Decorum won’t allow me to write the next, logical sentence. But you get the sentiment.
Perhaps it could have been expressed differently, say with a reference to shaking their dust from our feet. That would have made the message more civilised, but no more heartfelt.
For the British have regained their right to be just that, British, a nation governed the British way, according to British customs, history and laws. That’s not what our metropolitan trendies want to be.
They’d rather belong to a vast quasi-imperial contrivance, whose fine points the plebs are supposed to be too stupid to grasp. ‘Plebs’ to them has to be not a class notion, but a political one, defined as a full synonym of Leavers.
Otherwise this attitude would be even more idiotic than it is, because the ranks of Leavers included some of our finer minds, such as the late Roger Scruton, not to mention a large group of my close friends, who not only know and understand European culture, but also produce some of it.
Any one of them – well, false modesty aside, us – is not noticeably inferior intellectually to any Remainer out there, or perhaps all of them combined. But those sore losers do have a point: many of those who voted Leave may have trouble coming up with a tight definition of, say, sovereignty.
Yet they’d have no such problem defining identity. Not that the need would ever arise: British people don’t need to define Britishness. It’s indelibly written in their hearts.
They love their country, are proud of it and hate to see it lose its character to an influx of alien laws, regulations and – truth be told – throngs. Some of them, not many, may indeed dislike foreigners. But, more important, all of them love Britain and the British.
More than just about any other European national identity, Britishness has a vital political component. France can remain France under her 17 different constitutions adopted during the time when Britain has had just one. France can even remain France as part of Nazi Germany.
Britain isn’t like that. Take away our monarchy, the sovereignty of our Parliament, and the rule of our common law, and Britain wouldn’t be Britain any longer.
The bonds tying together France are mostly cultural, linguistic and perhaps even gastronomic. That’s why the country did well under German occupation: everybody still spoke French, the food was less plentiful but still French, Sartre’s dramas were staged and Marcel Carné’s films shot – Paris reste Paris, as Maurice Chevalier was singing.
That’s why the French are happy to emulate Messrs Esau and Faust and dissolve their sovereignty in the cauldron of a stew cooked by German and French bureaucrats towards the end of Germany’s previous attempt to unite Europe.
And that’s why they – even the more intelligent among them – fail to understand the British on this subject. The French don’t realise that, while Britain has always been governed by the rule of law, she, unlike France, has never been governed by the rule of lawyers.
Most of our laws, even when they don’t have obvious scriptural antecedents, have gradually developed over centuries as reflections of the English national character. That’s why some things that are traditionally sacrosanct to our governments, such as property rights, are to those clever French legislators statements of intent at best and petty annoyances at worst.
Hence, for example, our country roads are hardly ever as straight as in France. A countryside is made up of private holdings, making it impossible for a British planner to put a ruler on the map, draw a straight line some 30 miles long and turn it into a road without encroaching on someone’s property. Yet that’s precisely what the French did throughout the 19th century, most blatantly during the reign of Napoleon III.
Personally, I’m grateful for this: driving along those straight ribbons is easier and safer than along the meandering sunken lanes in England. But they never let one forget how profoundly different, not to say incompatible, the two countries are.
The French refuse to acknowledge this. They have an ill-conceived notion that they could recapture their past grandeur by hanging on to Germany’s coattails, while bossing every other EU member.
I think they are wrong even as far as France’s interests are concerned. But that’s their business, I just wish they kept their noses out of ours. Fat chance.
By way of a fond good-bye, Manny Macron explained that the Brexit campaign only became victorious due to “lies, exaggerations and simplifications”. Presumably, as opposed to the Remain campaign that was the paragon of veracity, integrity and subtlety.
To illustrate his point, Manny lied in his very next sentence. Britain, he said, became the first country to leave the European Union in 70 years. This lie is popular with all EU fanatics, including our home-grown ones.
For the European Union, a single supranational state in the making, hasn’t existed for 70 years. It was founded on 7 February, 1992, at Maastricht. Until then, it had been called the European Economic Community.
The difference goes beyond semantics. For the intention of the EU founders has always been political: to create a single state. Yet, for tactical purposes, they lied that all they wanted was economic harmony. This is how one of the EU godfathers, Jean Monnet, put it in the 1950s:
“Europe’s nations should be guided towards the superstate without their people understanding what is happening. This can be accomplished by successive steps, each disguised as having an economic purpose but which will irreversibly lead to federation.”
Thus the EU is a political contrivance built on the termite-eaten foundation of perpetual lies. When one of its functionaries accuses those who exposed the lies for what they are of being themselves liars, only one answer is possible.
In Manny’s own language: “Va t’en…” In our own language, congratulations, Britain. We may still end up in hell, but at least it’ll be one of our own making.