It was Margaret Thatcher who as Prime Minister was the principal driving force behind the expansion of the European Union. It was she who advocated the broadening of the physical, philosophical, financial and spiritual scope of the European Community as it was then known, to include the eastern European and Baltic, former Warsaw Pact states.
Her nemesis at that time was Jaques Delors, a bureaucrat and a Frenchman. He of course (being that he had risen to the appointed post of a Commissioner) came from the Brussels mindset that was then and remains to this day of the same view, that being, that Brussels, Berlin and Paris run the show between them. The physical structures of the EU project in Brussels, Belgium being underpinned by the financial and philosophical capacities of Germany and France.
Thatcher attempted to weaken that triumvirate by expanding the number of nations and taking advantage of the fact that those countries were existing in their post-Soviet incarnation, that being, in a state of virtual financial anarchy, masquerading as liberalism.
Thatcher is dead and gone and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is going too – or so it’s people have said.
The reasons that the British gave for leaving the EU were a few in number but one stood out, immigration. The countries on the physical periphery of the European Union, those countries that Mrs Thatcher had spoken up on behalf of all those years ago, are also now raising their voices to express concerns about immigration from out with Europe and they are doing so with much greater fervency, on every level of the stage on which they now speak from.
The voices of those eastern and now the southern states too, are beginning to unite, to privately make bilateral ‘agreements’, something that the EU constitution does not permit, countries like Hungary and Italy, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, even Poland, now have populist parties in powers with popular support and a unity of approach on the issue of external immigration into their countries and to the EU.
That view is fast becoming the majority view on the continent of Europe and it is on a collision course with the Brussels, Berlin and Paris and moreover the leaders of the bureaucratic Triumvirate are now experiencing catastrophic collapses in the confidence that their own electorates have in them to govern in their own peoples best interest.
The battle for the soul of Europe
Of course Margaret Thatcher knew that all of this would unfold as it has. She had her advisors and access to any and every persuasion of advice on offer, as do her successors. Thatcher was not a fan of Europe, not a believer in or a worker for, ‘The Project’.
That project revolves around the Franco- German post WW2 alliance. However, it is an experiment based on the ideas, principles, polices and institutions that had been conceived of by and for the National Socialists during the Weimar Republic and the fascist dictatorship that followed. Mr Delors and the central clique he represented, were never enthusiastic supporters of the movement eastwards. It would mean the dilution of their core values; western European, secular, quasi-atheistic, monolithic, anti-democratic and a belief in their own exceptionalism.
The new members from eastern Europe were not really believers in any of these things. They were and remain as, social conservatives, economic liberals, Christians and believers in ‘real’ democracy, after their experience with Soviet style communist ideology. Indeed their cultural dispositions are much more closely aligned to the nations of southern Europe; Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal.
And that brings us to today. A time when a fortified fence has been built along, not the border of the EU, but along a line that closely resembles that often used to depict the boundary of the old Holy Roman Empire; the previously iron clad Chancellor Merkel of Germany is now politically dead following her decision to allow one million African and Asian migrants into her country unchecked.
Her fellow ideological traveller President Macron of France is at phenomenally low levels, unprecedentedly low levels in the opinion polls, secessionist movements are on the increase across the continent, even in previously social democratic Scandinavia, and of course the UK has voted to leave.
Britain will leave but will not continue in it’s current incarnation – it will inevitably fracture but that does not necessarily mean that her constituent nations will automatically rejoin the EU. Many voters are not so enthusiastic. There are alternatives. Many voters in European countries agree with their British counterparts. Many are sceptical of the motivations of the European elites.
There are now two clear blocks developing within the European Union, and the one controlled by the Berlin/Paris axis is getting weaker in relation to the other, that led by Mr V Orban in Hungary but supported vocally and vociferously, by the new Italian Prime Minister, and his Prime Ministerial colleagues in Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic.
What is more, each of these populist leaders, not all of them of the ‘right’, are friends with President Putin of the Russian Federation. I don’t say this to detract from them, I don’t buy into the Putin monster narrative, I say it because it is the reality.
Over time, the populations of western Europe will come, by their own free will, to the only position that is logical – that being, that neither Putin nor Russia are of any threat to them, their countries nor their cultures, quite on the contrary, they have much in common, as brothers and sisters do! Russia’s influence will only grow as time passes and the story unfolds.
In the future, if the Orban block controls Brussels, then expect a very different arrangement of nation states, including Russia, in Europe. At that point, there is as much chance of a former EU merging with the Russian Federation, to form a Eurasia superpower, as the USA and Canada doing likewise and then welcoming their cultural progenitors into their fold, thus forming another. Geopolitics means one event forces the next. World War One? Triple Entente?
Margaret Thatcher, it could be said, was most responsible for the decision to allow the eastern European nations into the club and Angela Merkel for the unilateral decision to allow in one million refugees, that have created the circumstances that enables the previously stated outcomes to become reality.
If such scenario was to come to pass, then the People’s Republic of China would have no choice but to expand. We really are very close to this outcome being a political reality and the consequences would be catastrophic for all, whether or not they resided within or out with, one of the three superpowers that would be fighting for the scraps on offer.
In the late 1940’s a survey was conducted among the people’s of the US, UK and France. The question they were asked was, “who was responsible for defeating the Nazis?” The American public believed that they did most for victory. The British, when asked, thought that they had given the most. The French people gave the credit to the Red Army of the Soviet Union. Europeans are not necessarily willing to view the Russians as being their natural, default enemy. The English speaking world is and that world is effectively North America and the British Isles.
There is a certain inevitability about the drift into this dystopian nightmare. There was not before. The required circumstances that would cause the EU and the UK to fragment were not in place. They are now. The United States itself is fractured, almost down the middle.
President Donald Trump was recently asked how he thought that this rift, that has become a ravine, can be healed or at least bridged. His answer was revealing. “A global event.” Global events move countries and continents and they can move them very quickly, in a way that changes the world overnight and forever. Look at 9/11.
People in my homeland, Scotland, seem to want to exchange one Union for another. Exchange British exceptionalism for the European flavour. Unfortunately, Scotia might find herself free and independent only fleetingly, before geopolitics gobbles her up. However the Scots don’t seem to see that the big fish that will be swallowing her and England, and Wales and Ireland, will be North America, not Europe.
The wooing will be done in English and English is all that the nations of the British Isles have come to understand.