All sorts of contradictory Euro (and euro) squawking is going on in the media and attempting to find a way through it all to a reasoned conclusion is almost impossible. It seems to me that we, as individuals, need to go through two seperate but connected thought processes.
First, we need to decide in our own mind where we, as a nation, should stand in the great scheme of things. I don't mean just Europe but in the world. We could, for example, take the decision to sink our individual nationhood and along with our partners help form a new nation called the United States of Europe (USE). Or, we could take the opposite tack and revoke our existing links with Europe and revert to our previous condition as an independent nation with normal political, commercial and cultural links with our near neighbours in the USE.
Both those alternatives, of course, pre-suppose that the USE will ever exist because the danger of the entire embryo aborting is all too real. I cannot stress too strongly that in my view the worst is yet to come in the euro zone. According to Ernst & Young, as reported in the Telegraph, the amount of toxic debt held by European banks is set to reach record levels in 2013. Hitherto it has been a game of 'let's pretend' when it comes to banks owning up to the red ink in their ledgers but in the end truth will out. There is violent disagreement in the media as to whether or not 'The Iron Frau' should be renamed 'The Aluminium Frau' after last week's summit. The answer appears to be hidden in the small print and there is no font-size tinier than that to be found in EU documents!
Whatever happens over the next year or two, the indisputable fact is that the European project we joined all those years ago is now a totally different entity. Unlike 37 years ago, no-one today who isn't deaf, dumb, blind and lacking a sense of smell can claim not to have a very clear idea of what the European project is and where it is going. By and large, one's re-action to it will depend on your position in society. If you are an ambitious politician, a rising civil servant, a 'captain of industry' or a political idealist, you will find the notion of a USE highly attractive. For some of the above, the project offers the highly tempting enticements of even greater power and increased personal wealth - the European gravy train is always fully-stocked with the very best personal terms and conditions, you know! Big Politics with Big Administration, hand in hand with Big Business is moved upwards to an even higher strata and is thus further removed from the irritating lower orders, or me and you, as I like to think of them!
If, like me, you find the whole notion of being a province in a USE totally nauseating then you will have to consider a geo-political alternative which is to revoke all EU agreements and return to independent nationhood. Euro-fanatics will warn of the disaster certain to hit British industry but they should be reminded of what they already know which is that Europe sells more to us than we do to them. Any action taken against British trade will be the equivalent of snatching the paella pan away from us and tipping the scorching hot contents into their own laps! Anyway, you only need glance at Switzerland and Norway to see that life outside the USE is not all bad. And, to quote an old phrase, 'at a stroke' several volumes, nay, libraries, of rules and regulations which are the bane of our commercial and private lives would be cast away. Once again, we could rule and regulate ourselves according to our own desires and needs.
All of that is, if you like, the strategic decision which each of us must take in our own minds. I hardly need to say that a future as a small, independent, off-shore country is never going to be without danger and difficulty but that, when you think about, is our history.
The second thought process we need to go through flows from the decision we take above and is concerned with the tactical manner in which we set about achieving the desired aims. I will write more on this later - assuming there is still anyone left to read it!