Today is the 193rd day since the Brexit Referendum. This being a prime number, and therefore indivisible, it seems an ironically appropriate day for a post about an event that exposed such deep and lamentable divisions among the people of the United Kingdom.
I didn’t have a vote, having emigrated from the Green and Pleasant Land 38 years ago, but if I had I would have voted Remain. I don’t know whether staying would be better in the long run for the British economy, but I’m pretty sure it would be better for Europe as a whole – economically, politically and in every other way in the short, medium and long run.
But Joan Williams, a friend from way back whom I respect, voted for Brexit and I asked her why. Her answer had nothing to do with immigration or the NHS. I reproduce it here in full, with Joan’s permission:
“ If you really want to know why I voted leave, it’s basically because I’m afraid I do not think the EU is a good thing. I don’t think the world has outgrown the nation state yet, and that when it does it will not be through the likes of the EU. I love the individual European countries that I know (i.e. Germany, Italy and Spain), and value both our similarities and differences, and don’t see what is gained by trying artificially to weld us all together.
“ I don’t think any supranational institution is better than none, or that being semi-attached to an institution that is heading in the wrong direction is ‘the best of both worlds’. Most importantly, I revere the British constitution, and I don’t take our democratic freedom for granted; the more we compromise and dilute and sacrifice it, the more we are losing it.
“ We achieved our freedom and developed our democracy before anyone else, and it is still the best, and still an example to the world; whereas the EU, in its top-heavy unaccountable over-bureaucratic clumsiness, more resembles the old tired easily-corruptible19th century empires. One doesn’t need to invoke Napoleon: Nicholas II and Franz-Josef are bad enough! It is like choosing to be a dinosaur instead of a mammal. ”
Does anyone else out there feel the same way?
One thought on “Brexit”
Her arguments are more relevant to the question of whether to join the EU. Once in, the argument becomes whether to remain. This is different, and depends on whether one thinks EU procedures are immutable or reformable– and whether those who aim to take the EU even further (from customs union to federation) are likely to prevail.
As a Son of Empire I regretted Britain’s entry to the EU (Community, then). But I now regret its “decision” to leave. (When over 48% of voters don’t want change, how can the vote be an endorsement of change? &^%$&%$@
I’m not sure whether to be amused or bemused by the reference to the British Constitution. Where, pray, can I obtain a copy? What’s that I hear? The Magna Carta!??