The decision of the electorate in Ireland not to endorse the EU Treaty is a cataclysmic failure of persuasion by European politicians in general and Irish politicians in particular. In my lifetime (I’m a Baby boomer born the same year as Clinton (W) and Bush (Dubya) the creation of co-operation and peace and stability in Europe is perhaps the most significant of political achievements. My Father fought in the Second World War and both my Grandfathers in France in the First. I grew up in a world of facile War comics where the Hun, and the greasy Wop featured in every issue. My father warned me against the vileness of the Krauts and the duplicity of the Frogs and the turncoats of Italy. My schoolbooks were full of stories of the wickedness of those who had the misfortune to live in Europe of which we, as noble brave Brits were emphatically not part. “The English, the English, the English are best – I wouldn’t give tuppence for all of the rest”.

In the 1960s and 1970s it became apparent that peace and prosperity for Europe lay in the ever-closer integration of all of the European nations. We stuttered a bit in Blighty but eventually Ted Heath, in by far his most notable achievement as a politician, got us into the Common Market. Over the years, and despite the antipathy of Thatcher and Major, Europe prospered and so, oft reluctantly, did we as part of the wider European adventure. It was always obvious (and in my view desirable) that we would move gradually towards a de facto United States of Europe – and I had no problem with this. I can be English and British and European un-self-consciously. Being one of the three does not reduce the significance of the others.

Closer European integration obviously required some degree of codification. Call it a constitution or a treaty (I don’t mind) but an agreed framework for the European pseudo-State was fine by me as well. Jaw jaw is always better than War war. Would you rather be fighting the Germans, or working with them and the rest to build a new peaceful, preposterous Europe. No brainer Ha?

So if I believe what I believe why don’t all of my fellow citizens? Am I perhaps wrong? I don’t think so. So it’s a failure of communications and persuasion here in Britain and now, sadly for all to see in God’s other island. Oh dear!

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