I have spent dozens of hours over the last couple of weeks watching the live debates in the British House of Commons regarding Britain’s withdrawal from the disaster known as the European Community; and I suspect I will spend a lot more hours doing the same tomorrow and next week. After all this debate, and other countless hours reading about it, I remain a fully committed hard Brexiteer.
At the time of the referendum, almost three years ago, I wrote about my joy at the result. I explained then that my reason for supporting Brexit differed substantially from the reasons stated or implied by many other Leavers.
“I am willing to accept that the superficial logic behind the voters’ decision is deeply flawed. Most of Britain’s street-level economic woes are not caused by Europe; they are, rather, a function of the anti-person pro-austerity Tory policies of Cameron and Osborne following on from decades of Thatcherite and Blairite disasters. The vote will do nothing to stop the 150,000 non-EU and mostly non-white migrants that arrive in Britain every year. The vote will do nothing at all to protect the NHS from the ravages of Tory privatization and under-funding.”
I also mentioned my concern for sharing the same stage as certain other Leave proponents:
“I am also willing to accept that many of the leaders of the Leave campaign are intellectual lightweights, Trump-like in their extravagant audacity, and some could even be described as evil (though Cameron and Osborne for Remain are equally bad).”
My reason for supporting Leave then remains the same today: I am a decentralizing anarchist, believing strongly that power needs to reside at the lowest most local level possible, forcefully in the hands of the people. The broader the institution (city councils, regional authorities, national governments, supra-national associations) the further power is distanced from the individual and the less democratic it becomes as power is concentrated in fewer and fewer hands.
So, I would be happy, over-joyed even, to see Britain leave the straight-jacket of Europe as planned tomorrow (or April 12, or May 22) with no deal in place.
A couple of further points. We can rightly blame the Tory government under Theresa May for the dysfunctional bargaining that has led us to this impasse today. But the truth of the matter is that the elites of Great Britain of all stripes don’t want to see Britain quit Europe and they have combined to make sure that leaving has been as difficult as possible, and they continue to do so.
Second, the devolved parties in Britain — Scottish Nationalist and Plaid Cymru — are guilty of short-term thinking. They want to stay in Europe because the EU has been good to them in terms of financial incentives, and they don’t want to give up that cash. What they fail to see is that, by remaining in Europe, they will never get independence from England; they will be locked in the Union forever. One only needs to look at how the EU has treated the reasonable demands from Catalonia and Brittany for autonomy, siding always and forcefully with the national governments of Spain and France.
I am a fervent supporter of independence for Scotland, for Wales, as a start to further devolution. Those dreams will be hard fought to achieve within Great Britain but will be impossible inside the EU.
My guess is that we will end up with a soft Brexit, with strings still firmly attached to Europe; a compromise that will allow the elites to continue to profit and for the people to continue to lose their rights.