by Paul Phillips
Britain may be an island. But 8,000 years ago it wasn’t. A cataclysmic tidal event caused the land mass that is now at the bottom of the English Channel to flood.
Anthropologists say that about 5,000 hunter-gatherers lived there in scattered communities. The speed and force of the event was such that anyone in the way of one of Earth’s biggest-ever tsunamis would have been torn limb from limb.
So it’s ridiculous to pretend we’re not part of Europe.
But that’s not what the referendum on June 23 is about. The referendum asks us whether we want to remain in the EU or not.
I’m losing friends at a rate of knots, people who insist on their ‘European-ness’. Well, we’re as European now, probably more so – in fact, definitely more so – than when we voted in the last referendum regarding our willingness or not to remain in the Common Market. The ferries from Dover to Calais and the Channel Tunnel have made Europeans of us all.
That’s not what June 23rd is about.
Leaving the EU is not going to make it harder to visit Europe. Leaving the EU is not going to lose us our friends in France, Italy, Spain and Germany. Leaving the EU is not going to dissuade other European manufacturers and service providers from trading with us – selling and buying.
And pretending that the introduction of the EU has prevented war in Europe is to completely ignore the 30 or so conflicts that have occurred since the end of WW11. Not least of them were the conflicts in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo.
The EU was powerless to end these terrible events. That fell to the United Nations and, ultimately, NATO.
Having said that, it is not fanciful to suggest that the inception of the Common Market (the EEC), now the European Union, put an end to the poisonous politics that pitted Germany against France, requiring the intervention of Great Britain, that twice led to world wars in the space of 25 years last century.
But Britain’s exit from the EU is not going to change that. Nor is it going to change our ‘European-ness’. It is simply going to free the UK from the undemocratic, stultifying bureaucratic mess that is the European Commission.
And that is what June 23rd is about. It is about the stupid EU, and not about our relationship with our friends in Europe.