Angela Merkel’s popularity ratings fell by 12 points (!) to 47% in the month ending 31Jul2016. The root cause appears to be reaction to immigration in Germany, and, more importantly, the negative consequences - including some of the small-scale attacks in Bavaria in early Aug2016.
The story sounds simplistic. Whilst one single issue can be the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, objectively, it’s unlikely that one single issue is going to cause such a drop in popularity of a sole politician, especially in a poll whose questions are likely to have driven its respondents to the ‘correct’ answer.
There are loads of other reasons why German taxpayers might have good grievance against their own Chancellor, including perhaps on-going resentment about paying for Greece combined with the fear of having to bail-out Italy later this year. The omens are not good: the EU has already waived fines for Spain and Portugal over sloppy financial conduct, a year after having done likewise for France. Taxpayers in both Greece and Germany would be rightly angry (albeit for completely different reasons) at the apparent double-standards of the EU in this respect.
Even so, the story still sounds simplistic. Immigration and fiscal imprudence are unlikely to the sole root causes of discontent in Germany, or even wider Europe. One opinion-writer wades through the immigration issue and ends up suggesting that, actually, the root problem is demographics: young men made up 42% of the immigrants of 2015. His opinion has some merit, even if it is also likely to be short-term - how many of those 42% have wives and children waiting to join him when he settles down in the family’s new (temporary?) home?
The same writer goes on to link voters’ wariness of immigration with increasing support for far-right groups, including a recent win for such in Austria and continuing support of equivalence in France.
Sounds compelling. But the story still sounds too simplistic to me. Some voters undoubtedly swallow propaganda; other voters use their brains. Advertising, even through crony media networks, costs money.
Money? Step forward Russia, who another opinion-writer suggests is funding right-wing activists throughout Europe to help destabilise European governments’ officially “strong” stance against Russian aggression. Russia is also adept at disinformation, which always works well with dysfunctional Western media outlets (remember the disinformation campaign relating to Malaysia Airlines? See also Newsweek and IJR).
Well… if in doubt, make a conspiracy theory. Russia, like all sovereign nations, has its own interests to promote. But if this is the direction of the story, it’s moving even further away from explaining the root cause of Angela Merkel’s fall of popularity. And, in any event, Russia is equally likely to be in common cause with other social conservatives around the world. Even Russia needs allies. Russia might even be prepared to find common cause with anybody fighting terrorism, even non-conservatives.
With the British Brexit referendum now nearly two months ago, it is becoming clear that the vote achieved a formal voicing of discontent in Europe that has existed in Britain for some while. But no more. Just a voice. A voice from which the Remainiac Project Smear has arisen like a zombie from the grave. The voice sounds similar to other electoral voices heard in Europe for a few years now. The sole commonality appears to be a resentment by the people against their own governments, for serving up policies that rip-off the people financially, economically and socially, or policies that don’t fit the emotional disposition of the people. The political extremes now find an audience that is prepared to listen, because, apparently, the mainstream, social technocratic elites know so much better than their dumb electorates and refuse to obey the Great Unwashed (which is ironic, considering how European elites like to nationalise their country’s education systems).
Of course, my view on most matters starts with monetary policy. Quelle surprise. I think that negative (formerly 0%) interest rates within a deeply inhibiting Eurozone, combined with tin-pot mercantilism (protectionism) to keep vested interests harmless from the consequences of 0% interest rates are probably the root cause. The double-standards destroy confidence.
Citizens without economic, monetary or financial freedom have no effective freedom at all. I perceive that everything else that happens - immigration, rule-breaking bail-outs, inconsistent fine waivers (cronyism?), culture clashes, violence, water wars, ideological Islamism and so on - are symptoms of the root cause. These symptoms also exacerbate the same root cause. The symptoms expose the illusion of wealth (and financial security), and the relative, plastic morality that says it’s OK to forgive people unconditionally for their reckless destruction of other people’s lives and the victims shall pay for the costs of such destruction (bailing out a corrupt bank is just one example of such bent morality).
The conflicting consequences of both moral relativism and current monetary policy underlines just how much control governments (and citizens) lack, exposing corruption in the process (policy corruption and selective-enforcement corruption being the most common examples). And yet those same governments carry on with the false impression that “control” (whatever that means) is possible. So when the “controls” come out to play, it seems that the only controls to emerge favour vested interests against the interests of the general public. In Sep2016, an announcement by the EU might just exemplify this last point for the upmteenth time.
Moreover, if 0% interest rates and quantitative easing are so debilitating to citizens, how much more debilitating does it get for a state that runs such policies to return negatively on its own debt? At a recent bond auction, the Bank of England apparently couldn’t give money away…. Was this bond auction so timed (in holiday season) so as to fail deliberately (i.e. Project Smear, or Project Scorched Earth)? Or was this bond auction a panic move by a bunch of incompetents? Either way, how much confidence in our state can we taxpaying plebs place?
I think that a distinct lack of energy policy by all European governments, including UKGov, demonstrates a sort-of-proof of the above analysis. Monetary policy has undermined the basis of any useful long-term policy strategy in any market sector, which is devastating to the long-term market (30 years of energy production, plus hundreds of years for the management of unproductive radioactive waste). Moral relativism allows a UKGov clutching at nuclear straws to involve a foreign government (China) whose imperialist ambitions are plain to see (e.g. its ludicrous territorial claim to the South China Sea). At the 11th hour, and after a change in UKGov, UKGov recently stalled a decision relating to a Chinese-funded nuclear power station at Hinckley Point. The inevitable consequence is that the UK’s future energy supply looks as insecure as ever. One opinion-writer goes big on wind-power as a strategic aim for UK, providing we have the gumption to get it strategically right. Wind-power might by-pass moral relativism to a certain extent, but it still needs to demonstrate a rate of return in real terms that overcomes the destructive nature of current monetary policy.
It takes an opinion-writer for the Jamaica Observer to comment bleaky on the “slow death of Europe.”
Modern politics has revealed a massive, century-long mis-selling scandal about the purpose of the state that makes “payment protection insurance” look respectable. And yet globalisation demonstrably reduces the objective function of a nation state: what’s the point in having a border if the rules are the same on both sides of the border? Then again, what’s the point of having rules if the cost is borne solely by the fools who obey them (“solidarity” again, or game theory)?
That thought might have occurred to our beloved elites. So, clearly, for an elite keen to cover-up its errors, omissions and corruptions, a decoy bogeyman is required. Aha: Russia will do; if in doubt, sex-up the same conspiracy theory. The British Army is apparently worried that the Russian military could possibly beat us up, which of course the Remainiac Mirror re-reported as Russia actively rehearsing war with the west to return to a sense of classic imperialism, as if the Cuban missile crisis (1962) was a wasted opportunity.
All of which puts the Brexit referendum into some context. Brexit is actually irrelevant to the same extent that the European Union is irrelevant. The referendum - irrespective of its result - was the geopolitical equivalent of voting to move deckchairs on the Titanic, rather than a vote to move the Titanic out of the way of an iceberg. Governments may create clones of themselves so as to play the immoral game of “plausible deniability” by corroborating each others’ policy corruptions, but I sense that most voters (except the metropolitan elites?) see that, and bitterly resent it. Social technocratic and socialist-sympathising elites will never grasp this - a man can understand anything unless his income depends on not understanding it (cf socialistic writer Upton Sinclair) - so while the taxpaying voters still tolerate democracy, the extremes are going to have an audience.
But as any American or European knows, taxation without representation is a valid reason to start civil war. It becomes even more valid if an elite might deploy many layers of government, or NGOs, through which to launder taxpayers’ money into unaccountable availability (slush funds) while at the same time enforcing money-laundering rules on private citizens (double-standards again!).
Moreover, Europeans know that brioche - a light bread - is another valid reason to start civil war. I guess the elites have twigged onto this too, hence their enthusiasm for the Single European Army.
Disclosure: I can confirm that no Russian official paid me to realise that the European Union is a rip-off against all European taxpayers, and that no European government has any tactical or strategic advantage in membership of the European Union.