The advantages to the European Union (the EU) of the United Kingdom leaving its failing political Super-state experiment are seldom mentioned. Yet ‘Brexit’ would benefit the countries of Europe even if the political class and bureaucrats don’t or won’t see them. There is plenty of historical evidence to indicate that a strong free UK is much better for Europe generally, especially for ordinary people, than being a subservient vassal administered by EU puppet politicians.
The UK, the Empire and Commonwealth have often come to the rescue our European neighbours in their ‘hours of need’, not least during the Napoleonic and World Wars. It is somewhat humbling to read a letter of gratitude dating from the nineteen twenties to the local inhabitants in Bechuanaland (Botswana) from the British colonial administrator thanking them for their generosity in helping to save the poorer starving people of Poland.
The positive impact of these islands on mainland Europe goes back much further. During the Dark Ages, Christianity was kept alive on the Celtic fringe whose missionaries subsequently helped to re-introduce the faith to a largely heathen continent. John Wycliffe’s ideas and teachings spread from Oxford to the Continent and provided an intellectual spark which many years later was taken up by Jan Hus in Bohemia and later by Martin Luther, becoming the Protestant Reformation. Many of the seeds of Enlightenment thought, and its predecessor, the science revolution, in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries were sown in these islands by such great luminaires as Isaac Newton, Adam Smith, John Locke and David Hume. In the nineteenth century there was the great outpouring of science, technology and the products of the Industrial Revolution. These are just the tip of a cultural, intellectual, industrious and social justice iceberg encompassing fields from art to zoology and spread outwards from this enterprising country.
The United Kingdom has over the centuries provided Europe with stubborn military resolve and novel ideas, respectively arresting subjugation of the continent by ambitious, delusional, autocratic leaders and advancing enlightened material progress. How could such a small place, with so few people, achieve so much? The simple answer is because our history, philosophical outlook and national characteristics are so different from neighbouring countries.
Our history, somewhat by serendipitous accident, has evolved over a long period, traceable from at least as far back as King Alfred of Wessex – at least until 1973 – towards increasing rule by consent under just and equitable (common) law; the concept of government of the people, for the people, by the people first appeared (written down) in 1384. Our philosophical divergence (mainly empiricism, where knowledge and reality come from experience, versus idealism, where reality is a product of the mind) can be traced through William of Ockham, David Hume, John Locke and others; their empiricism providing a stark contrast to the idealism of continental Europe by, for example, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Immanuel Kant. This is a subject briefly explored by Peter Oborne in an article entitled ‘Europe’s dogmatic ruling class remains wedded to its folly’.
The British Outlook
Our behaviour, for example, tends to be more individualistic than our European counterparts as shown through research by John W. Hunt (Professor of Organisational Behaviour). He noted:
“This helps explain why talented people in Britain often prefer to work in the media and professions or start their own businesses, where there is greater freedom and teamwork is less important.”
We appear at our happiest and best when can exert our ‘colourful’, irreverent individuality instead of being forced to conform to some ‘drab’ overpowering orthodoxy. This national characteristic appears in, for example, fashion designer Mary Quant’s ever popular creation, the miniskirt. Yet it is an old national characteristic as shown by literature, for example, in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales of, sometimes bawdy, individuality, rather than pious conformity and Jane Austin’s opinionated heroine, Elizabeth Bennett, in her popular novel Pride and Prejudice.
Yet it is in our attitude to the future where our national temperament really stands out, for we believe, sometimes against formidable odds, that tomorrow can be better than today, and many of us share the belief that we have a responsibility as individuals in our own ways to make it so for family, friends and indeed, society as a whole.
We, by nature, don’t do or feel comfortable with ‘EU Solidarity’, EU autocracy and pursuit of (naked) power over others. So it is obvious that our country, differing from the European mainstream, will always sit uneasily within an ideological federalist EU Superstate, and by doing so our potential will be dramatically diminished.
However, politicians and bureaucrats are happy with the EU and its longstanding direction of travel; it means more power to them. And they are free to force more control over ordinary people here and in the rest of the EU because there is no restraint except that which they impose upon themselves. There is no alternative political socio-economic model for their performance to be judged against. An emasculated UK within the EU can be ignored and dissent suppressed into conformity.
A Free UK
The situation changes dramatically for the better – both here and in the EU – with the emergence of a free, independent UK. We can do our own, democratic, self-reliant, enterprising thing and provide a nearby alternative example to the peoples of Europe and beyond for them to follow sometimes and gain inspiration from often. A free and independent UK would provide a reality check on the EU’s ruling elite and act as a potential facilitator of popular restraint on self-delusional excesses in power. It would be harder for the EU elite to continue to ignore the wishes, hopes and fears of their subject peoples when they could look across the Channel and see the benefits of, for example: lower tax; less and better thought out regulations; more transparent, accountable and, therefore, effective government; greater personal liberty; less corruption and waste; the rule of law; protection against arbitrary actions by an overbearing state.
Our example, as a free country, independent of the EU, and focusing on what we do best could help ‘toughen up’ the rest of Europe for survival in a dangerous world and building prosperity in a competitive one. Most of all it could provide the peoples of Europe, and the wider world, with something that is sadly missing these days – hope for tomorrow.