Among other things last evening, there was a mildly heated exchange in my company between and Englishman in favour of leaving the EU and an Irish woman promoting the Irish establishment’s party line on the issue.
This took place around a convivial dinner table in a Cork hotel and it informed well the confusion over each others positions. I have to admit that I do not understand everything about it, (who does?), but the Irish media are misleading us by claiming the British were lied to in order to get them to vote leave.
Certainly there were lies told by both sides during the run up to the vote but then consider the deluge of lies we were told before being forced by to vote on the Lisbon Treaty a second time. That Lisbon Treaty, as I wrote at the time, was the death knell for the Irish Constitution. It was an evil document which sneakily made an ignorant Irish Nation hand over its sovereignty to an unelected elite in Brussels in the guise of something else and we didn’t even get thirty pieces of silver in return.
It is my belief now that the British have realized this in their own circumstances and a majority of them chose to take their sovereignty back, hence Brexit. In that regard, I support the Brexiteers in their quest and I believe also that at some time in the future, we Irish will begin to grumble about leaving the EU but more about that anon.
The Irish woman above claimed that the British despise the immigrants and that was the core of the issue. In the seventies when I travelled first to the UK I left a 100% white Irish nation only to arrive in a very coloured London, much to my astonishment at that time. There were black policemen, bobbies with turbans instead of helmets, Pakistani shop owners, covered Arab women and the brown skins on many nations on the streets of the Capitol. Far from being anti-immigrant it seemed that the British welcomed them in by the ship load.
The accepted narrative here claims that the British en-masse are anti-European and that is patently untrue. It was De Gaulle who blocked their first application by Wilson to join and it took Ted Heath to finally get them accepted into the EEC. But like ourselves, they understood they were joining an ‘economic union.’ We didn’t vote to give up our Irish identity in order to be ruled from Brussels. That it has morphed into that now should make us all very nervous, not just the British.
From the outset, I always understood that joining Europe was a voluntary act and while membership brought responsibilities, departure if unhappy would also be voluntary. I mean, what kind of club would force a disgruntled member to remain in its club. Dissent from within is infectious. So for me, when the British decided democratically to leave then there should have been a simple two stage process. First would be the formal disengagement involving an army of civil servants from both sides. Once the terms of the severing of ties was agreed upon the second part of the process would plan the relationship the UK would have with the Union once outside it. What would be the social and economic rules of interaction between both parties?
I have written here and elsewhere that there has been a marked lack of generosity of spirit on the EU’s part in this wrangle. It would have been judicious at the beginning if the EU elite had simply said, “Look we understand you wish to leave and that is your right. But how about we have a trial separation for say, twenty years, after which we sit down again and discuss how it has worked out for both parties? We may discover that it has been a win-win for the EU & UK, in which case, carry on. Or we might also discover that difficulties, we didn’t anticipate twenty years before, had arisen in the interim and it would be in everyone’s best interests for the UK to re-join.” That approach would have been wise and sensible with no bridges burned on either side. Were the EU afraid of something they’re not telling us? I see no justifiable reason to make an enemy of the UK now by insisting the backstop is non-negotiable. In any negotiation, everything is negotiable right up to the signing of a legally binding agreement.
Back in 1945 among the ruins of Europe, Gen. George Marshall put in place a plan to rebuild Europe. Unlike our so-called bail-out recently, it was a generous and giving plan that didn’t involve loans to be repaid with interest. Instead it was a heartfelt positive flow of money and resources to get society and industry back on track in Europe after years of devastation. There was an upside for the Yanks in that they were the industrial engine of the world at that time and with the American monies received, the fledgling European Governments bought American equipment and ideas to build factories.
In among that, there is the little known story of the birth of the modern German motor industry. A British Captain was given charge of an area of Wolfsburg in 1945. His men came across a factory which used to make the cute beetle car for Hitler. This captain instructed his men to take some undamaged parts and make as many beetles as they could with them. They made thirteen and the captain then sent some of these back to the British army engineers in the UK to test the vehicles for suitability in the armed forces. In the weeks that followed, the largest ever post war order came for one single model of Volkswagen car and the savvy captain brought in German managers and engineers to get the plant in Wolfsburg up and going. Even more amazingly, the post-war British Government gave Volkswagen back to the Germans. It’s all so easily forgotten as the modern snowflakes chant their anti-British rhetoric.
Forgotten too is the sacrifice made by thousands of “Tommys” as they beached in Normandy for Operation Overlord only to be cut to pieces by withering German machine gun fire. They were fighting and dying to free France from fascism. They did so again in the Low Countries and all the way across Germany itself. A mere 73 years later an unelected European elite seeks to humiliate them for their audacity in seeking to leave the club they run exclusively for themselves.
The sin the Brits appear to have committed is their stated desire to be free to run their own country. That ladies and gentlemen is the foundation stone of true democracy.
What exactly is the alternative to that??