I have been watching with interest the way the populations of Britain and the politicians in Europe have been receiving and reacting to Brexit. I am not going to talk about the politicians specifically. I do not know them personally and I do not believe all the backbiting, propaganda and speculation hyped up with glee by the press, who only want headlines to enable their newspaper to make more money than the other newspapers. The only variations of the text in their articles are how much scandal they can drag up, or how they interpret, or twist the words spoken by the politicians. I cannot answer for the politicians’ real feelings, or their political leanings and ambition. However, I am certain that whatever they say on television is partly to please their party, partly to please their friends and partly to protect their own ambition. It is what politicians do. That is politics, unfortunately.
The good reaction in the British population is the positivity of those who wanted Brexit. The negativity of those British citizens who did not is nothing short of wimpish. Britain will not fall apart because it is no longer part of the European political circle. The European Parliament is still not working the way it should and the British people have made their feelings known in no uncertain terms. Accept it. It is done. From my perspective I still see The European Parliament as a mechanism for one country to rule Europe, with a gang of other European leaders as its henchmen/women, taking turns to lead. It did not work for Hitler, and it will not work for anyone else.
British people had a life, industries, and prosperity before entry to the European political arena, which is why the French and German leaders wanted the UK to be part of the European Community, and they will have a life, industries and prosperity after leaving it. Trade is essential to the British and the Europeans. The European population is not going to send the UK population to Coventry just because a majority of British citizens voted to return to being an independent country. The Europeans like us and our country and will want to continue to come over here for holidays, to study, and to work. British people like Europe and still want to holiday, work and study there. Neither the Europeans nor the British populations will want their respective governments to make it difficult to do so. It is counterproductive.
British and European research in all fields is vital to the world. European companies do and will continue to want to trade with British companies. If the European Parliament decides to whack heavy taxes on British goods, the British Parliament will whack heavy taxes on European goods and they can all cut off their noses to spite their faces – and ruin their economies into the bargain.
On the subject of border controls I have extremely strong views, not because I want to stop the populations within Europe from moving around, but because of the effect of trying to mould many countries into one country, which is what is really happening when borders are removed.
All the people in all the countries are not the same. They cannot be dictated into being the same. Different countries have different cultures. Within their cultures, the people of the country find their identity, whatever that is, and by trying to make one big happy European family, these cultures are inevitably going to be destroyed and identities lost forever. It did not work for the USSR and it will not work for Europe. Already there is so much displacement, exacerbated by the influx of refugees from the wars in the Far East, that some economies are already being badly affected as populations attempt to move to greener grass. Those refugees and wanderers who do manage to find their way into other countries do not always integrate well, or learn the language of their host country, causing problems for the education of their children and placing a great economical strain on the local government budgets. Dissatisfaction being expressed by the natural populations in some of the host countries is already leading to protests. This a problem that is not going to go away. It is likely to worsen and open the door to extremism.
Borders are essential to remind populations that when they go outside of them they are going into a new place with a different culture, and it is theirs to discover. When they return home they will hopefully have begun to have some understanding of that culture and respect it without having to change their own.
The Irish people have a decision to make. Unite and be part European, or have some sort of border control. In my view it is nonsensical to pretend that Northern Ireland belongs to the English crown. It does not. Northern Ireland is Irish. It was Irish before being captured by an historic conqueror and it will always be Irish. Northern Ireland is only technically British. It is not actually British. I can understand that the people of Northern Ireland want to have the benefits of being British, that being Irish will not necessarily grant them, but having those benefits will still not make them British. They speak with Irish accents. They proudly (and rightly) follow Irish culture. Essentially they are Irish.
I make no mention of Welsh or Scottish devolution because in principle, the same applies, though in fact the situation is not quite the same. If I wanted to go that far, I would say that England itself has its own problems of identity. A can of worms I would rather not go into without deviating from the subject of this post.
The world reacts when one country attempts to take over another, as in the war between Iraq and Kuwait, and the dictator was toppled. Just because the English King took over Ireland all those years ago does not make it any more right now. The British Commonwealth has granted independence to many of its former colonies. Southern Ireland is an independent country. Perhaps it is time for Northern Ireland to stand on its own two feet and either be an independent country or reunite with Southern Ireland. Clearly it would not be good to follow the lead of North and South Vietnam.
My message to the European politicians: Grow up, forget your personal ambition and peer and political pressure, and get on with it! Use intelligence and common sense and think about the long term welfare of all the people in all countries concerned, and not just about how much money the European Parliament can wring out of the British people. They have already paid into the European coffers far more than they have received, underlined by the amount of money owed to the British Treasury, which the European Parliament is determined to hold on to for as long as possible. They are effectively blackmailing the British Government to pay as large an extraction fee as they can get away with. The British Parliament should stop gagging at the thought of paying a fee and just accept that a fee needs to be paid, but ensure that it is a fair one by firm, but sound reasoning during the negotiations.
The British politicians in government must recognise that now is not the time to be squabbling between themselves. The opposition must remember that they are not in government, and should remember why! They were not voted in to govern. That must tell them something about their policies and the wishes of the British population.
My message to those British people who did not vote for Brexit: It is going to happen. What happens in your life after it is down to you, not the British or European Parliament. I grew up without worrying about Europe, and am proud to be British. Be who you are. If you do not want to be British, you will always have the option of relocation. Europe is only an hour or two away.
Sadly, Brexit is causing more complications than perhaps was considered before the vote was cast. Let us hope that all of these complications can be resolved sooner rather than later. Let us also hope that common sense will reign in Britain and Europe when the deed is finally done.
© VW Selburn November 2017