Global Britain, great and free

The nations, not so blest as thee,
Must in their turn, to tyrants fall,
While thou shalt flourish great and free,
The dread and envy of them all.
“Rule, Britannia! rule the waves:
“Britons never will be slaves.”
From ‘Rule Britannia!’ by James Thomson, 1740.

“Dread and envy” of other nations? Under Brexit? The first, maybe; the second, not so much….

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P.S. China’s largest trading partner is…the EU

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New battle lines

Of course, Brexit was never going to be just about leaving the EU. Our internal political system is in turmoil. The fitness for purpose of our democracy is under question. Personal relationships have strained or broken.
Everything we took for granted about our country and our political beliefs is shaken. Britain – or more precisely, England – is in the throes of growing pains.
As soon as you hear someone say “Never since the Norman Conquest has England…..” you know they are defending a castle in the air.
And yet…..there has been no confusion in England as great as this since the Civil War, which was not a simple battle between flashy Europhile Royalists and plain russet-coated English Parliamentarians, but a mess of ideologies, prejudices, opportunism, superstition, nostalgia, pragmatism, courage, cowardice, principles, convictions, compromises and betrayals.
The 17th century English Revolution was a great experiment in republican government. There is nothing great or experimental about Brexit – the right-wing reality is a reactionary coup d’état in the interests of the few, not of the many sincere democrats who voted for it.
There is no coherence, no leadership and no civil disobedience yet. If they come, let’s hope they are not in battalions.
Andrew Carrick Gow Cromwell Dissolving the Long Parliament in 1653.
Oil on canvas, 1907. Auckland Art Gallery. Image: Wikipedia
One of the most tortured bodies in this mess is the Labour Party, the country’s only hope for domestic welfare and the protection of public services, which lost votes in the Election because of the leadership’s fudged Referendum policy, and will be unelectable again if it doesn’t support the Single Market.
 “Two things are now clear: Brexit involves a series of political choices, an our future relationship with the EU will be inferior to the one we currently enjoy. Sitting on the sidelines is therefore not an option.
For the Labour Party, the challenge is huge. The majority of Labour voters backed remaining in the EU, but a significant proportion did not. As a party we campaigned to Remain, and most of us do not believe the challenges facing the country are best solved by leaving – quite the opposite – but since the referendum we have failed to reach
a common and coherent position…
So, the choice is clear. We can sit back and wait for the consequences of a hard Brexit to become so severe that it topples this terrible Tory government.
Or we can stand up for those who will be worst affected and fight for membership of the Single Market and the Customs Union.
Future generations will not forgive us for inaction or for perceived complicity in a Brexit that damages our country and our economy.” Catherine West MP
THE VITAL LINKS:

New report: Busting Lexit Myths

The Labour Campaign for a Single Market

and the leaked Government report on the adverse effects of Brexit on Britain


Thank all our gods, he’s here again to cheer up a dreary post: the irresistible Will, of the People:
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel by Manet

Unworthy England’s Lost Prize

NATIONAL MYTH

“God bless us, every one!” Tiny Tim, in A Christmas Carol, 1843, by Charles Dickens

This fortress built by Nature for herself,
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands;
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England

Shakespeare, Richard II, c. 1595

 NATIONAL TASK

We have to convince all other countries that the Nazi tyranny is going to be finally broken.

The right to guide the course of world history is the noblest prize of victory….The task which lies before us immediately is at once more practical, more simple and more stern.

I hope – indeed, I pray – that we shall not be found unworthy of our victory if after toil and tribulation it is granted to us.

For the rest, we have to gain the victory.

That is our task.
Winston Churchill, ‘The Few’, August 20th, 1940

NATIONALIST REALITY

Reported in

The Northern Echo

Muslim man says he was beaten in Durham for saying ‘Merry Christmas’

The truth is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it, ignorance may deride it,
malice may distort it, but there it is.
Winston Churchill, May 17th 1916.

Arcane Bully

The Special Meaning of Being Whipped in the British Parliament

The Conservative Party enforcers put the screws on elected representatives known to be in support of the Repeal Bill that begins the unravelling of the UK’s laws from EU legislation.

The parliamentary party Whips are euphemistically described as “team managers”, which must explain the reluctance of this blogger to be a member of anything.

During the current fight to Britain’s death, aka Brexit, the ruling party Whips reduced “a female MP to tears”. That’s how it’s reported in all the press, from blue to pink to red. Not “reduced an MP to tears” but a “female” MP.

#MeToo?
Don’t take me there, the trampled shrine where the true victims lie speechless and forgotten.

“Calm down, dear?”
Artemesia corrected you years ago.

judithgentileschijpgArtemisia Gentileschi Judith Beheading Holofernes 1611-12 Oil on canvas Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples. Image source: WGA

DON’T WHIP ME AGAIN

Mother or Dictator?

“ENGLAND IS THE MOTHER OF PARLIAMENTS”
John Bright, 1865

farcePANTO SEASON
It has often been observed that a government’s ceremonial grows more ridiculous in relation to its despotism. In England it’s the other way round: at last we have a tyranny that befits the fancy dress and rituals.

“Conservative rebels have been threatened with legal action if they make false public comments about the activities of the government’s whips in the run-up to Wednesday night’s crunch vote in parliament, the Guardian understands.”

Elected Representative Whipped into Tears: Bullying and Harassment in British Parliament

Single Trading Nation at Sea

“The tectonic plates of the world economy are shifting. With an independent trade policy, Britain can put itself in a strong position to benefit, opening up access to fast-growing markets across the world.” Liam Fox, in The Financial Times, 11 November, 2017

Ships_at_Spithead_1797The imperial British vision of free trading Ships at Spithead 1797
Image source: Wikipedia

Shame on Britain, shame on all of us if we let it happen

“It is worth your knowing that the proposed agreement [between UK Government and EU] directly affects our family. We now have nowhere our family’s right to stay together and live as as a family is guaranteed.

In the UK, my wife is not, it transpires, eligible for permanent residency, because she didn’t have private health insurance (it’s essential for non-UK EU nationals living in the UK – who knew?) when we had our daughter – and so, in the official view, benefited from NHS support illegitimately (this was not queried at the time, and we were not billed).

As a result of today’s accord, I no longer have the right to live in Italy. It is now discretionary: Italy can make me apply for temporary leave to stay, and reapply for permanent status.

Both I and my wife, despite her native citizenship, would both be subject to systematic criminal checks, and could be deported before appeal. And, worse still, our exercise of free movement to any other EU states is now defined as a “life choice”, not a right. Theresa May has totally caved in on our rights, to save her own face.

It is a shameful day for the Government, and for the UK, for allowing them to get away with it. We were encouraged to be European in our outlook and the practical details of our lives, which we have built around the idea of being citizens of the EU. It will be a bleak day for us all if the European Parliament votes to accept these terms.

Mark Alexander

The impact on EU Citizens residing in the UK of the British Government’s agreement with the EU that ECJ will guarantee their rights for 8 years only, not for life