Sunday, 2 April 2017
Blue passports and all that
Brexiteers are going to have to put up with a lot of condescension and sneering. Today it's blue passports. Frankly, a blue passport is the last thing on my mind but I do remember when they came out and I remember how a lot of people felt about it. It wasn't so much the colour as the appearance of the words "European Union" written on it.
As much as anything it was a reminder that the EU had assumed legal dominion over us. For some that was a welcome sight but for those of us who believe the people of the UK should be the supreme authority, that was a bit of a problem - not least since we never had any say in the matter. A bit of historical context is needed here as well.
About the time the passports turned from blue to pink, the Single European Act was being pushed into force, ramming through massive changes in UK domestic law, and in many cases without any kind of transition and without any kind of legal recourse. For small businesses it was their generation's "hard Brexit".
Around that time we started seeing a slow bleed of new vehicles carrying the ring of stars on registration plates and EU flags appearing on public buildings. There was a big push from Brussels to assert EU identity (and supremacy). All the while our own politicians were telling us that the EU was just a trade bloc. This was before any definite decision had been taken on joining the Euro and the pound was very much threatened. In that regard, as Greece has shown, it's more than about who appears on banknotes. Whoever controls the currency controls economic policy - and subsequently everything else.
The change of passport was no small thing symbolically. It is no small cosmetic adjustment. It was part of a concerted effort to subordinate the nation state - for the creation of a new one. For all the supercilious sneering from remainers about the evils of nationalism and flag waving, they are the ones taking to the street waving the flag of the EU mega state.
Meanwhile, the appearance of EU flag on public buildings was no trivial act either. The modus operandi of the EU was to buy off civic institutions one by one and buy the loyalty of public servants. It worked too. Just look at how the entire establishment went to bat for the EU in the referendum. This was a not-so-silent coup.
Ever since the the referendum we've seen supercilious know-nothing remainers bleating about us leavers being simpletons - getting all worked up about the colour of our passports - and still they don't seem to comprehend why regions that received the most direct funding from the EU still voted to leave. It doesn't seem to register with thicko remainers that loyalty and affinity cannot be bought.
Loyalty to the Crown is not some slavish devotion to the monarchy. It is a belief in a union with a shared history and a shared set of values embodied in our own laws - laws which were gradually usurped by the alien values of the EU technocracy. A system which saw working class market traders hauled in front of judges for the heinous crime of selling a pound of apples.
Frankly, I don't care what colour my passport is. It can be Barbie pink with a rainbow stripe on it for all I care, just so long as my next passport does not have the words "European Union" on it. The next time I drive by a Halfords, I will be having the EU plates removed from my new car. I will be removing all of the EU colonialist gestures. I never asked to be an EU citizen, I don't want to be one and the fact we were never asked is a big part of the reason why we are where we are.
The remaining symbols of the EU will serve as a reminder of something that was done to us rather than for us. They remind us that our political class went about erasing Britain as an independent state without our consent. All the while the EU was funding regionalism with a view to breaking national bonds. This is a goodly part of why we see the SNP at their peak of influence. It's all in the Schuman design.
It's not surprising that there is a generational gap between leave and remain voters. The millennials have no historical context. EU dominion is all they have ever known. Me though, I'm somewhere in between and I'm just old enough to remember when a political campaign could achieve very real results and force a minister to act without being slapped down by the EU. I'm just old enough to remember that time when a British blue passport carried authority because of the diplomatic infrastructure behind it. That which we have spent twenty years dismantling. I want that back.
Remainers are right though, in that we will never be what we used to be. EU membership has done far too much damage. It even remains to be seen if we can repair even some of it. We can, though, be an independent first world nation, and we can be influential in our own right. There is no requirement to be a subordinate of a supreme government for Europe and I for one will be glad to remove the symbols of this occupying force.
This is not simply about identity. This is as much about democracy and government by consent. Remainers have no right to pull the identity shtick either when they themselves invoke their own European identity. And if that is what it really boils down to, then tough. At last count, the majority want to be British - and that is all there is to it.
Had the referendum question actually been honest and asked "Should Britain be subordinate to a supreme government for Europe" (which is what this is really about) I rather expect far more than fifty two per cent would have answered with a resounding no. You can piss and whine all you like about why people voted to leave, but if you think it's just about the colour of passports and symbols of yore, that rather makes you the low information voter. Ultimately it's about whether Westminster answers to the British people or the European Commission. It cannot be both.