Marine Le Pen, the SNP and the Conservatives seem to think that taking back control is about getting smaller. The international corporations and the global banks seem to have a different view. There danger lies.
The nationalist answer is a perceived solution to the wrong problem. It is not government we need protection from – we at least get to elect them, however imperfectly, from time to time. It is rather we need to protect ourselves from the large banks and international corporations that shift monies to avoid taxes, upset local markets, seek interest at every opportunity, rent out trademarks and stifle the small companies which are so vital for our domestic futures. These corporations are the true citizens of nowhere and with their incorporation they acquire a legal identity that is very similar to that of an individual, but whereas an individual marries and sets up home, brings up children and then dies, the corporation does little of this.
It can set up home with a few strokes of the keyboard and it has the right to life everlasting. It never has to die.
In the age of the jet engine and the internet, hard national borders may offer some small inconvenience but will not stop increasing colonisation by these ethically empty behemoths. And the nation state is likely to become more and more ignored by these same corporations. Just look at Google. The Chief Executive himself flew over to meet the EU commissioner but a UK Public accounts select committee had to make do with their UK based ‘president’ who was unsure of what he was paid and pretty much everything else.
A reaction to make your country smaller and less cooperative when corporations are getting larger and larger must be mistaken. Like hiding under the bedclothes and hoping they will go away. They won’t and they are already well entrenched.
Yet Britain – or more properly England and Wales – thinks leaving the EU is a good idea and Scotland thinks the same about leaving the UK. Marine Le Pen thinks Frexit would also be a good idea (although – and this is a different subject – she is right about leaving the Euro; if the ECB limits money and is not a lender of last resort then France might as well be on the gold standard).
Nationalism is not only hiding under the bedclothes, it is also a wonderful romance that is only a little more than two hundred years old. Just think, the British national anthem didn’t exist till the eighteenth century (and ironically is sung to a tune of Scottish origin). Belonging was more county than country until the Canals criss -crossed the land and as we all know that time was always local before the arrival of the Railways. First World War British battalions (which were county based) were routinely unable to understand each other. Napoleon’s creation of France involved the slaughter of many of France’s minorities and was no golden time.
And these relatively recently formed nations are are the oldest nations of the EU and are now experiencing some form of identity crisis. All the better for the global corporations. Whilst we are wondering who we are and where we fit in, they will be delighted to exploit our lack of agreement and take all they can whilst we are distracted.
France shares long land borders which Le Pen thinks are too open to German exports. But without neighbourly cooperation France will have much more difficulty filtering out the world banking. Scotland may work at getting its own currency but it will still be a minnow next door to England. Britain or what may be left of it will still be a minnow against any sort of European Union. As Pierre Trudeau remarked of Canada’s next door neighbour;’It is like being a mouse in bed with an elephant’. With, in all cases, one country roughly ten times the population of the other.
If we want to save ourselves from the colonisation of the corporations we have to stick together. As all four nations of the British Isles have extensive experience in the exploitation and colonisation of other countries it is a mystery why they would wish to throw away their defences in such a cavalier way. Divide and rule is the oldest trick in the book. If we have already done the dividing the global corporations will be pleased to do the ruling for us.
The corporations know that size matters. So should we.