We are seeing the end of democracy when ‘the mob’ think they are entitled to overturn the result of a general election or a referendum. But the mob should be careful what they wish for – the alternative is government by dictators and historical examples in the last century – Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Tito, Hitler, Franco, Mussolini etc. – are not so very appealing. First the mob drives out a democratically elected government or an existing tyranny, but then a new tyrant arises who murders those who might oppose him (including members of ‘the mob’)
Thus Anthony Sargeant reflects that ….. if I were Theresa May ….. I would have the courage to call an early general election with a manifesto pledge to leave the EU with immediate effect. I have no doubt that she would achieve an impressive victory, if only because British people do not take kindly to bullying and threats.
The consequence of immediate withdrawal would probably be very positive for the UK given the precarious position of the EU and Euro economies (Greece is yet again on the brink – desperately trying to find an agreement with its creditors – aka the European Central Bank – aka Germany) – but Portugal, Italy, Spain and others are not much better off – even if hidden from view. In many EU countries there is massive youth unemployment rising above 30%.
On leaving the EU the UK can immediately open negotiations with the rest of world on such free trade deals as seem beneficial (even, dare one say, deals with the EU – which as a net exporter to the UK might quickly think this is a good idea). In the meantime WTO rules and their tariffs are not as significant to exporters as fluctuations in exchange rates as James Dyson has pointed out.
But trade is not the real point – the real point is British Sovereignty. That is having control of our own destiny. As Karl Popper famously observed, the point of western democracy is not that you necessarily get the government that you want, doing what you want, but that at the next election you can get rid of them – unfortunately this is not true of the un-elected EU politburo in Brussels.
Who, for example, voted for Jean-Claude Juncker as head of the European Commission? A former Luxembourg Prime Minister who in that role and in a little known secretive EU committee vetoed any attempt to limit cross-border tax avoidance. Then you might ask why are Amazon and other multi-national companies located in the tiny principality of Luxembourg? to the benefit of guess who? Jean-Claude Juncker and Luxembourg (which has the second highest GDP per capita in the world after that other well known democracy Abu Dhabi). A position that at the very least might be considered hypocritical and at another level verging on corrupt.
But anyway and in addition to controlling our own destiny the UK would no longer be a cash cow sending money to Brussels to support a political project which is out of date and frankly, after 60 years, out of time. A political project which is now, in all but name, a German controlled European Superstate – the Holy Roman Empire revisited (which was the 1st Reich for those who know the numbering system of the 3rd Reich – NB the Weimar Republic was classified as an ‘interim Reich’ so it did not count).
And then finally Scotland – …… if I were Theresa May ….. I would also put into the manifesto a pledge to have an immediate referendum on Independence. It would be the honourable thing to do.
A referendum would give the Scottish people a chance to review the situation and make their own decision about the future. One understands the emotional and sentimental appeal of Independence for a proud nation. A nation which it could be argued has made a disproportionately large contribution to the historic Union. Without Scottish engineers, philosophers, artists, writers and others the United Kingdom would have been a much poorer nation.
In addition there has been the contribution of Scotland to the UK military over many years and many wars. In my lifetime the ‘United Kingdom’ stood alone and thereby rescued Europe from German tyranny and genocide, but only after massive sacrifice of UK military and the civilian populations (including my maternal grandparents killed in the London Blitz). Who can forget the Scottish piper at El Alamein, or on the beach on D-Day?
So, ……if I were Theresa May ….. , I would commit to a very early referendum on Independence for the Scottish people. They deserve no less. If they choose to leave the historic Union and become an independent country one would wish them all speed and so very many thanks for their massive contribution to the United Kingdom over many years of the Union. Of course, and in passing, one would hope that they would not then vote to lose the independence they chose by becoming a minor province of a dysfunctional European Superstate controlled by Berlin through Brussels – a 4th Reich in all but name.
Anthony J Sargeant comments : this is just a foretaste of the ‘United States of Europe’ civil war which could mirror that in the United States of America in 1861-65 in which economic differences led to over a million casualties.
The UK staying in the EU will not save Europe from this fate but add to the further consolidation of the differences between rich and poor across Europe leading to disaster. It is time to abandon the undemocratic and out of date EU political project and engage with the cultures and people of the wider world in a spirit of collaboration and mutual respect and not prop up an inward looking “Fortress Europe”.