Saturday 3 December 2016

'State rights' is the rallying cry in battle for new Europe

Published 05/06/2014 | 02:30

State rights is new battle cry for Europe.
State rights is new battle cry for Europe.

YEE-HAH! The Confederate flag has been raised; not over Richmond, Virginia, but in Strasbourg, France. "State rights!" was the cry as the triumphant Europhobic parties, led by Marine Le Pen's National Front, celebrated their victories in the European Parliament elections. The closet confederates among us could scarce forbear to cheer.

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But forbear we did. The US Confederates may have claimed sovereign state rights but every school child knows that the civil war was really about the abolition of slavery. Historians are not so sure. In the present European context, we can all be pretty sure that the state right which most of these parties care about is the right to keep out, and kick out, immigrants.

People who take the role of EU member states seriously are in danger of being lumped in with the anti-immigrant brigade. No doubt many liberal, thoughtful American Confederates suffered the same fate when it came to slavery.

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