Freedom is not some abstract notion. It is the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants and includes the power of self-determination attributed to the will, the quality of being independent of fate or necessity. Millions fought and died over seventy years ago for freedom from Nazism in Europe.
Our collective freedom as a group or State begins with the freedom of the individual. The antonym of freedom is slavery. It is the loss of the right to speak, act or think as one wants. When Ted Heath led the UK into Europe, he did so on the basis that it was an economic union, not a political one. The British, and indeed the Irish, joined up to avail of free trade and free access. Note that the words trade and access are prefaced with the word free as in freedom. Simply put, people wanted to be free to cross borders and buy and sell things to each other.
I believe though that powerful forces hijacked the EEC for their own ends and transformed it into the EU. Forty-seven years ago I was strongly in favour of Ireland joining Europe, however I could not have foreseen a time when the German Parliament would debate an Irish budget before the Irish people even got to hear about it. I did not foresee a Troika of non-elected Europeans arriving here ordering our elected leaders to punish us for something most of us had nothing to do with. I did not foresee little Ireland being saddled with 42 per cent of all EU bank debt for no other reason than they thought they could get away with it.
It was then that we, the Irish people, should have realized that we had lost the power or right to act, speak, or think as we wished. We had surreptitiously been enslaved and were helpless to fight it. This was due for the main part by our own political classes here backing our enslavement by the EU. Let us not forget though that we Irish had our chance to stop all this happening. We forced the hand of our Government for the right to vote on the Lisbon Treaty. That Treaty was the final nail in the coffin of self determination and enough of us saw that to vote it down. The people had spoken and we did not want to ratify Lisbon. Europe was furious and leaned so heavily on our Government that we were told to vote again. This time under dire threats to our welfare we were bullied into voting for the Lisbon Treaty. It was our last chance to get our freedom back.
The transition to complete slavery was achieved through the bank bailout from the ECB and the IMF. The Irish are now financially shackled and enslaved to unelected faceless masters in the EU and we have no other option but to do as ordered by them whether we believe in it or not. Not only have we relinquished our Nationality but we have sacrificed democracy in favour of a kind of fascism. Our votes in local and national elections at home are effectively worthless in the greater scheme of things and what saddens me more than anything else is that people here either don't know that or don't care.
In this light then I welcome BREXIT. I am not naive enough to think there won't be downsides both for the UK and us over here. Over forty per cent of all our trading is done with the UK and indeed, as David McWilliams pointed out, the bulk of the rest is done with the US. While we are politically tied to Europe, we are economically tied to the Anglo-American axis. McWilliams has said we are the jockey riding two horses and when they are running side by side we are just about able to stay mounted. The parting of the UK and the EU might make it much harder for the Irish. It all depends whether those large entities assume a spiteful attitude to each other. For example, the EU might order Dublin to erect a hard border with Northern Ireland. More importantly, they might order us to impose huge tariffs on UK goods. They might assign a large amount of immigrants for re-settlement here and the UK might react by closing the border altogether. Let's not forget that the Republic of Ireland will now become the only land border with the new UK.
None of that is necessary of course if mature intelligent heads prevail. Neither Norway nor Switzerland are in the EU but both trade freely with it. Not being a member of the club need not preclude doing business with that club. Indeed if club membership has any benefits then surely the EU will recognize the disproportionate affect BREXIT will have on Ireland. What it chooses to do in this regard will tell us a lot should the shit hit the fan in a ripple effect elsewhere. Either way, this vote yesterday by our nearest neighbour will have profound effects in this country and don't be surprised if events in the coming months start similar rumblings here.
But I must say this morning that I am jealous of the freedom the British have achieved at the ballot box.