Send not to know for whom the bell tolls …


By Alex Robertson

The Cyprus debacle must surely send shivers down the spines of most of us who think about what has just happened.  This is a case which should stop all of us in our tracks and make us feel profound unease.  The people of Cyprus have been plunged into recession by the bureaucrats and high priests of the Euro in a scandalous theft of assets and imposition of fiscal bindings from guiltless people.

And the sense of unease is not mitigated when one learns that the bailout is dependent on its terms not being subject to parliamentary scrutiny or approval in Cyprus’s parliament.  It has all the appearance of dictatorship from Brussels, extinguishing even the pretence of democratic accountability.

But there is a terrible warning from History here.  If you destroy people’s identity, destroy their democracy, you leave them with nothing but bitter resentment and violence.  Already the names of Germany and Germans are dirty words in Cyprus and Greece.  And we have already seen the anger of the people in places like Athens as they have no other resort but violence.

That is a truly frightening legacy.  And in case you believe this is going to stop at Cyprus, then think again.  Spain, Portugal, and Italy are all in the firing line.  It is only a question of the order in which they fall victim.  Eurogroup Chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on Monday that the approach used towards Cyprus would be the template for use in future bailout cases.

The fear is that they are all to be sacrificed on the altar of the Euro.  Now we can see clearly that the over-ambitious scheme was madness in its size and scope, as quite a few predicted when it was first set up.  What none of us saw was the damage it would wreak in the end.

The danger of violence, of the very worst kinds of nationalistic conflicts has just got a whole lot closer this weekend.

Nobody is willing to face the monster and deal with the problems head on.  Cyprus should leave the Eurozone for the good of its own people, despite the inevitable bad consequences that would bring.

And what does Westminster do? Well, nothing really.  Nothing to do with us, they say, all a continental problem.  That is a foolish and even dangerous assessment.  There needs to be undertaken a fundamental and urgent reform of both the European Union and the Eurozone.

It feels as if a clock is ticking its way to catastrophe and something needs to be done to protect ordinary people from the greed of bankers, and the folly of feckless politicians who are supposed to regulate our economic affairs.

Yet the omens are not good. One example should suffice to demonstrate the woeful dereliction of duty by Westminster politicians.  The banking crisis, which is what this is all about, happened in 2008. Now 5 years on and there has been no banking reform to speak of, no stop to bankers’ gigantic bonuses and a resurgence of our very own subprime mortgage bubble in Mr Osborne’s latest budget.

The feeling persists that we are all in terrible danger.  And in the UK the blame can be squarely placed at the door of Westminster.  Our Scottish voice must be heard amidst the growing chorus among the European nations for fundamental reform of the EU, and Westminster is just not fit for purpose anymore.

Alex Robertson is a retired entrepreneur and is now a writer and columnist. Alex is Director of the pro-independence Think Tank, Scottish Centre for Constitutional Studies