It is in the built environment that one can best 'read' the movement of thought in Europe. The language of pre-reformation architecture is universal. the meanings of the trefoil and quatrefoil unambiguous. You can walk the route across the channel and across the country along which progressed the Romanesque arch, column and capital from Normandy, and then track the progress of the flying buttress in the opposite direction. Likewise the arrival or otherwise of the ideas of the first and second Enlightenments can be read in the street layouts and civic structures of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries - but in greatly differing ways. the anti-government, anti-clerical French experience was vastly different from the nationalistic and spiritual German awakening, or the Dutch Golden Age, or the Polish or Spanish or Italian evolutions. It is this thousand years of shared experience, this thousand years of diverse manifestation of common threads that has given us a Europe that is my greatest joy and delight in travelling in and understanding. Europe's national and cultural differences are deeply and wonderfully congruous.
All of which has been soured and spoiled for me in recent years. Now I can travel to no European city - from Porto to Budapest, Barcelona to Krakow - without being faced by a homogenised, bland and subservient sameness that reeks of subjugation, repression and restriction. And everywhere flies that hateful rag, the blue of frozen human skin defaced with yellow pustules of disease. The same glass and stainless steel Malls deface every city centre; the same global, multinational retail chains pollute the streets, the same models of cars clog the ancient roads. The same Roma beggars with the same cardboard signs, the same hangdog, resentful look of the people, as though living under foreign occupation. This is the EU's Europe.
To paraphrase a significant social movement of its day, our fight against the EU is a moral crusade or it is nothing. It is a fight against the greed and inhumanity of the corporates, a fight for human freedom and democracy, a fight for the survival of national and sub-national cultures, a fight against centralism and Big State government, a fight against the evil of the power-hungry faceless and unelected manipulators at the heart of darkness in Brussels. Above all it is fight in celebration of all the peoples of Europe, and for the future of our much-loved continent. And it is the most important fight I will ever have in my life.