Citizenship and the EU

You know, I often find myself wondering about this. I’ve said before that as soon as I’m eligible I will apply for Canadian Citizenship, and this remains my intent. The question being; do I wish to remain a citizen of the UK, and thus a citizen of Europe? Will I want to maintain dual citizenship status? While I don’t, and have never really minded the notion of being a citizen of Europe, I don’t like the way a closed circle of unaccountable politicians and bureaucrats are taking it.

When a torrent of micro managing regulation goes onto the statute books without so much as a bye, leave, or thank you. Then I don’t want to be a citizen of the EU. If legislation can be cut and pasted from directives originating from within the undemocratic cancer that is the EU Commission without so much as a sneeze from the elected body. Then I don’t want to be a part of the European Union. When I watch the insane debt bubble looming over the countries that are part of the Euro, then I think I’d be better off not being a citizen of the EU.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Europe. All of it. I love most of the places, and most of the people I’ve met on my travels. Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Netherlands, Luxemburg, and yes, even Belgium. I’m sure a lot of Germans, Italians, French, Spanish, Dutch, Luxemburgers and Belgians feel exactly the same way.

There are things that are done far better in Europe than the English do. The TGV’s (Ironically, many engine and coach units built by British Manufacturers) that zip across France and Spain. Much more comfortable than flying. European Motorways, and I have many fond memories of French N and D routes. Airports.

My head is crammed with delightful European memories like the almost overpowering liquorice tinged smell of Basil on the road from Florence to Genoa. The dusty glory of a Tuscan summer. Champagne chilly cellar tours in Rheims, the dazzling brilliance of the Mont Blanc glacier on a sunny day. The dusty expanse of the Saarland and Rhine Valley in midsummer. Little family roadside restaurants off the beaten track. People who readily forgave my poor language skills, but didn’t mind so long as I made some effort (However awkward) to speak their language.

The sheer weight of european history and culture is tremendous and never less than impressive. Yet all that is good in Europe is slowly dying of bureaucratic poisoning. A stolid, boneheaded, ignorant top down political delusion that assumes one code of law will do for all. If it were general law, like don’t steal or don’t cheat, I’d be all for it, but what bugs me is the increasing micro management foisted upon the majority by vocal lobby groups. Chair polishing time wasters passing law after law without any real thought for the consequences. A system of governance that reduces the rights of the individual to whatever largesse an overweening state can be bothered to hand out. With every new piece of legislation the system becomes ever more inflexible.

To compare; in general terms of materials science, the stiffer a substance becomes, which mostly mean becoming more tightly grained, the more fragile and prone to shattering it becomes. So it is with law. The more constricting and inflexible law becomes, an increasing number of people keep will slamming into it until a social critical mass is reached, and something has to give. At that point either the edifice collapses under it’s own internal pressure, or enough people get together to form a hammer. As is happening right now throughout the Middle East at present where tired, inflexible regimes are cracking under the strain. The EU are interfering because that’s where most of their oil comes from. Yet their interference is actually making things worse.

For example; outside intervention is giving Gaddaffi’s main power base, his alliance of tribes something to rally against. Where he might have slunk off to Venezuela with a couple of billion in unmarked bills in times past, that door has been shut to him. With no exit strategy he has to fight. More Libyans will die because of it. All because of short sighted, posturing EU intervention. I do not support this, nor do I agree with what is happening within the EU. Not too chuffed about Canada being dragged in, but that’s NATO for you.

There is no course of remedial democratic action open to me. My UK MP is a buffoonish rubber stamp who does not care about his constituents views. My UK MEP is so remote and unaccountable that they might as well be located out in Lunar Orbit. Therefore I do not want to be a citizen of an enlarged EU.

At some time in the next three years I’m going to have to make a decision about citizenship. If, once a full citizen of Canada I renounce my citizenship of the UK, and thus Europe, if I get stuck in Europe for any legal reason I will always have the option of deportation back to my new home. Yet if I have dual citizenship, that choice might not be so readily open to me, and any protections I might have as a Canadian citizen might be somewhat diluted.

The Canadians look after their citizens, you see. The tacit constitutional contract between state and individual is largely intact over here. You have to really want citizenship, and therefore it’s not an easy road to travel. That is where its value lies.

Upon sober reflection I think I’ll have to plot this one through carefully. It has been said that those who wish to give up citizenship of the UK should undergo a psychiatric evaluation. But what is insane about wanting to renounce a country that has changed the terms and conditions of citizenship without consultation, leaves sizeable tranches of its populace effectively disenfranchised, where people can be imprisoned without trial, their families dismantled, yet has the effrontery to describe itself as ‘democratic?’

From where I stand at present, with no other door open to me, the renunciation of everything I was brought up to believe in may be the most potent protest I can lodge.

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3 thoughts on “Citizenship and the EU”

  1. A few pointers to help you. First of all, do you really think you are the center of the world? All of the things you say about the UK are to some extent true about Canada, and every year thousands of Canadians who move to the UK agonize over the same decision – should I give up my Canadian citizenship as that country is no longer recognizable as the one I grew up in? Grass is always greener, etc.

    Secondly, neither the UK nor the Canadian governments keeps track of how many citizens they have. Residents, yes. Do you know what happens when you apply for a passport? All they do is check that your documents are valid and are in accordance with the laws in effect at the time. When you renew your passport, all they do is check if you have a previous valid passport. If not, then they apply the relevant laws to check whether you are a citizen or not. But there is no central database of citizenship. There is one of passports, but only 20% of US citizens have a passport. They could probably work out how many US citizens live in the US by looking at birth records in every state, but it would be hard to know how many live abroad.

    The same is true to an extent for the UK and Canada though I don’t know the hard statistics. And so many more British citizens live overseas. There are also weird categories such as British Nationals, British Protected Persons and British Overseas Citizens. Do you really believe that these huge bureaucratic inefficient organizations care about your gesture of defiance if you renounce your citizenship? All that happens is a piece of paper gets filed in a nameless shelf in a deep underground bunker. For the rest of the government, you are still a citizen until you instruct the relevant bureaucrats to dig up that piece of paper.

    Citizenship may impose obligations, but only if you live in that country. By moving to Canada, you deny the British Treasury your tax dollars / pounds. I think that is a much more significant sign of protest. You know you have to pay a fee to renounce! As a British citizen living in Canada, you have ZERO obligations to the British state or the EU. In fact, the British state has an obligation to you, to protect you wherever you travel in the world (except in the EU). They don’t care whether you also have Canadian citizenship. The fact that you have two passports will only be beneficial to you.

    If you think the EU is a farce, use your Canadian passport to travel to Europe, and you will enter as a Canadian. They won’t know if you are British. If you are really paranoid, then change your name before getting your first Canadian passport. You can do that quite easily, unlike in most European countries.

    The last thing to consider for a potential new citizen is if they are going to have children. I don’t know whether you have children already, but one of the best gift to give your descendants is a choice of countries to live in. You say Canada protects its citizens, but say that to the child who was born in China to a Canadian who was not married. Because neither the Canadian nor his parents were born in Canada, despite living there since they were a few months old, the child had to get an Irish passport.

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    1. Everyone is the ‘centre of their own world’. I thought that obvious to anyone with even the slightest self awareness or meanest intelligence. Anyone with an interest in the fallibilities of human nature can tell you that. If not, then they’re not interested enough.

      As for the rest; I reserve the right to make my own decisions in this life. Final and irrevocable decisions over citizenship are not yet made, and if one of them is ditching my association with an entity I don’t much care for, then so be it.

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