I am still ruminating over my Prime Minister's decision to leave us without a chair at EU discussions over the euro. I suppose I am like many Brits. I call myself a European but I also want the UK to be sovereign, so I don't want us to sign up to the euro and I don't want tighter fiscal or political ties. So I should be content with what has happened but, actually, I am depressed. 1 against 26 is no negotiating position and the UK could end up out of the single market floating around as an offshore island. If the mood of Europe is united for more integration I would rather be 'in' than 'out'. I do have something special to contribute to this debate. For the last twenty years I have worked in Europe as Head of, or President of, EU Media projects designed to help the audio visual industry, in my case documentary films. I have realised that language is crucial and as long as us British only speak English then we are not really Europeans. Before the enlargement of the Community in 2004 , we got stuck in an us/them camp consisting of those for whom English was the first or second language (the UK, Germany, Holland, Scandanavia) against those for whom French was the first or second language (France, Italy, Belgium, Greece, possibly Spain). The culprits were the British, who seem too stupid to speak other languages, and the French, who are too arrogant to do so. Now, at least in my industry, there are two different divides. Language is less directly important because everyone speaks English, unless the French want to be difficult - and why shouldn't they be? This new divide is between the keen new Europeans who want to benefit from the Western market (Hungary, Rumania, Poland, the Czechs, Slovakians and Slovenians) against some old Europeans like the British and French, again, who are selfish and stand-offish. The language barrier exists here because it is more a state of mind then anything else - a 'we are in Europe on our terms' mentality.
I find it embarrassing and deeply selfish. My present EU Media training scheme is EsoDoc, designed to enable and encourage young documentary film makers to work in human rights. We have held workshops in Poland, Hungary, Latvia, Slovenia and Romania; these relatively poor counties generous and welcoming. We have never in nine years managed to get money to hold a workshop in either France or the UK; mean and arrogant. In the UK case, philistine as well, and if you don't believe me then find out more about the right-wing of the Tory party, who belong on an off shore island.
I'm wondering how long it will be before there is some kind of retaliation. When well-wishing Europeans like me in the audio visual industry or in the manufacturing industry are told on a personal level to go and find euro-paid work elsewhere. To be bracketed with the right-wing of the Tory party would be adding insult to injury.