On the cost of Brexit: Merkel’s €100 Billion ransom. Political Observer comments

I’m currently reading Jean Monnet: The First Statesman of Interdependence by Francois Duchene. I’ve reached page eighty in which Monnet complains, that in his estimation, his allies in the War effort lack a ‘federalist vision’. The larger vision of a kind of federalism is the overarching theme of the Duchene hagiography: a backward historical estimation.  Now the vexing question that arises in my mind, given the current Brexit negotiations, was Monnet’s vision of ‘federalism’ based upon the underpinnings of a democratic practice that was posited as the sine qua non of that ‘federalism’? Or was his ‘vision’ about the power of the melding of the various technocracies and their ‘expertise’ of various countries of Europe, to form a cartel whose business was to sell coal and steel to the highest bidder? Duchene presents this as the beginning point of Monnet’s larger vision of the European Union.

To return to the political present: should the reader look to the way the EU treated the Greeks in 2014, as definitive, as to how the EU will treat Britain in the present? Is the  demand of 100 billion Euros, a startling reminder of the EU as the sovereign territory of Mrs Merkel. See Ms. Tett’s ‘A Debt to History’ in these pages to be reminded that Germany defaulted four times in the 20th Century, that renders the position of Merkel into the territory of hubris,again. The authoritarian strategy: make the cost of Brexit so onerous as to discourage any other country from even the consideration of such an action.

The tête-à-tête between Janan Ganesh and Lionel Barber offers Mr. Ganesh at his most subdued, as he offers the most banal though important considerations on Brexit. The viewer misses his Poisonous Dandy shtick, although that is best left to the considerations of producing pungent literary essays as political commentary. On Mr. Barber status as ‘objective observer’ of Brexit see this revelatory report in The Guardian:

The editor of the Financial Times has been offered France’s highest honour in recognition of his career in journalism and the paper’s “positive role in the European debate”.

However, Lionel Barber appears to be aware of the sensitivity of such an award following the UK’s Brexit vote, and deleted a tweet he posted featuring a photo of a letter from the French ambassador saying he has been appointed as a Chevalier in the Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur.

The letter to Barber, which it seems he intended to send as a private direct message to someone referred to as “LW”, outlined the criteria for the award.

“France wants to recognise your remarkable career, your contribution to high-quality journalism, and the Financial Times’ positive role in the European debate,” the letter read.

Barber told “LW” he was sharing the award letter “confidentially because not good publicity in the UK right now!”


Political Observer





About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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