Nutty eurosceptics are always good for a giggle, but can be deeply frustrating for the more sensible anti-EU types, as Tory MEP Daniel Hannan has recently discovered following his (rather silly) expulsion from the EPP – and as those who attended the Pro-Referendum Rally a few months back also found out when they found themselves associating with BNP thugs, middle-aged women dressed as Britannia, and shouty conspiracy theorists.
After all, who wants to be associated with the kinds of historically, constitutionally and legally ignorant, utterly deluded (and highly hilarious) ravings of Telegraph comments section regular “Magna Carta” and his ilk, with their propensity for spewing out gems like this (from the comments to that Hannan piece):
Now that the Queen has abdicated and become a citizen of the EU republic what happens to all the lands the Crown owns…
These lands will become part of the assets of the EU republic.
45,000.000.000 dollars worth.
This will be used for the benifit of the EU and not of the British Commonwealth.
What most people do not know about is that the EU will then have a claim to New York and Washington DC USA.
Washington DC is in the Countie of Stafford and i come from Stafford shire England. Us to be known as Stafford countie. from the Earls of Essex and Ewe Duke of Buckingham,s lands.
Our family gave the first White House to the American people which is still standing in New York to day.
For similar insanity, check out the message boards of leading (and intermittently rather good) anti-EU blog EU Referendum pretty much any day of the week.
Raving EU conspiracy theories abound (I’ve even come up with a few myself), and are usually good for a giggle. But it can be exasperating for the more rational anti-EU types – of whom I know many. Indeed, it was largely the more maniacal anti-EU lunatics that first set me on the path to supporting British membership after a lifetime being fairly hardcore anti-EU. (The specific initial reason for my defecting to the pro-EU camp was, if I recall, a particularly smug and stupid article about something to do with the EU by Peter Oborne that appeared in the Spectator.)
But every now and then, it works the other way. Such as when you find out that Patricia Hewitt is likely to be Britain’s next European Commissioner (via), or whenever former Europe Minister Dennis MacShane opens his mouth.
I’ve never subscribed to “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. I do, however, reckon that if my friends all turn out to be morons, it’s worth thinking about joining the enemy. This is why I keep voting for different parties at pretty much every election. (Though I used to claim I was voting FOR specific policies or candidates, I’ve realised that I’ve actually always been voting AGAINST something.)
The way the EU’s been going recently, I’m getting increasingly tempted to switch back to being anti-EU again. I mean, just imagine if the British Commissioner was Patricia Hewitt and the President of the EU was Tony Blair… How could I, without massive hypocrisy, support such an organisation?
But then I remember the nutters in the other camp, and turn back. Currently, I find myself huddled in a shell hole in No Man’s Land, bayonet fixed. Nonetheless, I remain significantly closer to the pro-EU lines than the anti – with my gun trained sometimes forwards, sometimes back, firing off shots at anyone stupid enough to put their head above the trenches on either side.
Because, let’s face it, no one political party or ideology has all the answers. To think otherwise is to go in for a form of secular religion that’s just as dogmatic and stupid as anything the bishops, rabbis and mullahs have ever come up with. A series of loose alliances with groups that reflect aspects of your belief is by far the better course – and never commit all-out.
Sitting in No Man’s Land may mean you get shot by both sides (and yes, I have been attacked by both europhiles and europhobes in my time), but at least you’re free to follow your own orders, rather than feeling obliged to charge over the top with the rest of the herd as soon as your chosen leader blows his whistle. Times change, opinions change, – it’s the height of naive arrogance to assume that you’ll always think the same way, and (as far as I’m concerned) simply pathetic to follow the party line rather than your conscience.