Mon Oct 16th, 2006 at 04:52:48 PM EST
Maybe the FT-type anti-EU attitude is less dominant in the UK today than one might think?
Just came across this article by William Pfaff via DeDefensa, could hardly believe my eyes:
London, October 10, 2006 - Last weekend in London an organization called Intelligence Squared devoted three days of lectures and meetings to the unpromising cause of making the British like the French. Or if not like them, at least understand them better than usually is the case.
The most daring proposition voiced was that of a "special relationship" with France to replace Britain's existing relationship with the United States. Surprisingly, after an hour and half's argument, audience opinion gave victory to a French connection.(Those attending were polled before and after the debate.)
The outcome certainly surprised this participant, who
had argued that the transatlantic special relationship had been bad for both Britain and the United States -- a conjurer's illusion on both sides. But a special British relationship with France to replace it?
After briefly examining the history of the "special relationship" - at the end of which Pfaff comes very close to shoving most of the blame for Bush's disasters onto Tony Blair for aiding/abetting/encouraging him(!) - Pfaff concludes direct UK-FR entwinement, although force-de-frappishly "desirable" ...
There would be advantages in close cooperation between the two European states with the most experience of modern international politics and great power action, possessing the most serious military resources and forces in Europe.
...is nonetheless unlikely, in his view simply because the English historically "don't like" the French (!):
However a fundamental hostility towards France has long been embedded in English political culture, going back to the Norman Conquest and installation of French rulers in 1066.
Whodathunk it? Such looooong, spiteful memories...
Ergo, according to Pfaff:
Any new special relationship for Britain would surely have to be with Europe, but not with the EU that now exists, which will undoubtedly be changed fundamentally during the decade to come. An organization of 25, or 27, or more, members cannot conduct a serious common international and strategic policy, nor act with dispatch and effect.
Yet the consciousness of Europe's essential unity and the need for a new form of cooperation is evident everywhere. This, I think, has yet to be generally realized: expansion and the rejection last year by France and the Netherlands of the proposed European constitution exploded the Europe originally conceived in the 1950s. New structures must be invented to create a flexible Europe, of common identity and shared essential interests, that does not depend upon the United States -- in recognition that the United States simply is no longer dependable.
However, DeDefensa's own analysis views a UK flip-switch from "Atlanticism" to ... "Manchism" (?? "Cross-Channeling"???) as at least conceivable, given the astro-political conjunctions looming in the 2007 firmament and - above all - the truly unprecedented quantity and quality of transatlantic crap-consequences now teetering on the UK's special-poodlism fan, which could kinda-synergically induce a cathartic divorce-somersault FR-wards...and/or EU-wards?
Dunno myself whether these enticing figments are pure pipedreams or plausible prospects, but could be worth keeping watch for further "smoke-signals".