‘Headmistress’ Theresa May, criticised EU leaders’ lack of maturity after they warned her they intend to make Brexit negotiations ‘hard’, even suggesting they might be carried out in French (which hasn’t been the practice since the number of member countries tripled). She asked that they adopt a constructive spirit, to deliver a ‘smooth’ departure, looking for opportunities not problems. Will we now have soft, hard and smooth Brexit options to consider.”
Rock Star Perspective
In any political belief system there needs to be a balance between principle and pragmatism. Too much principle can become ideology, too much pragmatism means little that needs to, will change. However idealistic the vision there needs to be a reckoning: is it working, if not what needs fixing?
As Leavers we try to see the other viewpoint and motivation. We think some Remainers see their own self-interest in the cause they favour; others have a very pragmatic viewpoint, whatever the problems with the EU it is too risky for Britain to leave now. But many have nobler instincts.
A major British rock star, musing on life and his view of the world’s problems, said in a recent interview: “We’re all in this together.” (We agree with his sentiment.) He thinks Brexit is at odds with this feeling. “I voted, and I voted to remain … It’s a f…ing nightmare as far as I’m concerned.” (He’s extended the sentiment into a vague philosophy.) “I regard myself as European, even though I live in America.” (He is removed from the practicalities, like many elites. Is this a good way to express solidarity?
There are fearful, selfish and noble adherents on both sides (are there any other types?) Even most noble-Remainers would accept that the EU isn’t perfect but what are the major things that must or should change and how likely do they think that change will happen? We believe the EU is institutionally incapable of adequate change, even to sustain the Project. Do the noble enthusiasts think the current fundamentals and outcomes are good enough, if we have to accept them?
Shall we stay or shall we go?
A constant complaint from Nicola Sturgeon and other Remainers is that there is no plan for leaving the EU. Of course she’s right, but that doesn’t say it all. So far the EU’s leaders have just about kept enough plates spinning for it to survive but it gets harder all the time because they are unwilling to adapt their vision and policies to today’s conditions.
The world’s economy cannot stay the same (with central banks creating money and holding interest rates around zero percent); therefore it will change. The Eurozone is ill-suited to survive these changes; Britain, as a non-member, will scarcely be considered when it is eventually redesigned but will be profoundly affected by how the new EMU works. We may have voted to plunge into a risky and unknown future but it was risky and unknowable if we remained. Economists are clever but they cannot reliably forecast events, as recent attempts have proved. It is a matter of opinion (not fact) which is the safer course.
EU leaders are determined to stall as long as they can, and blame the lack of union for the problems, risking an ever worsening crisis.We think Brexit can be made to work but it won’t be easy and remaining in the EU meant accepting a (perhaps dramatic) decline.
One out, All out!
Reactions across the EU to the Brexit vote are putting pressure on EU institutions. While demands for referendums on leaving the Union are still fringe responses, expectations that reform of the EU should rise up its agenda are increasing among traditional supporters.
“We must ask the question of whether so many decisions need to be taken in Brussels” says Günter Verheugen, a former E.U. commissioner from Germany.
“The E.U. must be understood and controlled by its citizens” commented French President François Hollande.
Chancellor Merkel has acknowledged that the future of the EU depends on whether the remaining member states “will be willing and able to avoid drawing quick and simple conclusions” from Britain’s exit “that could further divide Europe.”
The UK’s vote to leave the EU has encouraged more vocal expression from large numbers of citizens who believe they have not benefited from the Union. This is putting more pressure on national governments to challenge decisions of the EU.
“This isn’t one more crisis, this could very well be the crisis threatening its very existence” Francois Hollande.
Donald Tusk warned just before the UK referendum that Brexit could be “the beginning of the destruction of not only the EU but also Western political civilisation in its entirety.“
Jean-Claude Juncker was less extreme but agreed that “there are splits out there and often fragmentation“.