So here in the UK we are arm-wrestling with Europe, trying to get out of its stranglehold and yet wanting to be just good friends.
Europe, what’s that?
Is it Belgian chocolate, a la carte, saurkraut, spaghetti, ouzo, Guinness, pastries? Well try putting that lot together – at least it could be an exciting meal.
Let’s think about some places that are geographically defined – North America, South America, Australia. They all have their idiosyncrasies, but they look like they were designed.
Europe? Is it a place at all? It’s stuck on to Asia, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense as a single entity.
Ok, well something must join it together. A common language? Nope. A common currency? Well they had to invent one and not all the 28 of the European Union went along with that.
Well, maybe it’s a place that can be brought under one regime. Ask the Romans, Napoleon, Hitler and Stalin how that went.
Where does this Europe start and end? To the West is it the UK and Ireland? Seems not. The UK voted out, the Irish want to stay in. To the East, oh that’s easy – the Turkish Straits are the Europe/Asia boundary. So why, then, does Turkey want to be in Europe?
In the 50 states of the USA, different as they are, there are things that bind them – the dollar, the flag, the FBI, the president’s executive power.
In Europe there is no natural bond. It’s hard to see what a frozen Finn and a sunburned Spaniard have in common. What about Switzerland – sitting in the middle of it all, yet not part of it?
There is no Europe. That’s why those who have tried to create one have buried themselves in bureaucracy and trivia, and why they spend an awful lot of money trying to make an homogeneous thing out of something that is not.
Please, countries of Non-Europe, keep your wonderful individuality. Pasta should be forever Italian, Gouda should be forever Dutch, Danish bacon should be forever …
Britain, you would die without fish and chips and warm beer.