Short on text, but a rich insight into the thinking behind an idée fixe that our diplomats having been clinging to for the past four decades.
Senior UK Diplomat: “If you leave the EU, you become less sovereign. Sovereignty is a seat at the table, having a voice on the future.”
— British Influence (@BritInfluence) September 2, 2013
There’s such a banquet of stupidity and/or mendacity here it’s hard to know where to jab one’s fork first.
I suppose one’s first reaction is to wonder how the hell a man gets to a “senior” level in a job intimately connected with the exercise of sovereignty, yet is apparently incapable of defining it correctly? And, yes, I quite specifically say ‘man’ and would bet my last Euro that the person quoted is male, since the ‘seat at the table’ argument always comes seasoned with a level of condescension and pomposity that seems to only ever seems to be administered by men of a certain age.
Sovereignty is pretty much the opposite of a seat at the table. Indeed, if you must have a furniture metaphor (and you’d like it to bear weight) then sovereignty is more accurately an armchair you’re sitting in. It’s not unknown for people to mix up sovereignty with power—after all, if one lacks the might, the fact that one has the sovereign right can be pretty meaningless—but this is not the sort of confusion that should bedevil the thinking of a career diplomat.
Yet things don’t look much better if one assumes that our mystery mandarin does in fact have a respectable grasp of the English language and thus knows full well what sovereignty actually means. Here, then, is a man unashamed to assert that black is white in order to protect the status quo. I suppose they do say that ambassadors are honest men sent abroad to lie for their country; perhaps they become inured to it. No doubt it must also be difficult to contemplate a British exit from the EU and feel that would entail the destruction of what may quite literally be the work of one’s entire career, and that of one’s peers’.
Finally we are told that EU membership gives us “a voice on the future”, a empty platitude that typifies pro-EU thinking. It’s about warm and fuzzy concepts like the future, having a say and generally feeling jolly pleased with ourselves about what positive, forward looking people we are.
So there we have it. One tweet that neatly encapsulates the Europhile mindset. Lecturing, at odds with reality and rooted in vanity.