A belated Happy Birthday

graveThe discovery that one has missed a significant Birthday is always a bit disappointing, especially if it is a Birthday ending in 0. Yesterday was the 130th Birthday of a chap called Robert Schuman. He is seen as the founder of three important organisations, one of which was badly damaged yesterday as a result of a meeting of National Leaders excluding David Cameron, the other two of which are in good health and continue to play a vital role in all of our lives. NATO is one and the Council of Europe is the other. The Council of Europe is not connected to the European Union which began its life under a different name as the third organisation founded by Robert Schuman. According to his Wikipedia entry, Robert Schuman who was born in Luxembourg but twice became French Prime Minister spent some of the 2nd World War in the French Resistance and when not fighting the German Army, he explained to his colleagues about the important work that was needed to establish Franco-German and European reconciliation. He said:

The European spirit signifies being conscious of belonging to a cultural family and to have a willingness to serve that community in the spirit of total mutuality, without any hidden motives of hegemony or the selfish exploitation of others. The 19th century saw feudal ideas being opposed and, with the rise of a national spirit, nationalities asserting themselves. Our century, that has witnessed the catastrophes resulting in the unending clash of nationalities and nationalisms, must attempt and succeed in reconciling nations in a supranational association. This would safeguard the diversities and aspirations of each nation while coordinating them in the same manner as the regions are coordinated within the unity of the nation.  Robert Schuman, speaking in Strasbourg, 16 May 1949

We are called to bethink ourselves of the Christian basics of Europe by forming a democratic model of governance which through reconciliation develops into a ‘community of peoples’ in freedom, equality, solidarity and peace and which is deeply rooted in Christian basic values. Robert Schuman 1958
Happy Birthday Robert, I am sorry we have made such a pigs ear of your hard work on our behalf. I for one believe passionately in the need for us to serve our cultural community and whilst the EU moved some distance from your plans and now our nation has given notice of our intention to leave it, your vision and ideas are too important for us to simply jettison them. Sadly the one thing we have lost if we do leave the EU is our direct link to that democratic model which you spoke about. What a tragedy that we did so, partly on the back of an argument that the EU was not democratic enough for us.
Meanwhile according to one of todays Newspapers, the founder of Leave.EU, Arron Banks who spent £5.6M of his money to bankroll the organisation, and is now proposing inventing a new political party to continue his hard work said of the success of the campaign “It was taking an American-style media approach,” said Banks. “What they said early on was ‘facts don’t work’ and that’s it. The remain campaign featured fact, fact, fact, fact, fact. It just doesn’t work. You have got to connect with people emotionally. It’s the Trump success.”
Whatever the failings of the EU despite its good intentions, faced with a choice between its values and those of the successful Leave.EU campaign with its posters and rejection of facts, I remain committed to the ideals of Robert Schuman, 130 years and 1 day old today.

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
This entry was posted in Church Teaching, EU Referendum, Parliament and Democracy and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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