Saturday, 5 March 2016

The EU is the last relic of a bygone era

World war two cast a long shadow. I grew up in a culture that remembered the losses and mourned them. But also one that revelled in the camaraderie and pride in the victory. My own parents grew up with rationing and austerity that my generation can barely conceptualise.

In many ways they are blessed to have a close connection with such a defining era - one that created myth and legend that informs much of the modern British psyche. It is now a part of who we are.

Even today people gather in their thousands every weekend during the summer to see classic warbirds grace the skies. And though children tend not to make airfix models they now make computer models of those same fighting machines. They play computer games inspired by the era.

And it's easy to forget the war was never truly concluded until the fall of the Berlin wall and out air force remained a potent fighting force throughout. One symbol of that age was the Avro Vulcan. The last one famously restored to flight mainly through public donations.

Over her final seven years of operation, at a cost of millions, a quasi-religion grew up around her. Never have I seen such irrational devotion to a machine. Admittedly I never missed an opportunity to see Falklands veteran, XH558, take to the skies. I was a devotee. And still there are cold war aircraft kept in running condition that have cult status. It's a very British obsession.

In this there is great love but also great pride in what we did and who we believe we are. At every airshow there is a real bond. I know of no more civil pursuit than the great British airshow. A decades long family tradition for thousands of families.

There is a point to this. It's not just sentimentality. That bond is one we share through the love of our friends and family who have served in our armed forces - and those who connect us to that war time era - all of whom have made us proud and humble. It is a demos that cannot be artificially replicated. It is deep rooted and even the march of modernity doesn't seem to weaken its grip.

And that's something the EU can never tap into. It can dishonestly pretend it has kept the peace which may fool the historically illiterate youth, but we all know it was British and American forces working under a NATO banner that kept us safe. Only by massaging ignorance can the EU erode our national pride and our shared identity. And that is part of its modus operandi - to do it through the manipulation of civic society, selectively finding projects to that end. As good a reason as any to hate it.

While I have no time for blood and soil nationalism I am still a patriot and will never identify as European. I will never feel pride in EU accomplishments. It is not part of who we are, we never asked for it and would never die for it.

The reason being that it is not of the people. It is a construct created by politicians for politicians and has remained that way ever since. It is their hubris that believes the peoples of Europe are warlike when in truth it has always been our political elites who have committed us to such butchery. And it is Britain's unique status as an independent sovereign nation that has allowed us to to rally against barbarism.

We have never needed a supreme government to keep the peace. Political subjugation has never been necessary for us to commit our lives to the cause of freedom. The EEC was an act of political reconciliation, born in the shadow of world war two but was not relevant to Britain then and it isn't now. Less so now as our grandparents have passed beyond and the last of our heroes from that dark time are now few in number.

I'm 37 now. Knocking on the door of middle age. I was young when we celebrated the 50th anniversary of D-Day. We have lived in the shadow of that war for more than seventy years, and yet we still struggle to break with the political hangover from that era.

Though that in itself is so terribly sad, we have entered a new digital era. An era of self-driving cars, robotics that seemed like fantasy fiction just twenty years ago, paperless offices, smartphones, instant connectivity and global reach between individuals, bypassing the need for the political constructs of old.

And in this the EU is clinging on for dear life, still using its institutional reach to subvert that national bond, struggling to impose its own narrative, trying to build an artificial demos for a government very few want when it is fully explained to them. As much as it was never needed before it barely seems relevant now.

Mainly those who want the EU are not the people, but the banks and China and America, corporate oligarchies who would rather deal with one all controlling entity than the untidiness of sovereign democratic nations. They reconfigure the world for their convenience, not ours. To them the UK is not a treasured landscape with a distinct culture and heritage. It is merely another landmass with a market of wealthy consumers.

Without a demos there is no natural basis on which to form a European Union. All that can exist is an illegitimate political parasite that constrains us and holds back progress for all nations.

In this I see no other future than a chaotic correction. No political structure has ever survived or prospered without the consent of its peoples - and while it may secure a mandate to be what voters think it is, it will never obtain one to be what it actually is and what it dreams of becoming. Especially not from the British.

So I say it is time to step out from the shadow of world war two and abandon the failed political ideas of a long dead generation. It is our world to do with as we choose and we should not be held hostage to the fears and paranoias of politics from the last century - or the narcissism of our modern day political elites.

Our world is different now. The next wars will be cyber wars and wars of information. A construct designed to stop France and Germany fighting over coal and steel is simply not germane. It is obsolete and exclusive.

In the end, the EU can attack and subvert our culture and heritage - and may even succeed in breaking the United Kingdom as institutional paralysis sees Scotland go its own way, but it will never make us loyal to the idea of the EU. It will only further entrench even narrower nationalistic instincts. It is no coincidence that the so-called far right is mobilised across Europe. It is somewhat ironic that the EU has always desired pan-European politics. In creating common unity against the EU it has succeeded.

By every other measure the EU has failed to secure a popular shared sense of Europeanism. All it does by continuing to exist is to stand in the way of something that could work.

Brexit is our last remaining opportunity to part ways with the eurosaurs. It is our chance to break out and lead Europe to a global future. If we do not take the chance we may find that Europe once again has to learn the hard way - that anything less than democracy is insufficient to keep the peace.

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