I detected a shadow from the past with the return of David Cameron from Brussels claiming he had renegotiated a satisfactory settlement on Britain's relationship with and within the EU earlier this year. A sense of grim accomplishment followed this pronouncement for a few short weeks. In 1938 Neville Chamberlain flew back to London from his negotiation with the German Chancellor ceding the Sudetenland to German control in a brutal confrontation over a conference table in Munich.
The subsequent claim by Chamberlain he had 'secured peace in our time' waving a scrap of paper with the signature of a cynical Hitler - would soon be put to the test within less than six months as the German army marched into Prague. I am again reminded of this fatal hollow promise of a British Prime Minister, with the announcements this week that UK net immigration exceeded 300,000 in the past twelve months: figures sourced by a qualified and independent body. This puts to shame the current Government's pledge to reduce net migration to below 100,000 in Conservative policy statements in run up to the 2015 Election.
Not only is this the sole damaging fact. Net migration from Bulgaria and Romania has soared during the same period. The local paper yesterday reports on the couple working in a St Annes Care Home who trussed up an elderly resident and placed him in a bath (without water) so they could watch television uninterrupted. Only the intervention of other staff hearing screams brought this brutality to an end. The two people responsible were immigrants from Romania hired by the Care Home - presumably on very favourable terms with regard to earnings. Both now face trial and hopefully custodial sentences followed by deportation. This is not infer that all Romanians are suspect working in Britain - far from it. But it highlights the total inadequacy of a rigid system enforced by our EU Membership which allows anyone and everyone into this country (from the EU) without due diligence on their qualifications, criminal records and much more. Its as if you are not allowed to stop anyone from entering your home.
Just how long the UK can afford to kow tow to the Brussels mafia controlling all our lives and most of our laws - is something which could be measured in days if enough people decide to vote 'LEAVE' on June 23rd. Encouragingly many individuals I have spoken with over the past weeks on this subject are showing a determination to vote for the exit door. I can count on the fingers of one hand those seeing value in the UK remaining part of what is a discredited top down centralised structure wholly undemocratic - and increasingly rejected for similar reasons by people of all ages from Athens to Amsterdam and Normandy to Naples.
EU Member States political elite are all struggling to hold firm to the EU mantra of economic benefits and leverage in the face of increasing social unrest and outright popular opposition. France is riddled with strikes and anger; Austria just narrowly by less than 1% voted in a left wing professor to become President of that country - the alternative and extremely close run alternative being a smiling hard right nationalist carrying a Glock pistol (made in Austria). Such shadows from the past are returning to haunt us.
In the weeks following June 23rd we are promised the Chilcot report on the background to political decisions taken which led to this country aligning itself with George W. Bush in invading Iraq. Leaks in the media indicate the Report will pull no punches on the UK politicians and their supporting cast of walk-on actors from Whitehall Departments - which may well confirm our worst suspicions : ie the UK public were lied to. I can well foresee ten or twenty years from now another report being produced following an inquiry into how this Government was allowed to bludgeon and threaten the UK electorate into voting to stay in a organisation & structure which subjugates our national interest in every sense - not to mention compromises national sovereignty and the well-being of future generations.
The French really know how to build (and operate) stylish, efficient, quiet and expanding tram systems. Nearly every self respecting French town of any size has a new tramway built within the past ten to fifteen years. This is Strasbourg centre with obviously well dressed citizens, not a mobility scooter in sight and a central district that offers quality retail, amazing food and a huge amount of cultural history. Well worth a visit as part of any trip to Alsace and Lorraine regions. If there is a further transport feature in this blog it could well be that reserved monthly train from Brussels which churns across northern France taking European Community staffers and trough feeders to attend sessions of the so called European 'Parliament' in Strasbourg - a city renowned for its culinary expertise, fine wines (and of course a superlative tram system). More anon.