Countries, Europe, Ireland, UK

Fifty years on EU have it wrong UK

It passed many by that the turn of 2023 marked half a century since Britain, Ireland and Denmark joined the EEC which prompts the response, fifty years on that EU have it wrong UK.

Not for joining the countries of the continent then and remember that the UK had twice tried unsuccessfully in the Sixties to get in, but for turning their back on Europe in 2016.

Brexit has, of course, impacted the whole of British society and industry, but at its more primal level, it has felt like a direct threat to those of us who work in tourism.

At least it did to my group of mostly English travel professionals in Interlaken in Switzerland.

I’m not suggesting that it should lead to sons not talking to their fathers as it did then.

Although I expect that they would have got over it and gone on to learn to live with each others’ different views.

Swiss days

The rail thing: Jungfraujoch in Switzerland

At heart, it probably comes as little surprise that my new English friends were so shell shocked and disheartened.

Because, at heart, everybody in our sector is instinctively an internationalist at heart.

My English friends were particularly keen too to pick the brains of our Swiss hosts about life outside the EU.

At the time I had no such worries, living in Europhile Ireland.

With nary a thought about returning to the land of my birth.

Scotland, incidentally, which had voted unanimously to stay under the blue, star-framed, flag.

The UK’s decision to leave the EU had the effect too of Britons rushing to re-engage with their Irish roots.

And trying to get Irish passports which Daddy’s Little Girl, a proud export of the Irish education system, is now doing.

Where, of course, it is most obvious is in the queues at airports where you are streamed separately.

And British exceptionalism comes to the fore.

Best of both worlds

Crowning moment: The British passport

The British passport I dare say has come in handy over the years particularly where it comes to the amount left on your document when travelling to certain countries.

And I was relieved to see that that worked in my favour the first time I went out to Barbados.

But I can’t guarantee that it will always be so.

The best solution, other than Britain going back into Europe.

Me returning full time to Ireland or Scotland becoming independent, would seem to be getting two passports.

Which, of course, would reflect my background, half-Scottish, half-Irish.

Getting the second passport would look to be the quickest option.

Cross to bear: Medjugorje

And this time I promise to look after the second one better.

After I took my old British passport with me (the one with my five-year US visa in it) on the bus from Medjugorje, Bosnia & Herzegovina.

To Dubrovnik, only to realise minutes into the journey that my current one was back in my hotel bedroom.

And I had to get off for fear of being stopped at the Croatia border and return to my Medjugorje base.  Be warned!

And other countries too, my old stomping ground of Ireland in particular.

Because fifty years on EU have it wrong UK

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