Yes, yes, I know there is an English translation of that title but, somehow, In Search of Lost Time does not have the same evocative sound. Readers will just have to put up with the French version.
The process is, in fact, not so much evocative as depressing. As a consequence of urgent building works I have had to move everything out of the room I rather grandly call my study. (Others call it something else and make pointed references to the piles of books, papers and sundry other material, now piled up in various other parts of the house.
This morning I decided to tackle the mess that was masquerading as books, pamphlets and journals on two of the top shelves. Having removed them and cleared the shelves from the building rubble that had accumulated there over the past weeks, I began to sort things. Some journals went into the recycling bag immediately. Long out of date ones I have never read and not likely to do so.
Then I sorted the papers, pamphlets and books. That was when depression descended on me. They were all those papers etc that were written in 1992 -3 when we were fighting the Maastricht Treaty, later on when we were fighting other treaties or the euro, and a few written in between. They all tried to prove what a bad idea Britain's participation the project was, explained that the only reforms we could have were those that furthered integration and tried to deal with such questions as "how do we get out" and "what do we do afterwards". Sounds familiar? Yes, to me as well. And I did not even look at the various issues of such publications as the European Journal, which, at one time, published a good many of my articles as well. Or other journals and periodicals.
Of course, one could argue that we have moved a little. We are not in the euro though that was mostly Gordon Brown's doing with a good deal of help from James Goldsmith and it is now possible to discuss Britan's exit from the EU in a more or less serious fashion (unless you happen to be a member of UKIP).
As against that, one must point out that we are further away from that exit than we have been for some time, with little evidence that public opinion is coming round to our point of view. Just recently I was once again informed by a couple of young politicos that they really needed a good deal more time before they could seriously accept the notion that coming out would be quite a good idea. How much time would they need, I asked politely. There was no clear answer.
Many of those papers, pamphlets, books are of very high quality and deal with various aspects of the problem seriously and coherently. Perhaps, the young politicos of my acquaintance could try reading them and find out the arguments instead of re-inventing the political wheel.
One cannot help feeling depressed when on looks at all that material, remembers the work that went into it all and the hopes that accompanied that work. Just one more push, we thought over and over again.
Well, we have pushed and pushed some more. What have we achieved in reality? Nigel Farage v. Russell Brand. Golly gosh.