The refugee crisis, blowback from colonial era and ongoing military interventions, has brought out the worst in a swathe of countries from Britain to the borders of Russia, and the disintegration of a key pillar of the European project – the free movement of peoples.
It is a pity that the referendum doesn’t ask about the project for that is the mainstay and it faces now the gravest peril and possible extinction.
The European Union – the vehicle of the project – is in the grip of neoliberals who have embedded the one-dimensional market capitalism that led to the crash of 2007/8 and is still ravaging Europe.
This ugly fusion of racism and capitalism has provided fertile ground for a renascent fascism which has been waiting for just such a moment.
Here it finds expression in a deep-rooted Tory Conservatism, in UKIP, and in a strident right-wing press.
But casting its baleful influence over everything is the US.
How many readers have heard of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, and how many know what it is about?
This proposed deal sounds so innocuous yet every effort is being made to shut down public access and debate.
Cooked up by the US and the EU it will effectively sideline democratic government.
So you won’t find it on David Cameron’s list of ‘reforms’ that he is touting round European capitals at taxpayers’ expense.
As an example, under TTIP if a company wishes to buy into the NHS and the government refuses then it can go to a secretive court and overturn the decision.
Back in 1988, Oliver Letwin, Cameron’s chief policy adviser, wrote a book called Privatising the World.
He may be getting his wish.
With northern and eastern Europe sliding back to a 15th century of city states, principalities, turf wars and marauding brigands – the corporate raiders and the money launderers of their time – the best hope for the European project lies in the south.
Helped by favourable location and climate, emerging progressive movements and governments are gaining momentum and have a chance of throwing off the yoke of Anglo-Saxon predatory capitalism and aggressive militarism.
For the first time in decades, the opportunity beckons for us to be a part of the project by rejecting whatever fudge Cameron comes up with.
One thing is for certain.
The EU will have to change or change will be forced on it.
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