The Corner


Backed by History and Custom, the British Move to Brexit

The British have now applied to leave the European Union. This was bound to happen. The two are incompatible. In general terms, government with the consent of the people has long been a British national purpose, whereas throughout Europe government itself has been the national purpose and the people have the sole choice of obedience or revolution.

With history, custom, and identity behind her, British Prime Minister Theresa May therefore is rectifying the mistake previous British governments made in joining an institution with which they had virtually no political aims in common. The applause she has received from the public speaks for itself. In opposition, a minority on the left takes the Marxist-inspired view that peace, love, and brotherhood are the prerogatives of international organizations, and the EU is one such, (just like their beloved United Nations).

But here’s a mystery. A handful of eminent Tories, who really ought to know better, are weeping over Brexit. One of them is former Prime Minister John Major, who seems influenced by nothing more than thankfulness for the high old times his opposite numbers in Europe once offered him. Strangest of all is Michael Heseltine, once deputy prime minister, in which position he succeeded in forcing Mrs. Thatcher to resign. He asserts that Germany has won the post-war peace, thus cancelling out its loss of the world war. The logic — if that’s the word — is that Britain must discipline Germany for the good of both nations. That might not go down well in Berlin, and in any case Mrs. Merkel has made sure through mass immigration that the Germany of the future will have no recognizable features to the Germany of the past.

The EU has only two possible outcomes: Either all the component nations must abandon their histories and identities to form a single federal state whether or not their populations want it, or crisis will follow crisis leading to eventual collapse. Heseltine is in his eighties, but may still have the chance to see Britain standing clear of these unlovely alternatives.


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