Crashing through the rain on a near empty double decker bus in London, I saw a British flag, limping in a desultory wind.
Set high above an over confident mass architectural calculation - the Victoria and Albert museum, it whispered the last ‘hurrah’ of the Empire as I passed.
‘A whimper upon a pompous splendour’, I thought at the time.
With Britain’s rendering of a brutal act of self-harm, the limb of the Kingdom is about to be torn from the body of European brotherhood by a blunt legal act coldly entitled Article 50. Nobody, it seems, in this stagnant democracy, has decided that the Act may violate any of the country’s precious freedoms. This ancient kingdom will now float like a fairy tale. Alone, calling out at sea, rudderless, without caution and crucially without continental amis.
There was a challenge and promise in that European Union of 1972, which has all at once evaporated in a rear-guard political defence. The capitulation of Prime Minister Cameron, tactically out-flanked by a small hell-brand right wing that he was unable to master, finally to be cudgelled and politically murdered by a fellow school chum, Boris Johnson.
Common law is so formed, that the sovereign protector and aged sceptred monarch Queen Elizabeth II is unable to step in to protect the rights of individuals. Everything now gives way all at once to the petty weight of inevitability and in so doing, sells both the country’s past and future in a bargain lot to the first punter who comes along in the garage sale.
You look back on what they’re now calling the nation’s ‘thousand year landmark decision’ and begin to wonder about the fear that has driven the Kingdom to unhitch from its moorings in such a way. In contrast, if you peer across the short stretch of the choppy waters of the channel and lift your ears to the continental winds, you will hear the victorious celebrations of a resurgent continent coming out of the Covid storm several weeks before our protected island.
The EU is already planning phase two of the reformed union. Phase one was the defeat of the rampant right-wing, a tank powered by Anglo-Saxon isolationism and fear of the immigrant. Unlike the UK’s Prime Minister, France and Germany have kept their friends close, in exactly 27 countries to be…