I gave up the news and went completely offline in December 2019. Consequently, I was unaware of the existence of GB News. But is this something that should really worry sensible people? There have always been dark forces – and these forces constantly change their shape. I shall never watch GB News – just as I’d never watch Russia Today. But some people will – and there’s nothing we can do about that in a democracy. Media outlets like Fox News and GB News don’t so much persuade, as confirm people’s prejudices. One could make the same claim about The Guardian.
One might optimistically argue that Trump and Brexit are the last thrashings of a dying world and that the changing demographics of the USA and UK will at least moderate this particular malaise..
It’s so easy to get lost in despair – and to what profit? To my sorrow I see little hope of England (as it will become in our lifetimes) re-joining the EU. However, there is a good chance that a customs union will weld us close enough to the EU and give us enough shared interests to protect the gem that is a liberal, democratic and peaceful Europe. As admirable as our beloved EU is, it will treat GB as a weaker neighbour to whom it gives less than it takes. That’s one of the reasons the EU exists..
We live in a world of realpolitik. Bismarck (I think…) once said ‘free trade is the weapon of the most powerful nation’. Wolves eat dogs – and we are the only wolf that has ever voted to become a dog. We are now at the greater mercy of the ‘trading wolves’, USA, China, Russia, India and the EU. It’s difficult to believe that any medium-sized nation can maximise its potential alone in a world like this. Thriving individual economies often have significant resources and lower populations. For a mid-range nation like ours an agreement with a Pacific free trade bloc might be fine for the digital economy, but for fresh food and manufacturing, not so much.
When a unified Ireland and an independent Scotland are members of the EU, England and Wales face constant centre-right governments unless the centre-left re-aligns. Just as now, a diminished England will have to accept being a client state of the EU, but with the fig leaf of a few insubstantial trade deals with small Pacific islands for Daily Mail readers. My perspective on this national silliness is three fold: my personal loss of my most precious identity, my concern for the impact of food costs on the poor and peace in Europe.
Although I’m a terrible wimp, I come from a family of warriors. My great-grandfather was a professional soldier. My maternal grandfather lied about his age in 1914, my paternal grandfather volunteered in 1938 and died serving in SOE. My adopted grandfather was a professional soldier and turned down three commissions. My father only did National Service, but was encouraged to apply for a commission and become a professional. And me? I’ve lived a blessed life, and I want exactly the same for my sons. And yours.
The ongoing, childish point-scoring over vaccines by the poorest government with the most wretched leader our nation has had in over 100 years demonstrates how easy it is to unpick the seams of our common European humanity, and that should concern us all.
David Tucker, Dorset