By Ben Buxton
The EU is slowing and bringing down Great Britain. Ben shares his analysis on why that is and what should happen going forward.
In her famous Bruges Speech, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher declared,
“Willing and active cooperation between independent sovereign states is the best way to build a successful (Europe)… it would be folly to try and fit them into some sort of identikit European personality.”
It was something of a road to Damascus moment for Thatcher, having previously advocated during the 1975 referendum that increased European integration was in the British interest. The time has come for the rest of Britain to go down this road as it heads closer to its Brexit referendum. Without a doubt, the European Union experiment has failed. Hostility to the rest of Europe is a constant of British history. Even in 1944 Winston Churchill proclaimed, “Each time we must choose between Europe and the open sea, we shall choose the open sea”. In 1975 the public were convinced to ignore their cultural instincts, and chose Europe over the sea. A utopian idea of membership to an economic juggernaut was promised, with prosperity and fortune for all. Ties with European neighbours would be stronger than ever. Surely by now reality has set in.
Instead of prosperity, Britain has opened itself to dysfunction and placed itself in the fallout zone of failing Greek, Italian and Spanish finances. Instead of greater freedom, Britain has been slugged with increased regulations that can in no way be claimed to be of benefit. Only the most dedicated Europhile sycophants can argue having a uniformed regulation on how to bottle mineral water is vital for economic growth. I’m willing to wager a considerable sum of money no one who voted yes in the 1975 referendum had the goal of regulating mineral water bottles continent wide on their priority list. Granted, priorities and interests can change, but even with this concession the EU still fails to serve British interests. And really, when has it ever served British interests? In every area from economic management, immigration, infrastructure and more the EU has been a shambles for its member states. The uneven relationship is arguably best demonstrated in another area: defense. Various European politicians have expressed dismay at the prospect of a Brexit. They argue that Britain is required for the European Common Foreign and Security Policy to be taken seriously.
Excuse me? When did it become Britain’s role to provide credibility to a common defense initiative? When the GFC hit, Britain was only one a few nations that refused to slash its military budget via austerity measures. It is farcical European nations make this decision then expect Britain to pick up the slack and get nothing in return. When Britain wanted to take action in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya where was Europe? Britain is better acting as an independent agent than in Europe; look at Britain’s role in NATO and the signing of the St. Malo Pact with France.
Bizarrely, David Cameron’s response to this is to ‘renegotiate’ the British relationship with the EU. In doing so he ignores the growing popularity of Brexit within the Conservative Party and the broader public. It proves that the promise of a Brexit referendum was nothing more than a desperate vote grab from Nigel Farage and UKIP, with every
intent to stifle the yes campaign after the election. When Conservative Party MPs wonder why there is such anger with the political system, and why so many traditionally Tory voters flock to UKIP, they should look no further than Cameron’s intransigence. If the Prime Minister is unwilling to show leadership on the issue then its time for the rest of the party, the electorate and UKIP to take up the cause and reclaim British sovereignty from a thoroughly undemocratic institution. It’s time to for Britain to go back to its roots and, as Churchill would say, choose the sea over Europe.