The Establishment Coup Against Brexit: ‘What Would Washington Have Done, If Loyalists At Valley Forge Told Him Independence Would Cost America 3 Percent Of GDP?

The Establishment Coup Against Brexit: ‘What Would Washington Have Done, If Loyalists At Valley Forge Told Him Independence Would Cost America 3 Percent Of GDP?
 
     Andrew Roberts had a great Op-Ed in this past weekend’s (April 13/14) Wall Street Journal (WSJ), “The Establishment Coup Against Brexit.” As I have written before on this blog…..What is Britain’s sovereignty worth? Mr. Roberts is a professor of War Studies at Kings College London, and author most recently of, “Churchill: Walking With Destiny.” The Op-Ed/article is adapted from his acceptance speech at the April 4, New Criterion Edmond Burke Award Gala.
      “The means by which Providence raises a nation to greatness,” Edmund Burke once observed, “are the virtues infused into great men.”  “How lucky Britons were to have people of the virtues of Burke and Churchill, when their country needed them,” Mr. Roberts begins. “How desolate, that they have no living, modern-day successors in the front ranks of politics.”
     “The American Revolution, which Burke supported, and Churchill recognized as a cruel necessity, was animated by “no taxation without representation,” Mr. Roberts reminds us. “Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposed withdrawal agreement with the European Union amounts to “regulation without representation.”  “We,” [Britons] , Mr. Roberts wrote, “would have to accept all the diktats of Brussels regulatory authority without any say. That would have gone in in-perpetuity, as we discovered, almost too late, since Brussels refused to put an end date on the so-called Irish backstop — which would maintain an open border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic — and, refused to allow Britain to end the agreement unilaterally.”
     Brussels of course, is seeking to make this pending divorce as painful as possible, fearing that if Britain leaves, and ultimately thrives economically, that other countries who aren’t all that enthused about surrendering partial sovereignty to support a collective — may also choose to leave.
     “In the course of the talks, the EU’s chief negotiator has considered it acceptable to demand that Britain hold a general election — a power stripped from the queen and the prime minister under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act of 2011 — or a second referendum, hoping the decision of 2016 would be reversed, as the Italians, the Danes, and Irish reversed decisions when pressured by Brussels,” Mr. Roberts wrote.  “We, are therefore, about to discover whether the liberal establishment’s decades worth of teaching against British exceptionalism, has worked or not — whether we indeed are merely another European country that can be bullied by Brussels.”
     “The most memorable quote of this process has been Mrs. May’s phrase, “Brexit means Brexit,” “which has the unusual capacity of being both meaningless, and untrue,” Mr. Roberts observes. “The reason the Remainers — who refused from the beginning to accept the democratic vote of the majority — believe that it is unacceptable to ignore the verdict of 17,410,742 people is because, as they often volubly state, they are cleverer and better people than Leavers, who are denounced as nativists, racists, rubes, and idiots.”
     “If the remainders had accepted the will of the people, the Brussels machine would have had to negotiate seriously, and in good faith,” Mr. Roberts wrote. “Instead, from the first moment, the EU took the Remainers continued opposition to mean that there was a chance of stopping Brexit by raising the price of leaving. This they have done with the Irish backstop.”
     “Because a half a dozen grasshoppers under a fern made the field ring with their importunate chink, whilst thousands of great cattle, reposed beneath the shadow of the British oak, chew the cud and are silent, pray do not imagine that those who make the noise are the only inhabitants of the field,” Burke wrote in his “Reflections.” “Yet the grasshoppers — the loudest Remainers — imperil everyone’s future.  Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has been inciting a foreign leader, French President Emmanuel Macron, to hold firm against against the requests of Mr. Blair’s own country over Brexit, believing that the whole project can be derailed,” Mr. Roberts wrote.
     “Something profoundly unpleasant has happened in Britain in the past three years,” Mr. Roberts wrote. “It has come to a boiling point these past few weeks, and will probably stay at this heat for a good many more. It can be summed up as a barely concealed dislike for democracy on the part of a considerable subsection of the elite, those who lost the referendum.”
     “A very British coup d’e’tat is going on,” Mr. Roberts observes, [and we almost had one here.] “The speaker of the House, is choosing precedents from 1604 to stymie the government. An incompetent prime minister is unable to assert herself as Margaret Thatcher would undoubtedly have done. An overwhelmingly pro-Remain civil service is leaking information to newspapers, including the outlandish story that there were plans to evacuate the queen from London, in the event of Brexiteer riots in the streets.”
     “All the economic projections by the Remainers, from the referendum campaign, to the present day, have proved false,” Mr. Roberts reminds us. “Warnings that we would have mass unemployment if we voted to leave the EU, were swiftly followed by the highest unemployment since the 1970s. Our economy, which Project Fear told us would collapse by 10 percent, has actually grown slightly faster than Germany’s. Yet, the scare tactics — such as there would be no cancer medicines after Brexit, nor fresh food on the shelves, in the country with the fifth-largest economy in the world — have not been countered because the Leave side disbanded itself after the referendum victory, leaving the field entirely for Project Fear Mark II.”
     “If Brussels had faced a resolute, united Britain, in which the 48 percent who voted to remain had accepted the referendum result, it would have offered reasonable terms for withdrawal; rather than choosing the Irish backstop, as a principal bone of contention,” Mr. Roberts wrote. “Brussels knew that the relationship between Ireland and Britain has been a thorny question since before Burke was born. The only actual time blood was drawn from Churchill in the House of Commons was during an Irish Home Rule debate in 1912, when a Tory member of Parliament threw a hardback book — the parliamentary rule-book, ironically enough — at his face. More than 3,500 people died in the Irish “Troubles” of 1969-1997. That was the area that Brussels unerringly chose, to cause maximum friction between Mrs. May and Northern Irish members of Parliament, whom she needed for her governing majority.”
     “To be sure,” Mr. Roberts acknowledges, “there will be some economic dislocation after Brexit, especially if Brussels wants there to be. Supply chains are complex. The idea that Britain will lose 10 percent of its economy — more than it lost in either world war — is ludicrous. Yet, if we lost say, 3 percent of gross domestic product in the course of taking back our national destiny, and ensuring our laws cannot be countermanded by foreign jurists, I think Burke and Churchill would say it is a small price to pay. They recognized that life is not all about money.”
     “The appeal of Brexit is to the viscera, as much as the intellect,” Mr. Roberts notes. “I don’t believe Britain faces great economic pain from regaining the independence its stupidity it threw away in 1973. Even if it did, it would be worth it. If Washington had been told at Valley Forge by Loyalists — the 18th century equivalent of the Remainers — that independence might cost Americans 3 percent, or even 10 percent of GDP, he would have flung them out of the encampment, and rightly so.”    
 
     “The dream of British self-government will not be crushed forever, whatever this benighted, overwhelmingly pro-Remain Parliament comes up with, and whatever Mrs. May might cobble together with the communist leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn. I know that not from the woeful performance of Mrs. May and her government over the past three years, but from the words of Edmund Burke, the example of Winston Churchill, and the exceptionalism so bravely expressed by the majority of British people on June 23, 2016 — the coming betrayal of which they will not soon, nor easily forget.”
     Amen. Well said Mr. Roberts. well said. As Walter Russell Mead wrote in the Feb. 12, 2019 Wall Street Journal (WSJ), “Incredible Shrinking Europe: The Continent’s Grand Unity Project Is Failing,” “It’s become increasingly apparent that this grand project is failing,”  According to his Wikipedia biography, Mr. Mead is the James Clarke Chace Professor of Foreign Affairs and Humanities at Bard College; and, previously taught foreign affairs at Yale University. He is also Editor-At-Large of The American Interest Magazine, and a columnist for the WSJ.
Bernard Connolly, Author Of “The Rotten Heart Of Europe: The Dirty War For Europe’s Money”
 
      I have felt from the beginning that the European Union and the Euro. as currently conceived — was doomed to failure. I wonder what took Mr. Mead and Mr. Roberts so long to recognize its fatal flaws. I deeply respect both of these two men’s intellect and their grasp of history.  In 2014, Rick Santelli of CNBC had a fascinating and thought provoking interview with Bernard Connolly. Mr. Connolly an Oxford educated British economist who is known for his pessimistic outlook for the Euro and the European Monetary Union, provided a sobering but thoughtful assessment of the European Union.

Mr. Connolly’s book, “The Rotten Heart of Europe: The Dirty War For Europe’s Money,” is a sobering, but realistic assessment of the consequences and pitfalls that plague the Eurozone — as a consequence of pursuing a continent-wide monetary union. And Mr. Connolly should know, he was there for the “birth” of the Euro and was partly responsible for where Europe is today. Depression and recession are widespread across the continent as toxic nationalism and profound unemployment — especially among the youth are pervasive.

     Mr. Connolly contends that the monetary union — which is at the heart of this grand Euro experiment — is rotten at its core. Indeed, Mr. Connolly contends that this destructive pursuit is making the economic situation in Europe worse than it would otherwise be; and, this “forced harmonization” is engendering “distrust, resentment, ridicule, contempt and even hatred,” among and between the people’s of the European continent. Yet Mr. Connolly notes, “the people who put this together (some of whom are in leadership positions today) hail the EURO and EU as a success.” “They call Spain a success and they have 27% unemployment. Greece is called exceptional; and yet, youth unemployment there is a staggering 67%.” He calls this belief in the promise of a monetary union either crazy or disturbing. Those who originally proposed a European Union thought this was the path to prevent a third European civil war. The reality Mr. Connolly says, is a reversal of the post-WWII economic revival. “We have an elitist, bureaucratic, corrupt, authoritarian, repressive institution and leadership on one side and, a demoralized, lost generation of youth who see an “unaccountable, undemocratic, illegitimate and ultimately repressive super-state” that is digging Europe and themselves into an even deeper hole. Not surprisingly, he sees ultimate failure for the European Union and even disaster, the longer those in charge in Europe pursue this feckless endeavor. A deadly cocktail of unintended consequences. You may or may not agree with Mr. Connolly; but, it is hard to dismiss, or ignore him and his thesis — would be a failure itself.
     Divorcing oneself from this unworkable union will not solve Europe’s economic woes — not by a long shot. Over-excessive and oppressive regulation, onerous taxation, and the migrant crisis will still haunt the continent. But, being miserable in one’s own country is more tolerable that being miserable for some disconnected, faceless entity.
     POTUS Obama and his national security team were on the wrong side of history. A country and its citizens cannot subordinate its sovereignty to an unaccountable, sclerotic, bloated bureaucratic entity in Brussels. That is why Brexit passed; and, a vibrant, continent-wide nationalist movement took hold.  The demise of the EU and the Euro as currently conceived — is doomed to failure in my view; and it is only a matter of when — not if — IMO. If Britain does not follow through with Brexit, they will live to regret it. I believe we all know where George Washington, Edmund Burke, and Winston Churchill would stand on Brexit. RCP, fortunascorner.com

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