Striking similarities with 1861
We now know the date of the UK referendum on membership of the European Union.
The politicians are falling over one another to get on the TV and air their views.
I can see some interesting similarities to the conflict that tore the US apart over 150 years ago. Both conflicts are essentially about “States Rights”.
Of course, there are significant differences. No-one is suggesting that the UK might secede from the EU and declare war on the others. But what is undeniable is that a UK exit would bring to the fore many of the tensions in the EU that might leave it fighting for its life.
Try as I might it is difficult not to see the Brexit campaigners (have you ever seen such an assortment of idiotic losers as Farage, Galloway and Co.?) as throwbacks to the political class of the pre-Civil War South. They have as their basic tenet the idea that they can prevent the rest of the country (read Continent) from making any progress by simple obstructionism.
As the Confederacy found, by simply crying wolf over and over again you may persuade most of you citizens to follow you over the precipice but the end result is you are falling a long way and the ending is as painful as it is final.
The EU, like the ante-bellum US, is by no means prefect. But, you cannot “stop all the clocks” nor will friendly bombs fall on Brussels. The fact is that Britain is part of the continent of Europe. An accident of real climate change made it so. Until the warming which brought about the present geological era began, the island was still physically joined to Europe. No amount of “little-Englander” rhetoric will obviate this fact.
As with the CSA, trying to occupy the same continent and peacefully co-existing with your close neighbours is just not going to be an option. Leave the EU and they will turn on you with the fury and resolve of an Abe Lincoln. (Angela Merkel)
Reams will be written about the up-coming vote. Today's Sunday papers are full of it (quite literally - in any sense of the expression that you may wish to append to it).
My bottom line – rule by referenda is a very poor way of governing a country. Dave only promised a referendum to (a) placate an implacable right wing of his party and (b) because all the polls said a hung parliament and, therefore, he wouldn't really have to provide it.
Events have proven him wrong. He may find that the price of remaining in is too high for his political future. He may well win the vote – but in the process he will become a Jefferson Davis leader – fatally flawed and fatally stabbed in the back by his “friends”.