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The Rise of Despots.

In October 1935, Churchill; wrote “the world is divided between governments who own the peoples and peoples who own the governments. Free parliaments and democracies have been trampled down in most of the countries of Europe. They have reverted to despotism and dictatorship. The apparatus of civilization is perverted to the propaganda of tyranny.” His warnings went unheeded.

But we should pay wide awake attention to history – it is repeating itself. It is not enough to list just the threatening economic trends, though the European Commission did this with excellent clarity on Wednesday forecasting an economic decline there of 7%+ this year. Three further points need emphasizing to complete the full picture.

First the destruction caused by the virus and the emerging economic slide of the continent is going to be most sorely felt in the South and East – by nations who have not invested enough, who have not kept up. Now they are terminally vulnerable, they live in poverty, they are the have nots. The original offer made to them of an economic solution  has failed. There will not be job opportunities enough, there will not be further hand outs enough, there will be no safety net. Secondly as this terrible reality unfolds it will reinforce their historic sense of isolation, humiliation and resentment. Especially so for those new states that suffered such oppression from the USSR. And then thirdly the trend towards a desperate going it alone will gather pace. Many nations are already challenging the democratic disciplines of the European Union. The ignorant are taking over. Populist dictators are creating insolent gangster cabals.  

The two leading nations are under threat – Germany is facing a decline of 6.5%, France 8.5% – both are coping with a fascist upsurge. Britain has already left. It is hard to see any future for Greece, Italy or Spain. The virus, climate change, and a new wave of migrants will do for them. It is in this context that the incompetence of our foreign and trade policies take on the shameful face of distortion, cover up and isolationism. We have left the table just when our leadership is most needed. Europe is our No 1 trading partner and our most extensive ally.

No nation today can stand aside from, let alone connive at the collapse of important friends.

On March 7 1936, six months after Churchill’s warning, Hitler’s armies entered the Rhineland. I wonder where we will be in six months time?

In the meantime, sell Europe and despair of our own leadership.

 Have a good day, James