Brexit: ‘No Deal’ Is Ideal
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.
The defeat in Parliament of Prime Minister May’s compromise with Europe opens the way to true independence for Britain. It presents the chance for a redemption of the referendum of June 2016, when Britons were asked “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?” and 51.89% answered “Leave the European Union.”
It is too soon to declare mission accomplished. The future can still be lost, but Britain just took a giant step in the right direction. It makes clear that Britain’s future lies with a “no deal” Brexit. It means that Britons are unwilling to leave themselves partially under the control of the Mandarins in Brussels. They want to manage their own sovereign system. Good for Britain.
No one was surprised when Mrs. May’s exit proposal was rebuffed. It would have left Britain partly under the control of the EU but shorn of any say in EU affairs. In that respect at least, her deal would have left Britain worse off than before Brexit. No wonder the decision in Parliament was a 230 vote majority (432 to 202) against the May compromise, the “worst Parliamentary defeat on record.”
Nor should anyone be surprised if the Europeans try to use this moment to foil Britain’s departure from the EU altogether. The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, is suggesting that Britain stay in the EU, after all. “If a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?” he tweeted.
It’s not true, though, that “no one wants no deal.” There is a camp, which this newspaper favors, that reckons no deal is ideal. It would put Britain among those that trade with the EU on World Trade Organization terms. They include Hong Kong, Singapore, and New Zealand, the top three nations in Fraser’s “Economic Freedom of the World” annual report.
There are all sorts of successful countries that have prospered outside of the EU — Free Korea, Israel, Free China, among them. If former colonies can succeed outside the EU ambit, why not the mother country? This point seems to be clear to the strongest voices in Parliament, including Jacob Rees-Mogg, who has no misgivings over the demise of the Government’s plan.
Parliament, Mr. Rees-Mogg responded in a Westminster scrum, passed Article 50 triggering the EU exit and its own withdrawal act “in the knowledge that if no deal was agreed we would leave without a deal.” He notes: “Most of the MP’s saying we can’t leave without a deal actually voted for a law that provides for us to leave without a deal.”
Nor is he alone in what critics will doubtless slam as irresponsible complacency. Boris Johnson agrees that the British people won’t back a “Brexit deal nobody voted for.” The Establishment’s howls of protest against “no deal” fall upon deaf ears in Middle England, Mr. Johnson feels confident, because this option is “closest to what people actually voted for.”
This adds up to what Ronald Reagan, in one of his greatest moments, called a “time for choosing.” That was in a speech during Senator Goldwater’s presidential campaign of 1964, when the issue was, as it is today, also independence — or, as Reagan put it, “whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution.” Britain now has its own chance to reclaim its glory.