Danny Finkelstein writes more in sorrow than in anger in The Times today about the collapse of cordial relations across the Channel. The bipartite nature of this silly spat may ring a few bells – Trafalgar, Waterloo and all that – but it’s all old hat. It ain’t like that any more. Britain may have accidentally slipped into a lonely vigil of remembrance of things past, but France certainly hasn’t.
The triumph of the EU is that, as intended, old enmities have been buried. No more so, of course, than in the alliance between France and Germany. Twice in the first half of the twentieth century the former was invaded by the latter. That’s why from 1945 they decided “never again”. Encouraged, ironically in retrospect, by Winston Churchill.
The modern world requires some surrender of sovereignty to be peaceful and to work. As the Disunited Kingdom stands aside and impotently throws fuseless grenades across the channel the big boys on the other side get on with the task of building a Europe for our children, and theirs.
I’m too old, sadly, to have any expectation of seeing Britain fully back as a leading member of the European family of nations. But it will happen. Over the years our childish, sentimental, outdated, nationalist rhetoric will fade and we will remember who our friends are. The Entente Cordiale will be rebuilt and sanity restored. But it will take a leader of imagination and skill to do it. There’s a vacancy.
2 thoughts on “The Entente Cordiale will be rebuilt and sanity restored. But it will take a leader of imagination and skill to do it.”
You cannot lead a nation into the abyss if the people refuse to follow. Until there is a substantial shift from the post-war jingoism and phony nationalism largely produced by the prejudice of my own generation the situation will only deteriorate. Johnson is riding a tide of belligerence towards Europe created by the media and accelerated by Farage. It’s what sustains his power base.
Fortunately for the young, this generation will very soon be gone. It is to be hoped their legacy dies with them and does not contaminate others.
An opportunity is waiting for those who have the courage and vision to take up the baton and run with it. Leadership in Europe has always been Britain’s political destiny. The only politician who successfully sustained that was Tony Blair. Cast an eye on the Labour benches and there are people that share that same vision and have the ability. Their time will come the worm always turns.
Leader of the ‘rejoin the EU party’ in England was a guest on a YouTube channel I follow yesterday. Apparently a poll shows that a majority of people regret leaving the EU, but, equally a majority of people do not want to rejoin the EU. I presume it was an English poll. Scotland of course voted remain by 63%, every single constituency voted remain, but Scotland is dragged out anyway. Imagine if it was Scotland dragging England out. Just read an article about the SNP MP Hannah Bardell asking for the right to accessing consular help for UK folk who might need it when abroad. The EU countries have a joint approach, any one needing consular help can ask any country of the block should say their own not have a consulate in the country they are in.
The disunited kingdom no longer if course can be part of that agreement. Marvellous.
Members of the EU have said that Scotland would be welcome and face no barriers to becoming a member of the EU again as the country already fulfills the required logistics. I hope that becomes a reality soon as possible. I fear for my country of birth however, because they may not be so keen to welcome England back anyway.
Thanks sorry long comment.