Off went our Prime Minister this week to discuss with other European leaders why Britain is so special that it must be able to behave exactly how it wants in the European Union.
This arrogance is something Britain has been good at since time immemorial when it ruled the waves and saught to ‘civilise’ anyone who had the misfortune of living somewhere that wasn’t Britain.
In 2016 you would think our government would be able to accept that the age of empire is gone and we are just a small island in the Atlantic. It would appear not and that we are still trying to claim to other countries that we are special and deserve special treatment. If you don’t give us it we will leave which will, likely, amount to cutting off our nose to spite our face.
Britain already has its fair share of opt outs like schengen, allowing the free movement of people, and opting out of the Euro. ‘This’, the Prime Minister moans, ‘is not enough.’ He explains to them in no uncertain terms that we don’t want to give benefits to anyone coming to the country despite reports of 30,000 Brits being on benefits in other EU countries. ‘We certainly will not take any more refugees than we can get away with.’ he continues.
Meanwhile refugees continue to arrive by the boatfull in Greece which has well documented financial problems of its own. Instead of turning these desperate people away, you would have to be desperate to make such a journey, the majority help in any way they can with food, shelter and medical attention. The British government, meanwhile, looks the other way. Britain won’t take any refugees in Europe but will take some from refugee camps. Don’t get me wrong this is the view of the government and there are many,many people on Bute and all other communities where refugees have been homed doing brilliant work, usually voluntarily, to make them feel as at home as possible.
It is embarrassing to have a Prime Minister and government that would act in this way. The talks dragged on endlessly with stalemate after stalemate. Cameron may think this makes him look strong and like he’ll stick to his guns but it actually makes him look like someone unable to compromise and work with others.
Eventually, Cameron got his deal to agree Britain’s ‘special status’ in Europe. Maybe now European leaders can get to work on the humanitarian crisis in their backyard. It’s a million times more important.