Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Great Britain and the E.U.

It is certainly no secret that I am no fan of the European Union. I would be hard pressed to think of a modern European problem that did not originate in or was made substantially worse by the policies of the EU. I am, however, willing to concede that there were noble intentions behind the original foundation of what would eventually become the European Union. Many of the original designers and promoters were quite conservative men who had a rather traditional sort of idea in mind for a Europe made up of independent countries joined in a common alliance so as to work out problems without resorting to war and which would foster greater economic freedom between the members. One could imagine something of a modern-day version of the Holy Roman Empire coming to mind. Though, again, I think even men like Schuman, De Gasperi and Adenauer would spin in their graves if they could see what the EU has become today, but that is another story.

However, even taking the most benevolent (to my mind) intentions to heart it is important to note that Great Britain was never part of the Holy Roman Empire, though it was certainly part of the greater entity known as Christendom. The British have a long history of standing aloof from the continent, and most Britons were once quite proud of the fact that they stood apart from Europe. They did not look so much to the continent but to the eternal blue seas and the opportunities that beckoned from far-flung shores; hence we had the once mighty but now vanished British Empire that planted the seeds for what became the American superpower and the regional powers of South Africa, India and Australia. If some might view historic British attitudes as rather arrogant, looking down their noses at the continent and ‘continental types’ it is a simple fact that with the long list of British accomplishments they had rather more to be arrogant about than most countries. All of which is to say that I find it very un-British for the modern subjects of the Queen to even desire to be part of the European Union and to think of themselves as Europeans as much as being British, or English, Welsh, Scottish or Irish for that matter.

There is more to it than perception though. For centuries it was the fundamental goal of British foreign policy to remain detached from Europe, keeping free to diplomatically maneuver and to intervene only in limited, strategic ways to prevent any one power from dominating the continent. This policy could be seen as being older than even the United Kingdom itself. Although there were other motivations involved certainly, England did intervene in the Dutch revolt at a time when Hapsburg Spain and Austria were fairly close to dominating the continent. For the largest part of modern history Britain was bedeviling the French, be it Louis XIV, Louis XV or Napoleon, who either were dominating Europe or coming close to the ability to do so. Sometimes the British have been a little too paranoid in this policy, sometimes with dangerous results. For example, prior to World War I the danger was slim to none of Imperial Germany actually dominating the whole of Europe though they were certainly, overall, the strongest continental power. The resulting war ruined everyone and under the Nazis the Germans were able to come back faster than the rest and did come to dominate the continent and Britain had to sacrifice all in the combined effort to put a stop to that.

Again, some might take a very dim view of this British meddling in continental affairs (though in every case there was at least someone and usually several who invited them to the party) when their primary interests lay with their own empire. However, it was this policy that is generally credited with allowing Britain to maintain her independence and thus the moderate government and free society Britain has traditionally been famous for. Before others should be too quick to criticize they might consider how many times foreign armies have marched through the streets of Paris, Berlin, Rome or Vienna and compare that to the number of times in the same centuries that a foreign army marched into London (I can think of only one possible occasion and in that case they were all but invited by most of the ruling class). Whatever one may say about this policy, barring the odd paranoid overreaction, it was worked quite well and to the great benefit of Great Britain.

Which makes it all the more frustrating that so many in Britain today seem content to not only allow one power, one government, to dominate the whole of Europe but even to willingly submit to it. By turning away from centuries of established foreign policy Great Britain is also turning away from the benefits that policy has brought; namely their freedom which comes from independence. In doing so, instead of drawing closer to and emphasizing the countries of the Commonwealth which whom Britain has more in common than any state on the continent, Great Britain runs the risk of losing that unique sense of themselves and of making themselves subjects to the whims, risks and failures of the ruling elite in Brussels. Already Britain (and the other EU members) have lost far too much of their independence and freedom to act as they think fit. It is rather incredible that Great Britain once rejected the authority of the Pope because they would recognize no higher earthly authority than the monarch only to willingly hand over more far-reaching powers than any king, prince or pope ever had to a collection of foreign bureaucrats. Such actions are unworthy of the United Kingdom, as is the EU as a whole. The sooner Britain is out of it, the better.


  1. The biggest goal of the left's Ideology is a single world, with a single culture, a single religion, and a single authority. I don't want to sound like a Rabid Fundamentalist or Evangelical Christian talkig of the End Times, or a Conspiracy Theorist speaking of the New World Order, but if you read any o the ealry Socialist or COmmunist Literaure or anythign from the left from the late 19th or early 20th Centiry its clear they wanted World-Wide Revolugion followed by Global Transformation and eventually the Unity of all Mankind (Now Humankind) under a sort of Brotherhood of Man ( An Idea the Humanists got from Christianity though refuse now to admit) and a large part of this scheme must be the elimination of Cultural Uniqueness.

    The British have been hit particulalry hard because they were particulalry Resistant. The same is true of the United States of America. But the once-great culure of Britain has been Eroded, and this was done so that the new Politically Correct Liberal and Humanist ideal can set in. I mean, you cant merge everyone into a homogenous culture and have hem embrace your Vales if they still remmeber their own Culture and Values and think highly of them. So its best to make them forget, or if not, then to demonise the Past. Nowadays most Britaisn are otld there past was arrogant, the Emire Evil, and Briish Culture just the result of greed and corruption, the solutin of which is workign togather, which require sintegreation intot he Eu, and htye shudl set aside all that makes them British and htink of themselves as European.

    Its just part of the standard Liberal Trope, and I am sorry to see it infest the British Isles, even Ireland the Republic.

  2. There was an old expression I once read that goes, "God is an Englishman." It's also the title of a novel!

  3. I must confess that of the great European powers, I find the attitude of the British towards their position in the world, and towards Europe, the strangest. I've always thought the EU was essentially a Franco/German Europe by another name, at least so far as the French and Germans choose to assert themselves. They will subsidize the budgetary delusions of the weaker members of the EU (e.g. Greece) only so long as it suits, and then they will apply the brakes. But the different positions of the major European continental states are explicable and make sense in historical terms.

    But the British? The very idea that some European board could tell a Manchester greengrocer how to price his turnips would have horrified the average pre-1950 Briton, and I have never come across a totally satisfactory explanation of how this changed so radically.

  4. I sometimes have problems with the British, mostly the attitude that they view the continent as being beneath them in more ways than geography but I also admire the great success and historic accomplishments of the British and as many countries as their interventions have opposed in Europe they have also helped. Some smaller countries can be more excused for feeling drawn to EU but for Britain, in context of history, is rather surprising and probably due to loss of their empire.

    EU, in my view, is just the latest effort of German domination of Europe which they have been trying to do ever since being united. The Kaiser tried it, the Nazis tried it and now the republic is accomplishing it in a more hidden, peaceful way. Countries just go along because it all happens with political deals instead of marching soldiers.

  5. Thankyou for this thoughtful and well-written article. - from New Zealand.

  6. I feel that the British are sort of demeaning to us mainland types as well, although I have the greatest respect for them and their culture.

    As for Europe, most Europeans are against the idea of a unified Europe. Most countries are against the idea. I think that diplomatic and economic cooperation is a wonderful idea, and overall, in this modern globalized world, can only strengthen the Continent. I will however say "This far, but no further". In fact, I think Brussels's influence needs to be scaled down a little bit (not Belgium, obviously, but the "European Government" and all that).

    I've never considered the English part of Europe either, nor have I Russia. They are nations that have European characteristics and have played important roles in European history, yet have always maintained a degree of separation, and not a solely physical one at that.

    Unfortunately British meddling on the continent has led to some problems in French history (Hundred Years War and a lot of the Napoleonic Wars, for example), but overall, they should be considered valuable allies.

  7. I have always thought that people would be best served if Tradition was restored, people turned back to God, and the way things work properly simply reinstated with a few modifications for our modern world.

    As a result, I’ve always though that the European Union should do without certain Countries, notably the United Kingdom, but also the Republic of Ireland, which if its so intent n being dominated by European Elites, why not just rejoin the UK s all the fancy talk of independence was meaningless anyway.

    Also, Europe, to truly be united, needs a common Language, not just a common Currency, and I’d suggest Latin. We can revive it like Hebrew was Revived, and even Modernise it so it is no longer a Dead Language. Once all peoples in Europe speak Latin integration would be easier, but the Government of the EU has to go. Instead of the current Parliament, I’d envision an Imperial Confederacy, with the Restoration of the Hapsburg Family into the Throne, r baring that at least an Elective Monarch similar to the Pope who reigns for life or until resignation or Impeachment, and who is selected by Electors. Said Emperor would be Coronated by the Pope or the Pope’s representative, and if said Emperor was not himself Catholic the service can be co-officiated by a Clergyman of his Faith. (No I did not discriminate against Atheists, they have their one Clergy, just as they have their own Religions, they just don’t call them as such.) As they want to make this a sort of United States of Europe, then I’d copy the Original American Model, in which there would be a House of Representatives and a Senate. The House of Representatives would have proportional Representation, in which we gauge the overall Population of the whole Union, and Tally out Representatives based upon percentage. EG, if there were only 100 seats (There would likely be more this is just illustrative) and France contains 20% of the total Population of Europe, then France would get 20 Seats in the House of Representatives. This model is a bit of an improvement on the American System in that it allows proportional Representation to be gauged by the actual population as opposed to fixed numbers.

    The Senate would be appointed, and each State would get Three Senators, with Two picked from anyone the Legislators and Heads of Government and State wish, preferably form an Aristocracy.

    There would also be a Supreme Court with a fixed number of Justices, at either 9 or 13. The US doesn’t have a fixed number so he President can technically appoint a new Justice even though one has not decided to retire, though most Americans are ignorant of this fact, and in fact most American Presidents no longer try this Manoeuvre. It was, however, used in the past, and can be again, so I’d rather have it in writing that the Justices were fixed.

    As for the UK, I think they should start a confederacy with the Commonwealth realms, at first simply Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and then expanding onward to others, so they can all have a shared citizenship, freely trade goods or move about, and have a shared Military and some common laws.

    Of course the British parliamentary System would be copied for the Confederacy, and new Lordship Dynasties created for Her Majesty’s other Realms such as Canada so they can have a Proper Aristocracy that can attend the House of Lords in the new Confederacy. Perhaps some of the now displaced Peers can be part of the Grand Federal Parliament.

    This is an Idle dream of course but, its worth something to consider.

  8. The Imperial Federation was actually a serious proposal Zarove, and there was also a Habsburg Commonwealth on the cards too. Gavrilo Princep killed both in 1914.

    Nothing wrong with ambition though.

  9. As readers will see shortly the last Hapburg Emperor did try to create a federal sort of empire out of his dominiions, a take on the "United States of Greater Austria" idea but the situation was too far gone for that to have a chance. Some members of the family are still for it.

    To defend the Brits a little bit when it comes to closer ties with the Commonwealth, I think they would be more open to the idea or at least it would have a better chance if so many Commonwealth politicians did not try to curry favor with artificial neo-nationalist rhetoric by whipping up anti-British sentiment.

  10. The Anti-British Attitude extends tot he British, and is just pat ofthe Cultural Trend in rejecing the Old Order in Favour of he New udner the presumoion that the Oldwas Oppressive and cruel and wicked, and he new is about Tolerance, Equality, and Diversity and wll lead to a Utopia.

    It also divides people fom their Traditional allies or Families, and makes them ready to accept the new Idels and Values of the emerging Global Culure, whioch can only occure if the old Values de out, and the best way for thta is to get everyon to turn on them in disgust.
    On that note, this article by you starts with a British Blue Ensign with the Feild being occupied by the EU flag, off centre, and the Union Jack n the Corner over all. If one didn't know better one woudl assume the Bitish came to their senses, and decied to reclaim he Emoire, and Started with a Coup of Europe, and htis is the New FLag of Europe, which represents its allegience o the BRitish Crown and EMpire.

    Ah, such a Dream is this!

  11. I have to be honest, I used to be one of those Brits who was strongly pro-EU, though mostly out of vague considerations concerning trading rights and international diplomacy. Of late I've become increasingly sceptical of the whole thing and this article has pretty much explained a great deal of the reason for that.

    Thank you for this post. As ever, it provides much food for thought.


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