Tuesday, April 06, 2010

European Union School Map Renames the English Channel "the Anglo-French Pond" or "Le Pond"

When I was young I remember looking at the first few pages of a history book of the British Isles. The first text in the book was a line referencing a satellite image of the British Isles. The caption was something along the lines of "These islands, separated thousands of years ago from Europe, are about to return to the continent." At the time I did not understand the statement but I do now. It refers to the uniqueness of Great Britain and the United Kingdom which separates it from the rest of Europe. Centralizing European movements like the Counter-Reformation, Revolutionary Republicanism, Fascism, Communism, and the Euro have threatened England/the United Kingdom but have never been able to take the islands like the rest of Europe.

The one geographical barrier preventing the waves of European fads from reaching Great Britain is the English Channel. The channel has long been associated with being a divide from the rest of Europe. The geographer Ptolemy called the channel Oceanus Britannicus around AD 120. Most geographers since have identified the waters with Britain.

The European Union wants to change the identity of the channel. The idea of a divide between the isle and the rest of Europe is harmful for the one Europe worldview. The European Union's geographer cartographers are creating new maps for schools and organization which rename the channel to "the Anglo-French Pond" and "Le Pond." The very notion of a pond, a small contained body of water, is meant to understate the importance of the channel. Naturally, the anti-European Union United Kingdom Independence Party has denounced this effort by the Europeanists.

The English Channel has protected Great Britain from Europe time and time again. But can it withstand Europe while being just a pond? Probably not. However, there is enough nationalism in all of the main British parties to protect their channel's name for the time being.

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