Thursday, July 12, 2018

Is Theresa May about to sell out her country?

It is all going wrong for those who supported Brexit. British Prime Minister Theresa May appears to be close to agreeing such a bad deal with the European Union that it has prompted her foreign minister, Boris Johnson, and Brexit minister, David Davis, to resign from Cabinet. It seemed a simple thing to do, for a sovereign nation like Britain to withdraw from an economic alliance, but the problems that have arisen prove that the EU has become by stealth something much more than an economic alliance. It is a supernational entity that has become so entangled in the laws and institutions of its members that withdrawing is like amputating a leg to remove a passenger from a crashed train.

I am pro-Brexit despite it probably being contrary to my personal interests. I am an Irish citizen who has lived in Britain for more time than in any other country except New Zealand, and it may well be that I will be unable to return to live in Britain in future. So why do I support Brexit?

I am certainly no nationalist. I have written before about how I believe that all nation states are artificial constructs, no matter how old or grand they are, and that there is nothing inherently good in one national structure versus another (although I don't think the same of political systems). I believe that smaller, more local government is generally better at protecting individual rights because it is easier to hold accountable than larger, more geographically spread government. I guess that makes me a localist - I like my politics grown locally in small holdings, like those who are localists in buying their food. 

The European Union is a very big step on the road to a heterogeneous, global government, and that prospect scares the hell out of me. The type of society I would like to live in - a society that places maximum value on individual rights and freedoms and in which the government has strictly limited powers and is highly accountable to its citizens - is the very opposite of the European Union. There are so many layers of hierarchy between the people and their distant EU overlords in Brussels that it would put the Qing Dynasty to shame. There is no real representation or accountability, with all important policy decided by the unelected European Commission and its president Jean-Claude Juncker* rather than the show pony European Parliament. And that is exactly why the people of Britain voted to wrest back control of their country. Theresa May vowed to deliver the Brexit her people voted for, but I fear she has caught a dose of the Juncker hauteur and is about to sell out her own country.

* It is hardly surprising that Juncker has acted like an emperor who regards the Brexit vote as a personal slight on his majesty when you realise he has all the powers of an emperor. It is also revealing that when you click on the link to information about Juncker on the European Commission's website, you get the message "Access denied - You are not authorized to access this page." [UPDATE: The link has been fixed overnight - perhaps someone at the European Commission reads my blog!]

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