(Sung by Mel Brooks – as Hitler impersonator – in the 1983 film, “To Be Or Not To Be”)
If “Nagging is the repetition of unpalatable truths” (Edith Summerskill) then once again we will remind Remainers that the European Union has failed in its original goals.
The idealists who conceived and designed the EU wanted lasting peace between the major powers. They believed that political integration plus economic growth would achieve this – it hasn’t. They have imposed political integration but it hasn’t led to economic growth and they have no evidence to support their claim that it has led to lasting peace.
Firstly, it wasn’t necessary because the major European powers had exhausted themselves, soon losing their global empires and handing world leadership to others who, in their turn, faced each other across the now divided continent. The EEC, as the EU began, was on one side of that divide, sheltering under a mainly-American nuclear deterrent, joined later by countries east of the divide only after one of the confronting empires collapsed. Any part the Union played in all this was minor compared with world events.
On the other hand the EEC/EU may have helped coalesce Western Europe, with NATO, as a bulwark against the Soviet empire and that certainly was the hope and the plan of American post-war policy. The European Movement – founded in 1948 and now called the European Movement International (EMI) – was half-funded by the CIA  from funds allocated to the American Committee for a United Europe . Today extremist politics have re-emerged largely due to gross policy mistakes made by the idealists’ successors in their now-ideological pursuit of the original conception of Union. The USA, especially under Trump, has lost patience with its foundling which won’t pay for its own defence, protects itself from US competition and levies enormous fines against successful American companies.
Secondly, the early economic growth is more credibly explained as an inevitable rebound from post-war Continental devastation. A less devastated Britain missed the bounce-back and lost its way while it lost its empire, so it joined the growth-creating illusion of European union just as that was losing its momentum , .
The EU’s leadership seems incapable of recognising, and therefore managing, any transition to a model that looks to the present rather than the past. They are literally fiddling with the facts and the Treaties while Rome burns with rage. No bailouts? Oh! OK then, but this is going to hurt. No borders? Maybe they should have waited to fix the external walls before removing the partitions.
The imposition of harmony is never going to lead to harmony though it may lead to temporary acquiescence when other factors are going well. If things aren’t going so well scapegoats will be found. Things aren’t going so well in the eurozone at present. The fundamental flaw was to base the whole plan for a peaceful future on what it believed had gone before without allowing for a changing environment. By isolating its institutions from popular opinion the EU has created a spur to populism that may result in collapse rather than peaceful transition.
The EU has obvious and serious faults, so blindingly obvious that many don’t seem to notice them. It faces a possible break up because of a potential eurozone breakdown.  Its calm political waters are being stirred by left- and right-wing extremes . Its borders are challenged. The obvious answer is not ‘More Europe’ but ‘Less Europe’, more of the same will make the problems worse, despite Macron’s beliefs.
The EU wants the UK to fail when it leaves and is keen to help us along with that while some in the UK seem to want to help them, help us to fail. This is because we might demonstrate a better way that others could follow and because they don’t like competition. Instead the EU should demonstrate confidence that it has chosen the right path and be willing to learn from the successes of others. Europe needs a looser structure, more responsive to the differing needs and demands of its different nations. Instead of herding everybody into one pen let them design or choose the one they prefer. The results may not be perfect, some may fail, but this is how we all learn, by trial and error rather than blind adherence to theory or ideology.
A form of European union might be a good thing but not this European Union, that should be blindingly obvious to everyone. This ‘fact’ seems to have escaped the notice of many in the UK (and elsewhere), especially in the ‘deep state’ – those fairly permanently in government, unreached by popular democracy and unaffected by changing administrations. We can see it in Whitehall, ‘the people were wrong but we can prevent their ignorant choice from changing what we know works’.
Yet hardly any of the doom forecasts have happened “already” (other than sterling depreciation, which has had its upsides to balance the negatives). The models and assumptions on which those forecasts were based are still being used to forecast doom. In science when a theory fails they seek a better one, in economics they often prefer moving the goalposts.
Too many ‘experts’, drowning in details, see the risks in everything but not the opportunities; for example, new markets, access to new talent from across the globe, the opportunity to improve on lowest common denominator Commission policy. The EU faces its own massive problems, economic, social and political; what are the risks of staying when it is forced to address these and to change itself? Remaining is not a status quo option.
 Collapse: Europe After the European Union –1 (and Part 2)