Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Jacques Delors and the (sex) Machine

The Chilcot report came out today. I don't have anything to add, really, so I'm not going to comment on it.  Besides, it is a topic beyond the ken of this blog and there is plenty of excellent coverage out there.  Instead, this post is going to be about Scottish independence. I'm going to find a parallel between the pro-EU instincts of my generation and the pro-Union feelings of the majority of my parents' peers.  This might not be good news for my hopes of maintaining an EU passport via the mechanism of a successful Scottish independence referendum, followed by automatic membership of the EU as a continuing member state.

Yesterday, I mentioned that I had warm, fuzzy feelings about the EU because the EU had been good to me.  Don't worry, these aren't erotic feelings or anything weird involving a life-size papier mache model of Jacques Delors.   It is a simple fact that the EU has given me freedoms and opportunities unimaginable by my parents' generation and I've been lucky enough to be able to take advantage of them.  I'm  taking advantage of them now.  Yup, still doing it.  In the lull there in-between sentences I was still taking advantage of them.  I'm not going to stop any time soon.  Well, actually, I will stop taking advantage of them exactly two years to the day after the next Conservative Party leader triggers Article 50.

The timeline of the EU means that anyone younger than about 35 in the UK has probably never known anything other than a life with the EU.  They probably never knew a time when market stalls only sold potatoes in imperial measures;  they probably considered working or studying abroad at some point in their lives;  they probably returned from a trip to Poland and immediately went to their local Sklep to buy some of that tasty Pierogi;  they probably have friends that speak English in sexy European accents; they probably think Drake being at Nr 1 in the hit parade with "One Dance" is the result of an ancient EU decree.   The younger you are, the more the EU has been a constant, unquestioned feature in your life, something as old and familiar as the weird combination of bath and adjacent toilet.   The older you are, the more likely it is that the EU has been a disruption to your life, nothing more than an imposition that forced you to buy potatoes in a dazzling choice of imperial and metric units.  What has this got to do with Scottish independence?  Am I not just banging on and on and on and on about the freedom of movement of labour in the EU all over again?  Well, I'm getting there.  This is the foreplay before I sex you up with that lifesize model of Jacques Delors.   Just imagine it.  Oooh, ja, das ist enorm.  Hang on a minute, he wasn't German.  Ooh la la, il est jeegantiq.


Just as the EU referendum showed a huge difference between young and old, so too did the Scottish independence referendum of 2014.  If you are young and Scottish you are likely to be  a pro-EU independence supporter.   If you are a pensioner and Scottish you are something like 75% likely to be against independence.  What is going on there?  Is it just that pensioners don't like change? After all, I'm getting on a bit and I've made it perfectly clear that I don't like change.  Well, that might be part of it but I think there is a lot more going on.  I think there are a lot of residual warm, fuzzy feelings about the Union in the older generation.  In fact, their relationship to the Union probably mirrors mine with the EU.  Let's imagine you came of age just after the war.  Leaving aside the war for a second, just think about the social change that happened back then: free dentistry, free NHS, a commitment to social housing, state industries providing jobs for life, a consumer and technology boom bringing TVs and pop music to your home.  Good times, indeed, but still nothing as good as "One Dance" by Drake.  If you grew up with all of that you probably have warm, fuzzy feelings about the Union.  Perhaps Glasgow pensioners keep life-size erotic models of Selwyn Lloyd.  That's why you never see any for sale - they're all sold out.


I'm mentioning all of this because the older generation voted with such unity that they swung both the EU and the first Scotttish independence referendum.  The EU status of Scotland rather depends now on a vote for Scottish independence followed by automatic entry to the EU as a continuing member.  So, take note if you're Scottish and also wish for independence:  if you know an older person please take the time to understand their warm, fuzzy feelings for the Union.  They are less likely to have warm, fuzzy feelings about the EU than you so they are probably not even conflicted between membership of the EU and membership of the UK.  Recent events are statistically unlikely to have changed their mind on self-determination.   If you want to help swing it for independence then you will need to appeal to older people in your lives, to tell them that this is important to you, to point out that the generation they begat and the one that followed are statistically likely to see the EU as a place of life opportunities and erotic wonder.  Actually, perhaps don't mention the erotic wonder part.  I'll leave to that your discretion but for god's sake let's keep those life-size models of historic political figures to ourselves.

Over and out,

Terry

PS A few days ago I said I would blog about the Swiss situation and never did.  Maybe tomorrow.  Or maybe there will be a mystery topic.  Nobody is reading this, anyway, so I might as well get back to my collection of life-size erotic models of historic political figures.

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