Having had a wonderful three-week holiday in North Devon, with its warm beer, pasties and chips, I have to say the hospitality was well meaning by most people I had the pleasure to meet.
Yet sadly these people when in conversation were obsessed and at times frightened by the idea of a common European home for us all.
Most people in Europe are resigned to the fact that they will lose some of their individuality as the concept of political union comes ever closer in order to match the other power blocs of the world.
To my amazement, people, when talking weights and measures, use the old system, not the new European. An ounce of this, a pound of that, not to mention the pint at the pub a mile or so down the road. I hope one day the people of this country will see the point of full integration, and the benefits Europe could bring from the single legal area, monetary and political harmony, even a permanent seat at the United Nations for all 27 members states of the union.
If only Charlemagne, who was crowned king by the Pope and given the title Holy Roman Emperor in 800AD for the reconquest of the Roman Empire, had managed a similar scheme for the 27 tribes constituting the EU – there might have been, in the rough Middle Ages, some sort of natural peace bequeathed to present generations.
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Down through the centuries, Germany, as well as France, even Spain, from Charlemagne, Napoleon, Bismark, Philip of Spain, right down to today’s political leaders, have helped to map out the Europe we are coming to recognise today, through various treaties signed by wiser heads than ours.
I would like to say to the people of North Devon, and to all peoples of Europe, let us bask in their wisdom, let us move forward in faith and courage, but most of all, let us move forward in unity and keep the dream of Charlemagne alive.
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