Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics

The EU faces its Dunkirk.

Posted by Jason O on Dec 26, 2011 in British Politics, European Union, Irish Politics

Churchill, one of Europe's founding fathers.

Churchill, one of Europe's founding fathers.

Reading the British eurosceptic media, it only dawned on me recently that they are against the EU primarily because they’ve never understood it. Just consider Britain’s unique position: a former global power that due to its geographic location has managed a certain form of detachment. They say they want a common market and no more, never quite understanding that a common market alone was never what was on the menu. Whose fault is that? Possibly their own leaders, certainly, but they honestly cannot blame the rest of Europe for wanting to integrate closer, because that closer integration is in Europe’s interest.
Of course, they now point to the euro crisis as evidence that the entire project is a mistake. It is true that a crucial flaw in the euro, the lack of a functioning fiscal union, is now threatening the very existence of the single currency, and it is true that eurosceptics pointed this flaw out from the very beginning. But it is also true that for ten years the euro did provide stability, prosperity, low inflation and price transparency, sometime the British eurosceptic media has airbrushed out of the story.
So, to put it in terms that the Daily Mail will understand: this is our Dunkirk. This is our darkest day, and like Britain in June 1940, things are looking grim. Our previous strategy hasn’t worked the way that we hoped, but neither did Churchill’s. There were those who told Churchill that the British army was finished, its equipment abandoned on beaches in Northern France, and that he should abandon his plan to defeat fascism and compromise with the new conventional wisdom, and make peace with Hitler’s new Europe. But he didn’t. He adapted and stuck to his principles, and won. Like Churchill, we’re not going to give up because this is too important and because we too actually believe in our cause. It’s that which British eurosceptics have never understood, because they have never believed that we could feel as patriotic and as passionate about our cause as they are about theirs. We do, and we’re not going to walk away. It’s just too important.

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