When in 1981 Greece joined the EU perhaps there was a whoop of joy from the office of the then MEP Jacques Delors, 'another one in the bag'. A long time ago getting countries to join in this grand plan was akin to a child collecting Dinky toys, the more the merrier. It was the same when later on the single currency was created; problems? Oh never mind! We will sort those out later. It was always principle first practicalities later.
The euphoria, a good word to describe the creation of anything related to the EU, was apparent. So a long list of weak and dodgy countries some unable to meet important criteria, others unwilling and some both, made up the numbers. Only recently did Delors say what he thought about it all. But not a peep from him or any of the other euphoric people, the motley crew who without question support the EU, at the time all this was happening. Did they know and keep quiet or did they not understand? This is important. For the study of history, you would have thought, is only worthwhile if you can learn from it so as not to repeat mistakes.
Which brings us bang up to date. What mistakes have been made in the last few days by the EU leaders?
Fantasy politics, it's a very popular thing right now. Both at the EU and domestic level and therein lies the problem, it does have a downside. In the end the fantasy turns to comedy and then to misery. Take the fantasy of the coalition harping on about growth. What does this mean? It's not just the cynical who might say all this will lead to more wind farms and yet more immigration. What can grow? Industrial output is hemmed in by the environmental obsession. Pro-Green means anti-industry if the promoters of the greening are ideologues rather than realists. And they are.
So the de-industrialisation of the UK has to be accepted as a fact. When did it start; who to blame? However, this won't be a fruitful line of inquiry for anyone, least of all any of the post-WW2 governments. For they all, to a greater and lesser degree, made the right noises but all just watched as industry slid down the slippery slope. Not to worry! We have other things to do, alas the other things, what we now call financial services, did not turn out to be a problem free area either. So what happens now?
Well we are at the stage of something must be done, which is always dangerous for the temptation will be to grab at straws. It's no good talking about apprenticeships, that route will take far too long to show results.