For most of my adult life I have lived outside the United Kingdom and most of that time has been spent in Germany. Fortunately, for all of that time Britain has, despite the jingoistic crap that you hear from there, been and remained a part of that Europe. Moreover, during that time my identity has changed and, originally from Scotland, being European is far more a part of my identity than any shared “Britishness”. Therefore, when the Guardian reports that a growing number of cabinet members are urging Ed Milliband to have a referendum on Britain staying in Europe, should Labour win the next election, my reaction might be mainly one of concern. However, it is not and rather than concern, my feelings towards these people are informed by contempt.
The concern is tempered by my being unable to fathom how they envisage leaving Europe? My contempt for them is determined by their always trying to find a scapegoat for the mess that they are in and by their unwillingness to realise that there is, nowhere else for them to go. However, while grammatically both halves of that coordinating conjunction might accorded equal emphasis, the “nowhere else to go” is not only some sort of pragmatic appeal and that is what makes it all the more important. For, while our “little Englanders” might not realise it, they too are European, with a European identity, and they would do themselves, and all of us, a favour if they were to widen their horizons and realise this.
This is important, of course, because, being originally from Scotland, a very different question of identity also plays a role in ego’s life and believe me, there is no particular problem on my part with Scotland being in the United Kingdom, or at least, not as long as that United Kingdom is a part of Europe. Therefore, as another referendum does approach, namely one on Scottish independence, my advise to the Scottish Nationalist Party would be quite simply to exploit this latest nonsense that these idiots are banding about. Or, are the people of Scotland, just as anti-Europe, just as capable of denying their European identity, as a large section of their fellow Britons south of the border?