Whilst Messrs. Gove and Frost may well be sitting smug-faced in Whitehall at the recent EU fumble over vaccine supply, what we have witnessed between the two sides cannot be healthy for democracy. In such an adversarial climate like this, it is impossible to treat EU leaders as human beings who are just as fallible as anybody else. Surely the most unifying, and indeed unexpected, thing that the government could do would be not to ram home the fact that the EU made a mistake. We may all come out of this crisis a lot faster as an international community if we have mutual respect and recognise that the EU Commission are not saints and the UK government are not devils.
Historian James Hawes (“What can our cause learn from the Jacobites?”, TNE #231) writes intriguingly on whether our dreams of a return to the European Union will share the fate of the 18th century attempts to create a Jacobite restoration. Romantic but doomed.
Hawes, urges us not to give up hope.
In emotive words he tells us to “….Heave out that old Jacobite salver …and fill it once again, that we may clink our glasses to absent friends across the water…”
However, as British European neo-Jacobites we perhaps need historical romance to sustain us in the arduous task ahead. So, let us dream that on the death of “our Sovereign Lady, Queen Elizabeth” the crown reverts to the direct Stuart descendant of James II/Bonnie Prince Charlie; namely Franz, Duke of Bavaria, or close family.
They appear noble yet modern, intelligent and sensible, but above all European in outlook. And fittingly as Stuarts, Catholic. This way we may clink our glasses both to absent friends and the Stuart monarch “across the water”.
Nick Cohen (“Liberal blunders are fuelling the rise of populism,” TNE #231) says that the European Commission “cannot fulfil the first duty of government”. I suggest it is precisely because the EC is not a proper government that Europe has lagged behind the UK in vaccination. The EC, backed by the member states in the Council, tried a centralised process when perhaps leaving it to members states might have been more effective. However, if a proper European government had been in place, the chances could have been greater for more decisive and effective action.
There is obviously no question of our going back in the EU, at least for a very long time.
We are regarded both as a laughing stock and untrustworthy, and there is no reason why they would have us. Unlike other members, we were never really committed anyway. However, Brexit remains the greatest deceit ever perpetrated on the British public and, after a lot of likely friction, the only realistic outcome is a Norway-type trade agreement.
Bury St Edmunds
I read your letters page (TNE #231) and was pleased that you published an opposing view from Tony Potter, where he wrote: “At the time of the referendum I was torn between the pros and cons of EU membership. I guess my mind was torn 52/48 %. But I, reluctantly, voted Brexit. If you asked me today, I would vote Brexit without hesitation.”
Sadly, as with many such folk he does not offer any reasons as to why he would vote Brexit without hesitation. I would be genuinely interested as to why? I have yet to see any benefits of leaving.
So come on Tony, why would you vote Brexit without hesitation?
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