Reigniting the Brexit Baton

S.K. Khanna August 19, 2017 0
Reigniting the Brexit Baton

There are no political victories: there are only political struggles. Those politicians and pundits who had struggled to make Britain independent of the European Union have forgotten that political victories, like political defeats, are but fleeting. They had, not too long ago, managed to persuade the majority of Britons to dare to dream once again; yet they have been languishing for all too long now. After losing the most momentous national debate of our times, the opponents of Brexit had grudgingly – almost inaudibly – mumbled the acceptance of their defeat. Behind the scenes, however, they continually bemoaned. Not for nothing were these Remainers given the soubriquet of ‘Remoaners’. The Remoaners, who felt themselves neutered, saw a glint of hope when Mrs May lost her parliamentary majority. Some Tory Remoaners, like Anna Soubry and Nicky Morgan, have since been scheming against their own Prime Minister. Most Labourites, whether those sitting on the frontbenches and the back, continue to be as unprincipled as ever: one day they want Britain to remain in the customs union, another day they do not; one week they argue that Britain be a member of the single market, next week they say that leaving the single market is the logical outcome of Brexit.

Her Majesty’s Government, however, is not as confused as these Remoaners. Against myriads of asinine rumors, Mrs May remains resolute to the enormity of her endeavours. Whilst a Remoaner like Nick Clegg and a Leaver like Nigel Farage complement each another with their hysteria, Mrs May comes out as the most sensible politician in the kingdom. Whilst her Cabinet ministers bicker, she bestrides in silence. Her Lancaster House continues to be the basis of Britain’s departure from the European Union. It has now been over a year since the Bullingdon Boys had lost their gamble. Though more Britons support Brexit now than they did in June 2016, the Brexit flame has been fading of late. So we must evoke again the reasons that led Britons to vote for Brexit.

Nick Clegg, Nicky Morgan and Chris Leslie at an Open Britain event in March 2017

The referendum last year was not about Europe, but Eurocracy. Eurocrats consider Europeans to be little more than rats in their laboratory. The fact that millions are unemployed throughout Europe, that youth are dejected, that women are despoiled of hope, that men do find dignity in their work, that prostitution has increased and the standards of living has decreased are of no concern to the Eurocrats. They are still dreaming that sublime dream of the United States of Europe. But the dreams of Eurocrats has become a nightmare for Europeans.

The British, let it be admitted, are Europeans; and it was as Europeans that they voted for Brexit. In so doing, they confirmed the greatest gift Europe gave the world: freedom. It is from Greece, after all, that the concept of democracy had first emerged; and Eurocracy has forced that very Greece into the sorry state of beggary and looting. Eurocracy chokes freedom and chastises Europeans into despondency. If Europe bequeathed the world the spirit of freedom, then Britain bestowed the world empiricism. Not for Britons the rationalist schemes: no, they have long favoured the concrete to the abstract, and empirical realities to rationalist schemes. Three empirical realities – economic, political, and moral – still cries out against Eurocracy:

1)     Eurocracy is bad economics: Europe’s GDP has been shrinking whilst the rest of the world prosper. India and China are expected to grow somewhere between 6-9%, but Eurozone would be lucky if its growth is above 1-2%. Even when the overall GDP of the E.U. grows, its southern regions continue to suffer. Eurocracy privileges mega-banks and mega-corporations instead of supporting new and young entrepreneurs. The problem with the E.U. is that it promotes mercantilism masquerading as free-trade. The E.U. has always espoused cartels: even in the late 1920s, when Pan-Europe Society desired the economic union between France and Germany, Aristide Briand had argued for economic fortification of Europe. Instead of trading with the globe, it continues to fortify itself from African and Asian exports, and thereby it privileges quasi-monopolistic practices. Eurocrats continue to ignore the warning of the economist Joseph Schumpeter: ‘monopoly price is higher and monopoly output smaller than competitive price and competitive output’. Yet Eurocracy’s Common Agricultural Policy has raised the price of food, and almost annihilated British (especially Scottish) fisheries. Brexit would ensure that Britain can sign free-trade agreements with other nations, especially America and China, and indeed with Commonwealth countries like India, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Trade flourishes not due to politicians, but people. When the British are free again from the economic shackles of Eurocracy, they would trade again as they had done well before 1975.

2)     Eurocracy is politically regressive: In their efforts to unite Europe by stealth, Eurocrats have inadvertently accentuated political extremism. Extremists of the Right and Left will continue to be elected to Brussels, and therefore they will be not delegated more power. Genuine reforms will not occur as genuine power will remain lodged in an unelected Commission. Eurocracy had endeavoured for peaceful Europe, but not since 1945 have the countries of the Continent – from Portugal and Ireland to Greece and Cyprus – been bitterer against one another. Political extremism is always a symptom of a more tumorous cause. Political violence means political regression: and Eurocracy is the cause of this regression, for when people’s voices are ignored, they cease to speak: they howl and hurt. 

3)     Eurocracy is immoral towards non-Europeans: Britain, though European, is more than European: Britain is global. Britons voted for Brexit not because they are little Englanders, but because they did not want to be little Europeans. Eurocracy’s immigration policy is discriminatory towards non-Europeans. Why must the industrious immigrants from Africa and Asia not be granted the same unctuous status currently only anointed upon Europeans? The current Euro-orientated immigration system is especially discriminating towards those potential immigrants whose ancestors had fought and died for Britain in the twentieth century. Never must Britons forget that they owe their freedom to the Commonwealth. Most Britons have more in common with Canadians and Kenyans and Indians than with Italians and Bulgarians and Spaniards.

Theresa May alongside Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi 

Eurocratic economics is predicated upon cartels; Eurocratic politics is regressive; Eurocratic immigration policy is discriminatory. But all this is necessarily so because Eurocracy lacks accountability. A nation whose laws can be superseded by a supranational authority is not a free nation. It is not un-European to be free. Millions of Britons from non-European background can feel Anglo-African or Anglo-Indian without demanding that the Parliament in London be subordinated to Pretoria or that Indian judges should have the right to overrule British courts.

Britons, like most in the West, have forgotten their history. This is proved by the perorations of those pundits and politicians who absurdly think of Brexit as some preternatural nightmare. The most surprising aspect of Brexit is, in fact, its sheer banality. Even if the referendum last June had been lost by the Leave side, the desire for independence would not have vanished overnight. The island’s self-extraction from the ever-merging European Union would still have been inevitable. As Lewis Namier, a Pole who understood British history better than any Briton, once noted ‘The historical development of England is based on the fact that her frontiers against Europe are drawn by Nature, and cannot be the subject of dispute’. This rough geographical reality has meant that the evolution of the British state was always distinct from Europe. Even the stoutest Tory must concede that Whig historians – from Hallam to Macaulay to Acton – were at least correct in stressing that the island’s political and constitutional evolution was fundamentally different from the Continent. To give simplest yet profoundest example: the island’s Common Law is contrary to the spirit of the civil law which prevails on the Continent.

Oblivious to the past, the Remoaners continue to overestimate the present. The future historians will be, I am convinced, bemused by this whole Brexit kerfuffle; for Britain’s membership of the E.U. will be seen as little more than a brief aberration in its thousand years of history. Yet those who sit in the houses of Parliament appreciate neither the uniqueness of their position nor vitality of their institution. They continue their ploys and procrastinations. Only if these Remoaners could apply their minds to the cause of British triumph in Europe with the same assiduity with which they obstruct! Alas the likes of Vince Cable and Stella Creasy, Stephen Kinnock and Liz Kendall, Anna Soubry and Keir Starmer waste their immense talents in the futile task of Remoaning. Instead of boasting their nation, they clamour to berate it. Most inexcusably of all, they steadfastly ignore that so long as Britain remains part of the single market and customs union, it cannot sign its own trade deals just as it cannot be freed from the judgements of a foreign court. They are, it seems, unaware that the very idea of customs union – what Germans call Zollverein – was first used by Prussia had used to unite all Germany; and Germany now uses it to help unite Europe under its hegemony. No single party Remoans as much as the Liberal Democrats: the aging Vince Cable, who recently became the leader of his party because no one in his party wanted the position, still inflates his early errors; Nick Clegg, who was tenaciously thrown out of Parliament by his own constituents, is more truculent now than he was last year. Brexit has now confirmed that which I had lost suspected: the Liberal Democrats are no longer true liberals: they are false to the spirit of Gladstonian liberalism. In 1870, for example, Gladstone had elegantly argued that though Britain will always have a ‘commercial intercourse’ with Europe, it must not allow itself to be politically absorbed into the Continent.

Mrs May must persist with her plans. She must understand that her endeavours alone will be judged by posterity; the likes of Cable and Creasy, Kinnock and Kendall, Soubry and Starmer will be forgotten hundred years from now. Mrs May must not be afraid to declare, quite ostentatiously, that the Remainers’ fearful campaign and fatuous statistics have been refuted by reality. Above all, she must continue in the knowledge that she is on the right side of history. Britain has had a lucky escape: the day would surely come when this artificial European edifice would crumble. It will crumble because it is a lie: it is a lie because it is fundamentally inorganic, fundamentally undemocratic, fundamentally illegitimate. No European flag, no European anthem, no European charter, no European army can forcefully unite those countries that wish to maintain their nationhood. Eurocracy, unlike Britain, is not an organically grown polity: it is an artificial construction of few bureaucrats and politicians who dream their dreams at the expense of the nightmare of ordinary Europeans.

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