Have we honestly gone so far backwards in time?
I remember writing once a desolate dream, my country getting smaller beset by some mindless imperial dream of a past that never really existed.
A past that contained the force of slavery, Highland Clearances, great disadvantage whilst a minority sat on vast wealth of empire, they would not share.
That was then, the Nineteen hundreds when children were sent down mines and up crumbling chimneys, pulling vast loads of coal and cleaning the soot out in a sea of dark, hunger and pain. If you didn’t have a penny in those days gone by, you were a criminal and sent to a workhouse to eat gruel and wear rags until someone could get you out, or you died. When the Toll Puddle Martyrs in a peaceful demonstration were fired on by their own army because the Government did not want their ideas to survive.
Later on, not so far from this point, in the history of men, was the First World War, where once more the young were sent to die by generals who came from a group of people used to being in charge of everything but, excuse me please, with nothing but water on the brain. In Galipoli at first, One young inexperienced general led the field and the troops who came to fight beside Britain, the ANZAC men from Australia and New Zealand lost their lives. An Eastern front designed to keep the enemy? In chains was lost in a single day because the Turkish forces knew their own land better than the other men.
There are battles well known from this war such as The Somme and Ypres where not just thousands but a million young men died well before their time.
Just before the start of these “British Empire glory days,” that first Christmas, though, despite orders, propaganda and lies, on both sides, for one brief second in time, Christmas day, 2014, the ordinary fighting men played football and shared gifts on a battlefield of destruction.
That war so soul destroying, so vast in darkness, leaving mothers without sons and girls without men for a whole generation was dubbed “The War to End All Wars,” until the next one came!
For a second after this “Second World War,” just a pin prick in time, hope started to appear, 1947 was the year, Sorry boys but the Marshall Plan was at work rebuilding Europe, a European Court was conceived, the European Convention of Human Rights was born, with the help of all member nations of the UK led by the same General from the First World War who had actually learned his lesson and paid severely for his mistakes.
This year of 1947 also saw a UK, contrary to popular belief, struggling to meet its financial commitments in Asia and China through the East India Company. At this time we were not too proud to let go and India with the help of Ghandi, became an independent nation, in this year also, Israel was born and Britain created the National Health Service, the start of the social housing boom was created and the welfare state and more equality came together. We all pulled together!
By the time the UK formally joined the EEC, (now the EU), we were practically crippled with poverty, low pay (does it sound familiar?), high prices, strikes, three day working weeks, power cuts and waste piled everywhere together with the rats in the streets. (I know, I lived through this time we used to create shadow pictures on the walls whilst being forced to live by candle-light, three nights a week).
I did not grow up with the freedom of choice of what to eat, we drank fresh orange juice from concentrate in tins, thought pineapple was a luxury, shared our clothes, lived with coal fires, windows frozen on the inside as well as the outside and “make do and mend,” was the mantra we employed.
The UK did not want to join the EEC then, we were going to lose our freedom, we would find it impossible to work with the farmers, fishermen etc! (I believe the disintegration of relationships has once more commenced).
Despite the rhetoric, the UK voted to become a member and yet a new danger was born. While we all built relationships, free’d up trade, broke down barriers, learned together, researched together, built cars together and became a clan of mainly independent federal nations, a small minority of disgruntled people who could not accept or understand the new way grumbled away in the background and complained and groaned at every new idea that came to pass in a brand new reality. They were the ones who had always been in charge, the ones whose families held a birth right to become the leaders of men and women of course.
As the relationships became more reliable and relied upon, as the people became friends and free movement became the way forward, as the Euro became the currency, Health & Safety rules became tighter, travel became easier, finance became more stable and research and study became cross-border, the grumbling grew louder. One crowning glory, in recent years, of the EU were the new European Human Rights statutes of 2010, which have taken longer to ratify because of their content than any other European Law. These new Human Rights Articles set the cat among the pigeons, rather than work out the content step by step as the Law Society of Scotland did, working with Europe to understand, those dissatisfied voices that had grown and grown took the opportunity and pounced.
It did not, in my opinion, you see, suit this minority to learn a different way, everything that was bad had come from the European Union. They could not take any more, we cannot go down this route, how dare the EU insist on laws that the UK could not control? We would lose a right to control our own borders? Are just a few of the complaints that have been drummed into our heads.
Do you know something, whilst researching information on Human Rights, before the Brexit Referendum, I came across a passage “….we don’t understand why the British protest so much, complain about everything that has come from EU law, Britain is usually the first to make sure European Law is written into statute.”
It is amazing how fake news and propaganda work isn’t it? Starting without anything more than the smallest of comments, that someone takes on board. Like Chinese whispers, the story grows larger as it moves along. That is, most definitely, what has happened here, truth obscured by fantasy has become the order of the day, and the cracks are beginning to show most clear.
What have we done, really, what have we learned, where are our friends made over forty-five years, where are the people with whom we shared life, who helped us, and cared with us, made our communities alive with colour, flavour, love and respect.
What is Brexit?
Where are we going with this concept?
Why are we here at this point with no idea of where we are going?
What will we have left when all is said and done?
WHAT DO WE WANT FROM CLOSED BORDERS, LESS DIVERSITY, CUT FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD?
You see it is not just the European people who are leaving our lands, it is the Indian, the African, the Russian, the Australian and New Zealander who have resided here since before we joined the EU who came here to help us rebuild the UK of old.
Why? can I ask you again as I did before, are you trying to gamble with 60 million lives, on a fantasy of new markets while we were still developing the old. Why would any rich large independent nation, look to keep a relationship going that is not about to benefit their own? We are, in total reality, an island, small in stature, that has a neighbour with bigger land just across the channel.
One picture I would leave with you just to make you think while you deliberate, we have smaller islands off the Scottish coast that at one time could boast that they had more than one village and were self-sustaining communities before disaster broke lives. Most of those islands are now uninhabited. I know this is a scenario that most will not want to think but could this also be the case here in a few more years written by fear, division and lies?