Channel Islands should enter EU
BRITAIN’S ongoing saga of ‘taking back control’, threatening turmoil and chaos on all sides as exemplified in your lead story on 8 January, is of intense concern to all its neighbours, and to none more so than the Channel Islands, perched just off the Continental coast. Like my own Irish countrymen, you had no opportunity to participate in the much-vaunted democratic process that brought it about. At this crucial juncture, you should consider what is truly in your interest and make your voice heard.
I have been coming here for 60 years and have a daughter and three teenage grandchildren here. They, like all their generation, are facing a world with huge possibilities and also massive challenges, indeed as all widely respected authorities have stated, existential threats to the very future of civilisation. If these are to be overcome, and if Europeans are to be able to assert themselves and thrive in a world dominated by the likes of China and Mr Trump’s USA and their massive corporations, it is essential that we work together.
On page three of your Tuesday 8 January paper we find the statement from Deputy Peter Roffey that UK immigration plans ‘could spell disaster for our economy’. Guernsey is by no means alone in this, and in the process very many people of all kinds are threatened with having their life options grossly curtailed. I have an English grandnephew who is threatened with a £21,000 bill for a year’s tuition in Spain that was going to cost £1,500 within the EU.
Whence comes this monstrous desire to deprive those who consider themselves European of their rights and the many opportunities on this great continent? Their essentially thuggish nature has just been demonstrated outside the Westminster parliament. The lie is given to their commitment to democracy by their opposition to another referendum, in today’s much more informed circumstances – not that it was ever a good way of proceeding, being in Clement Atlee’s words ‘alien to all our traditions and beloved of fascist dictators’.
The value of the EU has been demonstrated in Ireland by the successful peace process under its auspices. Those who want to be Irish and those who would rather consider themselves British can co-operate and get on with life as best they may. Likewise, there need be no opposition between those who want to be British and those who consider themselves European. In fact the various identities complement and enrich each other. Moreover Britain has an historic obligation to provide together with France a counterbalance to the power of Germany, which I believe is something that most Germans appreciate themselves. They do not want the EU to become another Reich.
However, confronted with a choice between facing the future and digging oneself into a bunker, there comes a point when this choice cannot be evaded. Such a time is now. I suggest that the Channel Islands would do well to announce their intention of getting together and applying to join the EU as an independent entity, and a great future would open up for you thereby. Such an announcement would also send a powerful message across the Channel.