Friends don't let friends stay in something as stupid as the EU - Credit, public domain

An interesting little commentary on the future of the European Union here. The difficulty being, well, what’s the EU for? What is the purpose, therefore what is the structure and what is it that it should be doing. Or that we should be doing so as to enable it? The standard mantra that the cure for all ills is “more Europe” not really cutting it if we don’t know what Europe it is that is to be built.

The future of the European project depends not just on whether the EU can deal effectively with refugees in the Mediterranean, but also on whether it can find a way to reconcile diverging conceptions of what Europe should be.

Diverging conceptions, that’s one way to put it. Some reasonable number of Brits – a plurality if not a majority – took a look at what is being proposed, that Federal State of Europe and said no thanks. The real problem being that no one has ever actually asked – on that boiling frog principle – the people of Europe what it is they actually want. Peace, a growing economy, that mothers get to kiss their babies goodnight, yes, sure. The rest? Well, no not really. Which is what leads to this:

Each vision is a response to the rise of Euroscepticism in a different part of the continent and an attempt to reconnect the EU to citizens. The problem is that the visions are incompatible. What it would take to reduce Euroscepticism in the south of Europe would increase it in the north – and vice versa. Similarly, what it would take to reduce Euroscepticism in the east of Europe would increase it in the west – and vice versa. The question is whether there is a way out of this zero-sum game.

Sure there’s a way out. George and Ira Gershwin knew it:

You say either and I say either
You say neither and I say neither
Either, either, neither, neither
Let’s call the whole thing off

You like potato and I like potahto
You like tomato and I like tomahto
Potato, potahto, tomato, tomahto
Let’s call the whole thing off

Why not? After all, we have, why not others?