If our planet was born 24 hours ago, then life began 8 hours ago; fish appeared in the oceans 45 minutes ago; our ancestors in Africa lived as naked bipedals side by side with apes 30 seconds, ago and human civilisation, as we know it, began only 0.75 seconds ago. Events of the last 100 years, including the foundation of the EU, happened milliseconds ago.
A large number of British politicians in the UK Conservative Party claim that whilst Britain is a European nation it should not be “run by the European Union” which is of course the heart of Western Europe today. This perception of Britain as ‘detached’ from Europe is historic nonsense. It should be challenged, ridiculed and discarded.
What is the origin of Britons? Bryan Sykes (“The Blood of the Isles”), Stephen Oppenheimer (“The Origins of the British”) and academics at Oxford and London University have published scientific evidence suggesting that most ancient Britons descend from the Basques in northern Spain whose ancestors were Egyptian and Berber hunter gatherers from north Africa when they migrated to the Iberian Peninsula around 15,000 BCE. Subsequently, the Phoenicians came to Britain (5,000 BCE) followed by people from Belgium, Flanders, Gaul and Italy.
Roman rule of Britain (50 BCE to 350 AD) impacted on its genetic pool, politics, society and religion. Subsequent invasions of Britain by the Danes, Norwegians, Swedish, Angles & Saxons from Germany and the French made Britain truly European well before the EU was even conceived! William, the Duke of Normandy, invaded Britain in 1066. French was the language of the English royal court for more than 300 years. In 1717, Prince George of Hanover, was invited by the British parliament to be King. He spoke very little English and preferred his own country and culture. His son was crowned King George II in 1727. George II, supported by his Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, helped to create a new working relationship between King and parliament that survives to this day. His son, King George III, led Britain to war with the French & Americans and the loss of our colonies.
Queen Victoria’s mother was German. Victoria chose to marry her German cousin Albert. German was their language of choice in private. Albert’s influence was significant. Their numerous children married European princes and princesses. Queen Elizabeth II is related to most European monarchs.
Over the last 15,000 years, the Basques from Spain, Belgians, Flemish, Gauls, Romans, Scandinavians, Anglo Saxons from Germany and the French settled in Britain. In the last 100 years, thousands of Italians, Greeks, Poles, Hungarians, Russians and others came to Britain as they fled from persecution in their own countries. Virtually every family in Britain can trace their European roots. Therefore, Britain is more European than any other country in the EU.
Despite a common human origin, an historic genetic ‘union’ through invasion/settlement, centuries of trade with Europe and a shared Christian faith, some people in Britain remain sceptical of Europe. Europeans have been at war with each other for 2000 years. Wars for territory and trade as well as religious persecution forced many Europeans to cross national boundaries in search of work and peace. World War I (1914-1918) resulted in death, poverty and homelessness for millions of families.
60 million people worldwide, including 20 million Russians, died in World War II. It maimed, impoverished and displaced many more. It scarred and shamed humanity forever when two atomic bombs burnt to death millions of innocent civilians. Many Europeans, including excellent scientists, musicians, artists and engineers emigrated to the USA and Canada. European industry and commerce were destroyed.
The iron curtain imposed misery and hardship on Europeans as they became victims of years of political hostility, military rivalry and espionage between the US and Russia. Millions of Europeans struggled to build their homes and find employment under Russian communism and dictatorship that denied them democracy and freedom.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) was founded in 1949. It is a wide and deep military alliance linking major European nations with the United States and Canada. It is an organisation where all member nations share sovereignty, influence and responsibility. Americans and Europeans supply, manage and support all aspects of the NATO alliance. President Trump of USA has criticised the unequal share of the financial cost of NATO. Such criticism is unfair as the USA benefits substantially with its supply of overpriced military hardware that EU nations have to pay for! NATO is accepted as a good guarantor of EU efforts to promote and maintain peace and territorial integrity of the EU Member states and beyond.
Germany and France helped create the European Coal & Steel Community to strengthen European alliance and prevent war. In 1955, Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg & Holland convened in Rome to sign the Treaty of Rome that laid the foundation of today’s European Union. Britain was invited to attend and be a founder member. Britain declined without any debate in Westminster. This was an historic mistake and a lost opportunity to lead Europe.
British membership in 1955 could have helped to create a more efficient economic and social European Union:
• The European Commission as a true civil service – transparent, accountable and subservient to Parliament
• Faster enlargement of the EU with an earlier lifting of the iron curtain
• Tragedies in Czechoslovakia and the Balkans would have been prevented
• Free and fair trade beyond the EU would have helped lift the living standards of poor countries
• Competition and subsidiarity would be the hallmarks of the EU economy
The European Commission has continued to improve its performance and the election of a new lady President is an indication of how competence and merit prevail in the election of such positions. Private sector discipline and direct public access to the Commission & European Parliament should drive the EU and this can be achieved if it is mandatory that all candidates seeking jobs with the European Commission must have real working experience for at least 5 years in the public or private sector.
The European Parliament should encourage EU member states to select their candidates with commercial and professional backgrounds with experience of work in the real world. Choosing ancient national politicians and rewarding political party activists to stand for safe seats for the European Parliament is a recipe for disaster for the economic and social welfare of EU citizens. Conviction, competence and determination to serve the community above self should be the minimum requirements in any candidate chosen to be in the European Parliament.
The financial crash in 2008-09 precipitated a crisis of confidence in British politics. Gordon Brown’s Labour government sought to find solutions that included some cuts in expenditure for health, education, social and housing provision. David Cameron’s Conservative government introduced substantial and widespread cuts in public services that caused chaos, especially in the National Health Service, education and housing. These cuts, precipitated hardship experienced by most British people with low incomes, forced many to seek help from food banks and increased the number of homeless people who now sleep on the streets of British towns and cities. Such social and economic deprivation of the public created an opportunity for political dialogue of fear, racism, and a search for quick solutions. Immigration and UK’s membership of the EU were quickly identified by Nigel Farage of UKIP and the ERG (European Research Group – the Eurosceptic group within the Conservative Party) as the main causes of Britain’s economic weakness and social decline.
David Cameron panicked and was persuaded by the Eurosceptics in his party to offer a national referendum on UK membership of the EU. Cameron thought, wrongly, that such a referendum could be won easily in favour of UK’s continued membership of the EU and Eurosceptics in his party and those in UKIP would be disabled for ever.
The word BREXIT was coined to represent the end of UK membership of the EU. Cameron’s incompetence in leading the campaign in favour of continued membership and a divided Conservative cabinet did little to influence public opinion. The Leave Campaign, overfunded by wealthy individuals and led by Boris Johnson in his famous red campaign bus made false promises and presented anti EU propaganda like water gushing out of a fire hydrant. Johnson claimed that BREXIT would allow UK to save £350 million pounds sterling each week. This was false as the UK’s net contribution to the EU is only £173million. UKIP screamed all over the UK that EU immigration was causing havoc in provision for housing, education and health and BREXIT would solve these problems for the British people.
Junker, the President of the European Commission during this time did not use his office to intervene in this period of the BREXIT campaign in UK. The EU Commission could have corrected factually all the false assertions by Boris Johnson, the ERG, Nigel Farage and his UKIP. Junker recently admitted that had the EU intervened at this time the result of the UK Referendum on EU membership could have been different as the votes cast against membership was higher by a very number.
UK General Election on 12th December offers a unique opportunity to all British people to vote against the BREXIT of Boris Johnson to ensure that UK continues to be an influential member of the EU, continues to be a powerful and respected country on the world stage and guarantees the peace and prosperity of its people, especially its young people who are happy and proud to be identified as European both ethnically and culturally.