Our peerless leaders either don’t understand what the EU is all about or pretend they don’t. They cut a sorry spectacle either way.
In that vein, Dr Fox, the International Trade Secretary, claims he doesn’t understand why the EU “would actually want to diminish the prosperity of [its] own people to make a political point.”
That’s like not understanding why a wild beast devours a weaker creature, rather than conforming to the tenets of Judaeo-Christian morality.
Surely by now Dr Fox ought to have realised that the EU isn’t just out “to make a political point.” It is a political point and nothing else. It would put the whole population of Europe on the breadline if that would enable it to achieve its political goal: a pan-European state bossed by corrupt, unaccountable bureaucrats.
All the talk about economic benefits, cultural commonality and social cohesion is nothing but an elaborate charade designed to pull the wool over the eyes of the innocents. This is how it has been from the very beginning, ever since Jean Monnet explained the ruse in so many words almost 70 years ago.
The issue should be stripped down to its essence, with everything extraneous, including the economic ramifications, peeled away.
If we share the EU’s political goal and hence wish to divest our parliament of legislative power, reversing 2,000 years of our political history, then we should remain in the EU. If we feel our constitutional tradition of sovereignty is worth keeping, then we should leave.
In either case, we – and I include Dr Fox in this collective pronoun – should shut up about things that are extraneous to the issue. In any case, we don’t know exactly what the economic consequences of Brexit will be. We do know for sure that, without Brexit, Britain will no longer be a sovereign commonwealth.
Dr Fox goes on to say: “When the Commission would say, ‘We have to do this [punish Britain] to make sure no other country would dare to leave,’ it sounds a lot more like the language of a gang than of a club.”
Whoever said the EU was a club anyway? It’s indeed typologically close to a gang in that it lacks intrinsic, organic legitimacy and therefore has to rely on coercion, blackmail and bribery to keep itself together.
That’s why I keep insisting that there can be no halfway, ‘soft’ Brexit. Since the EU is solely dedicated to a specific political goal, our response can only be a binary yes/no, not a wishy-washy ‘yes… but’.
Though not in favour of strident language, I can’t blame those who refer to the EU as our enemy: after all, that’s how we’ve traditionally described foreign entities threatening our sovereignty.
This particular entity is trying to impose itself not with large bombs but with large ransom demands. The clear intent is to keep adding zeros to the number until the British get cold feet.
As with any giant state, national or otherwise, extortion of money has not only a fiscal purpose but also a punitive one. It’s the state’s way of exercising control by limiting its subjects’ independence.
The EU does precisely that, but stylistically it does approach gangland persuasion techniques, along the lines of ‘we know where your children go to school’. Yet again, the only logical response is not only to deny any payment, but also to refuse even to discuss the issue in such terms.
That’s what Dr Fox would be saying if he understood the issue properly, or stopped pretending that he doesn’t. At least Michael Bloomberg, who talks gibberish on this subject with the best of them, has an excuse.
He’s handicapped by two factors: first, he’s an American financier; second, he’s an American politician.
In both capacities he finds it hard to look at life through any instrument other than a calculator display. Interestingly, that’s where he converges with Trump, for whom Bloomberg pledges undying hatred.
Hence he describes Brexit as “the single stupidest thing any country has ever done”. Why? Because 45 per cent of our exports go to the EU.
That again shifts the argument away from its essence and into marginal incidentals. If Bloomberg realised that the issue is political and legal, not economic, he’d know that the requisite expertise is to be found among political philosophers, not Wall Street wheeler-dealers.
But if Bloomberg could realise this, he wouldn’t be Bloomberg. Actually, he’s wrong even on his own puny terms. The 45 per cent figure includes British freight passing through continental ports en route elsewhere, mostly Asia. And then neither he nor anyone else knows by how much Brexit will reduce this figure, if at all.
It pains me to resort to generalisations, but Americans do tend to attach a greater significance to matters economical than do people in ancient, organic commonwealths.
This isn’t a matter of choice but rather of emphasis. Both a European conservative and an American one will regard secure property as essential to liberty, but the American may feel that almost to the exclusion of everything else.
That’s understandable, considering that ‘pursuit of happiness’, which is to say money, is the principal component of the American Dream, which is to say of the legitimising factor of American statehood.
If Mr Bloomberg expanded his understanding of European affairs beyond being able to manipulate European stock markets, he’d realise this – or else keep shtum on the issue.
He’d also wonder why the United States has historically supported a single European state ever since the glorious days of the League of Nations. After all, an explicit purpose of the EU is to rival American economic power around the world.
This isn’t a case of Americans cutting off their economic nose to spite their face. Rather it’s an expression of a powerful impulse towards the ‘manifest destiny ‘of acquiring global domination.
That’s why the idea of a single world government (towards which a single European state is an intermediate step) has always appealed to the American political mind. It’s touted especially loudly by US neoconservatives, an objectionable movement to which Bloomberg belongs, if only tangentially.
And the stupidest thing? Really? No, Mr Bloomberg, Britain has done at least one other thing that beats Brexit hands down in the stupidity stakes. She resisted, at a great cost to herself, Germany’s previous attempt to unite Europe in 1939.
It would have been fiscally wiser to sue for terms, relinquish some sovereignty for the sake of peace, preserve the architecture of our cities, save the lives of our citizens and clip the coupons on the side lines.
But British leaders at the time knew that preserving our sovereignty was worth any sacrifices. Mr Bloomberg doesn’t realise this. Does Dr Fox?