Breakfast and the Brexit
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
Just how delightful is the story of the Brexit? For a newspaper editor, the referendum on whether the British exit from the European Union is just a gift that keeps on giving. The latest bauble is news that the whole fate of Europe may turn on a teakettle. This is because the regulators in Brussels have been hatching plans to, as the Financial Times puts it, “limit the use of high-powered kettles and toasters.”
As Britain hurtles toward a vote on whether to quit Europe, the daffy dirigistes are suddenly fearing that, as the FT puts it, “a clumsy intervention could send Brexit passions boiling over.” So they are shelving their plans to wreck the British breakfast. We had the Boston Tea Party. The British have this. A tempest in a teapot over the European Nanny State, which — not to put too fine a point on it — makes Mike Bloomberg look like Rand Paul.
Just as an aside, it’s a mark of modern newspaperdom that on this story, the Japanese owned Financial Times quotes BuzzFeed (which now has more journalists in London than the New York Times employed on its entire foreign staff back when our editor grilled his toast over a pot of boiling lead). BuzzFeed found that the Scotland man of the United Kingdom Independence Party, David Coburn, is worried that if Britain lurks in the EU, he’ll have to toast his bread over an open fire.
BuzzFeed reports that Brussels is baffled by Mr. Coburn. But the Scot, who’s no doubt read his Hobbes and Smith, knows what he’s doing. He says he wants to get power back to Westminster and Holyrood. Good for him. He knows that if Britain stays within the European Union there’s not a chance that it will leave Britain’s teakettles and toasters alone. This is what Brussels does. It looks for opportunities to control people’s lives.
We don’t mind saying that we are savoring the irony in the British rebellion. One of the complaints of our own revolutionaries — enumerated in the Declaration of Independence — was that George III had created a multitude of offices and “sent hither” what the Declaration’s authors called “swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.” Less than three years before, Americans had protested by dumping British tea in Boston’s harbor. How fitting that it’s come all the way back around to the kettle.