The Rise and Fall of Empires

James Delingpole:

The real reason that Whitehall and Theresa May’s government have made so few preparations for a ‘no deal’ Brexit is because neither of them was ever serious about leaving.

Whitehall — the Civil Service — is run by doctrinaire Europhiles.

May’s government — including the Prime Minister herself as well as her Chancellor and, till recently, her Home Secretary — is currently controlled by a faction of Remainers.

I can’t say that I’ve ever really expected Britain to leave the EU. The political class in Britain has never wanted to leave, and so I doubt very much that we’ll be leaving any time soon. I believe they’re asking for an extension to the leaving process, and after they’ve got one, they’ll ask for another, and then another, and then another. Brexit will be deferred indefinitely.

And if not that, then there will be a second referendum, and then a third referendum. However many it takes before they get the “right” answer.

It seems to me that the political class made a disastrous mistake by asking the British people whether they wanted to stay in the EU. They seemed to believe that they’d certainly vote to remain inside it. David Cameron must have been very confident of the outcome. Instead, he was forced to resign when the wrong answer came back. And as far as I can see he’s become a non-person ever since.

When Britain was first asked whether it wanted to join, they were offered membership of a trading community in which nation states retained their autonomy. But it’s no longer quite like that:

Brussels bureaucrats are working to create a “European Empire” without national borders and peopled by a “multicultural, mixed population”, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has warned.

Speaking on Hungary’s national day, marking the ill-fated 1956 revolution against the occupying Soviet powers which was eventually brutally put down after Western democratic powers decided to not intervene on Hungary’s behalf, Prime Minister Orbán has cautioned against the European project, which he said was becoming an empire.

There’s always someone working to create a European empire. First the Roman empire. Then Charlemagne. Then the Holy Roman Empire. And the Napoleonic empire. And the Austro-Hungarian empire. And  Hitler’s short-lived empire. And now the European Union. As soon as one empire crumbles, someone starts building another one. And no sooner is another one being constructed than starts to show signs of decay and collapse.

The simple truth of the matter is that the various nations and peoples of Europe want to run their own affairs. They want to govern themselves. The French want to govern France. The British want to govern Britain. The Spanish want to govern Spain. And so on. But there always seem to be a few people who want to govern them all. And that’s where the trouble starts. So what we’re seeing now is an upsurge of anti-EU nationalism, as the various states seek to re-assert their identity, and govern themselves. And there’s a growing divide between the imperialistic European political class and the nationalist peoples of Europe.

It was precisely this that was the dispute between Gavrilo Princip and Archduke Franz Ferdinand, 100 years ago in July 1914:

Gavrilo Princip was a Bosnian Serb member of Young Bosnia, a Yugoslavist organization seeking an end to Austro-Hungarian rule in Bosnia and Herzegovina

So back then it was one little country – Bosnia and Herzegovina – trying to get out from under the sprawling Austro-Hungarian empire. And it’s exactly the same today, as one country after another tries to get out from under the thumb of the sprawling European Union. And in the case of Hungary, that is a country which was trying back in 1956 to get out from under the thumb of the sprawling Soviet Union,

History is repeating itself. But with new actors playing the same roles.

When Gavrilo Princip shot and killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand, it triggered WW1, as one nation lined up against another.

The situation 100 years on is structurally the same, except that WW1 (and its second half, WW2) shattered Europe and all its various mini-empires. Europe was bankrupted. And it ceased to be quite the major player in the world that it had been until then. For ever since we’ve been living in a polarised world with America and the Soviet Union/Russia as the great powers that succeeded the bankrupted great European powers. It’s going to be Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin who will decide what happens in Europe.  And Donald Trump is in favour of national self-government rather than EU globalism.

And so what happens next in Europe is going to depend on the outcome of the US midterm elections in a couple of weeks time. For if Trump manages to secure the US Senate and Congress, he’ll probably start pushing strongly for the UK’s Brexit vote to be implemented without further delay. And he’ll probably press the case of Hungary and Italy and all the other nation states of Europe against that of the EU political class.

Nothing is going to happen until the US midterm elections are decided. And then all sorts of things might start happening very quickly.

But that’s just my guess. And I won’t be at all surprised if I’m wrong.

Either way, there are always some people who think they know better than everyone else what’s good for them, whether it’s whether they should be allowed to govern their own countries, or whether they should be allowed to burn coal and oil, or whether it they should be allowed to smoke cigarettes.

About Frank Davis

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2 Responses to The Rise and Fall of Empires

  1. waltc says:

    I wouldn’t count on Trump coming out for Brexit–not that he isn’t for it but just that he’s got too much on his plate that directly affects America.

    • Frank Davis says:

      A number of people have said that he’s been spending far more time outside the USA than he should be, for the exact same reason. But Trump seems to be as deeply engaged with the world as he is with America. And I don’t expect that’s going to change

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