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My Magic Brexit Formula-Part Two

In my previous article, I mentioned that I have found a magic formula that, in my opinion, will help resolve the Brexit Quagmire. I did not want to reveal it on the grounds that I did not want to interfere in matters pertaining to my former colonial masters!
A few factors have led to a change of my mind in the matter.
Indeed, I have over the last several days pondered over the matter over and over. In the process I have asked myself repeatedly: what would my late mother make of my attitude? It became clear to me then that she, a forthright and outspoken woman, would consider my reluctant approach as plain cowardice on my part!
My late mother, bless her! She was fearless, bold, outspoken and forthright when it came to matters of justice, equality, standing on principle; indeed, when it came to what she deemed right.
She was not the type who would let you depart from her presence before giving her opinion about you, to your face; for her, back-biting and destroying others in their absence was out of the question.
As a result of her forthright and plain-spoken nature, other residents used to call her Ka na wu, meaning in my Twi vernacular, “say it as it is even if it incurs the threat of death”!
No one officially recorded her date of birth. It was generally held to be around 1922.
In those days, the Gold Coast, now Ghana, was a full and integral part of the British Empire. Had the colonial administration thought it expedient to introduce universal and compulsory education in the colony, Mother would have had formal education and ended up probably as a solicitor, author and human rights activist. There is no doubt in my mind that she would have campaigned on issues such as equal rights for women, the right of every child to three regular meals a day—not only enshrined in the UN charter, but also enforced to the letter by an International Supervisory Body, insisting on free and compulsory education for every child born on planet earth, irrespective of sex or social background.
Unfortunately, the colonial administration did not consider universal basic education for each subject of the Empire as a priority. Thus, in the end, Mother was deprived of a basic human right—the right to education.
Apart from the above consideration, another factor that has led me to publicise my solution is the current political impasse in the seat of government of my former colonial masters. The proposal put forward by the PM having already received two resounding defeats and with no solution in sight as I am writing this piece on Saturday 23rd March 2019, the need to help my former colonial masters out of the cul-de-sac has become very pressing, yes very urgent. The Brexit Quagmire has indeed been going on for far too long and needs to be brought to a satisfactory close!
Before I finally let the cat out of the bag, however, I want to touch briefly on one issue which was one of the important, if not the most important factor in the Brexit vote—immigration.
I must mention in this connection that I do, even if to a very limited extent, share some of the concerns raised by some who voted for Brexit on the grounds of immigration.
In 2010 and 2011 I worked as a prison doctor in one of the main prisons in London. Part of the duty of the prison doctor was to attend to the medical needs of inmates admitted to the prison on any particular day. During that period quite a good number of new inmates on any particular day happened to be citizens from some of the new member states of the EU—from Eastern Europe. When as a doctor I began to take their history, I was frequently met with the response: “Me no English—translator please!”
On one occasion, one of the nurses, in exasperation, countered in broken English:
“Me, no English! Me, no English! If no English, then no crime!”
In response to that, a staff member looked in the eyes of his nurse colleague and remarked jokingly: “Hey you, does one need to speak or understand a language when pick-pocketing on the street or in the Underground?” Everyone present burst into laughter!
This does not imply that every new arrival from Eastern Europe is a criminal. Indeed, the overwhelming majority are law-abiding citizens going about their lives in line with the dictates of the laws of the land. The problem however is that demagogues and populists have the tendency to seize on such issues for their own selfish political agenda.
In the issue of Eastern European migration into the UK, in my view one has to look at the bigger picture. Everyone knows the saying, ‘Home sweet home!’ That brings to my mind the surprise that I noted in the faces of some of my German friends whenever I answered ‘yes’ to the question as to whether I would want to return to settle in my native Ghana. From their facial expressions, I gained the impression they seemed to think that no one who has tasted the comfortable living conditions of Europe could possibly think of going back to settle in Africa.
My own discussion with many people of African descent living in Europe and elsewhere in the Western world, has led me to the conclusion that the great majority of them would in fact prefer to return home, should conditions such as good governance, rule of law, improvement in the infrastructure including availability of health facilities become available. Well, in the case of Africa, for manifold reasons, which I do not want to touch upon in detail here, such favourable conditions continue to remain distant, if not forever unattainable.
The situation is clearly different when it comes to the Eastern European neighbours of my former colonial masters. With all its shortfalls, it is the goal of the EU to work towards raising the living standards of its member states.
I am not a prophet, but I am of the opinion that in about a decade from now those countries in Eastern Europe will have developed to a point where many would not want to settle in other countries. The duty of good leadership is to make such issues clear to the populace. Well, in an era of populism and demagogues, those who have the courage to do so seem to be in the minority.
Now back to the main issue at stake, namely my magical Brexit solution. Well, my formula is based on the saying: ‘Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.’ Another formulation is: ‘Better the devil you know than the angel you don’t know!”
The EU, like any human institution, without doubt is not perfect. I personally wish that this organisation had created more favourable conditions for poor countries elsewhere in the world to sell their products in their huge market. This is however not the forum for a lengthy discussion on this issue.
As far as the UK is concerned, my personal view is that the EU, with all its shortfalls, is nevertheless the entity that can best hold the present complex, conflicting as well as contradictory political and geographical realities, together
Continued EU membership, most importantly, will respect the Good Friday agreement and maintain the delicate peace in Northern Ireland. Furthermore, whilst not completely silencing the Scottish quest for independence, continued EU membership of the UK will help take some momentum out of it and at the same time nip in the bud any strivings of Wales for independence.
Common sense dictates that one does not change a winning team. Who indeed, for example, would at this point in time, call for the replacement of the English Football coach, Gareth Southgate, in view of the team’s remarkable performance at the 2018 football world cup in Russia?
Or are those bent on “getting out of Europe” come what may dreaming of British Empire #2. Well, my dear friends reminiscing on the glorious days of the Empire and probably yearning for its return; unfortunately, the prospects for a return to those heady days don’t seem good. The global situation has indeed changed completely from the days when Britannia ruled the waves.
Let us take the present situation in Africa, for example. The Chinese presence on the continent would make any attempt on the part of “Britannia” to regain any significant influence there a real herculean task, to put it mildly.
Britannia may indeed have the language advantage in its former colonies—but China has the money!
So, in conclusion, my magic formula for my former colonial masters is the following—Maintain the present status quo and move forward hand-in-hand with the rest of Europe and help solve some of the complex challenges facing mankind: global poverty, international terrorism, climate change, etc. Of course, you are free to take or reject this free advice from the poor village boy of the tiny village with the big name Mpintimpi in rural Ghana, formerly the Gold Coast.
As ever, I want my readers to join me in singing the British National Anthem: God save the Queen!

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