Here’s the comment I have just posted at CiF:

There are two ‘deep’ problems here. Complexity and Legitimacy.

The EU has been pushed too far in both widening and deepening – the core Europhiles insisted on institutional ‘deepening’ as the price for bringing more countries into the fold.

This has created institutional arrangements which are too top-heavy and elitist and in any case just too complicated – because there is not enough trust between different EU member states, the whole thing relies on rules which themselves are insufficient (ideas of what rules actually ‘mean’ differ sharply between eg the dumpling-zone and the garlic-zone).

And complexity NECESSARILY leads towards collapse:

early on, the marginal value of this complexity is positive—each additional bit of complexity more than pays for itself in improved output—but over time, the law of diminishing returns reduces the marginal value, until it disappears completely.

At this point, any additional complexity is pure cost. Tainter’s thesis is that when society’s elite members add one layer of bureaucracy or demand one tribute too many, they end up extracting all the value from their environment it is possible to extract and then some. …

Why didn’t these societies just re-tool in less complex ways? The answer Tainter gives is the simplest one: When societies fail to respond to reduced circumstances through orderly downsizing, it isn’t because they don’t want to, it’s because they can’t.

In such systems, there is no way to make things a little bit simpler – the whole edifice becomes a huge, interlocking system not readily amenable to change. …

This describes the drama we now see unfolding. The EU as a matter of fact is too complex to work – but too complex to reform!

Not surprisingly this creates a dramatic slump in Legitimacy, as the EU inner elite’s manoeuvres to keep the whole thing staggering on come at the expense of reasonable expectations among hundreds of millions of people.

Neither Left or Right can take much comfort from this grim situation. But in any case, does anyone in Whitehall have a plan for offering a radical alternative at very short notice?