There’s no escaping the topic of Brexit these days, here in Britain.
Blocking Brexit could lead to a surge in far-right extremism in the UK, a senior cabinet minister has said.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling told the Daily Mail that not leaving the EU would cause the 17 million people who voted for Brexit to feel “cheated”.
This could end centuries of “moderate” politics in the UK, he said, as he urged his colleagues to back Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
Are they going to feel any less cheated if they’re handed Theresa May’s Brexit deal instead? Some people are saying that May’s Brexit deal will leave Britain even worse off than it was inside the EU:
Following the remarkable intervention of an anonymous civil servant over Christmas in the Telegraph, who revealed that the civil service was far more prepared for no deal than the Government was letting on, a second anonymous civil servant has come forward to warn that May’s Deal creates a Brexit “triple lock” which could “shackle the UK to Brussels forever”.
Writing for BrexitCentral, they warn that the “backstop is intended to be inescapable” and would give the EU “effective control over UK trade and competition policy” as well as “carv[ing] out Northern Ireland as an EU province and set[ting] a border in the Irish Sea”. Nor do they see the promised future relationship as a viable way out, they write that “the Political Declaration replicates all the onerous ‘non-regression’ clauses of the backstop” as well as requiring “even more surrender of sovereignty” in numerous other areas including fishing, defence and agriculture.
I can’t see any Brexiteer being in the least bit happy with such a “deal”. In fact, I think it would make those 17.4 million people feel even more cheated. And make a surge in nationalism even more likely.
The real problem lies in the EU, where similar nationalist sentiments are now rapidly mounting. For, although no politician in Brussels would ever say so, the EU has really become a new European empire over the past 30 years, with its capital in Brussels, and with its member states so many captive colonies, with the result that the conditions in Europe now resemble the conditions in the British colonies in America prior to the 1776 revolution.
It should be no surprise to anyone that the EU became an empire. The history of Europe is is one long history of successive empires, either within the continent of Europe (e.g. the Roman Empire) or extending around the world (e.g. the British Empire). WW1 and WW2 were wars fought between rival European empires, and the last colossal war resulted in the demise of all the European empires. So when the EEC trading bloc emerged during the post-war era, it gradually and naturally expanded and metamorphosed into… a new empire, because it was run by has-been and would-be imperialists.
Imperialists build empires. It’s the only thing they know how to do. The imperialists want global influence. But the bigger their empires become, and the more centralised the power within them, the less their component states and statelets feel represented within these expanding empires. And these resentments and animosities only get stronger, and breed revolt. And that’s what’s happening in Europe right now.
Europe is a bit like Krakatoa: There’s periodically a tremendous eruption, in which lots of people get killed, after which there’s a long period of tranquility while the volcano slowly grows back to a size where it’s ready to produce yet another tremendous eruption. The last European eruption ended in 1945, and there’s been almost perfect peace in Europe for the past 75 years or so. But in those 75 years the volcano of the EU empire has been steadily growing, and now, just like in 1914, the colonies are getting restless, and complaining about lack of representation. And so everything is in place for a new explosion.
With luck the next explosion won’t be anywhere near as bad as the last eruption, if only because the nations of Europe are not armed to the teeth like they were a century ago. And neither is the EU (so far). The real super-powers in the world today are the USA and Russia and China. Europe has become a tranquil backwater in the world. And if it becomes seriously disturbed, it’s quite likely that there will be interventions in Europe by the USA and Russia and China. But with luck the next European eruption will see an almost bloodless overthrow of the EU empire by the peoples of Europe, simply through the exercise of their vote.
And then someone will start building yet another European empire.