This is slightly edited for grammatical tense from something which I originally posted just over four months ago, but deleted as part of a process of winding this blog down. (I deleted the subsequent post as well, as it was too autobiographical). I am reposting this because there is something else I intend to publish on here before the end of this year dealing with the origins of the vegan movement.
The world’s first vegetarian society was founded in Manchester, England in the mid-19th Century. Nearly a century later and also in England, it was from within the Leicester Vegetarian Society that the world’s first vegan society was founded. Vegan ethics developed out of a long tradition of English radicalism dating back to the Lollards and the Levellers; through Thomas Paine and William Wilberforce to Donald Watson. It should be no surprise that vegan ethics have been most receptive in those countries with the same tradition, broadly speaking most of the Anglosphere.
As I mentioned on this blog when exposing the fake libertarians who continually attack vegans, these fake libertarians do so because they are too ignorant to realise that the reason that so many people adopt vegan ethics is because they are non-conformists, free thinkers, who are willing to challenge social and political orthodoxies. Within ‘Western’ societies one of the greatest orthodoxies is that animals are nothing more than industrial production units. Donald Watson challenged this and his views have been adopted by people who have similarly radical views.
Such radical views can only flourish in those societies where dissent is tolerated, where freedom of speech is encouraged. This is not the case in the ‘European Union’, which is by stealth becoming increasingly totalitarian, not in a military sense, but in a more subtle one, gradually outlawing any criticism of it. There ought to be a greater awareness of and opposition to this in those continental European countries which experienced fascist or communist governments during the last century, but most of the populations there are sleepwalking, believing that they can ‘reform’ what no longer can be.
All of which is a way of saying that in our long overdue referendum, I voted for Brexit. Britain leaving the EU will not in itself mean an end to subsidies of the meat, dairy and poultry industries, but it should allow political debate on these to be opened up within our Parliament. Any ‘debate’ in a parliament without legislative powers is meaningless. It should also mean there will be a greater chance of banning live animal exports to continental Europe; such a ban can never happen within the EU where such exports are considered as merely commodity transfers from one state to another.
However this isn’t an argument for English or British isolationism. I am a great supporter in the principal of international co-operation, but why should our relationships with countries outside of Europe be defined by a political project which is seeking to create an artificial and conformist ‘European’ identity, one which seeks to eradicate the tradition mentioned in the first paragraph? The Vegan Society was founded at a time when Britain stood alone in Europe against fascism; that it was allowed to exist is because freedom of expression was and still is valued here.
If we remain within the EU we will find ourselves trapped in a superstate, where dissent will be eradicated, where criticism of any of its foundation stones, such as the Common Agricultural Policy, detailed in this blog post, will not be tolerated. Brexit should be the first step in dismantling the EU and with it the CAP, restoring democracy and with it the chance of radical change, to national parliaments throughout Europe. I feel very strongly about this, I am well into middle age and I had never, to date, been allowed a vote on Britain being within the EU.