Potiphar12's Blog
An Octogenarian in the modern world

WHAT EUROPE DO THEY WANT?

The mood is calming down, but not fast and not yet enough. Some European leaders seem to see solving the freedom of movement problem as the key to amicable UK membership. Nobody has given enough attention to the gap between overall objectives.

I wonder what is in the minds of those who call for ever-closer union. Do they have a clear vision of how it might end up?  If you are likely to have a fight, it is nice to know what the fight is about. Is the objective a parliamentary democracy based on universal suffrage with powers delegated from a supreme authority to other elected local bodies? Is the concept of the nation-state to be eradicated? Who or what is to be the focus of individual loyalty? How is a spirit of US-NESS to be created?  Who are to be my heroes? Is it to be government by an oligarchy of those who have a certain level of formal eduction? If so how will they escape the corruption that follows power?

In the EU superstate, what would we have to give up? All existing nations will have red lines. Here are a few of mine. I don’t want to give up our legal system. I don’t want to sack the Queen. I don’t want to give up democracy: particularly the part that allows us to sack a poor government. I don’t want our armed forces to be integrated with others or commanded by a European. I don’t want to forget all our history before Europe became united. I don’t want to be forbidden to sing Rule Britannia or denied the right to watch Henry V.  I don’t want to be forced to learn an additional language. I don’t want to part of a political entity that is too large to function efficiently.

So part of my objection to the EU is that I don’t know where it is going, and ignorance breeds fear. If you perceive something to be dangerous the human instinct is to kill it quick. Some of the present rhetoric from EU leaders seems to me over-concerned with tactical issues and not with long-term objectives. I ask, “Do they think about the long term at all?” It would be a pleasure to hear some of them praising the diversity of Europe and the creativity that is has inspired.

My dream scenario is that the present crisis  sparks a “Re-dreaming” process in which the concept of compulsory conformity is openly abandoned. It can be replaced by exaltation of the values that all Europe can agree on. Freedom can be one of them. Austria has fought off the Ottoman Empire. The French have fought off Spain. We, also have fought off Spain. Spain itself fought off the Moors. European history can be exciting to anybody.

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