It was, is and for the foreseeable future will be a cataclysmic error to leave the European Union. Those of us who fought tooth and nail against this insanity all lament the fact that we were beaten but even more about the random bunch of misfits, xenophobes, dimwits and worse who did the beating.
On reflection I don’t care that much about the fatal damage to Britain’s international reputation – that was pretty low anyway. But I do care that our young people will grow up in a world in which their country will have been made insignificant. “What’s the British view?” nobody will ask, or care.
Many political decisions have unexpected consequences often not spotted at the time. David Cameron’s to call a Referendum in response to the threat to his position from the Tory Right and from UKIP was both inept and arrogant. To be brought down by a man who as a teenager at his posh school had strode around giving nazi salutes and praising Hitler was humiliating for Cameron and the beginning of the slip to ignominy for the nation.
I’m well into my eighth decade and have to accept the likelihood that for the rest of my lifetime I will be a citizen of a state disconnected from the sane world. A good tip when observing our present government is to assume that the truth is the opposite of what they say. So when they use the term “Global Britain” obviously the reverse is true.
Little England is actually a new concept. Even before the various Unions England certainly fought above its weight. Indeed from Norman times we were a “player” in Europe and later we forged new paths as a United Kingdom. In times when colonisation and imperialism were seen as noble ventures we were rather good at it. We did rule the waves. It couldn’t last and eventually didn’t – but we were never “Little” then were we? But now we are.
A collective madness created by flawed thinking and preposterous flag-waving faux-patriotism has diminished our international standing and made us a laughingstock. I can’t see the way forward from this new dark age for my country. To be a distant colony of the United States is one possibility though whether this reverse takeover is possible seems unlikely. To somehow become an associate member of the EU would be more logical but the path to that isn’t clear either.
I remember the cricket commentator Brian Johnston once telling me that late in his life someone met him and asked him “Aren’t you someone who was?”. Once the Scots and Irish and Welsh have sorted themselves out as reborn European states the best Little England can hope for is to be a “nation who was”.