His death paved the way for romance to blossom. Britain’s defences were finally broken down, and in 1973, a full marriage took place. Britain finally partnered with a like-minded equal — at least that was the understanding.
First came the honeymoon: Prosperity grew, the growth gap between Britain and founding members — Germany, France and Italy — began slowly to close. Incrementally, the UK became less the “sick man of Europe.” Indeed, this side of the relationship blossomed until the financial crisis.
But over time, the nuptials didn’t deliver the expected parity. Fisherman, farmers and car manufacturers were among the many to complain.
From the get-go, the Common Fisheries Policy allocated dwindling sea stocks away from Britain’s fishermen into the arms of the continental beau.Over time, this became an open sore — a touchstone of the relationship going wrong. British fleets were badly hurt, ports put idle and Europeans hove closer to British shores than they’d ever been allowed to before.
What started as a tiny national bleed was never cauterised in time, becoming in some fishing communities an ugly haemorrhage — a place where the ills of the relationship could fester and find a voice.
On the industrial landscape, there was upheaval as factories closed. Car manufacturer British Leyland, once a giant that strode the land, became a casualty of the continental competition.
It’s hard to say when the rot in the relationship really set in, but by degrees, dissatisfaction and disaffection grew.
For some, the relationship became uncomfortable when the European Community began evolving toward the EU.
In 1990, after years of political resistance, Britain signed up to the European Exchange Rate Mechanism. It was supposed to prevent big swings in value between currencies across the EU to make it easier for members to trade with each other and ultimately introduce a single currency. Two years later, Britain was forced to withdraw when it was unable to prevent the pound from crashing.
It was not just a stealth agenda to stitch one another into the same suit, but it also paved the way for economic migrants to leave behind their poorer, less well-serviced lives and cross Europe in search of their dreams.
Whether it was true or not, many in Britain felt their country was the one in the relationship doing all the giving.
What was once a waltz of joy between embracing lovers was becoming increasingly a stagger between estranging partners as wounds, sores, disease and imbalance were taking their toll. Go to CNN to read more.