Fear of the unknown – the EU debate

This week Ed and I were talking about the EU referendum and the Brexit campaign and the fear that we hear around us about the fear of change and the unknown.

Are you a ‘innie’ or an ‘outie’? Most of the people around me are talking about our relationship with Europe from the fear of immigration.

It would seem that xenophobia is alive and well as we decide about whether or not we leave the EU. Dislike of, or prejudice against, people from other countries is what I hear from those around me is, in my opinion, the most destructive emotion that humanity can have. Many of us seem to be currently obsessed with keeping our borders shut to outsiders as though we own this country, yet we are all outsider.

The original peoples of Britain as far as I can understand it were the Celts, Gaels and the Picts. The Gaels and Picts were collectively known as the Gaels, or Gauls. These people inhabited Gaeland, which later became Scotts and Scotland. These other Gaelic people that lived across the British Isles were collectively known as Celts.

If we assume that these Gaelic speaking people were the original inhabitants of the British Isles what happened to them? Why are they now only in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall and Brittany?

Well, from just before the first century, successive arrivals or invasions from other countries gradually pushed these Celtic people from their homeland of England into Cornwall, Wales, Ireland and Scotland. The Romans invaded Britain in 55bc and remained here until 410 AD. Following their departure Germanic invasions in the form of Jutes, Angles and Saxons began and the nation of Angle-land or Eng-land began with a developing identity and language.

Around 790 the Vikings started invading and controlled vast areas of the country known as the Dane Geld. The Normans appeared in 1066 with Willian the Conquerer who defeated Harold the Anglo-Saxon King, at the battle of Hasting. Following the Norman invasion of 1066 another Danish invasion in 1069.

These great influxes of new people to these Islands were violent and involved war and occupation. However these were followed by further influxes of people from all over the world that were encouraged and enjoyed.

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries there were waves of Jewish immigration from the Pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe. In 1951 there was the first phase of encouraged immigration from the West Indies. Followed by waves of Asian immigration as people were expelled from Kenya and Uganda in 1972.

It becomes clear that Britain, like most countries in Europe, is a melting pot, of nationalities and that no one here can truly call them-selves a native Britain. My own ancestral line includes Chinese, Negro, Irish/Celt, Jewish and Viking, yet I see myself as British.

I get it that the resources of any country are limited and that the rate of immigration needs to be regulated but I don’t see that as a reason to leave Europe.

It seems to me that the human family in all its shapes, colours and sizes with all its religions, philosophies and theories, it’s arguments and disagreements is, in the end, the same family. We are all brothers and sisters and strangers are only family that we have yet to meet. The wellbeing of humanity is served best by people coming together not separating.

Staying in Europe may be difficult and maybe a challenge, it may require communication, negotiation and frustration but that is the human story. If Europe returns to the self interested countries that existed before the First World War we are simply recreating the very conditions that led to war in the first place and look where that got us, first the depression followed by the Second World War.

My nightmare scenario would be that we succeed from Europe, Scotland succeeds from the UK followed by Wales and maybe even Cornwall that has been given special status by the EU. That would leave England alone, a small island off the coast of Europe.

We assume that we have a special relationship with the USA. Well, all relationship are conditional and if we are outside of Europe I suspect that the relationship would be a little less special that it is now. If you follow that with the possibility that Trump in the White House perhaps there is no relationship at all.

Whether we remain in or out of Europe the need for human beings to look after each other and to work towards a common unity will be the only thing that will save humanity from destruction and extinction. War and the illusion that self-interest is a good idea has to be the most outmoded thought process on the planet. Yet, many of us hang on to it learning nothing at all from history.

Whether or not you vote in or out share your love with those around you. We might just be able to create heaven on Earth.

Take care and be happy

Sean X

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