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Ho hum. Time to start crowd-sourcing Europe then.

March 29, 2017


So, today it actually happens.  Sir Tim Barrow will actually hand deliver (just in case it gets lost in the post) a signed and sealed Article 50 notification to Donald Tusk.

For European citizens hailing from any of the bits of pieces of the jurisdiction formerly known as the UK, this is a unique defeat.  Everybody has found themselves on the losing side of an election before – but those elections were all reversible by the same electorate.  To leave the EU is a unilateral decision, but to rejoin the EU is a multi-lateral one.  If whatever polity emerges from the bits and pieces left over from the UK ever wants to rejoin the EU, it will require the consent not merely of however many people it has left, but also of the governments of many different European nations.  The UK had the sovereign power to leave, but has not the sovereign power to rejoin.

Furthermore,  the people who are negotiating the terms of Brexit look like trashing the reputation of the British for a long time to come.  So far, the Brexiteering delegates have startled their European counterparts with their basic ignorance and their absurd threats and demands.   This is unsurprising, since Brexiteers have no demonstrated no loyalty to anything other than their own egos and have far too much contempt for Britain and its people to go to the effort of drafting any kind of workable plan for actual European withdrawal.  Yet these very people are going to represent the name of “Britain”.  They will mean “Britain”.  And their crass failures will make it harder for those people hailing from a substantial portion of an island formerly known as Britain to ever rejoin Europe, some distant saner decade from now.

So, despair?

Nah… organisation.  Crowd-sourcing.

The onus is now on individuals to be more European.  There’s a political imperative to join European cultural and scientific organisations, learn another European language, improvise structures that support European identity.  It is for British now to assert their European identity at every practical opportunity.

It’s a shame nobody writes letters any more, because now would be a good time to put EUROPE in huge letters on envelopes – even if the letter is only traveling from Stockton to Darlington.

Everyone will have their own ideas as to how best to affirm European identity over the decades to come, and I’m confident these ideas will be witty and varied – witty and varied enough to sustain the flame of a message that the awful and clumsy people “representing” Britain in the forthcoming negotiations might not  actually be representative of the people who actually live there.

Above all – anybody in Britain who feels a loyalty to Europe and has a clear and viable path to a European citizenship is morally obligated to take that path.

I did have this little petition that I was circulating, that was perhaps misguided.  I initiated it just before the referendum last  June,  and it’s on the official EU noticeboard.  It predates the kind of discussions that we’ve been hearing more recently from Guy Verhofstadt about elective or individual EU membership.  Here it is.

It was never intended just as a means for smug and monied metropolitans to get through passport control quicker.  It was intended rather as a statement of political commitment, a way of putting monies where mouths are.  It was conceived of as a statement of very deliberate personal and if need be financial commitment to the European project.  The Junocrats, who believe that in June 2016, the UK spoke with an authority and an integrity that can never be repeated and delivered a judgement that should be considered sacred until the sun itself goes nova – will never credit future opinion polls showing regret for Brexit.   A critical mass of people making their own decision to contract into Europe and being able to wave an actual document that affirms their European citizenship will be harder to ignore.

And in terms of the socially divisive nature of elective EU membership – fees can be organised by a clearing house or membership club that takes from each according to their means and sets fees according to needs.   Wealthier elective Europeans can subsidize less advantaged elective Europeans.  The more you pay in, the more Europeans you’ll be sponsoring.

This membership will not offer value for money.  It will not bring EU investment back, and it will not facilitate trading relations.  While it will pay for a few conveniences for committed Europeans, it will exist chiefly to make a campaigning statement.   Consider it a statement of friendship and affinity and as a way of saying that European identity should be as inalienable as any other kind of political identity.  One opinion poll in a day in June should not have the power to strip anyone of their sense of loyalty to a European ideal.

I’m alright anyway incidentally.  My own European citizenship is secured.


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One Comment
  1. NMac permalink

    So very depressing Conrad. I feel extremely angry that a small cabal of extremely unpleasant politicians have perpetrated the biggest fraud ever on a whole nation. I hope my Grandchildren will, in the future, help to mend bridges with our European friends and neighbours and that once again we can take our place at the heart of the EU.

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