|Photo taken at around 11am in Brussels EU Parliament! Good to see Austerity alive and bubbly...|
I was rootling through my blackberry photos and found this one - taken on a trip I made to Brussels to discuss our 'Fresh Start Project' reforms for Europe with MEPs and others. It was taken at around 11am, and it was one of those pictures which for me spoke a thousand words.
If I thought Westminster was a bubble, the EU Parliament was even more of a bubble - a bubble of luxury and optimism floating in a deeply troubled , increasingly divided Europe. The rise of parties such as 'Alternative for Deutschland' show that it's not only the British people who are getting intolerant of out-of-touch EU Elite - its The People from across Europe who do not feel represented by a blindly optimistic, extraordinarily out-of-touch EU Political Class.
The truth is that whether we are in or out of Europe, unfortunately, Britain's interests are inextricably linked to the success or otherwise of the continent. If the European Ship Sinks, we sink with it, whether we're on board, or whether we've manned the life-boat to get away - we'll still be sucked down to a greater or lesser extent with the economic whirlpool the downfall of Europe will create - so it is entirely within our interests to try to get Europe to see sense, become more competitive, let go of its deeply communist instincts, and , to be frank, Get Real. That's what the Fresh Start project is designed to do - to create a coalition of parties from EU nations that see that enforcing 'more of the same' is no way to save Europe, but that we should be a unit that is strong through the diversity of its member states, not a disastrously enforced 'one-size-fits-all' super-state.
If we can succeed in that, Europe may stand a chance of flourishing and being the kind of institution that many people voted for, back when we got the chance. The idea of a Union that makes the very most of each of its individual member states, and then is more than the sum of its parts, is not very controversial.
However, if we can't untangle the dysfunctional relationship of Europe, and the EU Elite persist in steering Europe towards disaster, in a rigid blindness of ideology, partly born out of the trauma of recent European War-History, then, in the referendum we've been so long denied, but is now finally happening in 2017, if Conservatives win the election, it makes all the sense in the world to abandon ship and gird ourselves for the whirlpool when the EU ship finally sinks...