I sit here this week following the 65th Accession Day of Our Lady, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. This week marks the official beginning of her Sapphire Jubilee year. It should be a momentous occasion in our proud history especially as no other Monarch has reached this milestone. So, I’ll begin my piece on that precise note and send my heartfelt congratulations to our Head of State. An inspiring person, who – over six decades – has represented our islands with dignity and grace.
Sadly, The Queen, is at the centre of a diplomatic problem of unprecedented scales. Caused by no fault of her own, I might add. To contextualise my piece, I need to go back to last June.
Even though I voted to Leave in the European Union referendum, I do still consider myself proudly European and would fight for the right to retain that title, should it ever be removed from us by the hardline Eurosceptics. My vision for Europe was very similar to one of my party’s MEPs, Daniel Hannan, who believes in the EEA (EEC in old money) but does not like the current model which has been adopted since 1993. Far from xenophobic or isolationist, I did also hope the Prime Minister would pursue a similar pathway, upon learning of the EU referendum result on June 24th 2016. Alas, it’s become apparent some people keep on piling the pressure onto the Prime Minister, meaning we keep getting anecdotes such as; “Brexit Means Brexit”. Until the phrase was coined in 2012 by Peter Wilding, Brexit as a concept meant very little. In my opinion, it still does really. It’s just a colloquialism which makes this whole process just that bit more identifiable. Nevertheless, we are now being told that the public knew exactly what they were voting for, even though I can guarantee amongst my circle of friends alone, “Brexit” meant very different things to both Remain and Leave voters and amongst those same camps, divides again. Herein lies the problem. Politics has this habit of leaving you inevitably disappointed. Soft-Brexit, Hard-Brexit. The twain shall never meet.
In addition to this ongoing concern, UKIP’s meteoric rise in the last few years, has led to disenchanted members of my party – who have long held Eurosceptic beliefs – join them. As our Prime Minister sided with the Remain camp, I remember a lot of people backed Andrea Leadsom for our leadership change last summer, but Mrs May was my preferred candidate of the two. Furthermore, from the candidates put forward, she appeared the logical choice to succeed David Cameron but I am worried that she is beginning to over-justify her Royal appointment by targeting support from those most affiliated to the 1922 Committee in my Party and, of course, UKIP. Economists have long said it’d be best to adopt a Norwegian model and I hope that is inevitably the final “Brexit” we achieve, because to adopt another formula in these times of great economic uncertainty, seems more than a risk of the dice.
But, back to this ‘constitutional’ problem, I mentioned earlier. Whilst in America, the Prime Minister offered President Trump a state visit, and it has been widely understood (privately) as a means to win him over for an advancement on a new bilateral trade deal. It’s true that America is one of our oldest allies and the special relationship needs maintaining. Yet, this unprecedented move comes way and above past disclosures of a similar nature. In fact, it took Presidents 43 and 44 (Bush Jr and Obama, respectively) well over three years before such an invitation was forthcoming. Going back even further into the annals of history and my joint-favourite Conservative President, Ronald Reagan (who would have celebrated his 106th birthday this week*) was never given a state visit, even though he met with the Queen in a personal capacity. Reports emerging over the last few days in The Times, The Guardian, BBC and others all imply that Buckingham Palace are privately concerned at the very thought of a Trump 2017 State Visit. Sentiments echoed by Speaker of the House, Mr John Bercow.
I have tried to stay as neutral on the subject, for as long, is humanly possible. Furthermore, I do firmly believe in upholding the democratic right of ‘the people’ and in this case, that is Americans. President Trump did win ‘my American sister party’s nomination & subsequently the Presidency’ but some of his early actions in office have raised doubts of the suitability at hosting this diplomatic event at this said time. I also believe that everyone deserves the right to prove themselves in a job and I hope, like most people in the West, that President Trump will come through and prove all of his doubters wrong. Sadly, though, I think it would be wholly inappropriate at this moment in time to consider a visit which will divide our nation even further than it currently is. We need a time for reconciliation and then, when the dust has settled, we can possibly re-evaulate the situation. If Brexit is to work, the Prime Minister will need to remember that all four corners of our United Kingdom need to have their own concerns and hopes for post-EU Britain, taken into account. Otherwise, the United Kingdom will also be very short lived, indeed. Scotland will go there own way. NI need our protection. Not forgetting the needs of the Welsh agricultural farmers. This can’t be an English Brexit.
Above, all else though, Her Majesty does not deserve to be drawn into political games. I love our country but now is the time to stand up and earn the right to call ourselves Great Britain.
As someone once said; “Some are born ‘Great’, whilst others, have it thrust upon them”.