Friday, April 04, 2014

UKIP's ambition - Separation from the EU. How would that work?

Think it through? Moi?

Nigel Farage, at the end of his debate with Clegg,  was asked to set out his vision of Europe in 10 years time.

Naturally, he described a glowing vision of the UK proudly detached from the European Mainland, steaming independently away under the Cross of St George and the gracious leadership of Prime Minister Farage.

Nothing unusual to report there.

But what he said next drew me up with a start. He also foresees the EU breaking up, as one country after another follows the glorious example of the UK in reasserting its national independence.

This whole Leaving Europe business needs thinking through.

Farage isn't going to do this, it's not what he or his party do.
Professional journalists are not going to do this, their job is to pump up the UKIP balloon as big as it will go.

So it is left to the Mabinogogiblog to do the thinking, which is a pain, because what I really want to be doing is to be writing a post about the change in Carbon 13 ratios since the 1850s.

First, for the UK to leave the EU is not a straightforward matter. There will be protracted negotiations about who looks after the dog and who gets the record collection. There will be the matter of Mrs Thatcher's rebate, terms and conditions of. There will be the matter of who owes what to whom. And of the terms under which the UK will trade with the EU in times to come.

All sorts of things. Detailed items to be negotiated under a cloud of ill-feeling. It is going to take time. It is a separatist matter, and we should remember that about one half of current wars are being fought on grounds of separatism. Now of course we Brits would never be so foolish as to actually come to blows over our separation from Brussels - would we - but just think about a Europe where four or five countries are simultaneously seeking separation, redress, independence and their just desserts. Where the interests of rich Northern economies are having to be reconciled with the needs and demands of impoverished and resentful Mediterranean countries. It is not inconceivable that misunderstandings could arise, and that the Third Pan-European War could be the end result of the break-up of the EU.

One of the great virtues of the EU is that it is a peace project. This is often expressed in a spirit of gratitude on the mainland, not often expressed in the UK. But it is true.

If we do not like to think of it as a peace project, maybe we should invert the image, and try to imagine what might be the final outcome of the Thoughts of Chairman Farage.

It just might concentrate our minds a little.


Martin Corney said...

Yes - the cost of group security is loss of personal sovereignty at all levels of government - but is well worth the price.

weggis said...

How does the break up of the former Soviet Union compare to this?

Richard Lawson said...

Martin, there is some loss of sovereignty, but it is not total, as I am sure you agree.

Weggis - that is a good question. The breakup of the Soviet Union has occurred fairly smoothly now you mention it, though they did downsize to a Confederation. There is of course some tension- many years later- over Crimea and in Georgia.

There are differences. To some extent, the Russian Empire was created by force, the marriage was arranged, so maybe the divorce was more clinical. Europe is more a matter of the heart - clients wanting to join the EU because of the size of its tackle - and maybe there will be more emotion.

I don't know. Maybe it will all be very amicable. But maybe also it will involve unpleasantness.