A daily blog on the thrills, spills, and frequent absurdities of the world's one and only 'non-imperial empire' - as Barroso himself called it - the European Union.

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Friday, 25 March 2011

Why can't we say 'I told you so?'

Portugal and England's alliance goes back a long way; before the Hundred Years War, in fact, making it the oldest political alliance in the world. Whether or not it is in our national interests, they are very old friends, and it is only right - if not necessarily realpolitik - for us to extend the hand of friendship now. I would not say, or even think, that the economic destruction of a nation is a good thing.

But will I point out that Eurosceptics were right? Of course I would. We were right, at the end of the day. I know that it sounds arrogant, but, really, on economic affairs, everything that we predicted back in the 1990s has came true. Our argument that one currency cannot possibly reflect the trading power of twenty-seven economies was based on a simple idea, a tried and tested economic reality, which has so far proven infallible by the many single currency areas that have came and went. But, no, federalists - and I refer only to those with official positions, not the man or woman in the street - denounced us with the power and ferocity of the medieval church; they called us xenophobes, bigots, and even Nazis. The entire liberal-left lexicon was thrown at the anti-federalist camp with the great strength of - and about as much precision as - a fully-loaded gravy train. Some of you even admitted at the time that the eurozone was going to be a failure - the President of the Commission and several heads of state. But, no, economic union was an absolute necessity - none of you could ever explain why, you just knew that it was, and so you pushed on regardless. You sowed the seeds of economic catastrophe; and now you reap the rewards.

One of those rewards is the right - some might say the necessity - of being lectured incessantly by those who made the right decisions, economically, and consequently have not bankrupted whole nations. We would not make light of such a situation; but we are not ignoring it either. We were right, and if federalists had realised that so long ago, rather than maintaing their support for the euro, the European Union might actually have been what they envisioned; prosperous and thriving, rather than creaking under the strain of bank-bailouts and national collapse.

We don't say 'I told you so' to win the argument - that's already been done, solely by virtue of the situation on the ground. We say 'I told you so' because we did tell you so, and we do not want to see a European economic crisis again.

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