For decades the British political class, and the class of Britons who holiday in Tuscany and the Dordogne, held their fellow countrymen and women who wanted out of the EU in contempt. The most frequent insult casually thrown around was that they were ‘Little Englanders’.TM

Now it appears they were insulting approximately half of the population.

They were so sure of themselves, and they heard such a massive echo in the chamber of the broadcast media, they never stopped to think.

Now, despite people from the left and right coming together to make the arguments for and against, there are still some who hold the view that those intending to vote to leave the EU next month are on the wrong side of history, are ignorant of facts, and are slightly unpleasant nationalistic types from a nation of shopkeepers. However, if they do, they may need to apply the insults to people in…. Tuscany and the Dordogne, because perhaps they are the ‘Piccolo Italians’ and ‘Petit French.’

This week’s Ipsos/Mori poll on attitudes in EU countries about Brexit and the EU in general makes interesting reading.

45% of Europeans want their own referendum on membership. This varies from as low as 38% in Hungary, to 58% in Italy, and 55% in France. That is different to how they might vote, but the realization that a debate is required is present.  The French would probably vote to stay in by about 59% but in Italy it looks like a 50/50 split.

About half of people surveyed believe that if the UK does leave it might start a domino effect. 40% believe that there will be a reduced EU by 2020.

None of this is to argue for Brexit, it is simply to show that it was snobbery which led to the idea of Little Englanders and it was so loudly and frequently proclaimed that, certainly among the middle classes, those with concerns about the EU project mostly kept quiet. Some of those who didn’t were often regarded as being on the fringes of political discourse.

And that is one of the reasons why, rumbling along under the surface of those with certainty, there were others who resented the terms of the debate. That resentment has surfaced in Britain  and is surfacing across the continent.

Many readers might assume from this article that the writer is for Brexit. It is neither for nor against, it is in support of a lifelong belief; Accept your own bias, use it to better understand a different point of view, and, with the exceptions of the violent extremes, respectfully disagree with those views.

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15 Comments on "‘Little Europeaners’"

  1. mahatmacoatmabag | 11th May 2016 at 10:10 am | Reply

    Voting remain is the same as booking a voyage on the Titanic despite knowing that the iceberg is out there waiting to sink you.

    • Lesley Lubert | 11th May 2016 at 10:59 am | Reply

      Couldn’t have put it better myself!

      • mahatmacoatmabag | 11th May 2016 at 11:56 am | Reply

        Lesley, thank you, you yourself wrote an excellent summation of the disadvantages of voting remain. This is not the place for a lively debate on the pros & cons of the UK being in the EU since Tims website is more attuned to foreign affairs, Tims area of expertise. If you are interested & with Tims permission, you, Tim & any interested reader on here are invited to join an on line Disqus forum , all you need to do is sign up to Disqus to participate . All are welcome Brexiters or Remainers , the moderation is fair, the comments mostly intelligent & often witty.
        I hope to see you & Tim on there soon.
        https://disqus.com/home/channel/notthetelegraphletters/

        • mahatmacoatmabag | 11th May 2016 at 12:01 pm | Reply

          PS. I have no financial or any other interest in the channel nor do I have any influence over the moderation or main daily topic for discussion

          • Lesley Lubert | 11th May 2016 at 1:43 pm |

            Thank you I will check it out, and apologies to Tim if I am speaking in the wrong place!

  2. Lesley Lubert | 11th May 2016 at 10:36 am | Reply

    Well I love Europe, but I do not like what has happened to us since we joined the EEC (we never did join the EU). As we know originally we opted for trade agreements with a much smaller contingent back then.

    Things have dramatically changed since then, it became apparent that Brussels could cash in and grab power unthinkable at the time of signing.

    We are now governed by un-elected bureaucrats. We no longer have a supreme court which has the last say in this country, we cannot deport foreign criminals, due to EU regulations, we cannot decide who comes here and who doesn’t if they are EU members.
    According to Cameron, we in fact have no control over our homeland security, trade agreements,financial powers, house prices, interest rates, job markets, or anything else in fact, since if we vote to leave it will be the end of us as a nation.

    He has now lost touch with reality completely.

    When is a free trade agreement, not a free trade agreement? When it costs £8 billion per year.

    To Corbyn, Alan Johnson and others I would say this. “We have to be in it to change it” according to them, but we haven’t been able to change it have we? Even Cameron with his begging bowl didn’t manage much and most of that will probably go by the wayside.

    It surprises me not, that many other countries now want to leave, because this Union has caused incredible hardship for many especially the countries who have become bankrupt. A small number of nations (including us) are trying to keep the others afloat. In time the whole thing will collapse under its own weight. I for one want to go now, while we can still recover from this disaster called the EU.

    I do not believe for one minute, that the European countries have no interest in sharing trade, intelligence and security with us going forward since it is entirely in their interests as well as ours. Even if we leave the EU.

  3. Good piece as usual Tim. It is why the Commission shudders every time a referendum is called though as we have seen there are myriad ways around unfavourable votes, from telling the electorate to have another go and get it right this time to changing the definition of what is a constitution or if all else fails just ignoring the result. I have always been convinced we will in the end vote to remain but what if we don’t?, I’m not sure that some compromise won’t be hatched to prevent us leaving.
    On the issue of echo chambers these seem to work both ways, my wife works with lots of the sort of people described above and as a leave voter tends to keep her mouth shut when the subject crops up. My in laws and the circles they move in on the other hand are absolutely convinced that we are going to leave by a huge majority and that the only people voting to stay live in the upscale areas of London. They read papers and mix with people who confirm their bias and it gets quite heated when I suggest they may be in for a shock. My brother in law honestly couldn’t understand why I would watch or read anything which held an opinion different to my own, when I explained he still couldn’t fathom it.

    Never thought you were for Brexit but what about Yorkxit Tim?. You could get control of your borders back, realise the dream of King Geoffrey I on the throne, send all those Lancastrian migrants back to where they came from and get the added bonus of Leeds Utd suddenly being the second best team in the country……

    Sorry about that! No position to make jokes given the situation at Newcastle. (who also lost to Wednesday this season)

  4. mahatmacoatmabag | 11th May 2016 at 2:38 pm | Reply

    Brown: Britain Should ‘Lead Not Leave’ EU
    The former prime minister says staying a part of the bloc is the only way Britain can tackle global tax avoidance.
    http://news.sky.com/story/1693975/brown-britain-should-lead-not-leave-eu
    *********
    Was the Arch Traitor who signed away our independence as a sovereign nation in the Lisbon treaty making some sort of veiled reference to David Cameron when he mentioned global tax avoidance ?

  5. I started as a mild “leaver” due to having acted upon the Heath/Wilson assurances in 75, despite not wishing to cast the Commonwealth adrift. But we’d already done that, hadn’t we?
    So D.C. said all the right things, would tell the absolute facts. Really? Top man!
    So we ended up with a very hurried “renegotiation” with nothing tangible/in writing followed by ever more opinions and imaginative propaganda which sounds increasingly fantastic and far-fetched. Added to this there is an obviously-rehearsed and pre-scripted statement in response to, but not an answer to, the original question.
    So to support the Gov’t view (they weren’t going to take) is now to place trust where it doesnt belong. The only leap in the dark, here, is to follow blindly the advice of someone you don’t trust!
    This is why I, and everybody I know, will vote to leave on June 23rd.
    So all the catchy phrases and soundbites won’t have the effect Dodgy Dave expects, but he might still win by a very narrow margin. Imagine six or twelve months down the line if the case to remain is found to be misleading. Think of the frustration. Think of the Brazilian president, thrown out of office and awaiting the Brazilian Senate vote on impeachment for lying to the electorate!
    Forgive me, but Brexit is more desirable and less of a risk than remaining.

  6. Paul Corrick | 23rd May 2016 at 10:32 am | Reply

    I have come across myself in debating the arguments for Remain and Leave those who appear almost sneering about those of us who believe the EU has many faults. Some are so sure of their position that they present their views as ‘facts’ and other views as merely ‘opinions’ I do not despise Europe or any other country and am not jingoistic or a little Englander . I believe in institutions like NATO and I believe Europe should co-operate on issues of Security, Immigration, Terrorism, and Intelligence. I simply have doubts whether we need to be part of an institution that wants more and more European integration be it political, economic or Social. We should indeed listen to all points of views as you say, as long as they are not violent and respond with arguments that leave respect for those making a different case. How boring the world would be if we all thought the same. History shows us that those who are so convinced they are right are are quite often proved wrong.

    • mahatmacoatmabag | 23rd May 2016 at 11:20 am | Reply

      Good day Paul, if you wish to post your views & participate in a Disqus forum about the referendum on the EU, with a mainly Brexit crowd but with a number of Remainers in a very liberally & tolerantly moderated good humoured on line forum of former Daily Telegraph readers, I invite you and every other reader/editor/contributor of TW&TY to join us on https://disqus.com/home/channel/notthetelegraphletters/
      You will need to sign up to Disqus ( a free forum with no adverts ) & can select an avatar or use a gravatar one ). Note: I have no personal or financial interest in Disqus or the NTTL ( Not The Telegraph Letters )forum nor do I have any influence over the moderation, subjects under discussion & you can go off topic if you wish, especially if it is witty & good natured

  7. Paul Corrick | 23rd May 2016 at 11:35 am | Reply

    Good day mahatmacoatmabag, Thanks very much for the link which I appreciate and when I get time I will have a look and will share with some face book friends who are quite keen on reading about and discussing the issues.

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