My sympathy to the people of Belgium.
The 24 hour News is almost unwatchable. Commentators and Politicians say it is too soon to discuss the implications and then proceed to do exactly that. They are effectively setting out the boundaries of the discussion.
It is deferrment. It will be no surprise if there is never any real discussion. Not even after the next attrocity in a different European capital.
Belgium is a strange country. Artificial. Set up in the early nineteenth century with th intention of keeping France and Germany from going to war. And as such…in 1870, 1914 and 1939, it has failed miserably.
Divided on language lines, Dutch, French and German and with an imposed monarchy and a grotesque empire in Congo, Rwanda and Burundi, it has been the centre of the great European experiment. Again, Peace in Europe. Is it already a failure.
Expanded Europe is a failed Europe. Democratic traditions in western Europe and the totalitarian traditions in the East. Money in the North. Basket case in the south. Hawkish, militaristic post colonials in NATO and honourable neutral nations.
I fear that sooner or later the contradictions within the European Union, as much as Belgium itself will eventually lead to failure or a recognition of failure. Later in this century, it will collapse. No Empire lasts and eventually the European Union will be a footnote in History.
It is not about BREXIT and Referendums. Whatever about the sideshow of European idealism and national sovreignty…so long as the EU exists, there is money to be made. It is still possible to milk the cash cow for all its worth before the cow is sent to an abattoir.
So long as Syria is being bombed by Russians, Americans and Europeans, refugees will come to “Europe” and of course there are economic migrants from North Africa. And there are refugees and/or migrants from Afghanistan.
Of course Racists see a bandwagon. Admitting “millions” (sic) of migrants will de-stabalise Europe further. Jihadis will mingle with the genuine refugees. It is always right to call out the Racists but just as important to call out the businessmen whos support for open borders is as much about cheap labour as genuine human rights.
Europe with its “good friend” Turkey is now in the business of people trafficking.
That is the message that Europe sends out. It is understandable that French people gather in the Place de Republique. Understandable that Belgians gather in the Place de la Bourse. Understandable that French images have been replaced by Belgian images on Facebook.
Today the Belgian Flag flies in Dublin, London and other European capitals. People leave lighted candles and children draw peace symbols…..but surely there is a next time. And the politicians will lead the mourning and discourage scrutiny in the name of good taste.
The President of France says “Belgium was attacked….Europe was attacked”. Well, he is half-right. Belgium might have lost all its national identity (it never really had one) to be central to the European “ideal”. And if Francois Hollande thinks “Europe” was attacked, he means “Belgium/France/Germany/Britain/Netherlands” and the like. He does not mean “Sweden/Finland/Ireland/Slovenia/Latvia” …such is the nature of “Europe”.
But I think that an English voter watching the scenes at Brusells airport or listening to the French President might conclude that being European is not such a good idea. Calls for Solidarity ring hollow in places that dont show interest beyond the economic.
The referendum has come at a bad time: the EU is associated in recent years with news events related to quite a long list of negatives, economic crises, migrant crises, wrangling and confusion. and so on. The positives about Europe which I suppose are the single market, the trade gains and the environmental and labour regulations , all are getting sidelined.
i dont think that “coming at a bad time” really explains it.
Cameron promised his Tories a Referendum, “negotiated” absolutely nothing and his own side is more in the NO camp than the YES camp.
I think the electorate dont trust the system. The Scots were threatened and conned….its a trick that doesnt really deserve to succeed twice.
Some people DO buy into the myth that the EU is a great force for Peace but thats a hard sell….and it has been for years.
It is a choice between hateful institutions (Banks) and hateful people like Nigel Farage.
Like I say, I dont want anybody talking to me about Peace, Freedom, Progress……just show me a way to fiddle a few thousand Euros out of the EU and I will vote YES and wave the European Flag.
I am tempted to call at the EU office in Belfast and tell them I am a Blogger and I want to go on an expenses paid “fact finding mission” to Brussels.
As far as I can make out, the most enthusiastic YES campaigners are people who have been to Brussels and it never cost them a Euro.