Nonsense cannot displace hypocrisy

It used to be said that hypocrisy made the world go round. Remaining proudly upon a high horse meant the world could not go round. Stasis, bitter and deepening, followed.

Today it must seem to some that nonsense is enough to maintain economic momentum. Certainly an unceasing flow of it characterises our days. Try this sub-heading for size:

Markets fall as uncertainty over the eurozone bail-out brings this week’s rally to a close, ahead of crucial votes by EU member states this week.

Or this remark from European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso:

We need to complete our monetary union with an economic union. It was an illusion to think that we could a common currency and single market with national approaches to economic and budgetary policy.

There also remains the unchallenged and stubbornly persisting assumptions of recovery; surely no-one needs a quotation for this one?

Finally we have a favourite of many: “loss of confidence” and “panic”.

Together these terms–apparently–provide a fig-leaf parading as an emperor’s new clothes. First, there has been no recovery since the collapse of Lehman Brothers Bank. Governments have thrown extraordinary sums of  money at a set of problems now made worse by massive increases in sovereign debt. There is, therefore, no argument claiming “uncertainty”. All that remains more or less unclear is the timing of the forthcoming and world-wide, economic depression. That the authorities of the European Union failed to act not only according to their own rules but now, as some of them once predicted, intend massive aggregation of state power. (European leaders share this mania for power with the Australian and, doubtless, other governments.) The assumption of most, if not all national leaders is that more power and ever more vacuous statements will, simply by being an act of will, dissuade panic, dissolve fear, and strengthen “confidence”. And all will be well. Trust them, implicitly.

Yet every statement is a nonsense. When did you last see the exception, unless it was, ah, not from a politician but a judge:

Germany’s top judge has issued a blunt warning that no further fiscal powers may be surrendered to Europe without a new constitution and a popular referendum, vastly complicating plans to boost the EU’s rescue machinery to €2 trillion (£1.7 trillion).

Andreas Vosskuhle, head of the constitutional court, said politicians do not have the legal authority to sign away the birthright of the German people without their explicit consent.

“The sovereignty of the German state is inviolate and anchored in perpetuity by basic law. It may not be abandoned by the legislature (even with its powers to amend the constitution),” he said.

“There is little leeway left for giving up core powers to the EU. If one wants to go beyond this limit – which might be politically legitimate and desirable – then Germany must give itself a new constitution. A referendum would be necessary. This cannot be done without the people,” he told newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine.

No judge in Australia would speak in this way. In that increasingly unhappy country parliamentary despotism has full sway. Fatuous and slimy nonsense rules the airwaves. No hypocrisy anywhere just flagrant grabs for power. If only there were hypocrisy. How much easier it would be. How does one ridicule the totalitarian temptation?


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