Useful idiots

Among the unholy alliance of political careerists, big businessmen and others which make up the Europhile camp are one group which, like the poor, are always with us. These are the people who are motivated by, depending on the state of your liver, eternal optimism or persistent stupidity, but whom that arch cynic Lenin summed up as "useful idiots".

They are the people for whom the expression about the road to hell being paved with good intentions is most applicable and they have been around, in one form or another, since Adam was a lad. Unfortunately, as they are usually not lacking in either in education or academic ability and draw on a bottomless well of well meaning platitudes, they have enjoyed an influence beyond anything they merited and have frequently undermined those who can, like Beatrice, "see a church by daylight", and who are seeking to oppose whatever evil these gullible types have decided to embrace.

In the twentieth century we had those, fortunately few in number, who really believed that the fascist regimes of Mussolini and Hitler offered benefits for their people which were worth the cost, but many more apologists for Soviet dictatorship, including even such luminaries as George Bernard Shaw, who could visit Stalin's Russia and proclaim "I have seen the future and it works".

Now of course we have those who view the European Union and all its works through rose tinted spectacles and insist that membership brings peace, prosperity and democracy when in reality it is an undemocratic monster, poisoning Europe's economies and building up pressures which may find their outlet in internecine strife in the future.

Of course the gullible have always been knowingly exploited. In the 18th century, Grigori Aleksandrovich Potemkin created elaborate fake village facades in the Ukraine and Crimea for Catherine the Great's tours, giving the illusion of prosperity. A "Potemkin Village" is now defined as "something that appears elaborate and impressive but in actuality lacks substance." and the architects of the EU are expert at creating such facades. They will claim that a country is benefiting from the EU when it fact it is all smoke and mirrors. In this country we are very familiar with the signs telling us that a new development is only made possible by EU funds, conveniently forgetting to say that those funds are supplied by us through our taxes.

We have a problem in that, to some, the useful idiots appear to be idealistic, liberal, optimistic and looking to a better future while we can seem cynical, crabby pessimists who refuse to join the journey to broad sunlit uplands. What we must do is to point out that this Panglossian attitude to life is for children, that the EU King has no clothes and that our way offers the true path to prosperity as a global nation while remaining a democratic society, ruling ourselves and free of the heavy hand of Brussels bureaucracy. We, not they, are the wave of the future.