Medical Tuesday Blog
Democracy Has Spoken
Politicians, academics, big-business leaders, journalist are aghast.
By Quentin Letts, WSJ, June 25, 2016
QUENTIN LETTS WRITES FOR THE DAILY MAIL IN LONDON
What indignation we had from London liberals when the result of Britain’s referendum on the European Union became clear early on Friday. By a majority of 52% in a high turnout, voters had opted to leave the Brussels-based union of 28 European countries.
“Catastrophic!” spluttered Keith Vaz, chairman of the parliamentary select committee on home affairs. Tony Blair suggested the public—the ill-educated dimwits—did not understand what it had just done. A former national political party leader, Lord Ashdown, was so aghast at the result that he lamented: “God help our country.”
The name of the party Mr. Ashdown once led? The Liberal Democrats. Yet here he was complaining after 17.4 million voters gave a clear democratic order to quit the EU, a federalizing union that was unpopular chiefly because, ahem, it was so undemocratic.
Events moved fast. Prime Minister David Cameron, choking back tears, announced his resignation. Mr. Cameron paid the price for leading a rancorous campaign to keep his country in the EU.
Sterling plummeted and the London stock market had an attack of the vapors. The opposition Labour Party announced moves to unseat its own leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who had also campaigned for standing by Brussels. With British politics suffering a bout of the collywobbles, we needed a statesman to bring some stability to proceedings. Enter Donald Trump, who arrived in Scotland on a visit and made a speech in the middle of his Turnberry golf course. Turnberry being prey to notorious breezes, Mr. Trump wore one of his trademark baseball caps.
In 1993 the EEC morphed into the European Union, a far more political undertaking. The EU not only had its own flag and anthem but also a hunger for fiscal, diplomatic and legislative powers. Then came its own currency, the euro. This has caused economic ruin in much of Europe (though not, happily, in Britain, which never gave up the pound).
Now the British electorate has said “enough!” Voters have declared that they want Westminster’s elected House of Commons, not the EU’s commissioners in Brussels, to set British policy—particularly on immigration. Other European nations might look at Brexit with envy. There could well be a domino effect.
The referendum result is a tremendous kick in the knackers for Britain’s centrist ruling elite. Many of those supporting continued membership in the EU were politicians, academics, lawyers, big-business leaders, church leaders and well-paid journalists. Some of these Brahmins and their family members were given perks and pensions by Brussels. In return they tried to depict EU critics as “Little Englanders,” a slur often promoted by the big-state media behemoth, the BBC.
Special venom was reserved for ale-quaffing, plain-speaking Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party. For years he campaigned against the EU and was treated as a pariah. Friday’s result is in large part a monument to Mr. Farage. The other leader of the campaign to leave was Conservative Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London. He was singled out for personal attacks by the pro-EU crowd. Mr. Johnson, who has an unruly blond hairdo and a mottled marital record, was lambasted as a British Trump. . .
Will there be further resignations after Mr. Cameron’s? Probably. There may be so many casualties that British politics will start to resemble the final scene of “Hamlet.” The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, looks mortally wounded, having issued numerous threats of economic catastrophe in the event of Brexit. The Cameron-Osborne campaign was so hyperbolic and gloom-laden, it became known as “Project Fear.” As happened with the fable of the little boy who cried “wolf,” eventually the world stopped listening.
President Obama and his ambassador to London, Matthew Barzun, played their own role in Project Fear, trying to raise jitters by suggesting that Britain would be less welcome in the world if it quit the EU. Now that the public has spoken, however, the U.S. should welcome Brexit. British voters have reminded European politicians that democracy is a fundamental Western value. For all the initial volatility, leaving the EU will lead to longer-term prosperity and stability. Hooray for Brexit.
Mr. Letts writes for the Daily Mail in London.
Comment: I have a feeling that the peasants are getting their pitchforks sharpened here in the US.
DO SCOTS now want to remain part of the UK?