Accelerated by the crisis, a new model of government without direct accountability to voters is being constructed. And the democratic consequences have been given very little thought other than by a hardened band of opponents.Pooling or sharing sovereignty has always been a nonsense idea. There's no such thing. It's akin to saying you're 'only a little pregnant'. You're either sovereign or you're not. Iain then asks the obvious question:
In reality, the political end of the European project is now being completed, having been parked because it was too difficult a subject when the common currency was founded.
So Ireland is not just "linked" to another currency—its independence is no more than notional. In return for its bailout it will lose control over its corporate tax rates, if not this time, then a little further down the line. There will be extraordinary oversight not just of budgets but all manner of other aspects of euro-zone countries' economies. That goes well beyond a pooling of sovereignty. If it walks like a government, and it talks like a government, then it probably is a government.
But what happens when enough voters, in what might be called a nation state, inside the euro zone, one day soon decide that they want to change their government? I don't mean reshuffle their political elite, drilled by the bond markets and common currency orthodoxy, but vote to really head off in a new direction right or left, a direction that requires an independent economic policy. Perhaps such voters in countries including Ireland will always be relaxed when they discover the option has been permanently removed by the ECB and EU. But what happens if they are not so relaxed?What happens indeed? The inevitable:
Skepticism about the European project leads to nationalism and extremism, said Mr. Van Rompuy last week. It is equally possible that designing a new form of government that does not have democracy at its heart will anger voters and provide an opening for extremists.