For years now, I have experienced the strange sense of living in a Britain that is abandoning its identity, and might even disintegrate. The country is the fourth or fifth largest economy in the world. Educated and creative people are all around. The proposition that others had to govern us has always been incomprehensible. Did the British lose an empire only to be incorporated in someone else’s empire?
Part of the strangeness was that Conservative prime ministers advocated this surrender. Mrs. Thatcher, a patriot, resisted only when she was out of office. Apparently the Conservative party could not stand up for its beliefs and would let itself be destroyed. David Cameron has at last made a speech to the contrary. It is not the Churchillian speech required by the circumstances, but a good speech none the less. He claims — I imagine masking the truth — to want the country to stay in the European Union. He proposes to negotiate over the next four years — repeat four — for terms that allow for membership and independence. Then a referendum in 2017 will decide whether Britain is to stay in or get out. One of the many fools who populate the Obama administration instantly spouted that the United States wants Britain to stay in, apparently unaware that in this course of action America’s most reliable ally would become a small part of a bloc designed to stand against America. The polls gave Cameron a boost. A large unanswered question is what he will do if the Europeans refuse to negotiate. It’s been a long decline, and Cameron can be accused of playing for more time, but the first irreversible step has been taken, and Britain at last looks likely to leave the EU and recover itself.
Coincidental with Cameron’s speech, someone called Neelie Kroes illustrated why Britain must have nothing to do with the EU. Not one in a hundred thousand Brits have heard of this Dutch lady, who occupies the grand position of vice president of the European Commission (the body akin to a civil service, unelected, but giving the orders). She commissioned a report that recommends EU control of the media in every country: watchdogs, fines, permanent banning of journalists, all to ensure that standards “comply with European values.” The blood freezes.
On a different note, the death of Robert Kee reminds me of something he used to tell. Robert was a television personality, a novelist and historian of Irish troubles. A pilot in the war, he had been shot down, captured and finished up in a prisoner-of-war camp some miles outside Dresden. In February 1945, Stalin requested the bombing of Dresden to prevent German reinforcements coming through to the eastern front. The British consented, and are sometimes accused of committing a war crime. Robert in his camp could see the night sky illuminated by flames, and he and the other prisoners cheered and sang the national anthem.