Posted by: westlancashirerecord | January 6, 2019

How The Europhiles Are Blowing Up Britain

Daniel Hannan MEP  wrote for the Washington Examiner “You want to know what’s going on in British politics at the moment? Frankly, cousins, it’s a bloody shambles. I would use stronger words, but American newspapers are more fastidious than their British counterparts when it comes to profanities. Overseas commentators look wonderingly at the chaos. What has happened, they ask, often with a hint of schadenfreude if they’re from Europe, to a nation that used to be famously level-headed? Have British politicians lost their minds? Are Brits experiencing some sort of collective nervous collapse?

Mental health metaphors are rarely helpful in politics. We are not witnessing a moment of communal psychosis. What we’re seeing has an altogether simpler and more prosaic explanation, and it’s this: When members of Parliament decided to allow a referendum on European Union membership, it never occurred to them that people might disregard their advice and vote to leave. When the result came in, the establishment felt the rejection keenly. They refused to interpret it as a vote for more democracy or for a more global trade policy. Rather, they saw it as a rejection of everything that they,that is the elites, had built up over decades. In company boardrooms and university common rooms and parliamentary committee rooms and civil service briefing rooms, there was a sense of injured disbelief.

Rather than accept the verdict, a number of politicians, officials, and cartel business leaders immediately set to work to overturn it. Part of their strategy was to delegitimize the result (“Leavers lied! Leavers cheated! Leavers took Russian cash!”), but the bigger part was to ensure that no equitable exit deal could be struck. And, in that aim, they have succeeded. In any negotiation, you have to have a bottom line. In this one, the bottom line for both parties was to refuse to agree joint disengagement terms and instead simply to abrogate the existing treaty.

This outcome, the so-called “no-deal Brexit,” would hurt both sides. The EU believes it would hurt the U.K. more, because cross-Channel trade matters more, in proportionate terms, to Britain than to the continental states. But there would be losers on all sides, perhaps especially Ireland, which based on the volume of trade would be worse-affected still.

So even though the EU felt it had the upper hand in the talks, it didn’t want a no-deal outcome that would damage everybody. But from day one, British Europhiles were signalling to Brussels that they wouldn’t allow such an outcome in the first place. In June 2017, in an ill-judged election, Prime Minister Theresa May lost her parliamentary majority. And from that moment, Brussels lost any incentive to reach a deal. It understood that a coalition of pro-EU MPs and peers would prevent a no-deal outcome, thus taking away Britain’s bottom line. If Britain couldn’t walk away because its parliamentarians wouldn’t let it, then by definition it would have to accept whatever Brussels put in front of it.

By the end of 2017, the EU was making commensurately harsh and vindictive demands, including a “divorce” payment, the regulatory annexation of Northern Ireland, and ongoing control of British trade policy even after Brexit. The idea was to offer a deal that was obviously worse than either withdrawing properly or staying properly, so that most Brits would reluctantly give up on Brexit. And that, my friends, is the essence of our current political turmoil. Having offered a referendum and promised to implement its result, MPs are now balking. This is not, as pundits allege, “a constitutional crisis.” The constitution is working fine: The Queen is on her throne, the Church of England is established, no one is seeking to postpone or cancel a general election. As far as political breakdown goes, Britain is unusual in the EU in not having a populist anti-immigrant party in its main legislative chamber.

Nor is this a wider societal crisis. On the contrary, Britain is booming, with more people in work than ever before in our history, rising investment, booming exports, a record stock exchange, surging wages, and unprecedented numbers of start-ups. This week, Forbes magazine pronounced the U.K. the best place in the world to do business.

The “crisis” is narrowly focused in Westminster and takes the form of MPs seeking, at first by stealth but now more or less openly, to undo the decision of the electorate. What’s truly shocking is not their anti-democratic leanings, but their sheer chutzpah. Having spent two years seeking to frustrate Brexit, systematically undermining Britain’s negotiating position, doing everything in their power to ensure the worst possible outcome, they now have the gall to say “This is all proving frightfully sticky, why don’t we just drop the whole thing?”

Incredibly, they might get away with it. When Italy’s Eurosceptic government ran a deficit, the EU forced a new budget on it. When France’s Euro-fanatical President did the same thing, the EU waved it though. Who could have predicted such a thing? After all, didn’t Kenneth Clarke MP, a  devout remoaner, dismiss the 2016 referendum as a ‘one off opinion poll’?


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