Some moments in history pass unnoticed by the world at the time. The birth of Shakespeare, for example, or Mozart’s last performance would only gain significance after the passing of many years. Others are immediately recognisable, they have a ‘where were you when -?’ effect. The jury is out on the Cyprus savings grab affair. Will it be remembered as the moment of no return for the euro? The action that finally sealed the fate of the failed currency? For fail it will, of that there can be no doubt.
I suspect it is the beginning of the end, for one reason: this is the moment in which Europe’s leaders overplayed their hand, and so doing so betrayed their criminal desperation.
Those of us who have been decrying the euro (not just the euro; the whole Gordon Brown Saves The World propping up of a morally and financially bankrupt status quo), have been left in bemused shock by the events in Cyprus over the last week. Whilst governments have been helping themselves to their citizen’s money for years through taxes, levies, and the insidious degrading of savings through inflation, no-one ever thought that they would give the game away in quite such an obvious manner. It’s certainly not in their interests to do so, as the whole set-up rests upon the illusion that governments are acting in our interests.
Indeed, one of the most baffling things about this whole affair is that it didn’t precipitate an immediate run on the banks of Southern Europe and beyond. Once the eurocrats have dipped into people’s accounts in Cyprus to balance the books, what is stopping them from doing the same elsewhere? Nigel Farage, speaking at UKIPs spring conference this weekend, urged British expats to withdraw their funds immediately from local banks as it is almost inconceivable that the action won’t be repeated across Southern Europe. With growth eluding the southern states thanks to being tied into an economy-crippling currency, severe austerity and savings raids are the only options left to the european elite.
Once the eurocrats have dipped into people’s accounts in Cyprus to balance the books, what is stopping them from doing the same elsewhere?
But it will all be in vain because the people won’t stand for it in the long run. When countries descend into anarchy, revolution is the inevitable outcome.
Which leaves the question of how Britain will react. I recently spoke to Daniel Hannan MEP who, like most Conservatives, seems in despair at the rise of UKIP and the splitting of the conservative vote. (I think that analysis is a misreading of the electorate and a misunderstanding of UKIP’s appeal, but that’s another topic.) He thinks that if the Conservatives lose the next election, we’ll have lost our best chance at a referendum for a generation. I’m not so sure. The British public are already increasingly eurosceptic, and already have some appetite for a referendum. If Europe descends into violence and misrule, my suspicion is that the British will want to distance themselves from the situation as quickly as possible. And the best way to do that would be to agitate to exit the European Union.
It’s not beyond the realms of possibility, therefore, that the Cyprus savings grab will be seen in time not only to have precipitated the end of the euro, but in doing so, to have laid the path to Britain leaving the European Union entirely.
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