The English Question (Brexit) has spawned a lot of questions. Some can’t be answered as yet. Others can be and the answers show the English are not headed for a pretty place, whatever the outcome of the Referendum.
Why is the UK government insisting on a referendum?
To preserve the English establishment and élite
Will the UK stay or leave the EU?
Polls are on a knife edge.
What does Mr Cameron want from the EU?
Supposedly a set of reforms so he can propose staying in
Has he got them?
Apparently not. He’s certainly not delivering a fundamental review and rethink of how the EU actually operates.
French Finance Minister Michel Sapin told the UK
” Don’t expect a renegotiation of EU membership to include any powers of veto over closer integration of the euro. Nothing in the deal could stand in the way of further eurozone integration or confer special status on a particular industry, such as financial services“.
NB: The UK is seeking legal protection for the City of London from new regulations that would apply across the whole of the EU, including non-eurozone countries. Last week, France secured some needed amendments to ensure that efforts to balance the euro zone’s “ins” and “outs” did not give the City of London an unfair edge.
Mr. Sapin said no country could have a veto on further economic union or exemptions from the provisions of the single market.
So what’s Mr Cameron up to?
It’s not clear.Perhaps he just wants to protect the City. Maybe he really wants the UK out. He’s being driven by Conservative Party policy and/or the British elite establishment wish-list. Or maybe it’s just
Mr Cameron has insisted the UK is happy to be part of the EU’s free-trade zone, but wants assurances it will not have its laws and economy tied more closely to the other member states.
“We are going to keep our borders. We are never going to sign up to things like a European army. We are never going to sign up to an ever closer union.”
What underlies the UK demand for a referendum?
The difficult relationship between the UK and the EEC/EU.
The English are ‘difficult’, “aloof” and ‘anti-Europe’.
Yes. In 2005 Mr Cameron removed Conservative party MEPs from the European People’s Party, the main right-wing grouping in the EU Parliament. UK Conservative MEPs then formed a separate group. MEPs from other countries viewed the move as isolationist and counter-productive.
Why difficult and anti-Europe?
According to Mr Cameron, the UK is “argumentative and rather strong-minded.We have the character of an island nation – independent, forthright, passionate in defence of our sovereignty – and of institutions that have served us well for many hundreds of years. And the need to protect our sovereignty has always been paramount for us.”
Queries: And no other country in the EU has these personality attributes – whether island nation or landlocked?
Why is the UK so keen on protecting “institutions that have served us well for many hundreds of years”
What exactly are these institutions?
Who have they served so well?
Comment: Definitely not working-class communities who experienced the social upheavals of industrialisation in the 19th century and de-industrialisation in the 20th.
Certainly not the UK’s former colonies like Ireland, India and Kenya
2) Is it the inherent English “born to rule” mentality?
Possibly. Right from the start the UK refused to become a founder member of the Common Market in 1957 .
Conservative Foreign Office minister, Sir Anthony Nutting said the “most popular move in Europe would be for us to move in and run the show”.
Comment: Other EU nations (Spain, Portugal, The Netherlands), had Empires and don’t have a “born to rule” mentality. Why not?
Who and what fosters it in the UK?
3) The UK’s undisguised feeling of superiority?
1967: General de Gaulle accused the UK of a “deep-seated hostility” towards European construction.
Queries: Can England not abide equality, being one among peers, all engaged on a common project? Does it always need to be top-dog with some under-dog to boss and bully?
Margaret Thatcher called for the UK’s contributions to the then EEC to be adjusted, warning that otherwise she would withhold VAT payments.
Outcome: victory for Thatcher and damaged relations with other EC countries.
1998: ‘No. No. No.’
“We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them re-imposed at a European level, with a European super-state exercising a new dominance from Brussels“.
She called for a “fundamental re-negotiation” of the UK’s links with the EU, (which Mr Cameron says he is doing).
“Most of the problems the world has faced have come from mainland Europe,” she wrote. “And the solutions from outside it.”
Comment: English Conservatives certainly know how to live up to the name “perfidious Albion” and annoy EU leaders and institutions
What do other EU members think?
Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament said that many Euro-MPs now wanted Britain out of the EU as Britain was ‘testing their patience’ with its ‘continuous demands’.
Let’s get the negotiations over and done with. The Brexit referendum is just one more tedious, unnecessary problem for the EU at a time when there are much more urgent and crucial matters to deal with.
Need you ask!! – immigration, refugees, rise of uber-right parties, ending the free movement Schengen area, sluggish economy, sky-high youth unemployment, cut-backs in social services, strong-arming Greece as a lesson to anti-austerity movements in Portugal, Spain and the Republic of Ireland.
1973: What sort of UK entered the EEC?
A UK with no devolution. NI was back under Direct Rule. Westminster spoke for a “unified country”
2016: What sort of UK will decide whether to exit the EU?
A UK with devolved powers to Scotland, NI and Wales, with about 50% of the populations of NI and Scotland wanting to exit the UK.
Will they all vote the same way?
Most unlikely – England appears to want out.
Scotland wants to stay IN at least to differentiate from England and create the motivation for Indyref2.
NI may be split – DUP will vote as Mr Cameron instructs, Nationalists/Republicans and farmers are likely to vote IN.
Wales seems inclined to stay IN.
Outcomes of the Referendum – and Potential Pitfalls:
- UK votes to stay
It has to knuckle down and put up with what’s on the EU table.
It has to cope with sulks and disgruntlement from almost 50% of its population and 100% of its Conservative élite – who will never stop campaigning for another referendum
- UK votes to leave
Brexit risks pulling down the EU and the UK .
- It may trigger an exit run of other countries. Brexit might turn into a full-blown EUxit.
- The UK may be worse off
The EU (in whatever form it continues to exist) will not lift a finger to help the UK with anything. The USA won’t help them with trade deals etc because the US wants the UK to stay in. Despite UK expectations, Commonwealth countries will hardly be beating a path to their door .
What happens in Ireland?
Will the border be re-constructed?
Will the Republic and NI have any say in the matter, or will both be subjected to the outworkings of a minority vote in NI?
What about damage to trade etc?
Will a reparations scheme be set up?
Will EU funding for cross-border projects be suspended as only the Republic will be in the EU?
- Only England votes to leave
Will we even know?
We won’t if we get only the total vote (X% vs Y%), with no regional break-down
If we do get a break-down what happens to all those Scottish, Welsh, Irish citizens who voted to stay, particularly if they constitute the majority in their respective areas?
Will they be deprived of their EU citizenship and passports?
Against their will?
- Karma finally kicks in
- Will England leave the EU while Scotland, NI and Wales (and maybe even Cornwall) stay and make up the rest of the UK in the EU?
They’d be the rUK!!! What a win-win for all the Celtic nations!!