Massie 12 (Allan Massie is a Scottish writer who has published nearly 30 books, including a sequence of novels set in ancient Rome. His non-fiction works range from a study of Byron's travels to a celebration of Scottish rugby. He has been a political columnist for The Scotsman, The Sunday Times and The Daily Telegraph and writes a literary column for The Spectator., 7/17/2012, "Nuclear Iran, revolution in Europe: it's fun to make your flesh creep, but Armageddon isn't really nigh", blogs.telegraph.co.uk/culture/allanmassie/100065078/nuclear-iran-revolution-in-europe-its-fun-to-make-your-flesh-creep-but-armageddon-isnt-really-nigh/)
Then we had our expert Finance blogger Thomas Pascoe in similar thank-God-it’s-Friday "I wants to make your flesh creep" Fat Boy mode. We are too complacent, he says. We are faced with “impending events that would have precipitated a revolution in almost any other place at almost any other time in history- either the collapse of the currency or the complete secession of budgetary control to a supra-natural body in the EU.” (When I read that I said “Golly”, until I realised that he probably meant to write supranational rather than supra-natural, delightfully flesh-creeping though the idea of a spectral supra-natural body taking control of national budgets may be.) Either of these may lead, he would have us think, to some form of fascist revolution. This is because in the nations enduring austerity, and indeed suffering from austerity, "the populations at large feel no culpability for the debts their leaders have amassed.” Well, I suppose he’s right there. How much culpability do you, dear reader, feel for the size of the UK’s national debt? Do you beat your breast moaning “I blame myself”, or wring your hands in shame? No? I thought not. So why should the Greeks, the Spaniards and the others “feel culpability”? In Fat Boy mode, Thomas Pascoe says that either the EU will take complete control of all national budgets or that countries will default on their debts. Either way, populist politicians will emerge to stir up the masses, and we’ll be back to the Thirties. “Europe,” it seems, “ is one demagogue away from causing an earthquake in global finance such that the current problems seem a tremor in comparison. If Silvio Berlusconi – the only truly populist politician the Continent has produced in half a century – had been twenty years younger, I fancy it might have been him…” Well, if the playboy “Mussolini in a blue blazer” is the nearest to a fascist demagogue you can come up with, there isn’t much to worry about. And indeed there isn’t, because politics now matters less than football and entertainment – both things which bind the young people of Europe together, and make revolutionary fervour somewhat unlikely. So, at the risk of being accused of complacency, I’ll suggest, first, that if a country was going to fall out of the euro, it would have done so by now; second, that the eurozone will muddle through, because the will to do so is there; and third, that while some supranational body charged with supervising national budgets will be set up, it will prove far less rigid and far more elastic in its exercise of control than many suppose or indeed hope or, alternatively, fear. This is because the EU remains a union of nation-states, and national governments will insist on retaining a great degree of autonomy. Flesh-creeping is fun and lively journalism, but Armageddon is not on the menu today, next week, next year, or in the next decade. We have come through worse and far more dangerous times, and goodwill and common sense will let us survive present difficulties and discontents. The notion that “we are one charismatic leader away from a complete reordering of the Continent” is Fat Boy stuff.
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