A few thoughts on EU direction of travel post Brexit, why the EU is critical to peace in Europe, and what can be described as the Germany Problem.
What will Brexit mean to the EU
For many countries in the EU the UK is a counterweight to German dominance and to many northern EU countries, including Germany, the UK is (was) a counterweight to the ‘statism’ instincts of France and southern Europe, and a champion of market economics.
So despite the Mr Awkward tag, UK EU membership was significant; probably more significant to the EU than the EU is to the UK.
Now the dust has settled a few observations on that event 12 days ago. Was it really only 12 days, the country seems to have changed so much already.
Brexit was a process not an event
Britain never really joined, in the proper sense of the word, this community of nations, formed just 58 years ago (1), for the most noble of purposes, to end war in Europe.
Right from the start Britain dragged its feet, demanded special treatment and opt-outs. Charles de Gaulle was on the money when he accused Britain of a “deep-seated hostility” towards European construction in 1967; de Gaulle threatened to remove France from the project if Britain joined. Here was a man who understood the British well as you might expect given his war time years in London.
Of the main political parties in English politics Labour are very much the odd one out and this goes some way to explaining that crass, tasteless pledge 4 mug, and, more importantly their anti-immigration policy which is basically just UKIP with the honesty stripped away.
Parties come into being for a reason; Conservatives to protect the interests of land owners and business, and the status-quo, the Greens born out of an environmental pressure group, UKIP to address the concerns of those who have a strong ‘fear of the other’. All three of the above have ‘the reason for being’ very much in current focus and this leads to consistent policy that sticks close to their ‘principles and values’.
The Labour Party is an orphan. Formed in the 1890s to give political muscle to millions of industrial workers in the mills, coal mines and factories of predominantly northern England, the Labour Party’s reason for being is long gone. Continue reading →