A response to Richard Dawkins’ viral video about Brexit.
This is a video response to a viral video starring my second-favourite Horseman, Richard Dawkins, in which he argues that the Brexit process was poorly handled and leaves us uncertain about the future. This is a counterargument to that video, in which I will demonstrate that staying in the EU is a far more worrisome prospect. If you’re watching, Professor, I’m a big fan and I hope you are in fine health.
The European Coal and Steel Community was created in 1952 by six European countries, without Britain. The Treaty of Rome signed in 1957 creating the European Economic Community, known colloquially as the common market. The conservative government under Harold MacMillan applied for membership but this application was vetoed by French president Charles deGaulle. George Pompidou, DeGaulle’s successor, lifted the veto and the British Parliament agreed to an accession treaty in January 1972 without a referendum after passing the European Communities Act of 1972. Britain joined the European Communities in 1973, the organisation which would evolve into the European Union. This was a contentious issue, and the osetensibly neutral Labour Party won a working majority in the 1974 British elections on the back of a promise of a referendum on Britain’s continued membership, which took place in April 1975. The referendum passed with a landslide yes vote of 67% to the no vote of 33%. Prior to the plebiscite, to which there was no precident, Wilson’s government delivered pro-remain pamphlets to the country.
The issue of British sovereignty is addressed only once in the pamphlet and it claims Britain will not see its sovereignty eroded. Despite the fact that the conservative government that led Britain into joining the European Community knew that the European Communities Act of 1972 enshrined the supremacy of European Law over English Law, with English jurist Lord Denning explaining that EEC Law was “like an incoming tide…it cannot be held back”.
In the zeitgeist amongst the political class of the time, it was understood that this would be a major constitutional change and a step towards the “full economic, military and political union” of a “United states of Europe”. But despite this the Labour pamphlet specifically argues the pro-remain case and fails to refute the commonly raised concern of the British people that “we would have to obey laws passed by unelected ‘faceless bureaucrats’ sitting in their headquarters in Brussels”, which is precisely what did happen. In the run-up to the Brexit referendum, Nigel Farage claimed that 70% of our laws were made in Brussels, which was quickly rebutted by remain campaigners claiming it was at most, only 50%, with the real figure laying somewhere between 13% and 62%. The older generation in Britain voted to leave by a similar margin by which they originally voted to stay, at 61% leave to 39% stay. Anecdotally, I asked dozens of old people why they vote leave and they all gave me the same answer: “we were promised a common market, not a full political union” which is precisely what the EU has been driving towards since its inception
Fastforward to 1990, and then conservative Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Nicholas Ridley was forced to resign after an interview with The Spectator after railing against German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and describes the Economic and Monetary Union as follows:
‘When I look at the institutions to which it is proposed that [our] sovereignty is to be handed over, I’m aghast… unelected reject politicians with no accountability to anybody, who are not responsible for raising taxes, just spending money, who are pandered to by a supine parliament which also is not responsible for raising taxes, already behaving with an arrogance I find breathtaking; the idea that one says “OK, we’ll give this lot our sovereignty” is unacceptable to me. I’m not against giving up sovereignty in principle, but not to this lot. You might just as well give it to Adolf Hitler, frankly.’ An inflammatory, but self-evidently true statement, give Angela Merkel’s phenominal power to influence the EU, and one on which Ridley doubled-down, which cost him his position.
In a 2014 paper by German historian Andreas Rödder, he says ‘Particularly after German reunification, the German political elites, fearing any suspicions of hegemonic aspirations and resolved to avoid any new 1914 experience, finally reinforced the German propensity to prioritise European integration at the price even of the strategic demands of leadership.’ and quotes Kohl’s opinion on what the options were: ‘The alternative to EMU [the Economic and Monetary Union] is back to Kaiser Wilhelm and that doesn’t help us.’ Rodder then quotes Margaret Thatcher: ‘The desire among modern German politicians to merge their national identity into a wider European one is understandable enough, but it presents great difficulties to self-conscious nation states in Europe. ‘In effect, the Germans, because they are nervous of governing themselves, want to establish a European system in which no nation will govern itself. Such a system could only be unstable in the long term.’ Ridley’s complaint was the prediction of the future economic domination of Europe by Germany under the Euro, a prophecy which appears to have come true for the southern European states, particularly Greece.
In 2015 the Grexit crisis was subdued after a strained agreement between the Troika and Tsipras’ far-left government. In February 2017 the Grexit crisis once again reared its head after the bail-out negitiations ground to a halt because the Greek public voted categorically against austerity measures and the Troika refusing bailout funds until these measures are implemented. The option of writing-off a portion of the Greek debt, as recommended by then-Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, was refused by the Commission because it would involve other member states absorbing the loss. This traps Greece in a position where they cannot afford to remain in the Euro and must accept the additional austerity measures imposed by the IMF in order to receive any bailout money, which Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras directly opposes because of his democratic mandate and popular pressure. This deadlock cannot continue indefinitely as Greece’s financial system will become insolvent without EU bailouts, and while there is a commonly-held view in Greece that Athens is being held hostage by Germany, the spectre of Greece leaving the Euro appears to be looming large. Leaving the Euro is beginning to appear to be a more attractive prospect despite the short-term damage it will do to the country, as a return to the drachma will enable Greece to regain control of its monetary woes by devaluing their currency to incentivise foreign investment and allow them to pull themselves out of a hole of the EU’s making, which cannot happen in their current state. As it stands, there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
The EU is experiencing the age-old problem of imperial overreach. The opportunity for a power grab was undoubtedly one of the driving impulses that caused the EU to rapidly admit 12 poor Eastern European countries from 2004 onwards, after allowing only 11 wealthy nations to join in the fifty years prior. It has become an inherently unstable entity and was clearly stagnating by 2014. The southern European countries are hardest hit, with Portugal suffering from 10% unemployment of which 26% is youth unemployment, Spain has an unemployment rate of 18% of which 42% is youth unemployment, Italy has a 12% unemployment rate of which 38% is youth unemployment, and Greece with an unemployment rate of 23% of which 45% is youth unemployment. These are 4 of the 5 “PIIGS” countries that triggered the Sovereign Debt Crisis, with each suffering with a public debt of 130% of GDP or greater, far higher than the 60% stipilated in the Maastricht Treaty. The reason they are being given the bailouts is in order to prevent these countries from defaulting on their debt. You’ll notice that nobody in the Remain campaign made the case for a prosperous future in the EU, because it doesn’t appear that there simply isn’t one.
There is no legal provision to leave the eurozone and re-adopt a previous currency, and this is probably deliberate, because the EU faces a Hobson’s choice on the issue of countries leaving the bloc or the eurozone. The EU becomes more powerful if its borders and the eurozone grows, and less powerful if countries leave. If Greece leaves the eurozone and prospers, the other PIIGS countries will notice and opt to do the same. If Greece does not leave the eurozone and falls into catastrophic decline, the other PIIGS countries will notice and opt to take their chances before the inevitable happens to them. The EU’s resistance to Brexit is based on a similar principle. If Brexit occurs and Britain is prosperous, other countries will wish to follow suit. If Brexit occurs and the EU is punitive in an attempt to make leaving more difficult, it will appear overbearing, insecure and authoritarian. This will provide ample ammunition to other eurosceptics like Le Pen, who will use it as leverage for their own bid to exit the bloc. Theresa May is so confident in Britain’s position approaching Brexit that she outright declared that no deal is a preferable alternative to a bad deal, which is certainly not a position the leaders of the European Union could take. The easiest solution to the conundrum is to push Britain out of the EU as quickly as possible, so the ensuing uncertainty and chaos would be absorbed by Britain and scare other member states into realising that the same fate would await them if they also chose to leave. The Conservative government understands this, of course, and both Cameron and May refused to be hurried and allowed themselves the time required, despite demand for the immediate triggering of Article 50 in order to set the machinery of the exit from the EU in motion. Britain’s exit from the EU is such an unprecedented event that former French prime minister, Michel Rocard, demanded that Britain leaves the EU before they “ruin it”, undermining the cool public face both Schulz and Junker have tried to portray since the referendum.
If financial instability was not bad enough, the European Union is suffering from a rising tide of populist, nationalist sentiments due to the continent being governed by a class of people who are concerned with the ideology of their project first and the concerns of the working people second. The rise in anti-globalist movements is a phenomenon seen across the Western world and caught the political classes completely by surprise, as Brexit and Trump demonstrated. It seems far more likely now that Le Pen will win France and Wilders will perhaps not win the Netherlands, but remain one of its most influential politicians, and these leaders both stand on a strongly anti-immigration, anti-Islam and anti-European Union platform. Both Le Pen and Wilders have promised in-out referendums in the same manner as Britain and, as seen in Britain, the promise of these referendums is more than enough to get a political party into office as it did with the Labour Party in the 1974 and the Conservative Party in 2015.
Put simply, the interests of the working man are diametrically opposed to the interests of the European political class and the battle lines have been drawn. It does not benefit local communities at all to accept a collossal influx of migrants from any corner of the world as this has been shown to depress low-end wages, let alone the effect of migrants with a radically-different and, as Tony Blair pointed out, often outright incompatible set of values, such as the ones that come with people from the Middle East. Since 2014, approximately 2 million migrants from the Islamic World streamed into Germany under the unilateral decision of Angela Merkel, and many just simply disappear, presumably using the Schengen area to their advantage. In 2015, migrants committed over 400,000 crimes in Germany. Most were petty, but it includes 33,000 assaults, batteries and muggings, according to a leaked police report that had to be leaked because the European authorities have a habit of covering up crimes committed by Muslims on the basis that reporting what people do is racist. This is what the regular people have to worry about, their towns and cities are becoming more dangerous through no fault of their own. I could go on at length about the crimes and gangs that seem to spring so readily from these ghettoised communities, but you can use Google for yourself. This creates severe social problems for communities nearby, is having a very destructive effect on the lives of the people involved by both this persistent low-level pressure but also by the looming threat of Islamic terrorism. It’s easy to hear “20 dead in terror attack” and think it was a small number of people, but that is 100 immediate family members who have lost a loved one, and 200 friends now with an empty chair at their poker game, and this happens once per week.
The poorest people in European countries are being asked to bear the burden and pay for the morality of the European middle and upper classes, and they are now in open revolt at the ballot box, and rightly so. These problems are not of their making and they are the least-well-positioned to be able to cope with them. The left-wing elites of Europe have completely lost touch with the day-to-day problems of the working man and treat the very mention of their issues as racism.
24. The entire European Project teeters on the verge of collapse because it was a dream of wealthy internationalists who desired a single united federated State of Europe. It is not from a lack of fine motives, nobody wants to see another great war erupt from within Europe, but the reality of the consequences of the European Project show it to be an obvious failure, but one on which the Eurocrats intend to double-down with ever-closer integration. All of this and we haven’t even discussed the external threats to the EU, as I will let Guy Verhofstadt, chief negitator for Brexit, explain:
Verhofstadt believes that all compromise on the “al a carte” option will be refused. He believes the EU to be in an existential crisis, which is not an uncommon opinion. The EU is run by people with a specific “pro-EU” ideology regarding the “project” who view concessions on certain factors, such as refusing to allow people to “pick and choose” despite the fact Theresa May offered to pay for any reasonable costs. Verhofstadt toes the party line with a flat refusal and his apparent inability to explain exactly why Britain cannot pick and choose make it appear to be a dogmatic ideological assertion rather than one based in pragmatism.
This closing of ranks and heightened desire for a complete federalisation of Europe is a peek at the hand the EU commission has been holding close to its chest. They are afraid of losing control and to alleviate this fear, press more enthusiastically for even more centralisation to achieve the final key attributes of a single, soverign European superstate, to which Verhofstadt has written the manifesto.
And they are right to be afraid – the dissolution of the European Union is a tangible future and would be the complete undoing of the life’s work of most of the people involved. Their pay, their prestige and their position in history will be dictated by what happens in the next few years and they stand to lose everything if it does not go their way. To a bourgeois eurocrat, this is important.
The European Union has already amassed the many trappings of a centralised state: it has established capitals in Brussells and Strasbourg, a single currency in the Euro, a passport-free border in the Schengen Area, its own European Flag, a national anthem called “Ode to Joy”, a European Central Bank, a European constitution in the Lisbon Treaty and a centralised foreign and security policy.
The only missing components to the European Unions desire for statehood are a centralised treasury, of which there are already plans drawn up, and a military force directed by the Commission itself, and I’m sure it will come as no surprise to learn that this has been on the agenda for years. In June 2016, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini released a document outlining the strategic vision for an EU Superstate on the world stage, claiming that “our union is under threat”, that “we must become more joined up” and “create a solid European defence industry”. Before the Brexit vote, it was rumoured that the EU was keeping secret plans on the formation of a European Army, which were to be released the day after the Brexit referendum, after being strenuously denied by the left-wing media outlets. When these turned out to be true, Mogherini pressed ahead with the plan, preparing to create an independent EU military that would be able to “act autonomously” from NATO. She specifies that she is using the chaos caused by Brexit to push forward with these plans as chaos is a ladder and now, unlike in 2011, Britain will not be able to veto the creation of this new military. These plans are backed by the French, German and Italian governments, but it is also being strongly pushed by those who benefit most. Martin Shulz, then-president of the European Parliament, is a firm and vocal advocate, Jean-Claude Juncker, the sitting president of the EU Commission has called for it, indeed, the plans have been in the works for years. There are even plans for the European Union to repurpose France’s nuclear arsenal and place it under the power of a common European command.
Verhofstadt has been in no way shy of describing his dream of turning the European Union into a literal empire, in his words: “Let’s become an empire, an empire of the good and not of the bad.” I’m sure I don’t have to explain the staggering folly on display here, and that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but for the chief Brexit negotiator to be actively planning an new European empire under which he can adopt only the good and exile the bad on the back of a scapegoat is nothing short of madness.
The lack of accountability is a persistent criticism of the European Union and with good reason. In Britain, three separate entities of government can propose legislation. Elected MPs can propose bills in the House of Commons, peers can propose bills in the House of Lords or bills can be proposed by private individuals and organisations.
This gives the public the power to elect representatives who can propose legislation to be debated by the UK government, to address their own issues through their elected representatives. This gives them a distinct level of power and control over their own government that is simply not present in the European Union.
In the European Union, all legislation is proposed exclusively by the European Commission, the EU’s single, independent executive branch. The legislation they propose is the approved by the Council of the European Union. The Members of the European Parliament, the representatives elected by the citizens of the constituent states, were locked out of this process entirely by design, but “over time” this has changed so the European Parliament now has shared with the Council of the European Union and can also approve the legislation. MEPs and the CEU cannot propose legislation, but can “ask” the Commission to propose the legislation their constituents wish to see enacted. The members of the commission are not elected by the public, or even by the MEPs in the European Parliament, but by the Council of the European Union. The members of the CEU are selected from prominent political parties from each member state without public approval.
The European Union does not operate under the principle of the concent of the governed. The entire legislative power of the European Union is concentrated in the hands of a small, unelected body of officials who are not accountable to the European demos. They cannot be forced to act by the elected representatives of the people, and the elected representatives must continually fight a losing battle to restrain the commission, in which they must be lucky every time, but the commission need only be lucky once. The public have no power to have bad legislation repealed or have any method of holding these legislators accountable for their actions because they have no constituents. This situation is made all the more ominous as these untouchable legislators are currently busy legislating their own armed forces into existence. This is a recepie for tyranny, and must be resisted at all costs. You asked, professor, about what we will be handing down to our grandchildren long after we’re gone and my answer is this: a functional, stable, soveriegn nation with an intact social contract with distinguished intellectual tradition based on liberty, prosperity and the rights of the individual.
The political zeitgeist at the top of the European Union is to create a single European superstate and it is out of control. It either does not care or does not understand the concerns of the common citizen and is wrapped up in delusions of grandeur, apparently without considering the ramifications of creating a massive superstate that threatens to undermine NATO and play Europe’s Athens to America’s Sparta and cause a fear of usurpation between the two, which is what Thucydides thought was the primary cause of the Peloponnesian War. The people heading the European Union are so busy accumulating power to themselves in an almost completely unaccountable way they have failed to consider the consequences with not only their enemies but with their allies. These people would seek to unseat the current world order for their own benefit in an attempt to actually create an “empire of good”.
This is, of course, a complete delusion. The European Union will be lucky to survive the fallout of 2017’s elections given the manifest structural problems, financial crises, internal and external political forces that are pulling it apart.
I suggest that Britain is making the correct decision by voting to peacefully leave the European Union now. It is something that the British public have decided with their gut instinct, and, in this case, their gut instinct is probably correct. The political philosophies of Britain and the Continent are not derived from the same roots and are not compatible. We do not trust our politicians and our institutions to operate without oversight, whereas the Europeans do, and it is forever to their detriment.