Charles Moore

Left-wing Eurosceptics are finally starting to reveal themselves

Left-wing Eurosceptics are finally starting to reveal themselves
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Even if everything goes wronger still, the Greek No vote is a great victory for the left. Until now, the left has not mounted a serious challenge to the claims of the EU. It is extraordinary how it has been cowed. The single currency, especially a single currency without a ‘social dimension’ and political union, is the classic ‘bankers’ ramp’ against which the left always used to inveigh. It is a huge collective device to put banks before workers, if necessary reducing the latter to poverty. Greece is an almost perfect example of this, with the rescue designed to save European banks, not Greek people.

More than a quarter of a century ago, however — influenced, perhaps, because Jacques Delors was on one side of the argument and Margaret Thatcher on the other — the mainstream left decided that Europeanism was an essential badge of respectability, and gave up thinking about the matter from that day to this. Its unquestioned assumption is that the EU is the only modern engine which can guarantee the combination of prosperity and expensive social programmes. In the case of Greece — and, less dramatically, Portugal, Spain and Italy — this is now blatantly untrue. Anti-‘austerity’ candidates like François Hollande in France have won from time to time, but they have never dared point out the EU authorship of the austerity, and so they have quickly buckled. Yet the eurozone has become a scene of class war, and only Syriza has been bold enough to fight it almost full on. Even if Mr Tsipras and his comrades are thrown out this week, 5 July will be one of those great moments in socialist history, celebrated in song and story, and used to inspire future generations. It might give birth to some latterday Keynes — Yanis Varoufakis, perhaps, now that he has no job — composing ‘The Economic Consequences of the Euro’. Most Euroscepticism in recent years has been dominated by the right. Rather galling that a government of the left has been the first to throw down the gauntlet.

This is an extract from Charles Moore's Notes. The full article can be found here