Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Tuesday, 24 May 2016
Here in the U.K. there is a great struggle going on across the nation to do with whether or not we should leave the E.U. (in case you haven't noticed).
Journalists are travelling to all sorts of European countries, trying to ascertain what it really means to be a European.
It is turning out to be just as difficult a concept to grasp as what it is to be a German, a Dutchman or an Englishman.
It will be just as acceptable to refer to yourself as an Englishman, they say, if you are also a member of that great tribe of Europe. You do, after all, consider yourself English, even though you are simultaneously British, don't you? So where's the conflict?
Holland, a Canadian was saying on the radio this morning, has seen itself as a haven for the dispossessed for centuries, whilst at the same time as carving great territories for itself across the world, making great highways of the oceans whilst increasing its domestic territory by pushing the ocean back into the highways. Then why are there loads of Dutch weaver's cottages dotted around the South of England from when Protestants fled Holland in the 17th century?
Great Britain was never any greater than when fighting the Dutch and Spanish for someone else's territories, but in this context, the word 'great' only alludes to a collection of little islands lumped into one territory, so don't get ideas above your current station in world politics. It should be called 'Greater Britain' now that Ireland is a republic, then politicians could say, "Britain has never been greater!" and still not be accused of lying.
2nd generation Brits are now forced to admit to something like, "I feel British first, English second, European third and Indian fourth." Well, there is no such thing as a true Englishman, I am afraid to say. We have been a mixture of all the invaders since the island broke away from the coast of what is now Holland and France, hundreds of thousands of years ago. It's a myth.
Now stop right there and remember one thing amongst all these stupid attempts to sway you one way or the other:
Europe is a continent. It is a large body of land that has remained in one lump, like Africa, America, and Asia.
A rousing anthem ripped-off from Beethoven (which originally celebrated the defeat of the French) and a flag which accretes little stars by the month should not distract you from this simple fact.
If you want to talk about economics, then go ahead, but don't muddy the water by trying to convince us that there is such a thing as a European spiritual identity.