Letter: Britain in Europe
Monday 21 June 1999
Firstly they assume that Europe is not part of the real world, which seems to him to be defined as former British-occupied territory. This is not, of course, true. Europeans had their own involvement in empires and, surprisingly enough, are aware that there are lands beyond their own borders.
Secondly, they assume that to be English is to share his viewpoint. I object. I am a Lancastrian born into a world of cotton, coal, steam engines and waved Union Jacks. I have had to eat tripe and black puddings but not, thankfully, on the same occasion. Part of the benefits bestowed upon my generation by the very existence of the European Union and the attendant peace and prosperity, is the fact that I never have to eat them again.
The European Union, despite its faults, has given us time for peace and prosperity which is of a higher order than for any previous generation in history. If this is the end of hostilities between our nation states, I am all for it. My grandfather and father fought the Germans. Thank God I can chat with them and have a beer around the family table.
Lastly, I don't know the national dish of Portugal, or of the West Indies for that matter, but port wine is fine. I have good friends in Greece, Cyprus, Moscow, Germanyand Holland and two Finnish people have recently toured Manchester with me. As a priest of the Greek Orthodox Church I listen to Greek dance music.
In short, I am a fully paid-up white Anglo-Saxon Englishman, and I want more of Europe, not less.
Fr CHRISTODOULOS FYLES
Wigan, Greater Manchester
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