For many years, Amnesty International campaigned for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, the fragile lady kept under house arrest in Burma despite winning a general election in 1990. I remember sending letters on her behalf and gifts that may or may not have reached her. Today she is free and re-visited Oxford, where she went to university and lived for many years.
It is good news but full of sad irony. When Aung San Suu Kyi studied in Oxford, married here and had children, England was a self-governing democracy. Back in the 1960s and seventies, the UK government still had powers to make our own laws, control our own budget and institutions, and decide who can live here. Now it hasn't, because all those powers have been transferred to the EU commission at Brussels. Decisions are taken over our heads by Spanish or German politicians we never elected. As Burma gets closer to democracy we get further away.
What is curious is that the media still regards Aung San Suu Kyi as a heroine, almost a saint, yet those who campaign for democracy in the UK are treated as villains. She is feted in the streets, while they are reviled and denounced. The EU has already passed a law making criticism of itself illegal. It may be that one day soon, people who campaign for democracy in the UK will also be held under house arrest, or just sent to goal. They can certainly expect to have very little chance of employment or advancement in the EUSSR.
Let's hope the whole thing falls apart soon and we can crawl out of the wreckage.
Happy Birthday, Aung San Suu Kyi!