Wednesday, 27 May 2015

The Duchess of Britain

It didn't have to be like this. There are real and important things which could be done at governmental level to improve the lives of the British people. A sensible immigration policy could be formed and implemented, beneficial trade deals could be pursued and radical cuts to taxation and spending could liberate the people of the United Kingdom, - who did after all just vote for a Conservative government - from the bureaucratic quagmire we are in.

Instead, much of the business of government. like the election campaign, is mostly about hospital administration, childcare places and the right to buy. Things which would be better dealt with by local councils than by the government of one of the world's richest and most powerful countries.

And there is the rub. While we still maintain the veneer of being one of the world's richest and most powerful countries, Britain is in fact a province of a country called the European Union. We can not negotiate trade deals with China or Brazil. We can not implement and Australian style points based immigration policy to ensure we admit the migrants with the skills most needed by Britain.

We can't do these things because we have handed these areas of control over to the European Union, to be decided by unelected officials, and implemented across countries as diverse as Bulgaria, Sweden, Malta and Slovenia.

Instead we have the sad charade of a former Queen who was born as the heir to the largest empire the world had ever known, now reduced to a sort of local Duchess setting out what programme of marginal fiddling her government will engage in over the next 12 months.

The EU referendum provides a glimmer of hope that this sorry state of affairs can be changed, but only if we are honest with ourselves about our current state, and have the courage to reject it when the referendum comes.