"Comedy always works best when it is mean-spirited" - John Cleese

Author John Corby also writes as "Bulldogge" for the British Canadian newspaper.

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

10 Reasons I Left Britain #9. The European Community

Britain has a split personality. On the one hand it is a member-of-sorts of the European Community. On the other hand, Britain is the parent country of the British Commonwealth.

Money Can't Buy Me Love

The standard currency in the EC is the Euro. The French gave up on their francs, the Spanish gave up on their pesetas, the Italians gave up on their lire and the Germans gave up on their marks, but Britain has chosen to retain the pound sterling instead.

Euro coins have the same image on the "common side". The obverse (back) side of Euro coins, on the other hand, varies from country to country. Each member state can choose to mint coins with national symbols on the obverse.

Not surprisingly, none of the EC countries have chosen to place an image of the British Queen on their coins. Meanwhile Canada, Australia and other British Commonwealth countries have chosen to mint the Queen's image on the obverse side of their coins. Her Majesty appreciates our loyalty but her government in Whitehall cocks a snoot at us.

Welcome Home!

When British-born Canadians, travelling on a Canadian passport, arrive in our native country we are required to line-up with non-citizens. Those of us who became Canadian citizens did not relinquish our British citizenship and our passports indicate our place of birth.

Couldn't British immigration officials take a moment to read our Canadian passports and let us through with EC passport holders? Even the Americans - despite recent tightening of cross-border documentation requirements - seem less reluctant to allow us entry into their country.

Meanwhile, EC passport holders (including Brits) are fast-tracked into Britain in a separate queue. Frenchmen, Italians, Greeks, Spaniards and all the other nationalities who are, at best, indifferent to the Queen can walk straight into Britain with only a cursory examination of their documentation by immigration officials.

No Passport Required
Of course there was once a time when the French held an English king in high reverence. The King of England was an immigrant from an EC country. He arrived in England exactly nine centuries before England last won the World Cup. His name was William and he didn't show any kind of passport at all when he stepped off the boat at Hastings in Sussex.

Britain has been at war, at some point in history, with almost every other member of the EC. When Canada was last called on to defend its borders, in 1812, the British Army was here in force to defend us. And when Britain has been at war, Canadian troops have fought alongside the British - not against them.

Tiny Blur
The head of the British Commonwealth is the Queen. Along with other Commonwealth countries, Canada recognizes the Queen as it's head of state. The European Community has a president as its head. The present incumbent of that office is Jose Manuel Barroso. It is rumoured that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair will be a candidate for the job when Mr Barroso leaves office.

What a dichotomy there would be in the United Queendom if that ever came to pass. To whom would the British pledge their loyalty; Her Majesty the Queen or the man the satirical British magazine Private Eye calls "Tiny Blur?"

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