The scare tactics of the remain campaign have reached new farcical and frankly insulting heights with David Cameron’s latest pronouncement suggesting that if we left the EU then World War III would break out in Europe. In his speech he conjured up images of row upon row of white War Graves Commission headstones in France and elsewhere which would be added to as ‘brave British boys’ had to go to war to ‘save Europe’. Along with images of the Panzer divisions which would once again roll across the frontiers occupying Greece and other recalcitrant countries who refused to toe the EU-Eurozone line on tax and austerity.
Actually of course Germany has already achieved what the the Kaiser and Hitler failed to do, which is to dominate and control most of the European continent in support of their economy which would struggle without foreign labour and without the moderating effect on the Euro of the desperate failed economies of Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy etc.. If the Germans had to return to the Deutsche Mark they would find it difficult to sell their high quality but expensive Deutsche Mark priced exports in the world markets.
That aside one might also return to another of the oft cited images about the EU which is to point to the example of “The United” States of America. Imagining that somehow a disparate groups of countries with different languages and cultures will coalesce into the ‘United States of Europe’ – which is the ultimate destination aimed at by the EU political project.
In that imagined scenario there are two serious flaws. One is that far from being a liberal and embracing image it suggests an inward looking ‘Fortress Europe’: Whereas many liberal minded people would rather have a ‘world view’ that reached out to other cultures and countries across the globe in a spirit of mutual respect and collaboration. The second, and perhaps more frightening, flaw is that the United States only remained ‘United’ after a bloody Civil War (the root causes of which were economic – albeit related to slavery). In the American Civil War of 1861-65 there were over a million casualties. Far from the EU being a source of harmony and peace in Europe it is more probable that the deep economic divisions between the (necessary) perpetuation of rich and poor ‘states’ (because they would no longer be sovereign ‘countries’) in Europe would eventually erupt into some secessionist ‘civil war’ just as it did in the USA in 1861.