By Tom Stokes – Republic Day Ireland
Indymedia.ie
30 May 2012

From British Empire to EU Empire

–There are fools who decry history as if it was irrelevant to the present or the future. Here is an extract from a piece my late father wrote in 1969 on the subject of the drive towards membership of the EEC, now the EU. Relevant? I certainly think it is, in the context of the vote we are going to cast, or not cast, or cast unwisely, on May 31st.
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“In the Ireland of the sixties, things matter more than people. Christian and human values are uneconomic, and may as well be scrapped. The heroes now are the cranes, bulldozers and automated production lines. They enable labour forces to be reduced dramatically, cutting costs to the minimum. Those displaced may emigrate, or just stagnate – it’s not important. We are in with the big boys now, and they are playing for keeps.

To get into the Common Market we are willing to barter our sovereignty. We hadn’t got it long enough to get used to it anyway, but the fools who won it for us would have expected us to put a bit more value on it. They could have saved their lives if only they had a working knowledge of economics. We have put a price-tag on everything, now.

The French, who resist our entry into Europe must be mad. Our country is ripe for exploitation – our Government ready to stand down as an effective authority, so that big business can take over, or so it seems. Our mobile labour force is ready to be sent, as they’ve always been sent, wherever there’s hewing of wood, or drawing of water to be done. The common bond is dissolved to prove how European we are. If we had any pride left, we’d swallow it, and yet the French still don’t want us. What are we to do?

We must push harder. Tell them this is the Ireland of the soft sell, land of the evergreen sucker, The Misty Isle where fools are born one-a-minute ready to trade with all comers on any terms. We love glass beads, mirrors and cheap gold bricks, south-sea bubbles, bubble-car factories, aeroplane shadow-factories, Singer stamps, trading stamps, Free Trade Agreements, the lot.

This is a fair land, flowing with milk, and milk products. It’s a con-man’s paradise – we’re dying to be taken in. This land was our land, it’s going cheap.

Our economists are sporting types who go their way, casting our salmon to catch someone else’s sprat, not without some little success. Our chaps land a big one sometimes, providing an occasion for backslapping and bouquet-tossing. Bouquet-tossing is becoming something of a national art-form, and it takes the harm out of long trips to distant sunny seminars where economists go to lecture and recuperate.” Etc…

–Pearse Stokes 1918-1987

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