28 January 2014

Six months before World War 1

The Great War began on the 28th July 1914. Six months before the conditions were in place for war, even without the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Europe was divided between its great powers. There was an arms race going on between the British Empire and Germany that forced other nations to do the same. There had been instability and war in the Balkans.

100 years later, we live in a Europe where the idea of war with Germany, France or another nation is inconceivable. There was nothing inevitable about this. Western Europe continued on a path of war and division until 1945 and it was not until 1991 that Europe's great division ended. We exist now in a European Union that has a great many faults but that unites our continent in a way that 100 years ago would have been impossible to forecast.

There are those who believe that the independence of the UK from Europe would be a good thing. I think it is right that we should have a renewed debate and that the people of Britain should decide. But I will also be someone that argues furthermore that we should be patriotic. Once upon a time, that meant to believe in things like, "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori", now I believe it is to believe in peace, co-operation and working together.

Those who would ignore the lessons of history, and the millions of working class British, German, Russian, French, Belgian and other lives that were ended by the Great War are not patriots. They are idealogues. I am Europeans as well as being (in my case) Scottish, English and British, and I will fight for our continued involvement in and improvement of, the European Union.

1 comment:

eartheart said...

A social union yes, an economic one with a shared fiscal union - no probably not. Good news on getting martin selected for Wythenshaw - hope we can really push together for two weeks to get as brilliant a vote as possible :-)