On the pragmatism of Timothy Garton Ash: ‘We should work at preserving what we have, rather than dreaming up new projects’. Committed Observer’s considerations on the question

Headline: The case for European conservatism above grand designs

Sub-headline: We should work at preserving what we have, rather than dreaming up new projects

Would that Mr. Garton Ash had followed his request for silence on the part of EU partisans. Mr. Garton Ash offers this evaluation of the Macron and his Jupertarian Politics, or just call it rule by decree.  Neo-Liberal Reform of France in the throws of a benighted ‘Socialism’ will only be accomplished by a leader elected with 37% of the eligible voters either abstaining or rendering their ballots null.

In his book-length personal manifesto, tellingly entitled Révolution, French president Emmanuel Macron envisages a great round of democratic consultations across the EU throughout next year, culminating in a single “Plan For Europe”.

Next for the reader to consider is the notion of ‘poly-crisis’ as the what ales the EU:

Politicians and authors are right to diagnose a deep “poly-crisis” of the European project. But when you look at their reform proposals, you find that these envisage piecemeal responses to the problems of the eurozone, the Schengen area, the democratic deficit, social protection, and so on. Once these competing proposals have been through the sausage factory of EU decision-making, the resulting actions will be even more complex and pragmatic.

Mr. Garton Ash fails to consider the wisdom of one of Europe’s most eminent historians:

J.G.A. Pocock

Profoundly anti-democratic and anti-constitutional, the EU obliges you to leave by the only act it recognises: the referendum, which can be ignored as a snap decision you didn’t really mean. If you are to go ahead, it must be by your own constitutional machinery: crown, parliament and people; election, debate and statute. This will take time and deliberation, which is the way decisions of any magnitude should be taken.

The Scots will come along, or not, deciding to live in their own history, which is not what the global market wants us to do. Avoid further referendums and act for yourselves as you know how to act and be.


The ‘poly-crisis’ of the EU is that it is not an actual  Federation, but a Cartel with the window dressing of free democratic association. In sum, Neo-Liberalism before the fact: the brainchild of Technocrat Supreme Jean Monnet as the in-order-to of selling coal and steel. And as a capitalist bulwark against the Soviet Union. Russian revanchism simply replaces the Soviet menace, in the political present.

Even the mention of Edmund Burke revisiting his native Dublin in the present, and calling the EU ’eminently Burkean union’ identifies- recall that the free spending Burke, received a 30 thousand pound bail out from the Crown, and then voted against the Poor Law.

Many Europeans already have a somewhat conservative attitude to this eminently Burkean union. They want to defend it against the current wave of populist nationalist attacks. They want to look after the family home, mend the eurozone plumbing and erect a better Schengen garden fence, but they don’t want to redesign the whole house. And in these dark times, simply to maintain what has been built since 1945 would already be a great achievement.

Need the reader wonder at Mr. Garton Ash’s declaration of faith in the EU, while ignoring the nearly non-existent foundation for ‘the whole house’ ,courtesy of Jean Monnet and his successors? The ‘what we have’ : a cartel that is not about Federalism nor Democracy , it is about the sale of products, at the highest price: whatever the traffic will bear! Not to forget the dread Populist Menace, that is the bête noire of the respectable bourgeois political apologist, for the abject failure of The Elites. Who placed their wager on the Neo-Liberal swindle and its successor Austerity, that has been catastrophic.   

Not to forget the EU and NATO’s murderous political adventurism in Ukraine, and the troops and weapons dispatched to Poland’s border with Russia. The New Cold War is the product of the collaboration between America and the EU, and the Hoover Institution is one of the many Think Tank advocates, that churn out usable, but not very sophisticated propaganda.

Committed 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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