EUROPE: Vote is the most important one
Like a large number of our population, I am not sure where to place my cross in June.
So far I am very unhappy at the threats and anger shown by the stay protagonists and disturbed by the personal line taken by some journalists.
Britons are a different people from the continentals – Germans, French and Scandinavian, although they are probably the nearest in genes to us from Middle Age invasion, the last time Britons were conquered was by the Normans. The Normans wed with the Anglo-Saxons, while the Celts stayed mainly in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and, yes, in Northumberland. Remember the history of Cuthbert and Lindisfarne?
I grew up during the war and I must write about how we were taught to dislike our enemy, the Germans. It took about 20 years to get over that anger and change our feelings, and that was not changed in my parents’ generation ever.
We stood alone against the German invasion. We were not too small then – America did not join us until 1942, after Pearl Harbour. It was 1941 that I first heard Jerusalem and Rule Britannia when the Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA) had an open air concert on Pale Well Common, Barnes, and believe me, that is where the special energy first evolved for all singing those songs.
The great supporters were the Canadians, Australians, Kiwis and Africans. The Empire formed our much needed helpers in those early days and fought along with us, flying in the Battle of Britain and in the sphere of the Far East against the Japanese, and a large number of their sons lost their lives.
I come from the farming fraternity on my mother’s side and joined the agricultural community here when I married in 1955. It is in the years up here that I have seen that it is the farmers of France and Germany who have continued the fight for our welfare. The Tory Government seems to have no regard for the food supply.
I have, in the past, believed in the idea of a United States of Europe, and it was that I hoped for in 1975. However, I had thought of it in terms of the USA, where the individual states still have their own laws, evolved in the 18th century when they were first being settled.
We heard the bureaucrats of the EU object to being called that in the Commission. They were not answerable to the elected members of the Union, and that will continue, regardless of the new agreements, as long as the unelected Commission continues to meet in Brussels, while the elected representatives meet in the Assembly in Strasberg. As far as I am concerned, this needs to stop if the EU is ever to be democratic.
We have to remember we are a strong member of NATO, from which our forces can operate, and also the old Empire has become a great Commonwealth of nations. It has been joined by other nations who had not been part of our holdings abroad.
We upset the Australasians when we elected to join the EU, but they have shown how to continue agricultural exports and without subsidies to support their production.
As for our citizens working overseas, they can work in jobs they apply for anywhere in the world, including Europe, China, Asia, the Indian subcontinent and the Americas, as they do so on their personal merit. That will not change.
The great danger for me is that this vote is probably the most important one I have made in all my 80 years, and if the stay campaign continues they way it has started, in my fury, I will vote out.