Monday, 28 May 2018
Selective Democracy in Europe and Why Brexit Means Brexiting
Ireland voted emphatically for the Irish constitution to be changed and for abortion to be made legal last week. Presumably, this being a verdict with which the establishment is in full agreement, there will be no game playing over this, no parliamentary procedures, no court cases seeking to challenge the Irish government's implementation of the public will and if there are they will be given short shrift.
Speaking as someone who is something of an abortion absolutist, I applaud this long overdue decision to give women full rights over their own bodies. But what if it had gone the other way? Ireland is reacting mostly against the Catholic church, which has lost its moral authority in recent years. Only a short time ago this decision would have been unthinkable. Would established opinion have accepted the opposite verdict?
Referendums, it seems, are acceptable only if they deliver the verdict that the establishment wants. Thus they treat referendums in much the same way as those of dictatorships. They are a faux democratic cover for backing up what the political elite wants to do anyway. But woe betide you if you disagree with them. Their fury will be unrelenting.
As we are seeing here in the UK vis a vis Brexit. That was an unexpected result that they fully expected to deliver them the cover they needed to carry on much as before. What are the doing now? They are carrying on much as before with the aid of their useful idiots in our establishment who are trying by hook or by crook to either stop Brexit altogether or dilute it so that it amounts to the same thing. The nonsense over the customs union is their latest ruse. It was spelt out time and time again during the referendum campaign that leaving the EU meant leaving the Single Market and customs union. This is now conveniently overlooked. And the EU is coordinating with out fifth columnists here at home, creating bureaucratic difficulties and simple obduracy to get their way. This referendum result was the wrong kind of democracy.
The same is of course happening in Italy. Whatever you thing of the ragtag army now ready to govern Italy you cannot argue that they do not have popular consent. Yet still the establishment seek to stand in the way of the will of the people for having the temerity to give the wrong verdict and endangering the whole project. Such intransigence on the part of the EU could very well bring down the euro and even the EU itself.
Our own difficulties are in part down to the arrogance of the EU but in part down to the uselessness of our own negotiators whose hearts don't seem to be in their project, even when they are avowed leavers. As crunch talks approach next month there is a growing fear that Theresa May means to keep us in by fudging matters and kicking them into the long grass, her preferred approach in the absence of any leadership ability. We should be readying ourselves for simply walking away if the EU still refuses to budge. British reasonableness has been used against us combined with the weakness of the Government and the parliamentary arithmetic.
But that arithmetic is irrelevant. The country voted to leave the EU. It was very clear what was meant by this and so it should be done. If the EU means to cut off its nose to spite its face by denying us a free trade deal and indeed the money they extracted from us with menaces then so be it. The disaster predicted by naysayers is most unlikely to happen, especially if the Government unites and makes the best of it by cutting taxes and regulations and setting Britain up as an enterprise friendly, low tax refuge from European sclerosis parked on its doorstep.
If Theresa May were a proper leader she would spell this out to her fellow leaders and appeal over the heads of the Commission negotiating team, who, lest we forget, are unelected and thus have no mandate for their approach. We should stop being so reasonable. The EU's stance on the Galileo Project should be the final straw. It is time for us to walk away.
Britain voted to leave two years ago precisely because of the overweening arrogance of the EU and their insistence that democracy only goes in their direction never the opposite. Ireland voted against the Lisbon Treaty. It was forced to vote again. Italy is now rebelling against the centrally imposed austerity that has created stagnation and misery in that country and in others with less economic strength. Britain voted to leave in 2016 because we have tried to be reasonable for the 45 years of our membership and it has got us nowhere. We voted to leave for similar reasons to Italians who have had enough of being told no by the EU. The EU and its currency may well collapse in the coming years under the weight of its own inconsistencies and zealous refusal to compromise on issues it laughingly calls principles. Britain voted to leave and it is a decision that looks ever more prescient and rational as time goes on. In the future this will be one of those moments in our history about which people will have a selective memory. Those of us who campaigned for us to leave are in the process of being vindicated. Mrs May should remember that as she conducts her negotiations. She is negotiating from a position of strength if she could only realise it. It's time she used that strength.