This morning I read the CapX article by Deputy Editor Oliver Wiseman, which referenced the Chatham House report The Future of Europe. It measured attitudes of both regular citizens and the described “elites” of member countries of the European Union.
After finishing I find it interesting to come out of the article with a different interpretation to the author (read for yourself as I wish not to bias you one way or another). But as part of that I also find myself questioning who I am. Am I an “elite”? I understand that within the UK I would be considered the metropolitan liberal elite because while I live in the countryside currently, my heart has always been open-minded. But I think of what “elites” meant to this study, and I don’t think I am one – I don’t traverse corridors of power like politicians, business people and journalists do. Instead my open-minded heart is a sure-fire indicator of who I am: an optimist.
I am not a European Federalist, as I’ll leave that to my Dad (the bet is still on, by the way, and we’re coming up to the deadline for a United States of Europe. Cannot wait for my fifty Euros, althought I’ll wait for a more favourable exchange rate if nothing else changes). But with the camps being relatively even in favour of change towards integration and devolution, and the status quo a smaller fraction, remaining in the EU would have seen the UK in the position of forming a powerful coalition to demand change, no?
I make no bones about it, Brexit was not my preferred outcome. And I appreciate that proponents of integration are willing to turn back the clocks (here’s looking at you, Tusk). Yet here we are, and I don’t see us reuniting, as much as soft Brexiteers (or subtle Remainers) would hope. The best we truly can make of this is drawing up structures in parallel, that see the EU adapting to the desire of members to devolve to a certain extent, and allowing different types of measurements. My one contingency is that this does not lead to the bemoaning of first and second-class tier membership – a desire in vain, knowing humanity, I guess.
(Photo credit goes to Jeff Djevdet)