Saturday, 23 January 2016
Britain has never been a part of Europe. Not really. Oh you can point to the land bridge that existed long before anything resembling civilisation emerged in the region. We have developed separately from the continent that we are only geographically part of for over 8000 years and were most likely concerned with mere survival for much of that time. Relationships with and forays into France were less to do with common heritage than contemporary gain. And even the regular infiltration by trade, bringing with it foreign languages and some customs still does not make us a part of Europe.
Even those of our population – the vast majority - who have never put to sea in trade or conquest nevertheless understand our history and our former dominance to be that of a maritime nation, not a land-locked region of uncertain borders, shifting with every geopolitical fancy that blows along. Island nation, that’s us and the Chunnel is a mere ephemeral undersea connection which could be closed forever at the touch of a pen... or a few explosive charges.
Our childhoods – at least, for those of a certain age – were filled with tales of the strange proclivities of our near, yet so, so far away neighbours. The French never washed, the Germans had square heads, the Italians... well, the least said of the Italians, the better. As for Belgium, apart from Poirrot and Tin-Tin, both as fictional as the notion that we were somehow European, we had little knowledge of the place; how miserably ironic that we should now be ruled from a parliament on its soil?
Now that the EU is struggling for an identity, struggling to find reason and resource to stay together even as its people are finally giving vent to their fears and doubts, it is more than a little ironic that its borders, the erasure of which is one of its central planks, are its weak point. Britain has never been a part of Europe because it has real, not a political perimeter, which in theory at least should be our bulwark against whatever an invader dares to throw at us. Dave Cameron’s latest gambit is to use the word ‘security’ as often as possible. Being an island, security should be the least of our worries, but membership of the EU surrenders that security to a dispassionate administration which cares not for our concerns.
Dogging for Britain
‘But the EU isn’t Europe’ many of the soft-outers still repeat, ‘Love Europe, hate the EU’ they say as if that absolves them from a charge of entirely natural xenophobia. Yet the EU is precisely that; a new country called Europe is what it wants to be, with an army and an anthem and half a billion worker drones. We parted that geographical union 6-8,000 years ago, why didn't we leave it at that? But if you want the clincher, the final closing statement to the argument over whether we leave or remain in the crumbling, failing state of the proto-nation called Europe? When we were joined at the hip, that hip was called ‘Doggerland’. I rest my case.