THE FOREIGN Secretary has warned voters that Russia is the only world power buoyant at the prospect of Britain leaving the EU, presumably as it will further president Putin’s dastardly plans for the continental chessboard.
Speaking at Chatham House, a think tank famous for propelling bright ideas, Philip Hammond made the claim to challenge the idea that Britain, as a glorious island kingdom, could rely on the anglo-sphere and old commonwealth to anchor its business interests abroad.
The MP for the constituency of Runnymede and Weybridge, and one of the richest men in the cabinet, said:
“None of our allies wants us to leave the EU – not Australia, not New Zealand, not Canada, not the US. In fact, the only country, if the truth is told, that would like us to leave the EU is Russia. That should probably tell us all we need to know.”
As any parent will tell you, doing something because it’s popular is definitely the right decision, but Hammond may have stumbled upon an idea here which hasn’t been receiving the coverage it deserves.
The fantastical theory that a 21st century British empire would rise, phoenix like, from the ashes of the ballot box, freed from the shackles of Johnny banana straighter and his red tape army, is for the birds.
With the United States on the verge of becoming Spanish speaking sometime this century (or Mexicanish as it’s known across the pond) and having much bigger fish to fry, the sexiest actor in the Anglo wet dream won’t be interested in a confederacy of dunces.
That leaves a motley crew of ex colonies and random islands. The money makers down under are far more concerned with the Chinese and far-east markets, as are their neighbours in New Zealand. India is now a far more powerful global player than the UK, having smoothly shot itself of the old Etonian paymasters. Meanwhile Hong Kong has returned to the mothership, London has just about absorbed Jamaica, and Nigeria has Nollywood and an Islamist insurrection to play with.
While there are countless merits for divorcing Brussels, leaving the EU to preserve a kind of withering native British culture in the face of rampant globalisation and immigration is entirely self defeating.
One of the key political choices faced by the electorate today is whether to embrace a consolidated world politics or divide into smaller and smaller states in the name of enhanced personal and cultural freedom.
The problem is that by following our hearts and going for the small is beautiful approach, we leave ourselves open to domination by stronger powers who care little for the subtleties of nationhood. America, Russia and China bind themselves together through forces which can only be described as totalitarian in their method, whether through the deceit of corporatism or the barrel of a gun.
Should the UK leave Europe, there is a strong possibility that Scotland will follow suit and break free of the Tories, that more agnostic believers in the EU, especially Italy, Poland, Sweden and Hungary, will consider their own membership, that a Spain torn by crisis could lose Catalonia, and that a bruised continent could retreat behind ethnic lines already obscured by decades of ignorant bliss.
The moral of the story is that, whatever shape the union takes, whether a supranational project or a modest commercial exchange, we should recognise that our cultural allegiance lies with the continent.
In the eyes of the tigers of the world Britain is now simply one of those islands jotting off the north-west coast, where they put tea in their milk, or was that Iceland? Ach who cares they all look the same.