The major headlines in British newspapers waved jubilation flags saying like Dr Kwame Nkrumah announced at the Polo Grounds “at long last, Ghana your beloved country is free for ever.” The words the Brits used are “the dawn of a new era” But a more poignant resonance was from the largest circulation “Sun” Newspaper.  The paper wrote single column front page copy-lead: “Tonight on the stroke of 11pm our nation’s course changes for ever—and for the better.”  On the same page it said: “…after 30 years of resistance to the creeping danger of a European superstate, the great people of the United Kingdom have at last, finally…Got Brexit Done.”

The graph immediately below here [The Times London Jan.31 2020] is eloquent for now and posterity.  Mathematically, Britain’s independent struggle took less than 50 years–only.  Ours’ run 113 years and other former British Colonies which make up the Commonwealth  post-independence today, lasted much longer to longest.  Some had to engage violence and others did hard talk in stubborn to benign insistence with resistance.  Whichever, independence was achieved.

I  II have inserted the record of the journey for its uniqueness in historical accuracy.  No one has attempted to twist the story for whatever end(s).  That is apart from keeping it un-subjected to prompting political divisiveness as well as provoking partisan flurry of boycotts and power use at alternating whims in unending circles, as ever-so the pre-occupation in developing countries, it seems, or not improbable tendency.  What is often forgotten is ‘you cannot twist history in perpetuity.’  At the same time, there is a great lesson to learn in countries which became independent before the United Kingdom on 31 January 2020 to get on instead of wasting time on construction rather than the hackneyed prattling to score political or electoral points over foisting as truths or omissions in the historical records on nations and of persons. 

However, there is something the Brits owe us learning too.  It is in our culture to pass on.  After all we are all going to have to count, most seriously, or in between on Britain as a full soul and body member of the Commonwealth.  For example, tradition never dies—“KUSUM GBOO” as we have it in Ghana and Africa.  I am on what our custom prescribes and demands called the ‘late comer’s drink’ (actually a fee in cash or kind but usually presented not without alcoholic liquor—“ambantemnsa.”  It should not be unknown to WHITTEE because they were able to use the ‘in kind’ –provisions and the brown envelope to win audiences at the Palace—the Paramount Chief’s residence or Ahenfie before they finally usurped power completely here outside of the wars they waged, Ashanti is classic.

 It is a must for the UK to ponder.  Actually, when it had become apparent and progressed into clearer that it was going to be exit, Royalty and Ministerial Envoys scouted in visits to Commonwealth countries.  Certainly they dangled refreshing links and tossed ideas of strengthening trade and other ties.  Some of us read through to alert our governments.  The counselling was to let them prepare shopping baskets and bargaining chips not to permit the old guiles by the back doors before independence.

 It would not serve any useful purposes asking coincidentally same British Conservative-led government about the 256 new markets joining the EU would be opened to us in Africa, according to Chief negotiator Geoffrey Rippon in his speech to us [the Press] celebrating success at Lancaster House London that typically British soggy morning.  The African Commonwealth had found their ways out—whether good or bad for dividendsto date. 

Besides it is not a simplistic case of “old friends are the best” but the UK would need a lot of back tracks to rewind themselves into the fold.  It is formidable re-doing, because it involves renewed trust fundamentally, especially where no one yet knows what about immigration, jobs and foreign policy which is underpinned by the state of the British economy to gauge tilts. 

There is talk about a Trump huge trade proposals and how that sits with the now touted preference for Canadian trade partnership style, the Scots and indeed Northern Ireland in respect of the half-way “Back-stop”.  At home the imponderables are overwhelming even for Brexits than Remains.  The scenario can be likened to the big question which the son of KwekuAnanse [the famous Spider] put to him after the father had knocked down flat his son’s predator:  “Daddy”, he said, “that was a splendid blow-manship. 

But what next is worrying.”  An inside page pull-out has these testimonies: “A New Chapter in history of the UK—a nation in search of its identity” and “UK’s leap into the unknown.” To thinkof it, are the signals impacting barren status quo post-Brexit?  The surprise aside, I guess the main explanation might be that of the mortuary keeper who does not plan for when he would die.  The UK are used to granting and or giving independence to 50 former Colonies 1947/9 [India/Pakistan] then a host of them in Africa and the Caribbean and the Pacific mid-fifties on. 

Then,Britain had previously to give up or ceded territories, Hong Kong coming later, the Falklands wrested backlong before the Trusteeships Trans-Volta Togoland and earliest, Northern Ghana to join the Colony and Ashanti after the wars including World Wars I and II, do not appear to have had the opportunity to vision or indeed been given the chance to think long term in the terms facing them now.  Prime Minister Boris Johnson did boast about preparation of a master construction afoot during his heady confrontations with his party and Parliament into the election 12 Dec. 2019 and won.  But he now on independence night talks about renewal and appeals for unity.  Is it him to sing “ills sont change ma chanson”?

Secondly, it is always not easy to give up “never had it so Good” [Harold Macmillan] pampered by being insular and so spectacularly been imperiously successful –“Rule Britannia”—Britons, never, never shall be slaves.  That counts and must be pointed to be for “British pride”, they say, a central mover which overshadows or has indeed guided the spirit for the “30 years of resistance to the creeping danger of a European super-state”.  Thirdly, the EU has probably not done well failing to give the UK an independence hand over statute.  That may be being held up until the nuts and bolts of leaving are fixed.

Sparing a commiserative thought for, or, some qualified gratitude to Britain the unravelling of the Empire was inevitable.  Still, given the timing and the thoughtfulness for keeping the family morphed into the Commonwealth with high international standing, acknowledgement is deserved.However, we still can talk of the impact of the walking away per se and historically to avoid omissions in the account.  I briefly point to J.E.Casely-Hayford’s advocacy of a British West African States “within the British Empire” before the deluge of the independence euphoria to use as mere tip of the blow latterly from when the Brits themselves turned their backs on us—immigration quotas etc barring entry to the “mother country” as the Windies were told.

The States “within” may have been enlarged in the Commonwealth which includes the Dominions—Canada, Australia and New Zealand which also stuttered over their dairy and livestock with the ACP’s bananas sugarcane etc gone on forced “yamutu” [death of a kind] as immediate consequences of the British departure.  It sure feels for to be controversial on how the mess came about—Theresa May to Boris Johnson and the let up by the Brits to get done with it.

But we also appear retrospect to have kicked Britain too much in the teeth.  One memorable example was when the African caucus roasted Edward Heath, at a Commonwealth Summit in the Pacific.  Heath responded at a Conservative Annual Conference at Blackpool that that the Commonwealth should remember that Britain is also a “sovereign State”.  Uganda’s Milton Obote led it.  He was overthrown shortly after by Idi Amin.

It is not precisely an irony that the Labour Party had come off all the confusion as the worst off.  The reason is the party was never able to firmly declare a real belief in the British adventure into Europe.  The Conservatives who could be blamed for the wrong turn are the victors today, though possibly temporally.  It begun with Harold Wilson’s dodgy tactics until pushed by the Right of the Party

being ascendant had had winks and nods from the Conservatives, all for the move. 

Additionally, Labour’s lurch to the extreme Left under Edward Foot and managed by Wedgwood Benn, alienated the country, returned to the centre by Tony Blair and swung back to status quo ante with Jeremy Corbynn’s leftism, disliked to explain the mauling 12 Dec.2019 at the polls to clean up Brexit.  Within less than four decades Labour had not sustained succinct policy which had caused them the birth of the LIB-DEMS, a merger of Labour rebels and the Liberal Party in decline then, started after the death of their lovable Jo Grimmondto shore up the growing acceptance that the two-party system in a democracy is done over as strikes the balance to stabilise democracy.  Incidentally, that is the rationale for the Non-Aligned at the UN, argued by Nkrumah, Tito, Nehru and Suharto when walk-outs of the newly independent countries were no winners and some were manipulated in the East and West ideological warfare. 

As regards Britain’s finite separation from Europe, the Pundits are unanimous that one year hence deadline,is too short. The longer the road, the journey to El Dorado could be fraught, providing a reflection on the times. 

Only another mirror projects the following unknown for Britain coming back home after honouring the obligation of a “Returnee” with appropriate propitiation.  It enables judgment whether it is the price for colonialism or Britain just groping to be globalor back home like the Biblical Prodigal son.  It can be paid to us, the country being now the eminence grise—the Doyen, for all our mostly self-inflicted inabilities.  In Cape Coast, it is better expressed per: “despite the brokages.”

I bet we shall be jolly, merry and gay, just as we led to drum out apartheid South Africa and hailed them back into the Commonwealth—all the mixed nostalgias.         

© Prof nana essilfie-conduah.

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