It is no surprise that we would be sorely missed, but I reckoned that a much reduced EU would just about manage to struggle on, as long as its citizens were prepared to put up with rampant corruption, stagnant growth and eye-wateringly high youth unemployment, as they have been for the last two decades.
But I never imagined for a moment that just weeks after our departure the EU would suffer the sort of embarrassing total meltdown that we are witnessing at the moment.
The combination of a successful Brexit, and the sharp contrast between the UK’s brilliant Covid-19 vaccine rollout and the EU’s totally disastrous one, seems to have driven the European ruling elite completely bonkers over recent weeks.
Things are becoming so bad that I am starting to think that the sensible and sober guidance of the UK was the only thing that that was holding the rotting EU entity together, and without our calm influence – and of course our billions of pounds in contributions to Brussels – there is a real danger the whole thing will simply fall apart.
The problems began last year when the EU demanded it be given the role of procuring vaccines for its member countries, and then sat on its hands for months doing nothing while more agile independent countries – like the UK – rapidly ordered all the inoculations they possibly could.
Once they realised their error, EU leaders tried to cover their blushes by threatening to revoke the recently agreed Northern Ireland protocol – a vindictive and spiteful action that endangered peace in Ireland and which was widely condemned across the political spectrum.
As the vaccine rollout continued apace in the UK, senior European leaders then turned to fake news, disinformation and blatant lies in an effort to try and discredit the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine and question its efficacy.
This had led directly to a disastrous drop-off in vaccination rates in many EU countries – a development that will undoubtedly lead to tens of thousands of unnecessary Covid deaths on the Continent. This must constitute the worst incidence of irresponsible scaremongering by senior government figures we have witnessed in modern times.
Next, numerous European countries banned the use of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine despite their own scientists in the European Medicines Agency declaring it safe. Again this stupid, irrational action is likely to cost many lives.
But the latest development this week absolutely takes the Garibaldi biscuit. The European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, is now threatening to seize production of vaccines and ban their export, and suspend all intellectual property rights, in order to compensate for her own gross incompetence.
The EU likes to tell everyone they are a “rules-based organisation”, but here they are acting just like the Mafia.
And don’t forget it is not shortages of supplies of the vaccine that are causing the problems in the EU – rather it is the scaremongering of Europe’s leaders that has led to millions of perfectly good doses of vaccine gathering dust in warehouses because people are too terrified to take them.
And while the UK chalks up an incredible 25 million vaccinations – about 50 per cent of all adults – Von der Leyen blunders on, moving from one catastrophe to the next.
No matter how useless the unelected and unaccountable European Commission proves to be – and honestly it is hard to imagine them doing a worse job – the citizens of Europe cannot get rid of them because they had no absolutely no say in their elevation to power in the first place.
It gives me no pleasure to point these facts out. The EU has proven in recent weeks how absolutely right we were in voting to leave, but the ordinary people of Europe are our friends, and will always remain so. They are now facing a dismal summer because of the ineptitude of their political leaders. Once our own population is vaccinated, we should offer them all the help we can.
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