Monday, 15 February 2016
A piece of paper...
A long time ago, in a country far, far away from the nominal ‘Britain’ we know today, a former Prime Minister said the following words: "This morning the British Ambassador in Berlin handed the German Government a final Note stating that, unless we heard from them by 11 o'clock that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland, a state of war would exist between us. I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received, and that consequently this country is at war with Germany.” Until that point we had been on a path to appeasement; history tends to vindicate our decision to take more drastic steps.
Today it is as if we are right back there again, except that this time, instead of the carefully controlled and relatively meagre output of the establishment press we are bombarded by facts, factoids and downright lies from all quarters. Ah, the lies we tell: If the wind changes while you’re wearing that expression your face will stay that way. If you swallow chewing gum it will glue up your insides. You’ll have somebody’s eye out! Children grow up and eventually realise the absurdity of such folk tales but we are still unable to immediately detect untruths, especially when they pander to our suspicions of conspiracy.
The EU, therefore, is variously a New World Order plot, a Communist resurgence, a Capitalist power play, the Ultimate Battle Between Good and Evil, a Fourth Reich... or The Matrix. Whilst I tend towards a cleaner explanation, that it is a simple replacement of national democracies based on sincerely held beliefs that the demos is insufficiently equipped to handle the truth, it’s hard at times not to be seduced by some of the more outlandish theories that float, like scum atop the murky waters of international affairs.
Oil and gas, trade protectionism, agricultural subsidies, banking and finance, fisheries, boundaries, history and allegiances, real life is always more surprising and complex than the most carefully scripted plots. But you have to worry when previously opposing sides get together to spin a tale of the famine and war and pestilence which await the remnants of the custodians of the once greatest empire on Earth outside the breath-restricting embrace of a huddle of mutually mistrusting former nations who have lost their identities.
Never poke a sleeping lion, they say. But now the lion is firmly poked, what else accounts for the proliferation of scare stories that have flooded the UK and world press about the consequences of Brexit than that it is showing its claws? Britain leaving the EU will ‘imperil’ global security. The situation is potentially so dire that the president of the United States – despised lame duck though he now is – must intervene. Leaving the EU will end cheap flights and put an end to foreign holidays. And on and on go the negative reports as the EU lines up Brexit to be the potential cause of the third World War that many have been predicting for years.
Mrs Merkel assures me...
Realising that nobody knows what the future holds, in or out, the latest tactic is to spread so many wildly variant prophecies of doom that eventually even the rabidly ‘Little English’ will put away their union flag waistcoats and quietly accept their fate. But the problems of the EU will not go away. If not Britain, then the focus will shift, most notably to the new border countries under the increasing strain of become processing centres for the welcoming of our future islamic masters.
With or without Britain, the EU of the future is going to look a lot different and a lot less prosperous from how it looks now. I don’t like the look of either version, but only one offers the British, if they dare to take it, a chance of avoiding the very worst. David Cameron's piece of paper from Brussels is worth no more than that of Neville Chamberlain, all those years ago.