I am in Europe, well Spain, well Barcelona. Being British makes me a topic of conversations for the very nice Spaniards I’m meeting.
So when are you coming out of Europe?
I turn on the TV, or read the local papers. It is as if our general election was a plebiscite on our continued participation in Europe.
Sure we are going to have a referendum on Europe some time in the next five years, but as a mainstream political issue, our participation scored a 2 out of 10. The UKIP dog has barked but it has not bitten.
Barcelona is a cosmopolitan place, and seems pretty confident. Restaurants and bars are full, this part of Spain does not give the appearance of being in imminent economic collapse. I’m going to Italy and Austria later in the next couple of months, there’s nothing odder about going to Europe than going to Newcastle or Liverpool (infact I find there’s less of a language barrier!)
We would do well to make it clear to those countries with whom we trade, that while we are not bound by a common currency, we are bound by a common intent.
The perception that the vote for Conservatism was a vote against Europe is one that I hope this new Government will address.
The perception that Britain is only loosely committed to a fully functional Europe will take a little longer.
On how to do this, we should- as on other matters – take guidance from our the Scots.