Amongst the multitude of articles from Leavers – politicians and journalists alike – inundating the MSM, one stands out. The reason is that the author of that essay looks forward and places euroscepticism into a wider context. Published in the DT and thus paywalled, the essay has the title “The Eurosceptic mission will not be over until the EU withers away” (paywalled link), and the author is Allister Heath.
After the apparently obligatory ‘look back’, explaining why and when he became a eurosceptic – the Maastricht Treaty! – Mr Heath starts off with this programmatic strapline: “We cannot abandon our fellow Eurosceptics to the EU’s ever-centralising mission” and, after having set the scene with a more general look back he explains why we should not rest on our Brexit Laurels:
“Yet even though it has triumphed in Britain, Euroscepticism remains an unfinished project. It’s not just that we don’t yet know the terms of any future deal with the EU, and whether our government will concede too much. I’m not even referring to the fact that we will remain part of the European Convention on Human Rights, another post World War II, non-EU but still supranational legal construct from which a mature, pro-rights democracy such as ours should also be moving on.
The real reason Euroscepticism remains incomplete is that the EU will boast 27 member states on 1 February, and it will accelerate ever-closer centralisation. No Brexiteer should be comfortable with abandoning Europe’s liberal, mainstream pro-democracy Eurosceptics to their fate: political movements are internationalist or they are nothing. We mustn’t forget our comrades in our moment of victory.” (paywalled link)
Allister Heath next mentions his hope that other EU countries will work towards their own ~exit and then gives his reasons why we should not rest:
“No genuine Eurosceptic ever claimed that it was fine for the Netherlands or Spain to have to swap democracy for technocracy, but unacceptable for the UK. If it was bad for us, it was also bad for them. Early Eurosceptic groups maintained close ties with fellow-travellers from Europe; Vaclav Klaus, the Thatcherite former Czech president, was the guest at a Brexit Party rally last May.
Euroscepticism is the application to the EU of a universalist theory based on a broad set of principles: national self-government is better, over time, for peace, prosperity and liberty than belonging to technocratic superstructures; genuine democracy can only exist within a demos, such as a nation; competition and cooperation between smaller, nimble, independent liberal democracies is a better, more resilient way of organising the world than handing over power to gigantic, unresponsive political monopolies run by bureaucrat-kings.
Continuing, his next paragraphs are well reasoned and give more weight to his arguments;
“It makes tactical sense, in the short term, for the UK to pretend to welcome a more politically integrated EU, and to wish it well with its determination to forge an “ever closer union.” A trade deal would be helpful, as would building a working relationship with the EU on a range of other topics. There is no point being provocative. Some Brexiteers may even be content with making this approach permanent: the more integrated the EU, the less likely it is that there will ever be support in Britain to rejoin. But such an attitude would be short-sighted. In the medium term, Britain’s foreign policy must embrace and campaign for Euroscepticism across Europe, for practical as well as ethical reasons.
We need to help those who wish to loosen ties with, or leave, the EU; it isn’t in our interest to have to manage a declining, increasingly irrelevant, crisis-ridden leviathan on our doorstep forever. Euroscepticism cannot be based solely on an argument for British exceptionalism: yes, our legal and constitutional traditions are different from those of France and Germany. But the UK isn’t the only country that deserves to leave the EU.” (paywalled link)
His conclusion is a genuine look ahead, a clarion call of what we should do next, reminding us that triumph now is good, but that life moves on and that we should not rest:
“We need to become a beacon for those who believe that free trade and cooperation provide a better way of navigating globalisation than assimilation into technocratic empires. We should support those who seek to govern themselves (including places such as Catalonia), fight for genuine democracy, oppose juristocracy and encourage self-determination (and yes, we should hold referenda in Scotland once a generation, and abide by the results). We should build ties with countries such as Switzerland that continue to resist joining the EU and are bullied as a consequence.
It has won in Britain, but the Eurosceptic movement is only just getting started.” (paywalled link)
This is indeed what Brexit should now be about: a Free Britain again becoming the ally of freedom-loving nations across the Channel. It’s a role we’ve been used to, historically. A role which Remain and the cultural marxists have been doing their utmost to make us forget and if not forget then to feel ashamed for. Never again!