Bristling Brock speaks out...

 

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The interminable Brexit process is being drawn out to its tortuous limits.  The complexities of this are no doubt enormous and beyond the wit of mere average mortals, but it is worth considering - purely for some sense of self satisfaction - quite why we are where we are with the EU.

There is something to be recognised in the fact that Britain and the wider UK are island states.  We are surrounded by water and therefore rely on a healthy maritime trade.  Nothing too amazing about that.  By contrast, the EU is predominantly a Continental land-mass with myriad land borders and a sensitivity to the vulnerabilities such notional borders pose.  After all, those borders have been seriously challenged over the last century or more.  So we might give Europeans just a modicum of understanding that they constantly keep an eye peering over their shoulders - just in case.  Security is a big thing if you have a bully boy living next door.   If we then look at how our nation states are made up, it doesn't take much delving to see that the folk who started the whole English-British-UK dynamic - Celts, Britons, Romans, Saxons, Danes and Normans - created a very different national psyche to that possessed throughout Europe where there is an ethnic bias toward Gallic, Teutonic, Latin, Greco and Slavic races.  We thought differently throughout times past and we still do. 

We developed different values, different forms of governance and different strategic views of the world - as a small island race we had to be outgoing and often punching above our weight.  But perhaps most significantly, we recognised the worth of unifying tribal groupings into a nation state long before anyone in Europe (though even that continental entity really had no geo-political substance until the fifteenth century) had even considered such an idea - France, Germany, Italy and Spain were riven with vested interest groups that defied any vision or sense of unity in preference to personal glories and wealth.   So you might argue that the British have something of a longer and more worked out approach to how governance might work.  That's not to say our system is perfect - far from it - but let us say that we have a pedigree when compared to the majority of EU states.

Cutting a long story short, the upshot of this is that we could think of Britain as never really having been a part of Continental Europe at all - it was some 7,000 years ago when the Dogger lands sank beneath the expanding surges of the North Sea and separated us from those 'other folk' who talked differently !  The British are, by nature and circumstance, free-traders.   The EU represents a protectionist outlook, one that seeks obedience and subordination to the bloc's technocratic structures, underpinned by a fatalistic desire to prevent further European hostilities, to lump everyone together in the hope that that creates a common sense of well-being.   It's a model that is anathema to the British, not least when the French aspire to be the voice of the EU.  In that, why do the British and French have such an antipathy toward each other ?   Is it relevant to todays political wrangling ?  The answer, simply, is yes on both counts.  We cannot ignore the historical fact that we and the French have been at loggerheads for centuries, about ten of them in truth, a state of affairs driven by one unified culture sparring with a disunited and multi-directional culture and an ever changing land-mass boundary.   It's a record of very roughly a 60:40 ratio of British triumph compared with French triumph.   And the French hate that very statistic, for it paints them as the weaker geographical body and nation.  And that very simple analogy tells us exactly what is going on in Brussels right now.   The French, believing themselves to be the natural leaders of the EU bloc, are after vengeance upon the British.   Let us hope we stand resolute, as we have done this last thousand years, strong against the bully-boys.