A not entirely accurate map Credit - Wik

We’ve another of those hardy har har, chortle, stories as a prominent Leaver announces that he not only lives in Europe but really rather likes it. To the extent that he’s applying for the documentation to allow him to continue to do so post-Brexit. All that sniggering being along the lines of, well, if you like it so much then why do you want Britain to leave Europe?

The former Conservative MP has been ridiculed by opponents of Brexit for his eagerness to free the UK from the perceived shackles of Brussels while continuing to live in a mansion in Gascony, south-west France.

Peter Timmins, who describes himself on Twitter as a “blissfully retired European, living life to the full in the south-west of France” said of the Tory peer: “Lord Lawson, the pro-#Brexit peer who lives in France but wants to deny other UK citizens the right to freely work or retire here, has applied for a carte de séjour to facilitate permanent settled status post #Brexit. One rule for him another for the rest. Merde va te faire foutre.”

Interviewed at his Gascony home before the referendum, Lawson told the Guardian: “I love Europe! That’s why I live in France.”

Most chortleworthy, all will agree. Except, obviously, it’s all true. And I would add in my own personal experience too – I’m just delighted to be living in southern Portugal, thanks very much.

The underlying point being that we Leavers aren’t against Europe nor foreigners. Indeed many of us rather like both. So much so that we live in and among them. It’s the European Union we don’t like.

Now, obviously, Remainers continually make the claim that the EU is Europe. They’re wrong, quite obviously, both Norway and Switzerland are part of Europe and not of the EU. And Britain will be in Europe even while not in the EU. But there’s more to it than that. I can’t speak for Lawson on this specific point, only myself. But it’s exactly because I do like Europe and Europeans that I pray hourly for the death and destruction of the European Union. For what has such a lovely place, such lovely people, done to have such an abomination of a governance system foist upon it?

The distinction Lawson would agree with – it’s the EU, that system of governance, which is to be rejected, not the delights of Europe.

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I lived in Hong Kong for three years, at no point did I want the UK to become a province of China.

Quentin Vole
Quentin Vole

As other than a geographical term, I think ‘European’ is a word devoid of content. Remainers love to claim “I feel European, rather than British”, but to even think there’s such a thing as feeling ‘European’ you must not have met many people who live on the continent. If someone says “I feel Scottish, not British”, they’re making a meaningful statement, because there are cultural values and attitudes held in common between the populations of Ayr and Inverness that is not shared by that of Carlisle or Newcastle. But what (other than a time zone) would a Finn culturally share… Read more »


Yes, “I feel European” is like “I feel Blue Devils Pride,” a desire to associate with a cause by adopting and repeating an arbitrary slogan. This is as soul-less as Hillary.

As counterexample, I have little in common with the culture of Dixie or California. I know decades of my state’s current events and politics, but grew up elsewhere in snow, and would not call myself a “citizen of New Hampshire” except to stress a conceptual point about what federalism was supposed to be. Now, no one says, “I feel NAFTA.”