Morning…welcome to autumn.
“The strength of feeling that the British people have about this need for control and the direct accountability of their politicians is one reason why, throughout its membership, the United Kingdom has never totally felt at home being in the European Union.”
So said Theresa May at her speech in Florence.
Honestly, it’s hard to believe that she really said that.
To begin with, it’s not much of a negotiating tactic:
‘We’ve never really felt at home with you, but can we please have the closest possible relationship in the future, closer than Norway, closer than Iceland, closer than Canada, closer than Liechtenstein?
‘We need to control things, though, as I say, so we’ll be looking to do this closeness without actually being close. You know, without any of your interfering rules and regulations, and your foreign courts challenging decisions of our solid English judges, and, of course, at little or no cost to us, as we have to try to find £350m a week for our failing health service.
‘Now, as I said, the British people like accountability in politicians. Indeed they demand it. Our own mother of parliaments is a shining example of that accountability, as all of you will know.’
Methinks she was havering!
Because as well as being stupid, for a large section of the public, at least in Scotland, it was totally untrue. We HAVE felt comfortable with Europe. For example, I don’t think I have ever met a single person (despite tabloid headlines) who gave a tuppeny damn about the ECJ or who has had the least contact with it. But then, I suppose, we Scots are used to our top court of appeal being in another country.
I like being European. I’ve benefited from working in France thanks to a Leonardo Da Vinci project. I’ve made friends all over Europe. I love the cheap flights that will take me to Budapest, Dublin, Paris, Helsinki, Sofia or Bratislava, in a couple of hours, and for less than the train fare to Newcastle. I love that my neighbour was Hungarian and that we became close friends and my family with his. I love what he has taught me. I love the different foods, the music, the languages and the openmindedness of being part of the European Project.
Of course, I have heard complaints that there are too many, particularly Eastern European, folks taking their jobs/women/the last pint of milk/parking space at the supermarket. Whatever.
But then, we’ve done a lot of building work projects in Dundee over the years (most of all at the moment with the waterfront project) and people frequently complain that the tradesmen are coming here from Glasgow or Edinburgh to take our jobs. There will always be jealousies and division… East coast, West coast; Catholic, Protestant; Rangers, Celtic; old, young…
That doesn’t mean that we don’t want to be in the same country as Glasgow or Edinburgh.
No, we are largely at home with Weegies or Dunedians (Conan: is that right?). Just the same as we’re largely at home with Hungarians, Bulgarians, Icelanders and Greeks.
We, by and large, want no part of Mrs May’s nasty insular island mentality (although we’ll grant you there are some who do, many of them MSPs or local councillors, it seems, according to newspapers, and from her party too!).
So M Verhofstadt, M Barnier, et al, if you are reading this (which I imagine you are), what we are trying to say is that Mrs May was NOT speaking for us.
Scotland voted to remain part of Europe because we love you; because we appreciate the privileges and advantages accorded to us by being a part of the world’s biggest and richest trading block. Because we value the way that we can develop together. Because we value our European citizenship and all the freedoms that it brings.
We do not want to be dragged into the narrow insular “Empire II” envisaged by some of the right-wing leaders in London. And to be honest, we fear for our future as insignificant outcasts. We want to keep that burgundy passport and the rights it gives us.
Despite promising that OUR government will be consulted on every aspect of Brexit, the London establishment has so far ridden roughshod over everything that our First Minister and her government have proposed to make Scotland’s future reflect Scotland’s vote. May’s own people, who up to the referendum were telling us that it would be a disaster for us to leave the EU are now telling us that it is the greatest opportunity of our lifetimes. We were even told in 2014 that we would be cast out of the EU if we voted for our independence and that frightened the life out of some of us.
Whilst we understand the enormity of the problem of the border in Ireland, and indeed that between Gibraltar and Spain, and appreciate that people’s actual lives depend on the decisions you will take over these matters, we beg you not to forget that the Scots voted nearly 2 : 1 to stay with you, to stay European citizens with the responsibilities and privileges that entails.
Please don’t forget us. Although I can’t speak for all Scots, please remember that neither does Mrs May nor does she have our interests at heart; please allow Nicola Sturgeon and other Scots of any party to do so.
22 SEPTEMBER: All going splendidly. A few people turned up to hear the boss today. Well, no one important, but at least it wasn’t all empty seats! (I told her Friday matinees weren’t the best idea, but you know her. She always knows best.)
The old dear cackled on a bit in her usual way, and frankly, I dropped off for a bit as you do after a good luncheon. But I’m sure she socked it to Johnny Foreigner. Told them we’d stick around for longer. Ha ha. That made them sit up. Well, those that were awake, anyway.
But we’re Brits. We’ve never felt at home with all these people speaking foreign at us and their foreign courts and, I mean look at the democratic deficit. Why, it’s a European dictatorship. No. The majority of decent hardworking British families up and down the country are jolly glad we’re putting these foreigners in their place at last.
Mark my words, they’ll run after us begging for trades deals, as will the rest of the world. And we’ll return to our rightful place at the head of the list of senior and important countries leading the world forward under Bor… I mean Theresa.
Er, we just need time, and Liam needs to get his royal yacht built… but once we’re up and running, nothing will stop us.
Leaving you some pics I’ve taken or been sent on my journeys around the world to save you decent British people from this European dictatorship.
All the best
So, old Tess addressed the United Nations General Assembly today and almost no one showed up. There were obviously doing stovies and corned beef in the canteen, or something!
Yesterday President Macron drew a far larger crowd and, of course, the place was full to bursting when Coco the Clown appeared doing his Rocket Man act. But then everyone loves a comic as top of the bill.
OK, no one else, except maybe Putin or Xi is going to draw a crowd like that. I’m not sure what they were expecting… maybe a mix between Miss World and The Apprentice, but they came along to hear what he had to say, because however mad he is, he is the POTUS and however ridiculous his statements, what he says counts for something.
It is a mark of how unimportant Britain is that President Mahmoud Abas of Palestine got a bigger crowd than Mayhem. Simply no one is interested in what Britain thinks.
I know May has made a big thing of this speech she is giving in Florence (why Florence… taking advantage of the free travel while she’s still got a job?) on Friday. I’m just wondering if anyone will turn up!
Many people in the UK could be relatively unaware of what is happening in Catalonia given that the BBC seems determined to give it as little coverage as possible. I had the car radio on the way home tonight and the ‘PM’ show on Radio 4 had sent a reporter off to India to find out about how some company there is making saris just like Mother Theresa wore (you know, the nun, not the prime ministerial joke). In the time I was listening not a word was said about democracy being trampled under a jackboot in a European country.
The take over of the government of Catalonia by the Spanish seems to be of little import to Britain, deserving of even less coverage than the daily killing of kids in Yemen (ya know, using British bombs).
Munguin just wanted to say that we support the Catalonians wholeheartedly as they have done for us. We wish them well in these dreadful times and we find their spirit and courage to be inspiring. We really hope they get their vote out in the referendum without violence and that Spain will come to its senses and accept that being a democratic country means that you have to allow democracy.
In the long term, you cannot hold on to something that does not wish to be held.
…there are a couple of very deserving causes that caught Munguin’s eye and persuaded him to open his wallet (we found the key in the vaults of Munguin Towers), allowing a multitude of moths to escape.
The first is from Munguin reader and blogger, The Rambling Junketeers, who, currently living in Mexico, has been touched by the plight of the hundreds of stray dogs that are left to starve on the streets in that country.
He’s fundraising for a kennel that he volunteers with. His story is heartwarming and tear-jerking at the same time. It’s worth a read if you’re an animal lover.
So, if you’re a dog person, and flush with cash, you might like to help him out. Money goes a good deal further in Mexico so even a little would make a difference.
The second cause is an old favourite of this site and of Munguin’s, so it will need no other introduction than… Mark Frankland. We all know what Mark does, and Munguin and I have the deepest respect for him. Homebase needs funds for the winter and this is important work, given the terrible hardships imposed on people by this heartless Westminster government of incompetents.
In addition to the Just Giving page, Mark has written another novel, always a seriously good and exciting read, and is selling it on Amazon Kindle. If you fancy buying it for your Kindle you can do so here. All the money goes to the fund. I think you’ll like the plot.
If you don’t have a Kindle you can read the book on his blog (see sidebar) or here, and make a contribution (or not) on the Just Giving page.
OK, that’s Munguin’s begging bowl going back in the cupboard until the next time. At least, to the little fella’s credit, he never asks anything for himself. (Of course, neither does Rupert!)