Thursday, January 16, 2020


However much we may dissect policy or discus technicalities, sometimes politics is emotional, based on a sense of who we are and who we want to be. It's about what we find instinctively attractive. Here are two speeches in the European Parliament.

This is what we are leaving behind.

The second is what we are staying with. You can watch Ann Widdecombe's speech if you have the stomach for it. I can't bear to post it. You will have to follow the link. She spews out hatred for foreigners (aka free movement - a reciprocal right, something she ignores) in a furious response to a request that Britain does what the Leave campaign actually promised to do during the referendum. It's English nationalism in the raw - contemptuous, paranoid, triumphalist, and immensely stupid. It's hateful, gut-wrenchingly hateful, and not wholly sane.

When nationalism has been unleashed in the past, it has destroyed Europe. It has committed genocide. It has smashed communities. It has spread misery. The EU is a conscious attempt to defuse the poison by brining independent nations together in a community. It's about taming and controlling political nationalism, not the impossible utopianism of the abolition of nations.

This is why I am an instinctive European. It's something that I feel as much as think. I am drawn to the open, inclusiveness of the EU, regardless of the institutional framework. I am a European. It is my identity, just as much as is my Englishness.

And so, at the end of this month, I will be one of the people who will be heartbroken. I will be devastated, as much for the future of my country as for myself. And I fear for our entry into the darkness of a malign nationalism. It is why I hope that Reintke is right and that we will return. 


SP said...

Completely share these thoughts, feelings and experience. The greatest irony of course being that the “if you love Europe so much why don’t you go live there” crowd have just stopped us doing precisely that.

The Plump said...

Not only have they stopped us, they haven't spotted that we and they have been living in Europe for the past 47 years, and still are for the time being. Their there is, in fact, here. But then despite winning and getting what they want, they are still angry. It's pathological politics.