Ever Closer Union?
Brexit, from the citizen’s perspective, has become a disgrace. Although British politics have always been rather frank about engineering things to go a certain way, with snap referendums and impromptu votes peppering the litany, Brexit has become an albatross around the nation’s neck, states Oliver Taylor.
Shameless politicking, it has to be said, has thwarted what could have been a far simpler, far more British, modest exit. Showing more self-interest than any real integrity, the British population has become fed up with political shenanigans that plainly delay what was once a clear and democratic choice.
It is worth remembering that already in 2007, members of the European Parliament were expressing serious reservations about aspects of an EU constitution. Those concerns were enough for the British public to vote to exit the EU, being unwilling to subject themselves to what remain possibly unspoken special interests behind the whole concept of union. What has ensued has been a vulgar display of those interests obfuscating and holding Britain to account for its desire to leave the might of Brussels behind.
The average Briton’s ire, however, is currently focused on the home front, where local politicians have been so busy point-scoring and playing one-upmanship that Brexit has yet to happen. A microcosm of the political jostling in the European Parliament, British politics is starting to anger British people.
The Irish were forced to vote twice on the issue of unity, and the current staging of general elections (unusually due in early December — the first time a British election will happen in the month of Christmas) by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, is tainted by the same shenanigans. Although Johnson wants to win a majority in order to pass his Brexit deal, and is not contesting the fact of Brexit itself, the current politicking is exasperating the citizenry. Johnson’s “deal” for an exit has to be sanctioned by parliament, and it’s becoming grittier and more convoluted with each passing week.
Leader of the Brexit Party, Nigel Farage, initially responded to Johnson’s scheduling of a general election by saying his party would contest every seat possible. He subsequently deviated and said that his party would go hammer and tongs for Labour seats only, ostensibly to avoid splitting the Brexit vote. Labour under Jeremy Corbyn has become a pariah to many, and some feel the party could suffer a major defeat in the background of overarching Brexit concerns — some saying so from within the ranks of Labour itself.
Farage was adamant about a clean break Brexit, but now seems to have softened that stance, likely in a bid to limit backlash if British political posturing continues much longer. As things currently stand, the election is now scheduled for Dec. 12, 2019. Although a UK general election is not normally an acrimonious affair, there will be a lot of sour in the mouths of ordinary people when Britons go to the polls in December.
BRITAIN MAY PROVE TO BE THE FLOAT ON A LONG LINE
It appears that the longer an actual Brexit takes, the surer the British public becomes that it is the right thing to do. Unfortunately for the EU, euro-scepticism is being exacerbated elsewhere, as other nations watch with interest at how “obligations” and other terms from the EU come into play. Ireland particularly feared the common defence force an EU would spawn, as mooted by the Lisbon Treaty, something that is now a reality. While casual observation might show Britain having to wrangle modestly in order to exit the union, more damning for the future of union might well be the example Britain really paints of a nation trying to extricate itself from the sticky EU web.
Britain might well be an indicator of future issues with other member states, as the world watches the quid pro quo between London and Brussels. For now, disappointment in watching their votes not count to date has vexed the British population. The coming elections are likely to discern some unusual motivations, regardless of the turnout, although likely to be substantial. The unpalatable truth of union is still the structure of big bosses, the top tier, the top cabal, now to be housed far away from local concerns. The longer British politicians dally with Brexit, the more they’ll be lumped into the same basket.
What the architects of union have consistently downplayed is that it’s a very polite and ostensibly democratic notion, but also the gameplay of any committed dictatorship. The reality visible in Britain’s squirming to exit, both for Britons and any other nation bothered to look, is that of a far more remote, uncaring master in Brussels. From a clean vote to exit, years down the line, the contamination by association is bending British politics in all the wrong directions.
”Ever closer union” is a stance enshrined in the EU Treaties. That might sound warm and welcoming, but the reality as it plays out in the lives of British nationals right now is anything but. The very notion demands a huge amount of trust in common decency and shared aims, and look where that got America. The US today is a nation of puppets, blindly manipulated into “voting for” candidates whose only common denominator is that nothing will change for the better after they’re elected.
It was French President Emmanuel Macron who recently blocked the three-month Brexit postponement that Britain requested, although unlikely spurred by concern for the British electorate. Rather, those on board likely fear Britain becoming a noisy child, graduating from a “naughty child,” and one that will lay bare the elegantly imagined democracy of a European union for what it really will become. The EU is happening — it still has a critical mass of participants. Many commentators are watching Britain’s current political furore, however, and cannot but draw the unpleasant conclusion that they’re seeing an ugly power struggle at play.
Always suffused in the “joy of union” rhetoric, Brussels looks less like a regional saviour right now than a polite tyrant, remotely forcing a European state to jump through hoops of fire merely to exit union.
THE EU REALITY CANNOT SUPERSEDE INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS
The British electorate voted “no thanks” in what now seems a long, long time ago. Instead, they have been dragged through obligation and consideration time and again, with Brexit becoming a rallying point, a terminal issue, a thorn in the public flesh. It’s notable that the referendum among the UK’s citizens was not, in fact, played out in all EU member states. Indeed, a simple calculation points to the decidedly non-democratic arrival of the EU. There are 27 member states, and there have not been 27 referendums sampling nations as to whether the common man actually wants union to come about.
As the political class continues to kick the can down the road — many for the purpose of subverting the result of the referendum, as has been done in so many other EU nations — the fundamental dichotomy between free and independent, thinking individuals and the authoritarian establishment chosen to govern them is being exposed. The warnings of erstwhile British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher concerning EU federalism, a European Central Bank, and centralised military control seem particularly poignant now. Her Bruges speech of 1988 saw her at pains to point out that the then- European Economic Community (EEC) plans were around political union, as opposed to being merely a friendly business overture concerned with economics.
Thatcher said at the time, ”We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state here in Britain, only to [see them] be reimposed at European level with a European superstructure exercising a new dominance from Brussels.” She warned that the advent of the euro would spell the end of democracy as European nation states understood it. Snapping at jeers from the gallery, Thatcher said then that the euro was nothing short of “federal policy by the back door,” and she despised it.
Britain is the current poster child for the rather ludicrous nature of EU institutions, think tanks, and organisations holding member nations to ransom. The “United States of Europe” actually slipped in with the Lisbon Treaty some time ago. Now, the bluntly uncompromising and anti-democratic nature of such institutions, as they march forward in their quest for centralisation of power through “ever closer union,” seems beyond doubt. A union of nation states where the sovereignty, autonomy and ultimate destiny of individual members is stifled and strangled for the joys of a collectivist federal state, is all Britons can see.
With rising frustrations and a growing sense of disbelief that something so clear can become so convoluted, all British eyes will be on the coming elections. At stake is more than Brexit, but also the nation’s ability to perform according to its own understanding of democracy, at the risk of losing British autonomy forever more. EG