“Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity….”
What was originally meant to be W. B. Yeats’ commentary on World War I could easily be mistaken for the disaster that would’ve unfolded if the United Kingdom, God forbid, voted to leave the European Union.
The EU sounded like a good idea, almost utopian: open borders, free movement, free trade, a continental currency, a land of milk and honey. But what was originally established as an economic union has slowly turned into an overbearing, activist government that seeks perpetual domination over its member states.
In 1979, Brussels hosted the first European Parliament. A more appropriate name would be Western European Parliament, seeing that Europe was still very much in the throes of the Cold War and Moscow wouldn’t let any influence be given to Eastern European parliaments. In that era, the Parliament was focused on protecting free trade and rarely went out of its way to enact economic regulations.
After the Cold War ended in 1991, the European Union was quick to accept former Warsaw Pact nations. However, they needed extra incentive. Hence the conception of the Euro currency. Again, sounds like a good idea. A shared currency can create a more trade-friendly environment as long as everyone plays by the rules.
Only one problem: the EU lacked a strong enough central bank that could regulate the currency. In fact, every country controlled the printing and regulation of the currency. Greece, Italy, and Spain, where the economy is still stagnating, have abused the Euro for their benefit and left countries like Germany and France to negotiate bailouts in an attempt to save the EuroZone. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been forced to give Greece bailout after bailout, fearing that Greece will tank and bring the whole EuroZone down with it. In this system, one irresponsible country can tank the entire currency.
Don’t think that just because the United Kingdom isn’t in the EuroZone that they ran away unscathed. Certainly they dodged the predictable bullet that is the EuroZone, but being a leading member of the EU, they had to foot the bill for a lot of the bailouts. It is clear that the poor structure of the EU and the chaotic nature of the EuroZone were all disasters and needed to be eradicated, but let’s look at the UK’s sovereignty.
The British have always prided themselves in not being European. It’s what they have called, “Splendid Isolation.” Historically, the British have tried to stay out of European wars, entering only to prevent one nation from gaining continental supremacy. The EU started as an economic union, but Brussels and the European Parliament have expanded into sectors that were not originally intended. EU laws were crossing lines that jeopardized the ability of European governments from constructing laws that were designed for their nation’s needs.
Now, the European Court of Justice has exceeded what is appropriate in their interpretation of EU supremacy over member states. Brussels is effectively seeking European dominance.
In 1972, the British Parliament passed the European Communities Act, which implicitly recognized the supremacy of EU law over UK law. As time has gone on and Brussels has expanded its influence, EU law now takes precedence over UK law. A 2010 House of Commons Library study found that 14 to 17 percent of UK law is derived from their former EU membership. The same study also concluded that around 50 percent of UK legislation with “significant economic impact” originated from EU legislation. The European Parliament is dominating domestic legislatures.
Brexit will be the leading example for other European nations as they begin to debate the merits of leaving the EU. The British have inspired Frexit, Nexit, Auxit, and (my personal favorite) Italeave. The UK citizens have returned to their government the right of home rule. While Brussels continues to expand its reach like an encroaching octopus, the UK is going to negotiate their own trade deals, control their own borders, and define their own future.
To return to W. B. Yeats’ The Second Coming:
“…Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man…
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”
Maybe Brexit isn’t the Second Coming, but it might be the start of European independence from an ever encroaching foreign government.