Mark Dolan: If Hilary Mantel hates this country so much she's more than welcome to leave and be 'embarrassed' somewhere else
The author is thinking of getting an Irish passport so she can be 'European again'
MAward-winning author Hilary Mantel, has said she is embarrassed to live in Britain, following the decision by a majority of people in this country, to leave the European Union.
Although she loves her life in the West Country, I'm sure she's got a nice place - she's made a few bob - she's thinking of getting an Irish passport, so she can be “European again”.
Strange that such a knowledgeable author, whose expertise lies in vividly recreating episodes of the past, in particular Tudor history, thinks we're not Europeans anymore.
It surprises me, that I've got to give this history ICON, a history LESSON. We joined the European Union, know then as the EEC, just 48 years ago. But Britain has been a European country, since, 6000 BC, when melting glaciers raised sea levels enough, to create the English Channel.
So one fundamental fact has dominated British history is that these islands, are at the edge of the European landmass. Ever since there have been British Isles, British politics and economics, have always been European. And always will be.
Don’t take my word for it. Here’s what former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had to say on this.
“We are inextricably part of Europe” she said. “No one will ever be able to take us ‘out of Europe’, for Europe is where we are, and where we have always been.”
Before Brexiteers panic, the point is a simple but important one. EU membership, was not what defined us, as being European. So whilst we exited, the European Union, which is merely a political organisation, and changed the way we TRADE with the block, we are as European, as we ever have been. Potentially more so, now we are free.
Full disclosure, I think there HAS been and WILL be an economic impact from Brexit, because this is a big transition for a huge economy, rooted in trade with our continental partners. So there are problems and there may be a medium term cost, but there are unlimited opportunities too.
Hilary Mantel does speak for many, however. Not accepting the Brexit result, the largest plebiscite in modern British history, has become a political movement, an ideology and a religion.
I voted remain in 2016, and therefore I speak with some authority when I say to other Remainers - get over it. It took me 24 hours to accept the Brexit result, in fact even less time than that. I accepted the result when the news flashed up on my phone, early on the morning of June 24th. It was a big surprise and a lot to take in, especially as I hadn't had my first cup of tea of the day.
Don't talk to me before I've had my tea.
But I'm a Democrat. I accept every election result, every public vote, because that is how democracy works. Those who claim that the Brexit result was the product of misinformation, fake news, manipulative algorithms, just reflect on the fact that more or less the entirety of the broadcast media, the political establishment and the corporate world, were all backing remain.
The real surprise of the referendum result wasn't that the Brexiteers didn't lose, it was that the Remainers didn't win.
One can only conclude that a silent majority simply wanted Britain to be an independent sovereign nation, in control of its money, laws and borders, and with the ability to trade freely with the rest of the world. It seems people didn't like big weekly payments going to Brussels, and vast swathes of UK legislation being subject to EU approval.
A majority of you wanted out, and out we got.
But the referendum result has led to a new national past time, for a hard-core, ideological rump of Remainers and it's called Britain-bashing.
Britain is an iconic country, with a long and remarkable history. Punching above its weight for centuries and providing a global template for parliamentary democracy, commerce, diversity, tolerance and individual liberty.
We are defined by thousands of years of history, not by a five decade-long relationship with Brussels that began in 1973. And leaving the EU hasn't made us any less European.
It sticks in the craw that Hilary Mantel, who I think is a genius and a fabulous writer, also criticises the monarchy, another part of the Britain hating narrative, peddled by those that love to talk us down.
And yet this same Hilary Mantel, who says she would BREATHE more easily in a republic, accepted the award of a Damehood from Her Majesty the Queen in 2014.
Breath taking. Her official title is Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. I'm so confused. You don’t believe in having a monarchy, but you accept its rather grandiose honours. At least John Lennon sent his MBE back.
Loving your country is ok. And in fact it’s important. Of course criticise those who govern it and hold their feet to the fire. And speak out when it takes a direction you don’t like. And lobby for political change. But you cannot start demonising, or seek to reject the result, of any democratic vote.
I was no fan of Jeremy Corbyn for example, but if he’d won in December 2019, I’d have got on with it, hoping for the best. I wouldn’t have called those who voted for him stupid, or threatened to leave the country.
You don’t get rid of me that easily.
Some election results you're going to love, and some you're going to hate. But either way you accept it. Anything less, and you have no right to call yourself a democrat. You're actually just an ideological bully.
During the four and a half years of needless hell we went through after the referendum result, when so many in the political establishment sought to overturn it, we came THAT close, to effectively destroying our democracy.
If that public vote hadn't been honoured, I honestly would've feared for the stability of this country. Mercifully, we have a government that made it happen, which is why we're now in a position to move on and make the best of global Britain.
I believe it will be a great success. And if Hilary Mantel who has been educated, enriched and made a star in this country hates it SO MUCH, she's more than welcome to leave, and go and be “embarrassed” somewhere else.