To Hell and Back: Brexit Undaunted By Europe’s Jibes
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 United Kingdom’s efforts to exit the European Union are going to hell. “In a handbasket,” Napoleon would doubtless mutter, he the French autocrat who disparaged his British conqueror as nothing but “a nation of shopkeepers.” The president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, probably agrees. Neither Britons nor shopkeepers — free enterprisers of any sort — earn any respect from Brussels mandarins.
Like Napoleon, Mr. Tusk and his camarilla have plans for European hegemony and putting Britain in its place. “I’ve been wondering what that special place in hell looks like,” he mused on Twitter, “for those who promoted Brexit, without even a sketch of a plan how to carry it out safely.”
“Well, I doubt Lucifer would welcome them,” piped up the EU’s Brexit coordinator, Guy Verhofstadt. His beef was that after what those who promoted Brexit in Britain, they would even manage to divide hell.
But like the Church Militant, Brexiteers are hitting back. Jacob Rees-Mogg replied that Mr. Tusk’s slur “shows exactly why the British people rejected the EU in the first place.”
The EU mythology is built on the premise that public servants know best. But, as public choice economics teaches, bureaucrats are not selfless; indeed, public servants often know “what’s best for them.”
So it is natural in the globalist mindset, as Mr. Rees-Mogg says, that the EU Council President can issue, without fear of retribution, “lurid comments about people who want to look after their voters’ interests, and deliver on what they wanted.” (Supporters of President Trump witness this condescension toward “democracy” hyperactive in America.)
What is still more damning, Mr. Tusk’s entire premise is a falsehood. Says Mr. Rees-Mogg: “His claim we do not have a plan just is false.” Any number of Brexit organizations have published outlines for Britain going forward in freedom, either with a deal or without.
One such is “Leave Means Leave.” Its current chairman, John Longworth, puts Mr. Tusk firmly in his place. Denying that Brexit is the Devil’s work, Mr. Longworth expresses sympathy for “those poor, innocent souls trapped and tangled in debt-ridden Italy, mired amongst the unemployed of Greece and Spain.”
Mr. Longworth, former director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce — he was shown the door for his early support for Leave — reiterates the promise of Brexit: “As we leave in March for a new world of freedom and trade based on WTO we will look forward to our own version of heaven, of low taxes, low tariffs, global trade, and look over our shoulder upon the old world.”
If any proof were needed of the EU’s mendacity, sufficient evidence is manifested in the manner in which it has treated a member country that simply wants to exit on amicable terms. Nowhere has the mandarin class demonstrated the virtue of charity in their relations with Britain’s hapless prime minister, Theresa May, and certainly not toward Brexiteers.
Mr. Tusk may believe the simple desire for independence an act worthy of the EU’s wrath. If so, as most sins, it’s a popular failing that grows by example. A recent poll in France disclosed that 40% are favorable toward a Frexit of their own.
For Britons, though, Brexit is less an act of sin than an exercise in redemption, their chance to set the record right and begin afresh. They believe, as American revolutionary Thomas Paine wrote, “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.”
Brexiteers’ aim of regaining independence exemplifies the virtue of justice. Self-government, personal responsibility, and voluntary relations among the nations of the world. The European Union typifies the reverse.
Seen in another light, if Britain were not already a member, would it scramble to join? Hardly. Common sense would caution against any such rash step, echoing Dante’s admonition at the gates of Hell: “Abandon every hope, all you who enter.”