Often people fear of change and the unknown. What on Earth will happen next? A year ago none of us would have realised that we would be here now with C-19 and Brexit. As I write this Scotland has gone into a total lockdown until the end of January. Wales is pretty much there and the rumour is that the whole of England will be following suit. On top of this we have Brexit.
Whether you were an ‘innie’ or and ‘outie’ we are now out. We are no longer European. A year ago most of the people around me were talking about our relationship with Europe from the point of view of the fear of illegal immigration. The reality is that we are all, in some way, illegal immigrants. Though with Covid 19 all the countries in the EU or, for that matter, across the world, fear people coming from any other country. It would seem that xenophobia is alive and well in the world as we leave the EU.
Dislike and prejudice against, people from other countries is what I often hear in the news. Whether it is the Chinese blamed for the virus, Russia blamed for hacking elections or the Americans for wanting to extradite Julian Assange. These things may all be senseless and wrong or meaningful and important but why do we need to fight each other and then revel in conflict? In my opinion, the most destructive emotion that humanity can have is fear, fear of each other. Many of us seem to be obsessed with keeping our borders shut to outsiders as though we own the countries that we live in. Yet, in reality, we are all outsiders.
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 Britain into Cornwall, Wales, Ireland and Scotland. The Romans invaded Britain in 55 BC 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 of Angle-ish or English.
Around 790 the Viking 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 took place in 1069. These great influxes of new people to these Islands were violent and involved war and occupation. However each of these were followed by further influxes of people from all over the world that were often encouraged and enjoyed.
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries there were waves of Jewish immigration escaping the Pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe. In 1951 there was the first phase of the encouraged immigration was 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 all countries in Europe, is a melting pot, of nationalities. No one here can truly call themselves a native Britain. My own ancestral line includes Chinese, African, Irish/Celt, Jewish and Viking, yet I see myself as British as do all those around me of differing colours and ethnicities. I get it that the resources of any country are limited and that the rate of immigration needs to be regulated by the majority but that is how all the countries of Europe developed. We are all really brothers and sisters. As someone once said “strangers are family that have yet to get to know”. It doesn’t matter what colour, gender or ethnicity you are we are all one, we are all human beings and…
…If we all, look after each other we will all be okay.
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 have been difficult and would have been a challenge, it may have required communication, negotiation and frustration but that is the human story. If Europe breaks down completely and again 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 as the UK leaves Europe Scotland leaves the UK followed by Wales, Ireland and maybe even Cornwall that has also been given special status by the EU. That would leave England alone, a small part of a small island just off the coast of Europe. We assume that we have a special relationship with the USA. Well, we learned from Trump that all relationships are conditional and if we are outside of Europe I suspect that the relationship with the USA will be a little less special than it was when we were in.
Whether in or out of Europe the need is for human beings all over the world to learn to look after each other and to work towards a common unity. If we can do this it 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. If you really want to happy look after those people around you. It has a ripple effect.
Whether or not you voted to stay in or out of Europe we are where we are. If we look after each other now and share our love with those around us we might just be able to create heaven on Earth. It might be fun.
Take care and be happy in 2021