I had a conversation today with a chap who is quite a nice chap despite his politics. He was whinging on about Co-operation. He is a Labour man. He was lauding the Co-op, saying that it was an institution that was well before its time, a sort of Pre-EU on a smaller scale. I let him talk, and talk and talk. Then I interjected the thought that language needs to be precise and that his notion of co-operation was somewhat misleading and imprecise. Co-operation, I said, is the coming together in mutual support of two or more distinct and separate entities. The whole notion of co-operation requires that the participants be separate. There would be no co-operation without separateness, only a singular entity with one mind and one will. I went on to point out to him that what he was describing was integration, a merging together of several parts into one whole, to the extent that both parts cease to be and are changed from what they were into a wholly new and distinct entity. He could not grasp this.
This is the muddled thinking of those who justify Britain’s membership of the EU on the basis that it is a matter of co-operation between nations. They say that it ridiculous in this day and age to think that Britain could go it alone, that it is imperative that we co-operate with our neighbours in areas of common interest. These include areas such as security, trade, movement of persons, relations with other continents and trading areas, to name just a few. I agree. It would be folly to think that we should not co-operate with our European friends on such important matters as these. However, co-operation requires that we are first and foremost a sovereign nation and that we therefore have the capacity, the will and the desire to do so. Freedom requires that we have the option should we so choose to withdraw our co-operation from those areas where policy develops in such a way that we deem it injurious to our welfare or disadvantageous to our people. Where such an option does not exist then all talk of co-operation is misleading.
This is very different from integration. Integration is the welding together of distinct parts in such a way that the identity of each constituent is merged into the larger whole. In such a situation all talk of co-operation is fatuous. Co-operation develops between those individual parts that share a common vision, that possess a mutual interest, that seek a shared outcome. Integration makes such a process lame and ultimately impossible. It requires the establishment of an overarching authority that decides the policy and direction of the new unit. Freedom, identity, sovereignty and individuality are all swept away.
When I first heard Nigel Farage use the ‘war cry’, “We want our country back”, I found myself thinking “I’m not sure that this is the wisest or most desirable way of putting it Nigel.” As time has moved on and we are rapidly drawing near to D-Day I think it encapsulates the whole issue. This is indeed what it is about. Our country, yours, mine, our children’s and grandchildren’s country, a place that is distinct and separate. Rather than withdraw into splendid isolation I want us to be free to identify those that we believe share a common outlook, a common goal and with whom we feel we should engage in building a better world. The fact that somebody is geographically our neighbour, does not necessarily make him our best friend!
I’m all for co-operation. I am dead set against integration, unification, federation, domination, or amalgamation. That is because I believe in liberty first and foremost, and because I have a strong and irreducible belief that we are a fine and noble race with the capacity to enrich any who are wise enough to invite us to share with them in any great endeavour.