Where is the UK Bound? (Part 2) The Re-creation of Europe

by Terry Boardman

This article originally appeared in New View magazine 1st Quarter Winter 2007/2008

In order to prepare for a discussion of where Britain might be ‘bound’ (heading for) in the 21st century in the positive sense, the first part of this article looked at where Britain is currently ‘bound’ (restricted) in the negative sense of the word and concluded that it is bound by concepts of politics (party tribalism) and economics (the ‘free’ market) rooted in the late 18th century – a time when national polities, which were then at a certain stage in their development,  behaved like self-centred individuals, adolescents in fact, and were led by elites whose members often had grandiose images of themselves; one only needs to look at the funerary monuments of the period to see this. It also concluded that Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the current British political elite are ‘bound’ by a view of British history that appears to want to ignore the fact that the imperial chapter of British history that began with Henry VIII and his daughter Elizabeth I has closed in the reign of Elizabeth II and that the British people are now in a position to take a different direction if they choose to do so. This part of the article will consider what that different direction might be.

The Identity of the UK

First is the question of the existence and identity of the UK itself. Do the devolution arrangements introduced by Tony Blair’s administration in 1997 spell the end of the UK as we know it, and is this something that should be welcomed or opposed? It has often been pointed out that esoteric knowledge exists within the upper echelons of the British elite that has enabled them to plan for the future and perpetuate their control of British society. Like the Vatican, English powerbrokers operate on long time frames: Rudolf Steiner indicated in 1916 that many of those with real power in Britain were from the same families that had such power 400 years before.(1) The transformation of the Empire into the Commonwealth, for example, was no spontaneous act of generosity on the part of the former imperial masters as it has often been portrayed. It was planned before the First World War and deliberately carried out in accordance with foresight and knowledge of how resources would best be controlled in the new century, namely, indirectly through economics and networks of personal influence rather than by soldiers on the ground.(2) Similarly, the English elite would have seen the rising wave of Celtic nationalism which, stimulated by Ireland’s independence in 1922, surfaced in the 1960s. As with India, they have calculated how best to ride this wave and guide it in their own interest; the answer was devolution – a new kind of mini-’commonwealth’ for the British Isles. But the Welsh Nationalist Party Plaid Cymru probably and the Scottish Nationalist Party certainly are bound to press for full independence from England eventually.

In a recent keynote foreign policy speech (3) Gordon Brown described Britain as “the first multinational state” (an historical untruth), and said that Britain has  “always known that success requires that people of different races, religions and backgrounds learn to live in harmony with each other.” However, this is to put a peculiar gloss on British history. The way in which the constituent elements of the UK came together was not exactly a harmonious one; it was not a state whose members, as Brown implies, and as the EU likes to say about itself, “voluntarily combined to share peace and prosperity”. Having conquered England, the Normans (Northmen) -  those Vikings with a veneer of French civilisation -  went on to try to conquer the Celtic peoples of the British Isles, first Ireland, then Wales and Scotland. They then turned on France in the Hundred Years’ War. Repulsed by a French national resurgence under Joan of Arc, this aggressive Viking-Norman ruling class, who now belatedly called themselves ‘English’, having  after 400 years finally deigned to speak the language of their subjects, were forced to restrict their energies to the British Isles. English control of Ireland was tightened, and in the whole period of British history from the mid-12th century until the 1920s, a very short period of 49 years (4) was the only time when the rulers of England appeared to be not intent on territorial conquests beyond the British Isles. Only then was England a purely insular state. To maintain their own, now Protestant, ascendancy and fend off any resurgent Catholic challenge, the ruling groups then invited first the King of Scotland James VI to be the King of England (1603) and 85 years later, they invited William of Orange, the King of the Netherlands to invade England (1688); he became William III. In both cases, the monarchs were effectively controlled by the native English aristocracy. Neither the majority of the peoples of Holland nor Scotland were consulted on England’s unions with their nations in 1688 and 1707; it was the rich merchants of  Edinburgh and Amsterdam whose interests were best served by these unions. It could be argued, however, that both unions were necessary for England to carry out its imperial project – the creation of the British Empire,(5) for it was after those unions with Holland and Scotland that the Empire took off. In that process, the City of London drew from the Dutch the vital skills of their financial acumen, while the Scots especially played a key role in the military, in trade and in administration, not to mention science, education and philosophy.

The Irish were certainly never happy about being part of “the world’s first multi-national state”; the UK was created in 1801 as yet another means to keep them under control, and after 800 years of oppression by the English, they not unsurprisingly chose to go their own way as soon as they had a real chance (1922). Since the 1960s, the Celtic peoples of Britain and Ireland have shown an increasing restiveness with being part of the Union and a desire to return to their former status as independent peoples within the European community of nations, which, unfortunately, many of them seem to think is synonymous with the EU.

Commemoration of  Wolfe Tone’s United Irishmen 1798

Some English people and indeed some Celts too think this a reversion to tribalism, a retrogressive nationalism that goes against the cosmopolitan spirit of the age. But that would be to regard all peoples, lands and histories as the same. Scotland is not Slovakia nor is Cymru Croatia.

Each people’s individual story needs to be looked at and understood on its own terms rather than covered with a common label. (6) The Celtic peoples of the British Isles were forced into union with England by English ruling groups, and with hindsight – admittedly an all too convenient capacity – one can now see how ‘the British’ then ‘collaborated’ to create the world-spanning ‘British’ Empire (which the English ruling class often tended to refer to simply as ‘England’, or the ‘Empire of England’) with all its momentous consequences.

Today, however, barring a few scattered islands here and there, the British Empire is no more – except, arguably, in finance -  and many among the Celtic peoples wish to control their own affairs within a new European arrangement. Before the Viking conquests  (1013-16) by Sweyn and Canute and the Viking-Norman conquest by Duke William of Normandy in 1066, Anglo-saxon England had been a respected, prosperous, and cultured state within the community of Christendom; it minded its own business and invaded no foreign lands – rather like the descendants of the Scandinavian Vikings today in fact. Yet in our time those Scandinavians manage not only to make a signal cultural and social contribution to Europe; they are also well-integrated into the international community through their trade, their liberal immigration policies and their penchant for progressive social forms to which many throughout the world look for inspiration, some would say misguidedly. Would the English be content with a similar role in Europe ? England needs to recognise the historical moment and wish the Celtic peoples well on their return to autonomy within the European ‘community’ of nations (the EU, however, is something else). The peoples of the British Isles will remain close in various ways, as indeed England and Ireland have done since 1922, for they share not only the gifts of nature, the geographical attributes of peoples living in Europe’s largest islands but also the shared heritage of the past, which has bound many of them with ties of marriage, relationship and karma. Like Iberia, (7) Scandinavia and the Balkans, the British Isles will surely remain a region with its own identity within the greater community of Europe.

Nature in the British Isles

What does living in these north-western islands of Europe give to the peoples who inhabit them? Is it not a sense for the elemental forces of life that comes with the ocean-gifted mobility of our ever-changing weather? The element in the British Isles that is perhaps the weakest is that of fire, but the watery, airy and earthy mineral elements are there in abundance. It is therefore to be expected that environmentalism will be well rooted here, and that is perhaps only right, given the global pollution of Nature that originated with the Industrial Revolution which spread from these islands. Is not this balanced elemental mobility something which plays into the character of the English, Scots, Irish and Welsh in their different ways and can we not expect that it will contribute to the modern European mix in a mercurial manner, requiring only a further balancing by the fire of the Mediterranean? There is an ancient, steady, bearing quality that pervades these islands, for which the most suitable expression might well be the word ‘mother’. Even though the wilds of the Scottish Cairngorms, of Ireland’s Connacht and the Welsh Cambrians seem far removed from the gentle South Downs and the Vale of Avalon, nevertheless the word ‘mother’ unites them both, for the wild starkness of those northwest  fastnesses reminds us of the timeless, strong faithfulness of the motherland who has borne her people through millennia; these give us an inner strength, a gratitude and a grit, while the southern English rolling and swelling hills and downs embrace us with the mother’s love and bounty; they warm and gladden our hearts. These special upbearing and enfolding qualities of Mother Earth in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, and the human history, from Stonehenge to William Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage (8), from Newgrange and Donegal to Loch Lomond and Snowdonia, which has been forged by and within them, are surely what draws so many travellers from the Continent and beyond, despite the unpredictable weather.

In addition to the common sense and the sensitivity to Nature that are rooted in the environment of these islands, is there not also a fierce quality of independence gifted by this sense of place? A quality which stems from the feeling that this region is a kosmos, a world entire and thus so am I, for its spirit lives in me as I live in it? The inhabitant of these islands cannot be like the Russian, the Indian, the Arab or the Mongol, who has to find himself within the infinite expanse of the horizon that can tend to overwhelm his sense of self. Nature in Britain and Ireland is like the arms of the mother, binding, protecting, bestowing well-being, boundaries and a sense of security. With this comes a tendency towards self-confidence, innate balance and moderation. Are these not qualities that would benefit a larger community?




Britain and Europe

The next question then is: can this larger community be Europe ? And if so, what kind of Europe ? Many of those who cling to the chapter of British history that is now closing, the imperial saga, wish Britain to withdraw from the EU and to be itself alone, a proud island nation in communion through trade with the whole world. Often, however, those same people wish Britain to remain in very special relationship with the other parts of the world that speak English, namely, the white majority dominions of the Commonwealth and especially with the USA, the offspring that has assumed its parent’s imperial mantle. They want Britain to maintain the ‘special relationship’ with the USA, which means continuing dependence on the USA for nuclear weapons provision and technology-based intelligence, while remaining also the world’s no.2 in arms manufacture (in real terms). This is essentially a chauvinist vision, national or even racial, that will only exacerbate the kind of problems Britain is already faced with, as ultimately, it is a position based on old Palmerstonian concepts (9) of national self-interest and realpolitik. The nub of the issue here is whether the people of Britain wish to continue, steered by their own political class, in a role that can be described as actually or vicariously ‘imperial’, in the sense of seeking to ensure that the lifestyle and values of the English-speaking peoples are somehow imposed on the rest of the world, whether by military or economic means. The people of the USA will have another chance in the presidential election year 2008 to decide their own response to this question, but it seems unlikely, judging from the foreign policy statements of the leading presidential contenders, that the American political  class is about to alter its foreign policy in any significant way. The American people are thus going to need all the help they can get to cope with the results of the actions of their own politicians. How would the British be best placed to be of assistance to the American people as distinct from the American  political elites? I would suggest they can best do this by helping to create a different kind of European community from the one that is currently under construction.

Let us put the great ‘Britain and Europe question’ fully in context here. It would seem that we may be faced in the 21st century by yet another false dichotomy comparable to the capitalism-or-communism bipolarity of the 20th century. It goes something like this: should we seek to realise a world state ruled by a world government as soon as possible, driven by the conviction that only this can save us from the unholy trinity of ecological and economic disaster, natural catastrophe scares (asteroid collision, pandemics etc), and  an alleged World War IV (the so-called War on Terror, or the so-called War against Islamofascism) OR: should we ignore these as artificially created illusions and return to some arcadian notion of the national sovereignty past located somewhere in the early 1600s before grand empires became the norm? This is a rather extreme version of the polarity perhaps. It is represented in the USA for example, by, on the one hand, those in the multinational corporate business world, who are no longer concerned about mere ‘nations’, and on the other, by those of the ‘red-neck’ patriot community, who wish to return to what they see as the self-reliant spirit of 1776 and Thomas Jefferson. In Britain there are heard  the siren voices of those former British politicians who have given enthusiastic service in  the EU burueaucracy, men such as Neil Kinnock, Leon Brittan and Peter Mandelson, who say “a plague on both these houses; the sensible middle way between global governance and autarkic old-fashioned nation states is that represented by the European Union!” It seems to this writer that, as is often the case, all of these views are correct to a degree, though not in the sense any of them intended.

In the very long run, there is indeed likely to be ‘some form’ of world ‘state’. Through changes in human consciousness and technological progress, humanity has clearly been moving in this direction towards ever larger polities since kingdoms and nation states emerged from tribal alliances. To deny this historical fact would be foolish. Equally foolish would be to artificially accelerate political development as the Bolsheviks did when they sought the premature  realisation of communism; foolish also to seek to accelerate matters by deception and stealth, as western elites have been doing with the development of the EU since at least 1950.(10) They have seen the EU as the first stone laid in the architecture of their eventual world state, to be followed by similar stages on the path to that goal: continental blocks such as the North American Union, the African Union, the Eurasian Union and the Asia-Pacific Union. As with Napoleon’s and Hitler’s grand designs, all such schemes will only end in disaster as they seek to force people into accepting New World Orders that they are not prepared to accept because they go against the proper and gradual evolution of the individual human spirit. All such grand designs imposed from on high by theatrical dictators or shadowy elites are a denial of the choices that can be made by individual human beings by forcing development in a certain direction. They are an arrogant assumption of the all-too-ancient belief that one man or a few has the right and the power to shepherd the many.

Neither would it be desirable for a world state to be formed on the model of a national state with a world government, a world parliament, a world police force, world army or a world central bank etc. That was the dream of some in the Anglo-American elite  in the first decades of the 20th century. For the philosophical underpinnings of such a state polity are those which would correspond to the level of development of western humanity in the late 18th century, which was often all too self-centred, yet by the time a ‘world state’ is at all possible in future centuries, humanity will have moved on and be in a different cultural and spiritual place. The world state of the distant future can be one based not on the immature egoism of adolescents but on the mature mutual respect of adults. It can be organised not like a pyramid with orders proceeding downwards from those who speak a particular language but like a round table, at which conversation and resulting resolutions proceed on an entirely different and more socially considerate basis than is possible today. (11) The world state need not be a top-down hive like today’s UN that is dominated by the self-appointed oligarchy of the Security Council. It can be an association of continental, regional and national communities that organises itself in a threefold manner  – in three autonomous but interrelating spheres of culture, politics and economics  – foreshadowed in the various threefold social archetypes known since ancient times. (12)

The united humanity (which the British Empire also crudely foreshadowed) the urge towards which has been present within the unconscious will of humanity since approximately the 1870s (13) will indeed one day  realise the goal, but it must not be achieved in the devious manner in which western oligarchies, seeing themselves as the shepherds of humanity, are now devising. If one reads carefully between the lines of Gordon Brown’s first  foreign policy speech as Prime Minister (14) then this agenda seeps through only too clearly, despite the often-heard view  that “Brown’s “vision” for foreign policy remains even more opaque than his domestic vision.(15) Substituting Gordon Brown for Lord Rosebery, who was Prime Minister in the 1890s, we can refer to Rudolf Steiner’s words about Rosebery in 1916 when Steiner urged that people should realise that it is regarded as important in certain quarters “that a pretension of this kind should ring forth, not from a people but from an individual [Rosebery] who is backed by various concealed groups, a pretension that the whole world must be stamped with the mark of the English spirit”.(16)   The ultimate striving for a global governance stamped with the mark of the Anglo-american spirit seems to breathe through Gordon Brown’s entire speech. Some form of ‘world state’ is indeed very likely to come about eventually, but that time is not yet; the reality is rightly very far off, and the present drive towards it is but a continuation of the last chapters of imperialism and dictatorship.   

The polar option of a return to the kind of independent nation states of the early 19th century which jealously and selfishly guard and exercise their national self-interest in Palmerstonian fashion must also be ruled out in our times because that corresponds to a stage of political, social and cultural evolution from which we have moved on. Pride, chauvinism, the urge to compete and dominate, suspicion of others, and a moated mentality – these can no longer be the stuff of international relations. Such a paradigm led inexorably to the catastrophe of the Great War.

What then of the representatives of the current EU elite, Messrs Kinnock, Brittan, Mandelson, Giscard d’Estaing, Barroso et al., who see themselves and their project as the harbingers of a new form of peaceful polity in world affairs – the would-be transformers of French and German swords into European ploughshares?  Are they the true middle way between the Scylla of Palmerston and the Charybdis of   Rockefeller ? Alas no, for the EU combines at least two souls within its breast:  on the one hand, there are the ancient theocratic and hierarchical spectres of Rome and Egypt  in the efforts of those who are seeking to revive the ancient glories of the Holy Roman (and very Catholic) Empire.                      

And on the other hand, there is the  drive, led from within the English-speaking countries, towards a premature world state, which would mean a Europe fully subordinated to materialist goals. These two options for Europe are but a reflection of the larger and older East-West polarity of collectivism in the East and individualism in the West. The Holy Roman theocratic impulse of the pre-Reformation epoch that carries within it the spiritual spectres of both Egypt and Rome emphasises a particular kind of  community, led by an oligarchy (e.g. the European Commission) that is more overtly ‘kingly’ and aristocratic in character, if not in actual breeding, and which wraps itself with a patina of cultural and historical pride and glory. It is opposed by the Anglo-American economic managerial impulse of the present that also bears within it, though less visibly, the spiritual spectres of Egypt and Rome through its  connections to the old Freemasonry of Britain and America – the consciousness of those in  the Anglo-American elite who see themselves  as the imperial Romans of today, bringing civilisation to the peoples of the world, or else, Puritan-like, as the providentially “Chosen People” of today (“God helps those who help themselves”). This stream actually emphasises the atomistic selfishness of the desire-driven individual as economic agent, yet it too is guided by a less visible but arguably more effective sheepherding oligarchy – that of financial ‘wizards’.

Given this polarity of forces striving for domination in Europe, should Britain -  which, as I argued in Part 1 of this article, has now actually no further need to bind itself to the USA, since its imperial role is over -  be ‘bound for’ Europe at all?  My answer is yes, but neither for the Europe of the EU nor for the EU as a trojan horse for the USA.


Queen Elizabeth II and US Vice President Dick Cheney

In this sense, the strong independent-mindedness of the redneck patriots referred to earlier comes into its own in that what is needed is for Britons to refuse to be pushed down roads where continental or transatlantic oligarchs would lead them, and instead, develop a different vision of Britain’s role in Europe and Europe’s place in the world.

Britain is geographically part of Europe, despite loose talk of a transatlantic ‘pond’. The peoples of Britain  are overwhelmingly, post-1945 immigration from the former Empire notwithstanding, genetically Europeans. British history and culture were until the 16th century intimately related to, indeed emerged from, that of European Christendom. For at least the first 1500 years of the Christian era then, and indeed,  back to the time of Stonehenge and beyond, Britain was part of Europe. This simple fact often tends to be forgotten. Only for the last 500 years, the period of the imperial chapter, has Britain looked elsewhere than Europe for its destiny, and even during that time, Britain always kept an eye on Europe as it looked outward over the oceans. What the British met across the oceans after all, were not just peoples previously unknown to them, but also, as the centuries of empire went by, more familiar ones from the European homeland: Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, French, Russian, Danish, Belgian, and German traders and colonialists, and Britain’s ruling groups were forever concerned that a new  power  would arise on the Continent to challenge the British maritime hegemony; hence the recourse to the stratagem of the balance of power. Now that the imperial chapter has closed, is it not time for the post-imperial prodigal to ‘come home’? Since 1950, Europe has been in the process of becoming a different kind of community. This was inevitable after the catastrophe of the second Thirty Years’ War 1914-45 and the end of European and then Soviet colonialism; indeed, some  voices were already calling for some kind of united Europe back in the 19th century. One can even recall the visions of Kant and Schiller. (17) The problem is: what kind of Europe is it to be? One merely of the past in a new dress, as intended by the EU architects Monnet, Schumann, Delors and others, would-be shepherds of sheep, or one truly of the present? And can the peoples of Britain make a contribution to this ‘reformation’ of their own continent?

They can surely only do so if they firstly abjure Gordon Brown’s implied assertion about Anglo-American ‘shared values’ – that the USA is but Britain writ large – and if they abandon their deep-rooted nostalgia for the top-dog position that came with the lost Empire, a position that many still hanker to experience vicariously through ‘the special relationship’. There is not only oneself as individual and as member of the human race; there is also the third, middling element of one’s membership of a community, a nation, a continent, a specific ‘team’, and teams do not always have to be sportive and competitive; there are also ‘work teams’ that exist to carry out certain goals. Nationality can also be seen in this sense: I work within this national team, which, before my birth, I opted to join, in order to learn things from it for myself and to help it to achieve certain goals peculiar to it for itself. As we are beginning to realise the truth Steiner spoke out 90 years ago, that the Earth is a living being,(18) so we can also realise that there is a sense in which Europe, Africa, America, Asia, Australasia   also have their identities as living beings. The Earth is not a playground for Britons as ‘superior folk’ have regarded it since Victorian times. We have a responsibility for tending to our own part of the Earth: our ‘homeland’, Britain, and our ‘neighbourhood’, Europe.

Secondly, Britons can positively embrace the challenge of helping to form a new kind of Europe that serves not the Papacy’s nostalgia for the Middle Ages, nor a French nostalgia for the vicarious re-experiencing of the glory days of Louis XIV and Napoleon, nor a German nostalgia for the Holy Roman Empire of Charles V nor an American goal of using Europe in a new bipolar struggle with ‘the East’ (Russia, China). In doing this, Britons will need to realise that Europe is not and never has been a twofold East-West polar entity as it appeared to become in the mid-20th century but has in fact always  been  – geographically, politically, and culturally – a threefold community: more collective in the east and more individual in the west, even into the contours of borders and coastlines certainly, but between east and west, there has always been the mercurial middle region of central Europe – from Sweden and Denmark in the north, through the German, Czech, Slovak, Swiss, Austrian, Hungarian, and Slovene  lands in the centre, down through Italy to Sicily in the south. This was largely the territory of the old Holy Roman Empire so much contested by Emperors, Popes, Kings of France and Ottoman Sultans. The middle region, where East and West mingle and merge to create a third element, was located between the political and geographical particularities of the west and the more amorphous vastnesses of the states of the east. This threefoldness of Europe, matched by the traditional threefoldness of Europe’s Christian confessions -  Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox  – and by that of its three basic linguistic  groupings -  Germanic, Slavic, Romance – constitutes the fundamental threefold nature of Europe in geography, politics and culture.

If they do not reckon with this threefold European reality, Europeans can build for no sound future. No one strong nation can sit in the “driving seat” of Europe, as John Major and Tony Blair boasted Britain must do, and impose its ways on the rest. This European threefoldness not only reflects the threefold archetype of the human being (body, soul, spirit)(19) but it enables Europe to be a mediator between the larger global polarity of Asia and America, China and the USA, relations between which will surely assume ever greater significance in the coming decades. For if Europe does not make use of its deep-rooted cultural threefoldness – more individual in the West, more collective in the East and a balance in the middle – then there will be no effective ‘middle’ that can bridge between the radical individualism that is all too common in the USA and the radical collectivism that is still all too prevalent in Asia.(20) The two socio-cultural poles of the world will continue to disagree, dispute and communicate ineffectively as they have been doing since the much-trumpeted ‘End of Communism’ in 1989 and the replacement of the ‘Communist threat’ with the ‘Islamist threat’ and the ‘Chinese threat’. For Europeans to be truly of service to their fellow human beings in America and Asia, they need to be able to function as an effective bridge. To do that, they must recast their own continent’s culture not on the basis of past dreams but on the basis of its deepest realities: its geography, genetics, language groups, historical, spiritual and cultural experience for good and ill, and its present challenges. Europe must avoid both being pulled in two, as it was in 1945, and being drawn entirely into one camp, as is threatening to become the case in our time. Having done so much, out of the resources of their ‘insular point’, their island mentality, to construct a consciousness of one world, the ‘global periphery’, so to speak, is it not now a worthy task for the peoples of Britain to bring their unique capacities to assist in the reformation of their neighbourhood, their continent, together with their fellow Europeans, so that the continent which once caused so much pain to the peoples of the world can in future times become a central place of mediation for the world?

The Bound for Britain

Finally, there is the question of the ‘bound’ or leap that Britain can make into this new European future. I would suggest that it is to raise consciousness of the nature of the Europe that could be born on the basis of Europe’s threefold reality. The British can give a clear and dramatic signal to their fellow Europeans that they will no longer continue the one-way representation of American business ideas, corporate interests and military strategy into Europe but will also more actively strive to represent Europe to the USA. This would require a firm statement of intent from Britain’s political leadership following pressure from the populace – a declaration of independent resolution. During the Great War, Rudolf Steiner repeatedly pointed out that Imperial Germany had no constructive and uplifting values, beyond fighting for survival, with which to counter the 14 Points of American President Woodrow Wilson, which he regarded would be disastrous for Europe, as indeed they turned out to be. No European solution to the crisis of Europe was on offer from the governments of Middle Europe. This was why he brought forth the concepts of the Threefold Social Organism.(21)  

At present, Britain too is utterly bereft of any vision; the country is drifting, increasingly uneasy, especially since 911 and the Iraq War, about entanglements with the regime of George Bush.   Many in Britain’s political parties may not care that Britain is seen as too timidly following US foreign policy, but a growing number of the British people resent that  role. Many Britons are suspicious of the creeping powers of the EU but are too disinterested in it as an issue, feeling it to be too mundane, too dull and undramatic. In addition to divesting themselves of the image that they are but an American trojan horse,  the British will need to do all they can to awaken themselves and their fellow-Europeans to the truth  of what has been behind the European Project since 1950. Europeans can then come to understand that a new European community (surely a better name than Union) is to be formed not on the basis of home-grown, European spectres from the past nor by means of non-European manipulations in the present, not a Europe dominated not by the dictates of Rome, Brussels, Frankfurt, London, Washington or Wall St., but a Europe in which the spiritual life, the political life and the economic life each has its own rightful sphere that relates to but does not intrude on and interfere with the others, as is currently the case. Not a European Union, a centralist United States of Europe that emphasises Oneness and sameness, as did rulers such as Constantine, Justinian, Charles V, Philip II, Louis XIV, Napoleon, Hitler and Stalin, but rather a European Community that respects the associative triad of European cultural, political and economic life: the creation and development of a totally new form of political association of peoples. For the British, with their history of defiance of dictatorship, their love of innovation, their individual eccentricity and respect for the peculiar and particular, and their feeling for team spirit, to bring their own unique capacities to a collaborative re-creation of this new Europe would surely be a tough but worthy challenge and a profound contribution to the peace of the world.


(1) See R.Steiner, The Karma of Untruthfulness, Vol. 1 lectures of 16/17 December 1916. An examination for example, of the pedigrees of David Cameron and other leading Tories such as Sir Michael Ancram and Lord Cranbourne is instructive. For an example of the long-range thinking of the English elite, see Balfour’s 1909 letter to Theodor Roosevelt in K.Young, Arthur James Balfour London, (G. Bell and Sons, 1963); also,  J.E.Kendle, The Round Table Movement and Imperial Union (Univ. of Toronto Press, 1974)

(2)  This was done by the Round Table Group, founded in 1909 and led by Lord Milner and his acolytes Lionel Curtis, Philip Kerr and others. See C.Quigley, The Anglo-American Establishment (Books in Focus, 1981); J.E.Kendle, The Round Table Movement and Imperial Union (Univ. of Toronto Press, 1974) especially ch. 8; and J.M.Butler, Lord Lothian (Philip Kerr) 1882-1940 (Macmillan, 1960): “Indians [Kerr noted in 1912] were becoming interested in politics. The country ‘must for all time remain within the Empire’, with Dominion status as the goal; but we must retain India by winning her respect and not by force.” (p.175)

(3) Mansion House 12 Nov 2007 . Full text:


(4) 1558-1607 – the entire reign of Elizabeth I plus 4 years. The last English  possession in France – Calais – was lost in 1558.

(5) A goal imagined by Elizabethan occultist John Dee, King James I and Oliver Cromwell.

(6) The Czechs and Slovaks were artificially yoked together in 1919, so it is hardly surprising that they should have wanted a ‘velvet divorce’ in 1993. The peoples of the Balkans with the exception of the Serbs had not been independent nations for almost a thousand years; hardly surprising then that they too should have difficulties with each other once the yokes of their common masters (Ottomans, Habsburgs, Communists) were removed. It would certainly be naive in the extreme for Britons to say: “why can’t these Balkan people just live together as we have done in Britain?”  

(7) It is likely that Catalonia and the Basque regions of Spain will become ever more autonomous if not completely independent.

(8) Lake District home of the poet William Wordsworth

(9) Henry Temple, Lord Palmerston (1784-1865), Tory Secretary at War 1809-1828, Whig Foreign Secretary 1830-1834, 1835-1841, and 1846-1851, Prime Minister 1855-1858, 1859-1865. Known as Pam, and less affectionately, as Lord Pumice Stone for his abrasive ‘gunboat diplomacy’, he famously remarked: “Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests.”

(10) e.g. Jean Monnet’s extremely devious formation of the European Coal and Steel Community. See, C. Booker & R.North, The Great Deception – Can the European Union Survive? (Continuum, 2003), J. Laughland, The Tainted Source – The Undemocratic Origins of the European Idea (Warner Books, 1997), F. Duchene, Jean Monnet – First Statesman of Interdependence (Norton, 1994).

(11) The House of Commons in the so-called ‘mother of parliaments’  frequently resembles a snarling and howling bear pit, and an anachronistically bewigged Mr Speaker is required to enforce order on the often juvenile behaviour of the elected representatives.

(12) For example the trio of Greek goddesses Hera (might), Athene (wisdom), and Aphrodite (beauty) between whom Paris had to choose; the 3 Kings of the New Testament with their three gifts gold (wisdom) frankincense (feeling/devotion) and myrrh (purification of the body); the threefold motto misapplied by the French revolution liberty (cultural life), equality (civic life), and fraternity (economic life).

(13) Since at least the 15th century (Trithemius of Sponheim), esotericists have known that the year 1879 would see the beginning of the Age of the Archangel Michael which, like the previous Age of Michael c.600 BC to 150 BC, would be marked by cosmopolitanism and a focus on the mental and spiritual aspects of culture.

(14) see n.3 above

(15) Jackie Ashley in ‘The Guardian’, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2209482,00.html

(16) R.Steiner, The Karma of Untruthfulness, Vol. 1, lecture of 11 Dec. 1916.

(17) Immanuel Kant, Philosophical Project for Perpetual Peace, 1795; and Novalis, Christendom or Europe?, 1799 (publ. 1826).

(18) E.g. Lectures in Düsseldorf in 1909, Berlin in 1911, published as The Spiritual Hierarchies and the Physical World, Reality and Illusion.

 (19) Asia, with its Islamic, Indic and Sinic regions, and America, with its  more Europe-oriented East Coast, its more Pacific-focused West Coast, and the central Mid-West region, can also be said to be, in their way, threefold.

(20) It goes without saying that the USA is not only individualistic; community life is strong in many places there too; nevertheless, it surely remains true that American values on the whole affirm the individual person rather than the community. Likewise with Asia, where there are also many striving individuals within the overall collective tendency of the society, and yet, the dominant values are those of the community and the collective rather than those of the  individual person.

(21) R.Steiner, Towards Social Renewal (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999)

©Terry Boardman

This page was created 2nd Jan 2008  Last updated 26.5.2023