. Extracts from De l’urgence d’être conservateur were recently published in Le Figaro under the introduction, Our heritage is also the property of those who have not yet been born. “Although Roger Scruton is a prominent figure in the intellectual life of Britain, he is little known in France. None of his books had been translated into French until Les Éditions de l’Artilleur repaired the omission. Rich, nourishing, stimulating, like the most captivating of conversations, this essay offers a rare pleasure: to explore the sharpness and depth of an intellectual position.” Continue reading “How To Be A Conservative”
The fate of Europe is now fully engaged, as on so many occasions throughout its thirty or so centuries of prodigious cultural and economic development. Driven to a moral fervour in September 2015 by President Erdoğan’s migratory ‘push’ and Angela Merkel’s complementary ‘pull’, the neoliberals of Germany and Sweden briefly demonstrated their enormous capacity for humanitarian concern. The over-confidence necessary to carry off the first few weeks of mayhem seemed to be induced spontaneously by the enormity of the challenge itself: it could hardly have existed beforehand. Neoliberals have always insisted on diversity they can see; but this was on an altogether new and overwhelming scale. Continue reading “The Other Inconvenient Truth”
Human Rights legalism already meets all the criteria of a religion, and the institutions of global capitalism are well on their way to meeting all the criteria of the superstate that the European Union sought unsuccessfully to become. Further, the Church of Human Rights, with its clergy of lawyers and its vast supporting laity both inside and outside national governments, is the established church and jesuitical instrument of the emerging global superstate. Continue reading “Bosnia-on-Rhine”
One day, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage will be as famous as Luther and Schwartzerdt. Their many theses on the corruption of European democracy, which had become a veritable hierarchy of representations piled up on each other all the way from the electors to Brussels and beyond, found an echo in the generally despised English working class. Representative democracy in Western Europe is doomed to perpetuate the rule of the Centre, effectively of the one-party state. Only referenda on issues of the first magnitude can install structural change, as with the Johnson-Farage Protestant Reformation, colloquially known as Brexit.
Continue reading “Boris & Nigel’s Protestant Reformation”
Götterdämmerung : Brexit, Blair, and the Hungarian referendum
There were parts of Tony Blair’s public response to the Chilcot report that seemed to put the modern observer in visceral contact with the mediæval sense of the damned soul. There was no joy in this for anyone, only vindication. Watching, sickened, Don Antonio’s descent into what must surely now be his personal, inescapable hell, one should remember — as pointed out by Brendan O’Neill in Spiked — that Blair takes with him in spirit the sycophants and lazy thinkers everywhere who in 2003 let him fall in with Bush’s fraudulent, catastrophic, and — like Hitler’s — personal war, on Iraq. Continue reading “The Turning Of The Tide”
“Elections change nothing”, says Herr Schäuble. In the context in which the German finance minister’s candid assessment was given, he was of course correct. The general election in Greece, which was called by Syriza during the height of the financial crisis, did in fact change nothing. Athens was always going to be blackmailed by the EU, and blackmailed indeed it was. Continue reading “Direct and Representative”
The rule of the amnesiac generation
The actuality preceded the announcement by several decades. With all the groping uncertainty of the amnesiac, Angela Merkel officially inaugurated post-cultural Europe in September 2015. She had amnesiac European youth on her side, and was buoyed by it. Continue reading “Post-Cultural Europe”