I kind of go back and forth on the whole “Should Britain exit the E.U.?” thing:
- I’m generally not for nations or federations splitting up, especially not for nationalistic (in the racial or cultural sense) reasons. Balkanization is bad. I’m against secession whether practiced by the Confederacy or Quebec separatists. I make an exception for the USSR.
- On the other hand, British culture is so awesome! From Shakespeare to the Beatles, Jane Austen to Nick Hornby, Monty Python to Douglas Adams, King Arthur to QEII, the guy who wrote “Greensleeves” to Elvis Costello, Beau Brummel to Carnaby Street, Jack Aubrey to Arthur Dent, James Bond to George Smiley, I want to see Britain hang onto everything that makes it special and unique, and I don’t want a bit of it to be watered down.
- The E.U. makes for a strong trading partner for the United States, when it’s not having eruptions in Greece and such.
- I’m deeply gratified that the Brits didn’t go to the Euro. I’m still not thrilled that they decimalised the pound. It was disappointing, when I was there, not to hear people refer to shillings and crowns and such. But every time I held a pound or two-pound coin, I fully understood the phrase “sound as a…” That is some seriously solid, dependable-feeling money.
And so forth.
I found myself swinging back and forth today, with President Obama visiting London and backing up David Cameron’s position of maintaining the union.
For instance, I find the idea that maybe we could deepen the Special Relationship by having special bilateral trade deals, just between us and our Mum Country.
But Obama threw cold water on that:
The UK would be at the back of the queue for a trade deal with the US if Britain voted to leave the EU, Barack Obama has said.
The US president said a trade agreement would not happen any time soon in the event of Britain leaving because it was better to strike a transatlantic deal with Europe as a whole….
Which made me think, it’s great you’re helping the PM out and all. As you say, that’s what friends do. But really? We wouldn’t negotiate favorable trade terms with our closest friend in the world if she stood alone?
It’s almost enough to make you think Boris Johnson is onto something when he suggests that Obama’s Kenyan heritage makes him a less-than-enthusiastic ally of the colonial power. I mean, really — American presidents don’t stiff-arm Great Britain (by doing such thing as sending Churchill’s bust back).
In the end, I suppose, I think it’s best for our friends to hold France close, and Germany closer. After all, Europe hasn’t launched another World War since this alliance came together. Yet.
But my Anglophilia still causes me to go wobbly sometimes…