Six of the 17 nations in the eurozone are going bust
THE eurozone. What's next? Here's my best guess. A coalition government has been formed in Greece, committed to reducing the austerity terms of their bailout. Mrs Merkel, the German Chancellor, has responded to the effect that 'you've had the money, now stick to the agreement'.
But what about the Spanish? the Greeks ask. They've had a bailout without having to allow EU (German) oversight of their economic governance or accept punishing cut backs. Why can't we have that deal? As yet, a stony silence from the iron-jawed Chancellor.
But the same question is now being asked by the Irish and the Portuguese, both recent recipients of severe, EU-imposed austerity packages. And it's odds-on the Cypriots will also request similar austerity light terms when they seek a bailout in July? Berlin remains tight-lipped.
Meanwhile Italy, already being governed by an EU puppet government totters, Oliver Twist-like, towards the cash desk, begging bowl in hand. Bunga bunga indeed. Put simply, six of the 17 nations in the eurozone are going bust, shortly to be joined by France and Holland.
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Have you ever stopped to wonder why a collection of countries, including some of the richest in the world, have arrived at this Monty Python moment of apparent impotence where nothing can be done to check increasing unemployment or stop businesses closing wholesale or feed people left without food or shelter, who as a result are taking to the streets in increasing numbers. Welcome to life in the European Union.
Solutions to the present mess hardly ever include a return to national currencies and then only to stress that such a move would be catastrophic. What catastrophic means is never explained.
Politicians, pundits and the mainstream media bombard us with firewalls, bail-outs, eurobonds and an increasing use of acronyms (EFSF, ESM etc) all seemingly designed to confuse and weary us. In both respects they succeed and there's the danger. If we don't truly know what is happening how can we support or oppose it? The Single Currency in its present form is destructive. To function efficiently requires a fully harmonised, federal state of Europe with a central (German?) control over all aspects of governance. Is that what you want? More importantly, is that what some British politicians want?
On the plus side, there is a real head of steam building up in Britain in favour of a referendum on EU membership. Sniffing the wind, politicians also are beginning to mention a variety of referendum questions that could be asked, none of which unsurprisingly include the simple in/out question.
British politicians are reluctantly being forced to dip their toes in the democratic pond. Before the economic tsunami across the Channel envelops Britain, they should abandon obfuscation and trust the people with the truth.
These are dangerous times. Anything could happen.
Trevor Colman is UKIP MEP for the South West, which covers Bristol