I changed my mind about the EU in the mid 2000s when I went from someone who was a full-on supporter (friends of mine will recall the heated discussions I had with opponents of the EU) to an opponent.
Essentially, having promoted the idea of being in it to reform it in the early 1990s (you don’t know how much it makes me laugh when I STILL hear people chant that mantra 30 years later), I noticed that not only was it not undergoing the fundamental democratic reforms required, but was moving in the opposite direction.
Mass expansion, the euro fiasco, the events around the failed attempts to get an EU constitution approved by the electorates in France and the Netherlands, and subsequent decision to implement the constitution anyway by amending existing treaties and creating the Treaty of Lisbon… a fundamental part of which included removing the national veto from almost all policy areas in Council…
…and I accepted that I was wrong about the EU, had been an idealist, and had been naïve. In the intervening period, the more I have followed events, the more I have seen that change of heart vindicated.
Yesterday evening, Twitter exploded in response to EU Commission’s handling of its own failings in procurement of vaccinations.
It’s the most I’ve seen my country united in recent years. And the EU’s recklessness in initially declaring it would establish a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland — something it often claimed unthinkable over the last few years of negotiations — then quickly back-pedalling when it felt the fury of former allies, was quite something to behold.
The number of borderline voters who voted Remain in 2016 on the basis of gut feeling, government advice, or potentially fear of worst-case negative economic consequences over the fundamentals of self-governance (I don’t blame them – we prioritise religious education over constitutional education), was quite something to behold.
I don’t feel like gloating. This is too serious to gloat, but I’m glad that the scales have fallen from many casual default EU supporters’ eyes and I’m glad some of them have stopped fetishising EU politicians as noble, upstanding folk, and realised that politicians don’t become magically lovely people across the Channel.
I won’t gloat at honourable folk who voted Remain by default, but forgive me for continuing to put the boot in to the EU and its remaining apologists and those who now dub themselves Rejoiners.
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