Dear Partners in thought,
The European parliamentary elections dealt a massive blow in the UK to the Tories and to some extent Labour. The British political landscape has changed durably not unlike that of France. However in the case of Britain, its majestuous ship that ruled the waves is now astray. To borrow the words from the favourite man of a likely future Eurosceptic Prime minister (and our favourite man too, to be fair), Britain is in the midst of its “darkest hours”, redux.
Labour went into a self-killing journey of oblivion with an unlikely set of actual Trotskyte entryists at its helm bound to dogmatically oppose what they saw as a EU-flavoured capitalist plot. Soon nobody will care as that once major party will become increasingly irrelevant (one wonders what the likes of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown think today). If it continues its doomsday course Labour will gradually not matter and will share the road to irrelevance of Mélanchon’s France Insoumise. To be fair the left has a tough existential time these days. Their time seems to be gone. Liberals and greens are gradually taking their place with values and ideas that resonate more, especially with young voters.
The Tory Party, led by key and, sadly, talented Eurosceptics and a Prime Minister who naively opened Pandora’s box, is now going into a contest to replace the inefficient and tearful Theresa May. Those people – Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Sajid Javid and Jeremy Hunt – suffer from autism and an over-developed ego without any understanding for what goes on around them. The Tories, once the most successful European political party in Europe for more than a century, that gave back Britain its pride and relevance with Margareth Thatcher, are effectively dying as we speak though its leaders seem to keep dancing. Nigel Farage, clownish as he can be, killed them – but they killed themselves first out of personal ambition ahead of national interest combined with strategic mismanagement – while the unlikely winner of last Sunday still could not run a pub even if he likes beer. Britain needs new parties though the Lib Dems may step to the fore alongside the Greens. The young will dictate this. History may say that these European elections may have been more about the greens and the liberals and the gradual demise of once government parties that made post-war Europe than the nationalists.
Britain has seriously hurt itself via the Brexit process and along the way a reputation built over centuries even if some older, well-off Tories feel that all is still good on the economic front now not yet feeling the impact of leaving the EU. However it is time for all to look at the big picture. Britain without Europe is markedly wounded while the EU without Britain is severely weakened – at a time when blocs do matter and a rising China is going full blast for world leadership with America not willing to let this happen. Europe need to be together as we can win or sink together depending on the course we choose. There is no need for a lose-lose scenario now even if it feels like an existential booster to some in search of an elusive and comforting past glory where sovereignty could only be notional and lethally costly.
Some in the EU, who liked Britain for what it was, are even saying that it would be better now to let it go the high seas. I disagree and say that we need to push our European message across and help our friends stay as we simply help ourselves. We also owe it to them for what they did for “who we are” over the past century. Let’s keep open arms and help them fight their demons so we keep growing as “Europe”. Let us help them reach that second referendum point even if the odds are tough and the leaders to be will fight it out of party rationale as they have before. We owe it to them. We owe to ourselves – to try harder. Let the better angels of our nature prevail while focusing on what matters.