Saturday, 10 October 2020
This is an opinion article by an external contributor. The views belong to the writer.
As autumn leaves begin to fall, the UK continues to slip-slide away from the EU.
Cruising silently through Transition Year, the UK, like the space probe, Voyager1, is rapidly approaching the edge of our Solar System. On the 31st December, the UK will enter the heliosphere and continue for all time on its lonely journey to the distant stars.
There will be no last minute reprieve. No dramatic intervention to stop the UK from leaving. No second referendum. Paraphrasing that famous newspaper headline; we can then truly say, “Brexit Fog in Channel, Continent cut off”.
With the White Cliffs of Dover receding into the mist, the shocking consequence of Brexit, for the real Mainland, is now becoming clear. Europe is finally been severed from the cradle of Anglo-Saxon civilisation, the birthplace of Shakespeare, Milton, and Elton John.
Shakespeare was the master of tragicomedy. Milton named his greatest work, ‘Paradise Lost,’ a truly apt description for the tragicomedy called Brexit. Elton John’s tribute to Princess Diana, ‘Blowing in the Wind’, reminds us that, without a good strong wind, the fog could remain in the Channel for many years to come.
Still, so far, all is calm in Brussels. No, the big problem in the Capital of Europe was what to do about model UK at the EU theme park, Mini-Europe. Located in Bruparc, on the North side of Brussels, Mini Europe displays all EU member states, with models of famous European landmarks reproduced on a scale of 1:25. The model of UK is one of the best, with Big Ben, The Thames and the Houses of Parliament, taking centre stage. It would be a real shame to remove it.
The initial reaction of the park directors, after the 2016 Referendum, was to leave it in place. However, it has been pointed out that removing the UK, a country no longer an EU Member State, may ultimately be necessary to make space for new Member States, such as Serbia. In the meantime, mini ‘custom posts’ have been created to facilitate ‘travel’ between the EU and UK.
However, if they ever decide to sell it off, I would like to buy it. The idea of buying the UK, to bring it back into the EU, appeals to me. I am sure, that, with a suitable grant and bank loans, I could outbid any soccer supporting Russian billionaire. If President Trump wants to buy Greenland, why can’t this old soldier buy the ‘UK’? subject to planning permission, I have chosen a fitting location for model UK, here in Ireland. On the Hill of Tara, where the High Kings of Ireland reigned for centuries, model UK can remain forever in glorious exile.
The real UK could yet be up for sale, as the post Brexit UK Government sets out its stall. US, China and Russia are looking at the glossy brochures already.
When the UK did formally leave the EU, back on the 31st Jan 2020 BC, (Before Covid-19) the mood in the UK was almost hysterical. There was a growing sense of ‘End of Days’. The hero in this new British version of ‘Apocalypse Now’ was undoubtedly Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Like his counterpart in the 1979 film, Martin Sheen, Boris sailed up the Thames River Delta to confront Marlon Brando (played by Jeremy Corbyn) and won. The original theme music, Wagner’s ‘Ride of the Valkyries’, was intertwined with the patriotic strains of Elgar. Spontaneous crowds appeared in the streets, swaying to ‘Land of Hope and Glory’. EU flags were stripped from prominent buildings and trampled upon by the masses before our very eyes.
Even the UK’s Royal Family has been dragged into the limelight. ‘Senior’ royals have jumped ship already, and one very senior royal, whom the FBI would like to meet, has been publicly thrown overboard. Conduct unbecoming, they say.
But what would Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher say if they were alive today? The two great icons of 20th century British conservatism must be turning in their graves. Churchill was the right man in the right place to save the UK from defeat in WW2. He was an imperialist, but crucially, he was pro-Europe.
Margaret Thatcher was publicly at war with the EU for most of her tenure as UK Prime Minister. Still, she was the main backer of the Single European Act, the keystone of European Integration.
Now that the UK has departed, Ireland remains the only English speaking Member State in the EU. As English remains one of the three official working languages, of the Commission, which version of English should prevail?
Standard English or Hiberno-English? I would like to suggest that Standard English be agreed, on one condition. Henceforth all EU officials should speak English properly, that is, with an Irish accent. Maybe Commission President, Ursula Von der Leyen, would lead the way, with a true Dublin accent. Step forward the new Mrs Brown!
Someday, in a parallel universe, the UK will return to the EU and wonder how the Irish came to run the show.