Friday, 23 June 2017

There can be no turning back

It is a year since Britain voted to leave the EU. I've never understood this ritual of having to write about something just because an arbitrary period of time has passed. After all, nothing has changed. We still don't know what Brexit looks like, we still don't have a plan, Brexiteers are still awful and remainers are even worse.

What makes the remainers worse, generally speaking, is that they want the want this whole enterprise to fail and are rooting for the other side. Academia especially. This makes me all the more glad I voted to leave. I cannot name a more spoiled, selfish self-entitled bunch. More generally the tone from the remain side has become ever more shrill. There is a clamour to halt Brexit by any means necessary even if that puts us in a worse position than actually leaving.

And you know what? So much as I am deeply worried about the direction of travel and the manifest incompetence of our government I still don't care a jot for what any of these people think. I am still glad we are leaving and any Brexit is better than remaining. And I will tell you for why.

Yesterday a remain inclined individual demanded to know why I would vote against my interests, asking what I would personally gain from Brexit. This is actually quite typical. I get this all the time. It would seem that politics to some is all a about "what's in it for me?".

As to what I personally gain from Brexit, I would have to say nothing at all. Some things transcend immediate financial gain. This above all is about safeguarding and reinventing British democracy. From the age of tyrant kings to the modern age of tyrant parliaments the clamour has always been for more power. More for them and less for you. For all that the EU is a largely benign technocracy is one that exists only for the accumulation of power.

Brexit, one hopes, will put the brakes on this. Encoded in the DNA are "ever closer union". In theory that is supposed to be a union of European peoples but in practice in means a union of ruling elites and democracy-phobic institutions. This is why we get such a torrent of wailing from the left and academia. Brexit deprives them of their means of inserting their agenda into politics and slays the goose that lays the golden eggs.

This is why this week, on this anniversary of Brexit we are only hearing what Brexit costs in financial terms and not what we stand to gain. Whichever mode Brexit takes, assuming they don't manage to subvert it, we are looking at a complete overhaul of the statute book which will likely precipitate a more far reaching reform of the constitution. Brexit is a gateway drug to greater democracy. A cleansing forest fire.

It's true that if we didn't want all this cost and upheaval then the smart thing to do would have been to vote to remain, but I very much do want to see every rock lifted to see what crawls out. Already Brexit has exposed just how spoiled, whiny and cosseted half the population is and just how anti-democracy many of them have become.

We are told that Brexit chews up parliament for the next decade preventing it from doing anything else. That actually tells you a lot about the remainer mentality. They view Brexit as an abstract rather than something that touches on every strata of public life. In that they show a greater ignorance of the EU than even the hardest of Brexiteers. In just a few short months we have gone from "the EU doesn't make our laws and we are sovereign" to "sovereignty doesn't really exist and by the way look at this massive volume of laws we have to sort out".

More than anything Brexit is a major work of legal engineering and even if we port over all of the EU acquis and we change very little, it is still a significant constitutional change where, if we do it right, we are no longer importing volumes of law without judgement or scrutiny. And that is really the point of this exercise - to ensure that the last word rests with the British people and that laws can be repealed on the say so of the British people alone.

We are told that Brexit makes us inward looking and that it marks a withdrawal from polite society. To a point it does. Britain needs a period of introspection because we've let government run on autopilot for forty years and and we have a mess to sort out. How we are perceived on the "world stage" is really not my concern.

If anything taints perceptions it is those whiny remainers putting it about that Britain is entering a new dark age of racism, bigotry and miserliness. American left wing think tanks are lapping this up from leftist academics. Just read some of the garbage from Peterson Institute. Frankly, if we are odds with polite society then it's a sign that we are doing something right. The one thing they do not like is grubby displays of "populism". That's what they're calling democracy nowadays.

Come what may, Brexit has disturbed the cosy consensus politics of the last half century. The British public have done something interruptive and inconvenient. That has remainers scrambling for their favourite comfort blanket - The EU.

In this I cannot imagine a worse outcome than to stay in the EU. Already the EU is fundamentally altered by Brexit. The dynamic has shifted and the brakes on "ever closer union" have been taken off. Rather than pause for reflection they have taken it as a sign that "more Europe" is the answer. Whatever prized position the UK might have enjoyed in the EU, that "status quo" is already gone forever. To remain in the EU would be a greater humiliation and we would not be a welcome member.

More to the point one can only imagine thing would get worse if we remained. Our politicians could very well sabotage Brexit. That would very much scar the national psyche and we would find something even worse than Ukip to send to the European parliament. Naturally the response by the EU will be to further isolate and disempower the European parliament - which is already a treated as a messy inconvenience they would rather not have. It is not a parliament of the people in any real sense. It is an appendage.

Staying in the EU would doubtless spare us the economic upheaval of Brexit but at the same time I would not fix anything either. The divisions would still exist, and be more pronounced, our stagnant economy would continue to limp on without any serious reform and we'd be back in a mode of managed decline while our politicians go back to meddling with minutia, playing their sordid little games as ever they have. No thank you.

We should also be acutely aware that not all is well in Europe. Over the last few weeks we have seen a subtle shift in European propaganda. Since the election of Macron, all of a sudden the deep divisions within France are no longer a talking point, the European economy has miraculously bounced back like the Euro crisis never happened, Brexit is but a distraction on the side, everyone is happy and the political struggles in Poland, Hungary and Ukraine no longer exist. Funny that. Brexit seems to have mended all of Europe's woes!

Or is it something else? Is it that the wounded beast is smarting and desperate to prove its relevance? For sure, the EU's approval ratings are on the up but they will evaporate just as quickly come the next major crisis. After all the migration crisis has not gone away. Just this week 1300 migrants drowned in the Mediterranean. Two years ago this was news. Now we barely bother to report it. It's the new normal. As of June 14, 1,828 are believed to have died in 2017. The "summer of death" has become the decade of death.

We can put the stop on Brexit for sure. We can pretend that this year never happened. We can join in with our European "partners" pretending all is well. We can go on denying that our present economic model is failing us. We can go on ignoring the people of the regions and the towns, we can go back to the make-believe of European Union. We can paper over the cracks and go back into denial - go back to being passive economic units grazing on the land, go back to living in an inert political environment, unable to effect serious change. Sure, we can do all of that. But if you think the Brexit bill is high, wait til you get the bill for self-deception. You will like that a lot less.

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