alea iacta esto

A Peculiarly English Crisis

Every few years the people of this mighty island known as the British Isles have an identity crisis. The Scots want out, the Welsh want in and the English are completely befuddled as to their ancestry. The Celts were here first but as I understand it then came the continentals – Normans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, Romans i.e. virtually everyone from continental Europe. This is the ancestry the English deplore because, “We have a special relationship with America”. Our renegade political reprobates otherwise known as the Tories (the Republicans of the realm) will rather Britain go its own way, a Colossus bestriding the planet. These behemoths of paleolithic-era thoughtfulness are still  holding court in 1945. We have just won the war (with our comrades the Soviet Union and the US) and we sit on the UN security council. Germany doesn’t. Ha, ha!

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So who needs basket case Europe? Aren’t they those meddlesome continentals who can’t organise a Tea Party in Boston but want to define a sausage in several hundred pages of inane regulation? Every  Tory Prime Minister carries this cross: what then to do with the elephant next door. It’s big and we can’t deport it Down Under. “Ditch it”, cry the croaking faithful. And so we get David Camern, who kind of tries but can’t quite do it. Instead he plans a “whittled down” role for Britain whatever that means – that’s his vision. From a man who is short vision, that’s pretty bold.

I expect the next PM to reverse course. We are the 2nd or 3rd largest economy in Europe. 50% of our trade (providing the foreign exchange we need to import all the things we love to buy and that our businesses need) is with Europe. One key attraction of London as a financial centre is that it’s in Europe and inside the European Union. London provides a shield for companies who want to be in Europe but would rather comply with English than French or German law. America’s identity is turning increasingly Hispanic and America’s priority now is China. What planet are these Tories on? Yes, reform the bloated EU bureaucracy and let’s work together to change their ridiculous policy making but a whittled down role for Britain is pure fantasy. That’s like a bird wanting nothing more to do with the sky because it rained on it.


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