Thursday, 27 May 2010

Could we Really Survive Outside the Space Capsule?

It's funny the sort of questions people ask. Instead of asking, "Should we really stay inside a system that is collapsing on all sides like a house on fire?" they quite often ask, "Could we survive outside the EU?"
Survive outside? Why should there be a problem with surviving outside? What do you think is outside there? Are we in a space capsule plummeting through the icy, dark vacuum of hyper-space? Well, no, not when I last looked!
Take a look at history. History - you know, all that stuff about the remote past, before mobile phones, i-pads and laptops. I can vividly remember a time when an i-pad was something you kept in a first-aid box and only got out in emergencies. Which shows I'm, like, really old.
History shows us that when this funny-shaped little island was part of the Roman Empire, it was poor, enslaved and downtrodden. It used a single currency, yes, and that single currency was used to buy and sell British children in the markets of Rome. The serfs of this empire could be strung up without appeal or much in the way of defence. Another imperial power that once governed Britain in a rather different but still effective manner was the Roman Catholic church, whose Popes thought their authority was above that of kings. They took huge amounts of money from the devout believers, in the form of tithes and payments for blessings and indulgences. A lot of it went to the Vatican which grew into an amazingly lavish and wealthy capital, where an elite class displayed their splendour and luxury. Sounds familiar?
Naughty people like Chaucer and the Lollards used to whisper that there was corruption, too, in the ranks of the elite. Sounds familiar?
Now look what happened when Britain threw off those foreign rulers and decided to be independent. From Tudor times to the Second World War we kept foreign powers from meddling in our country. Result: we were freer, richer, more powerful and more dynamic than at any other time. We weren't isolated, and we weren't insular.
We were just free.
If that's petty nationalism, it looks pretty good to me.

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