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

An Occasional Guide to EU politics: The twitching British Eurosceptic.

It’s a form of political colour blindness. No matter what the result, there’s a peculiar type of British Eurosceptic view that interprets things in a way completely different from the rest of people on Earth.

When 75% of voters vote for pro-EU parties, that’s a massive endorsement for euro scepticism. When a former prime minister of Luxembourg, publicly nominated months in advance, is picked for Commission President over an unnamed invisible nominal alternative candidate pushed by the British, that’s  a slap in the face for democracy.

There’s a whole “Fog in English Channel, continent cut off” feel to the thing, that the opinions of the editors of The Daily Mail or the Daily Express matter more that the votes of millions of Europeans, and if you can’t get that it’s you, sir, that has a problem!

It’s not that euroscepticism is not a legitimate point of view, or even isolated just to Britain. It’s that weird brand of British Euroscepticism that borders on a neurosis.

It causes grown adults to ask for the flag of an organisation Britain has been a member of for over 40 years to be removed from camera shots for fear of triggering emotional hysteria amongst people who are politically special.

It causes them to turn their backs when a specific piece of music is played.

It causes them to genuinely believe that there is a comparison between the European Union and the tyranny of the Soviet Union, a country of secret police, one party rule and slave labour camps.

These are actual adults, the fathers (in UKIP’s case, grandfathers) of children, people who have held responsible jobs.

What’s most striking is that such behaviour would be regarded on any other subject as just plain odd. If Sinn Fein MPs did the same over the Union Jack or God Save The Queen, or Tory MPs over the Zimbabwe flag, they’d be regarded as not the acts of rational people. Yet when it comes to the EU, all manner of surreal behaviour is tolerated.

One can’t help wondering is there a massive case of emotional transference going on here? That mostly middle aged angry men have seen their society change, seen women and minorities and gays all no longer defer to them, and have lashed out at social change, stumbling across a symbol of all that change? Has the EU, as a symbol of trying to manage modern global change, become the epitome of the change they hate, the very antithesis of The Good Old Days when the darkies and the poofs and the skirt knew their place?

2 Comments

The Oncoming Storm
Aug 13, 2014 at 8:34 am

Pretty much agree with everything, although I would describe UKIP voters as “Europhobic” rather than Eurosceptic. I consider myself Eurosceptic but I’m in favour of free trade and movement of people, co-operation and resource sharing, I’m all in favour of equal marriage and abortion in certain circumstances, its political union I oppose but I don’t support Brexit and I can’t stand the hyperparanoia, persecution complex and Putin worship of many Outers.

The people most likely to support UKIP are of the generation that lived through most of Britain’s post war decline, a lot of which was caused by political short sightedness and some truly epic cockups by industrial bosses. To them anyone other than Churchill or Thatcher were closet pinkos under KGB control, it’s that virulent loathing of the political classes that drives their longing for a simpler time. Add in the fact that much of the Right has never forgiven Europe for being the issue that brought down Thatcher, plus the sense of vindication they take from Black Wednesday and the Euro Crisis and you have a bunch of very angry people, a lot of which is justified, who want what seems like a magic bullet to make things right. The EU’s ability to make a rod for its own back with things like the olive oil ban doesn’t help either!

There’s one other important factor, many UKIP people acknowledge that young people are more Pro-European in their outlook and dislike UKIP, the likelihood is that if Brexit doesn’t happen in the next 5-10 years then changing demographics will mean that it will probably never happen. I think that’s a big reason for a lot of the hysteria over Europe in Britain. The Outers now they’re at a “Now or Never” moment and if they can’t do it soon they never will.


 
david morris
Aug 13, 2014 at 9:10 pm

Sad to see this ill considered rant.

At the end of the day it’s (all) about the economy (stupid).

Remind me again : Why the UK would wish to be shackled to the twitching corpse of the Eurozone ?

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/aug/13/eurozone-woes-spanish-industry

Kind regards


 

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