Soon I hope to have in my posession a short(ish) manuscript which purports to show “how the inherent rights of the people in the U.K. (which are already constitutionally, legally established) will be annihilated by the proposed d’Estaing constitution for Europe” and, apparently, “After perusing this book, readers are enabled to perceive the ignorance or degenerate motivations of every person who speaks well of the d’Estaing ‘constitution’.”
So, ignoring the fact that – as I have run over innumerable times before but as so many anti-EU voices still refuse to accept – there are no such things as inherent rights in the UK (also comments section here), I am fascinated to find out how a “thesis” which starts from a position of ignorance (not to mention hyperbole, judging by some of the other claims) will reveal my own. Then again, I suppose my “Europhilia” means I have degenerate motivations, so I doubt you should take me too seriously…
Vaguely related, a couple of weeks ago one of the semi-regular anti-EU commentors on here emailed to ask me why I turned pro. Here’s my reply (which was fairly rushed):
Here’s the blog’s first ever post – it may give you an idea, but probably won’t answer all the questions about why I turned pro-EU (and I can only answer for myself – I have no idea why any national politician would want to see closer integration as it can surely only diminish their own power).
The short(ish) answer is that, having got a pretty good grasp of both
British and European history, I am fully aware of how times change –
and of how incredibly closely Britain’s fate has been tied to that of the rest of Europe for most of its existence.
Attitudes held 500 years ago are (mostly) no longer valid today; attitudes held today will most likely no longer be valid in 500 years. Add to that the fact that Britain has been in decline for the last century, and I reckon that although we may be able to hack it on our own for the time being, maybe even for another century or two, long term (VERY long term) we’ll be better off having a bit of backup.
In other words, I don’t want to see Britain jump into a European superstate in the immediate future. If I genuinely thought Britain was capable of coping on her own, I’d say never.
I just reckon that the whole concept of the nation state is heading for a shakeup. The world is globalising, and it makes sense to broaden our horizons – even if that does mean, long term, that Britain itself ends up just part of a greater whole.
After all, Britain itself is made up of innumerable minor kingdoms, from Kent, Wessex and Mercia to the various Welsh principalities and Scotland. In two thousand years’ time, I doubt if the then inhabitants of this island will have any real concept of “Britishness”, just as I have no concept of being a subject of the kingdom of Sussex, despite having grown up within the borders of that ancient realm. Am I bothered by this? No.
As I say, I’m talking VERY long term best interests – for the people, not the nation – and for the people who will be living when our decisions take effect, not the short-term interests of those of us alive now. The current EU is flawed, and due for a major shake-up ï¿½ on that we agree. The idea behind it, however, is a sound one – and I have faith (for that is all you can have) that eventually the EU itself will more closely come to resemble something on which we can all agree, and evolve naturally through the years in the best interests of all the people of Europe.
I couldn’t care less, long term, about the fate of any of the nation states – they were all formed over time via a combination of mutual agreement and conflict, their borders and institutions are largely arbitrary, and our status as citizens of one or another is purely an accident of birth. In this more civilised age, I’m hoping Europe can unite without the conflict, and that the people of Europe can choose for themselves to live peacefully together. VERY, VERY long term, I’d like to see the entire planet united as one, in some kind of wishy-washy liberal utopia of the likes on display in that Star Trek nonsense. In my lifetime, I’ll settle for a gradual decline in unthinking nationalism and growth in close international co-operation.
So, even shorter, I guess I’m some kind of idealist.