Thursday, 19 June 2008

GOD’S LITTLE ENGLANDERS - to say nothing of the Irish!

“The voters of Ireland left the EU’s constitutional plans in tatters last week by
rejecting the Lisbon treaty. Now the European political elite is desperately
trying to find a way to get round their verdict.”

So, inevitably, I found myself wondering just how to create international integration without giving up national integrity, when the main problem seems to be a confusion within the A-list governments as to how exactly that is to be achieved. Personally, of course, I would be quite happy for Britain to be run from either Brussels or Berlin. There wouldn‘t be many jokes, admittedly, but all the trains would be on time, people would be able to get medical treatment before they dropped dead, and women wouldn‘t have to shave their armpits.

But Alice, a diehard isolationist, said I was taking a treasonous political stand.

Although a stout supporter of the Gender Recognition Bill, she nevertheless espouses the theory that Berlin and Paris exercise a detrimental influence on the attitude of the EU towards Westminster. My own suggestion that if there was one endeavour more formidable than teaching English to the world, then undoubtedly it was to teach the world to the English, seemed to be a trifle over her head. But both Alice and I agreed on the essential point that Zeno, in 300 BC Athens, already preached the doctrine of a World State, while the Romans introduced a common currency that extended from beyond the Tigris to Hadrian‘s Wall, whereas today even a £ 10 note issued by the Bank of Scotland arouses fierce xenophobic suspicion. It was all too retro for words.

“Just get over yourselves!” I said.

Naturally, she was sympathetic, Alice said, but nothing could alter the fact that a Kraut was a Kraut and the common European currency nothing but a Franco-German plot to flood Britain with worthless banknotes, causing massive inflation and, ultimately, the collapse of the British economy. Frau Merkel, after all, had long since promised to resurrect the “core” of the constitution — whose provisions include the creation of an EU foreign minister and the scrapping of national vetoes on justice and home affairs — “despite its rejection by French and Dutch voters in 2005”. Alice’s eyes veiled with a deep melancholy. And even more ambitious plans by the German Chancelloress to revive the defunct European Union constitution had set Britain on a collision course with Berlin, “and most of the EU’s 27 member states.”

Wasn’t Britain the odd one out, I asked?

Alice demurred, less than thrilled at the prospect of sharing a common economy with an overheated, overly familiar Frog, let alone start dating a Hun and dye her arm pits as well. “And, at any rate,” she said, “God does not approve of foreigners.“

I’m sceptical of this.

Some things simply don't translate well into English. Foreign interference, foreign government, foreign relations, are all hauled into the pillory. The element of humility is missing from Britain’s protestations, however. Truth to tell, they’re murdering one of mankind’s greatest dreams. The dream of Human Brotherhood. Reasoning from a rather jaundiced post-Empire perspective, there is no notion of the common weal so heartily embraced for over three centuries. No suggestion of national sacrifice. The doctrines of moral and social progress have buckled and bowed. Once pioneers in the use of the stick and the carrot - or a “a good thrashing first and great kindness afterwards” - over time, the imperial dream morphed into a multicultural nightmare. The converted native has come home to roost. While Magna Carta has degenerated into a series of Hate Laws and “protective“ legislation, the Mother of Parliaments is tainted in her own blood by a cumulative inheritance of nepotism and corruption, which in her indigenous population has taken the form of drunkenness and delinquency.

This is Great Britain’s apotheosis - Albion is decomposing!

Having prematurely delivered her African dominions to the machete, even Scotland has begun to tire of the benefits of the Act of Union. Looking like something from an old history book, Britannia has become divided against herself, even dysfunctional, stripped of virtually every territory, a melancholy spinster weary of her suitors, badly governed, atrociously taxed, caked in multicultural make-up and massively spied upon, her post-imperial depression has been compounded by a deepening sense of what the Conventions of the European Union have done to her former moral authority in world affairs.

But, trust me on this, the people never come of age.

With the general public's unerring capacity for getting it wrong, they represent number, mass, the limitless amorphous. Nor does the pivot of history turn upon public processes of majority decision-making, but upon the effective exercise of responsible authority and independent judgement. But there’s John Bull, hiding in his garden shed, the first refuge of the thwarted egomaniac. He will rather die in poverty and misery, as all self-centred people do, then surrender to the common weal. Once the arbiter of nations and the defender of the liberties of Europe, it is hard to see him as anything other now than a backwood little Englander with a chip on his shoulder, an irreconcilable opponent.

Poor Britannia, neither by the grace of God nor the consent of the people, but by a sort of conjuring trick, she is trying to accomplish the hardest thing on earth, international assimilation - for England will never be England again, or we are both mistaken...



Jonathan said...

Great post, some fine turns of phrase.

Could you, perhaps, be a little more clear on where you politically stand on Europe, perhaps?

As for Britain being the odd one out. May I ask what exactly is wrong with that, especially if she is. Isn't being the odd one out what freedom means? Or perhaps you were a bully in the playgroup, contemptuous of the likes of me.

It seems to me the EU was born of fear and greed, the fear of another war (fair enough), and the desire to maximise wealth by a) unifying internal trade (fair enough) and b) lining the pockets of unremovable eurocrats (er...). Hardly heart and soul stirring stuff.

Moreover, I found it worrying enough that the EU big wigs didnt want their prescriptions for our lives to be confirmed by nations' grateful referenda; but now it looks downright sinister that they can presume that the point of having a referendum is to ignore its outcome if you dont like it.

On the other hand, I share your aversion to the caricature of the little englander; which, alas, may all too often be a fair one. And I also agree that with euroscepticism is too often associated a rejection of the 'brotherhood of man', and i don't mean the band of bards.

But wanting ones ancestral lands to continue to be governed by a political tradition that has been the envy and voluntarily chosen model for imitation for many beyond these shores (he said Churchillianly) need not necessarily involve a fearful, xenophobic rejection either of our cultural similarities with Europe (where they exist, despite our clear otherness)or of the hopes for the peaceful co-existence of the peoples of the Earth.

Your attitudes towards the masses are interesting. I partially share them. I can see how putting the vote into the hands of the mindlessly manipulatable can merely gives unimpeachable power, if secured behind a wall of populist, 'democratic' justifications, to the manipulators, pulling mind strings. But this fact just calls for the augmentation of individuality and critical thinking within the masses, and a return to responsibility and the desire to serve amongst our ruling classes. It needn't lead to an argument for a deconstruction of representative democracy.

I cant believe i said 'augmentation'!

Selena Dreamy said...

Could you, perhaps, be a little more clear on where you politically stand on Europe, perhaps?

My position transcends political factionalism. Historical evolution, in my opinion, must always proceed in the direction of the greater Union of Man. Britain is conspicuous for falling apart. Scotland’s independence is imminent. What about Wales? Bradford next? Independence for ethnic minorities? That’s devolution, parochialism, xenophobia, not social or historical progress..

It seems to me the EU was born of fear and greed:

So was the British Empire. Perhaps the greatest, unifying historical movement of all times, Mother of Nations. But the fact that the execution of an idea lacks human accomplishment should not be held to taint the humanitarian ideal itself.

it looks downright sinister that they can presume that the point of having a referendum is to ignore its outcome if you dont like it.


What must be noted about the Irish referendum, however, is that it was conducted under extremely opaque conditions, and if - trust me on this - social evolution had had to be ratified by referenda, the UK would still be using the old monetary system instead of the decimal one.

I can see how putting the vote into the hands of the mindlessly manipulatable can merely gives unimpeachable power, if secured behind a wall of populist, 'democratic' justifications, to the manipulators,

And remember, the lowest common denominator always triumphs. On August 19, 1934, a plebiscite was held to give Hitler absolute powers, and it is indeed a blessing that the pivot of history does not turn upon public processes of decision-making, but upon the effective exercise of elected parliamentary authority and independent judgement of action.

Thank you, Jonathan, for taking the time to read and reply to this post!


Jonathan said...

Ironic that centrifugal and centripetal movements, away from and towards the centre, define so much of political reality these days. What point exactly independence if you're just going to be governed from Brussels. Presumably some degree of motivation is Nietzsche's ressentiment against ones historical oppressor. Any new oppressor must by definition be better! The motivation of revenge is sweet, if ignoble.

I dont like your tactic of argument re the British Empire. Just because X did Y, and Y is Bad doesnt excuse Z for doing Y, surely.

I can see that greed motivated the British Empire, less so fear..but you may have a point regarding France, Holland, Denmark and Spain. They'd take if we didn't etc...?

Many Islamic Jihadists, and perchance others, are pretty frank, I think, about wanting to use democracy to destroy democracy.

Democracy needs to be reconceptualised such as to be to by definition exclude this possibility; just as tolerance should be reconceptualised to exclude the tolerance of intolerance.

Jonathan said...


Democracy needs to be reconceptualised such as to, by definition, exclude this possibility.

Tis my pleasure to be thoughtfully responsive to your thoughtfulness.

-Stuart- said...

It seems to me that your analysis lacks an appreciation for the most appropriate level at which "Man" - beyond matters of social, cultural and economic interaction - can most stably and most responsively be governed.

That simply cannot be transferred ever upwards, without creating an ever enlarged disaffected minority, at the price of democratic stability.

This, may I suggest, is the problem at the heart of those Scottish and Welsh independence movements you mention. Those very examples should be beacons lighting our way to the conclusion that, if not even the UK, Europe can never be acceptably governed as one.

The EU is doing what every empire has done before it. Where once there were armies, today there is money. In talking of having a "dimension of Empire", even Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso has admitted it. Most recently, witness the howls against the "ungrateful" Irish, as if their continued compliant transfer of powers had been bought and paid for. What happened to that much-vaunted 'solidarity'?

If we wish to progress, then it is surely a mistake to cling unrelentingly to 1920s ideas, embodied in 1950s structures. Today, the world is a very different place, with different problems, requiring new solutions.

Richard Havers said...

You're not mistaken. Read a little Peter Ackroyd before retiring ce soir....

Selena Dreamy said...

So right you are, Richard - Ackroy's Albion is long overdue...

Selena Dreamy said...

“Today, the world is a very different place, with different problems, requiring new solutions.”

Such as?

“Those very examples should be beacons lighting our way to the conclusion that, if not even the UK, Europe can never be acceptably governed as one.”

Well, if that is a satisfactory solution to what has been debated so far, then there is absolutely no cause to go on debating it!

Jonathan said...

In my view we need the strongest political ties to operate between people at the local and culturally specific level, and the weakest between regions and nations at the intenational level. So the opposite of what the Eu envisions. Yes, of course there must be international co-operation and organisation, for trade and the sakes of harmony, and mutual understanding and development, etc. But ultimately just as the individual should be his or her own ruler, so too should local communities.

All else is a surrender of the concrete realities of life to vaporous abstraction.

Politics is not life. This much is obvious. Its role is to be reclusive and modest enough to allow the real business of life (which requires order and peace) to proceed.

Anonymous said...

If the lowest common denominator always triumphs, which presumably means all elections will result in the wrong result, then how can we place any trust in elected officials? Elected by whom, if not by the plebs? Or would it be better if the Bilderberg Group elected officials on our behalf, since, after all, the people can know nothing and will only elect Hitler if trusted with any power.

i am myself wary of democracy but much of that is because people are just so ill-educated and ill-informed and unaccustomed to thought that they'll vote for men like Tony Blair because he has more charisma than John Major. If you feel the Irish vote is meaningless because Hitler won over about 35% of the population in some plebiscite back in the 30s, then presumably you feel democracy is unviable - so how do elected officials fit into that?

i distrust bureaucracy intensely because in my experience it becomes utterly self-serving. i've also read enough of the regs of the EU to think they must be either insane or close to it. i don't distrust foreigners particularly - indeed, i usually prefer talking to French etc. than to English people. i just distrust bureaucrats and i don't see a New World Order as in any way synonymous with an Ode to Joy-esque recognition that all men are brothers. Indeed, the NWO you advocate seems to me a hideous parody of this.

Anonymous said...

Well all this to one side - and I am sure it is very interesting but we must get on!

I have 3 bottles of Asda Pomagne - some cheshire cheese and a leather corset... do you fancy a night in the hot tub and a bit of a fuck afterwards? I am not that heterosexual but for you I will make an exception...

Selena Dreamy said...

“I am not that heterosexual...

I wonder, Mutley, if you would care to qualify that? I’m collecting material for my forthcoming post on Homosexuality!

Selena Dreamy said...

Elberry, I am reluctant to quarrel with your spirited polemic, but it is only partially applicable.

Nor am I defending the Lisbon Treaty, which is a minor example of the chaos surrounding an enterprise that was ill-organised and resented from start to finish.

I am defending the representative principle, and the right of those whom I have elected to Parliament to rebalance a self-image that has drifted from patriotism and justifiable pride in the country's achievements towards an increasingly defensive and xenophobic nationalism! Indeed, the democratic justice of national referenda may well be the most resounding of injustices: government by the lowest common denominator leads in reality to a government where altruistic values and democratic humanism no longer play a part.

Anonymous said...

One danger i vaguely foresee is that we may be saved from the New World Order by, as you say, xenophobic nationalism, which wouldn't be much of an alternative, though i suppose it would have its good sides; it's just it'd have lots of bad sides too.

Anonymous said...

Well such categoriea are a bit odd if you ask me... I think its a kinda continuum me self like a bell curve.... normalis bi!!