First of all, apologies for spelling mistakes in the last posting. Editorial control was clearly absent !
I'm reminded of the long standing relationship that has existed between France and Britain, often a pretty aggressive relationship but in more recent times one that has been considerably more moderate and friendly. Yet the EU has added a dimension to European politics that has muddied the waters and made the straightforwardness of international relations somewhat more complicated. Where do loyalties lie ? Is the state more pre-eminent than the institution ? Whose laws take precedence ? What might be the consequences of 'disobeying' an EU dictat ? And so on, and so on. The questions are seemingly endless.
To me, what we have is an EU originally formed as a trade partnership - remember the common market, anyone ? - which had its drivers in the virtual destruction of Continental European infrastructure and industry following WW2. Trade was laudable enough and though we British were not early adopters of the idea we eventually came around to thinking it might benefit everyone - and so we joined up (much to the annoyance of one Charles de Gaulle). The French economy, and that of Germany were always likely to be the prime beneficiaries. The Marshall Plan aid that was delivered into Europe after WW2 made their economic and industrial recovery possible and created not a nationalist bloc but an economic bloc that certainly was biased toward western continental interests. Not surprisingly, perhaps, for they were much ravaged. Yet what Marshall Plan aid and the visions of politicians like de Gaulle created was an epi-centre of European interests focussed on the bi-lateral advantages to Paris and the new German capital of Bonn. All of a sudden, Europe was declaring independence from everyone else. If you wanted to join the club you had to do so with the permission of France and Germany. And as political interests developed, the Common Market became the EU, a monolithic bureaucracy with little interest in the individual states within it rather than a perpetuation of politics and economics on a grand scale. And this is what Brexit is about - a rejection of this high bureaucracy, loss of national sovereignty, loss of executive and judicial freedoms to govern the national territory and it is profoundly a rejection of our nation state being held hostage to the financial and political ideologies of those who have little idea that 28 different states can not be homogenised into some universal grouping. This is not harking back to the past, it is a rejection of a bad model for the future.
And what of our relationship with France ? Well, it is taking a bit of a bruising, no doubt, but our histories show that we have become very different peoples with different political, economic and cultural outlooks. That doesn't mean we can't be friendly and trade contentedly, but it does mean we recognise our differences as much as our similarities. And if we widen this view to the rest of the EU membership, if we are truly honest, we see exactly the same differences and similarities - not divisions, not areas of hostility, just difference. Having the right and the freedom to exercise those is every nation states prerogative. With Brexit, it's just that Britain has chosen to make that choice first. Maybe others will follow....