Richard is better known to history as Richard the Lionheart but in truth he probably felt more at home in Anjou or Aquitaine than he ever did as King of England. It is a cheap trick I know but it does underline the complex relationship that England does have with the continent of Europe
Over the weeks ahead until the unnecessary referendum on British membership of the European Union (EU) it might be worth considering the contradictions of Richard. It is only the English who seem to have a problem with Britain’s membership. In fact it is fair to say only a smallish proportion of the population have a problem. Unfortunately that small proportion forms the current British government and so we a going to go through this farce for what purpose I am not entirely sure.
As yet I have not heard one argument that might suggest the leap into the unknown is worth it. Don’t get me wrong there are so many things wrong with the EU but Britain leaving the organisation isn’t going to sort any of those problems out. The only difference is that we will have zero influence on how they are sorted out as we scream and shout on the side lines. It would be foolhardy to think that when solutions are found for these problems they will not affect Britain as a significant proportion of our trade, and therefore well being, is with the EU so it is Britain’s best interest to best interest to have as much say as possible. Should we vote to leave then our voice will have the same weight as Norway or Switzerland.
To the rest of the world Britain is part of Europe, to many who live on the islands of Britain Europe is a remote place you can see from atop the white cliffs of Dover on a clear day. This of course was much the same view of Richard the Lionheart only in reverse – England might be part of his realm but he never felt it was part of him. Lets hope in the not too distant future sane voices prevail and this Europe nonsense can be put to bed once and for all. Somehow I doubt it.
Just to show you how multicultural Britain now is there is a good proportion of the British population who wouldn’t see Richard as a national hero but rather as a disgrace. I sit somewhere towards the latter position but would observe one thing – he never would have considered himself English, let alone British and had little time for England other than to raise money for his foreign wars which we continue to pay for today.