The Corner

Brexit!

As expected, my man Michael Gove has come out in favor of Brexit: in favor of Britain’s exit from the European Union. To read his statement in The Spectator, go here.

It takes a lot for me to click on The Spectator these days. (I explain here.) Gove, almost uniquely, has the power to make me do it.

He was always one of my favorite writers. Then he entered politics, where he shined even brighter. David Cameron is one of his biggest fans. He put him in his shadow cabinet. Gove has been in his inner circle ever since. Gove is now justice minister.

My most recent interview of Gove was in 2014, and it resulted in a four-part series: I, II, III, and IV. If you would like to get to know him and his thought, that series is not a bad way to do it.

I agree with Gove entirely on Britain and the EU. I also agree with him that Cameron is an outstanding prime minister — outstandingly good.

By the way, I heard from quarters of the Right for a long time that Cameron would never deliver on his promise of an EU referendum. He has of course delivered.

Could we pause for a second to acknowledge this? Half a second? A millisecond? A Miliband second?

No, I’m sure we can’t. The tide of right-wing hatred and absolutism, like left-wing hatred and absolutism, is unstoppable.

There are people in Britain who believe that Britain is better off in the EU. Some of these people are conservative, as well as Conservative. I believe they are wrong on this issue. But they don’t hate Britain, they don’t hate national sovereignty, they don’t want to have Jacques Delors’ love child.

Reading the right-wing, or even the conservative, press in America, you would never know that there are patriotic pro-EU Brits. But there are. We just black-and-white things. (And some issues, of course, are black and white. For an illustration, I would point to Planned Parenthood and its hawking of baby parts.)

Take Ken Clarke, that old warhorse. I think he is flat wrong about the EU. But I’m not going to pretend that I am more pro-British than he is. Every two-bit right-wing commentator in America thinks he is more pro-British than Ken frickin’ Clarke. Which is mind-boggling.

“I don’t love Brussels,” said Cameron, “I love Britain.” Anyone who doubts it is too fevered to talk to, I’m afraid.

Conservatives are not Jacobins. Neither are they extremists. I rejected the Left, long ago, because they were filled with malice and extremism. More and more, I see the Right infected by these things.

I think these things should be fought (including, I must confess, in myself).

(“Extremism in the pursuit of liberty is no vice”! Yeah, yeah …)

P.S. Here is a challenge for us Outers: Be half as understanding and decent toward Cameron and similar Inners as Cameron is toward us.

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