The article below, which summarises many of my EU findings, was first published by The Telegraph on January 8 2019, link to the original here.
This is why a real Brexit will be a win for Leavers and Remainers alike
The probably greatest political misconception of our time is that the public is insurmountably divided over Brexit. How is this a misconception when the two sides are constantly at each other’s throats? Because when surrounded by negotiation and campaign dust it is easy to forget that both sides are fighting for the same things: international trade, political moderation and an intact democracy.
Meaning that what really differs is our perceptions about which side is best at delivering what everyone wants. The EU side is bound to eventually lose this perception battle because all political Megaprojects – the EU included – rely more on mythological promises than on substance. In the end realities on the ground will decide how voters see things. However, due to the massive establishment powers of interpretation, myths can be sustained for quite some time. What we are experiencing now is a transition period marked by – as such periods always are – myth busting. This is when the establishment movers and shakers cling to power by telling voters that disaster will follow if abandoning the old power structure. Which is precisely how right-wingers, during the 1920s, managed to obstruct left-wingers from gaining real influence even after the democratic breakthrough. With roles reversed the 1970s turned into another decade when an establishment used scaremongering to impede excess backtracking. When the establishment finally had to yield powers it benefitted, on both occasions, just about everyone.
Yet again there should be little doubt that excess backtracking – a real Brexit – will in a big way benefit not only most establishment challengers (Leavers) but also most establishment apologists (Remainers). Meaning that the best way to speed up the healing and reunification process is to focus attention on challenging the establishment (EU) superiority myths. Seven such myths are arguably particularly deadly. How so? Because all of them are so seductive that they in a big way help to sustain the highly polarising EU edifice.
1 The EU Democracy Myth
For the first time since the introduction of democracy unelected politicians are influencing European politics in a major way. Voters who object are castigated. Despite the fact that the ultimate reason democracy beats every alternative is that voters – as opposed to the operators within the system – are good at smelling a rat when a power establishment is out of line. What we are witnessing is a reversal of democracy.
2 The EU Peace Myth
Never in history has it ended well when a massive power centre has challenged well-established and well-respected power borders. This age-old mistake has numerous times ended in wars. Still this very mistake is now repeated by EU representatives; who are de facto arguing that they should be allowed to do the dangerous thing to avoid that somebody else does the dangerous thing. Which is precisely how countless expansionist paternalist royals argued in the past. Moreover, the EU federalists are warning against the dangers of nationalism while at the same time seeking all its traits: a flag, a hymn, diplomatic representation, taxation rights, now even an army. Meaning they are not about to abandon nationalism; they are gliding towards Supernationalism.
3 The EU Reform Myth
Every time real problems have arisen, throughout EU history, the EU commission has calmed critics by initiating a round of “unconditional reform”. All these rounds – without exception – have ended with even further power transfers from national parliaments to the EU bureaucracy. Meaning there is by now an abundance of empirical evidence that EU reform is exploited as an EU expansion weapon. This type of manoeuvring helps to explain why no bureaucracy has decided to downscale itself. Ever.
4 The EU Economic-disaster myth
The short-term adjustment requirements, given a real Brexit, have been much overblown for political reasons. After all, cross border trading is not rocket science. It has been done before without handing over sovereignty to a foreign power centre. Also, once the UK is truly on the outside, the incentive structure of the EU federalists will change dramatically. Then there is only one way the EU can economically benefit from the UK. Not through seeking continued UK entanglement (and entanglement fees). But through, yes, trade.
We have learnt nothing from economic history if we believe top-down political systems will encourage innovation and growth on the field of economic reality. The real doers in society – the employers and employees who through everyday activities deliver products and services that customers want – need to have a say against both the bureaucrats and the big money lobbyists. Otherwise over-taxation, overregulation as well as an oligopolistic, anti-entrepreneurial industry structure will typically follow. But what does the EU do? It removes powers from the grassroots doers – the backbone of every society – and hands it to the bureaucrats and big money lobbyists.
5 The EU moderation-and-safer-to-stay myth
Since the EU has expanded way beyond the clear voter mandate – and voter reactions are creating political havoc across Europe – the EU is a textbook example of political excess dressed up as moderation. History leaves little doubt that pulling back from overshoot is the way to go if really seeking stability. The EU movers and shakers nevertheless continue to advance their highly dubious power centralisation agenda. Continued EU entanglement would mean there would be no end to today’s domestic political upheaval.
6 The EU Better-Together Myth
The EU does indeed accomplish “togetherness” for the career internationalists across Europe. Those directly or indirectly part of the EU web of vested interests. Including, amongst others, politicians, civil servants, EU consultants, EU grant recipients and Brussels lobbyists. It reeks a bit from Woodhouse when these stakeholders do not see the irony when spouting the-better together argument while simultaneously refusing to listen to what concerned voters really are saying. “There, there, take comfort when we say you can trust us and that we are all in this together. Now return to your homesteads and let the grown-ups run the country”.
The EU punishment agenda towards the UK illustrates that the career internationalists do indeed care quite a bit about protecting the EU set up that certainly benefits themselves. Simultaneously they illustrate that they care little about real unity in society. They might think they care because there is indeed plenty of good faith going round. As well as an the-end-justifies-the-means mentality. Still, those not genuinely respecting voter verdicts will create discord, not unity.
7 The EU Information Myth
Pretty much everyone in Europe can, in their sleep, rehash the pro EU arguments. However, European voters rarely come across EU critical arguments (such as those in this article). Unless in such a highly distorted and moralistic form that the deliberate ambition is to make EU critics look daft, xenophobic, dated or malevolent. No one should doubt that when the EU leaders claim that voters would turn less EU critical if only “better informed”, their intention is to propagate an even greater number of EU puff pieces. The real EU information problem is that the voters of Europe are rarely offered opportunities to hear the EU counterarguments.
Conclusions? The EU supranationalist recipe does not truly deliver any of the following: democracy, peace, improvement reform, prosperity, risk minimisation, unity, an honest debate. Top down systems with unelected people at the helm never do. The EU does however deliver – by continuously bombarding the voters of Europe with its seven superiority myths – the impression that Europe would be a terrible place without the EU organisation.
It is no coincidence that only the unelected leaders in Europe – people like Juncker, Barnier and Selmayr – radiate airs of grandiosity and supremacy which, arguably, would not have been much out of place at an 18thcentury royal court. Their type of mannerism has always been favoured by rulers far removed from their subjects. Those who typically rely less on offering substance than on cultivating, yes, superiority myths.
Not long ago it would have been unthinkable for a UK government to tackle the peddlers of grand scheme myths with anything but realist clarity, self-confidence and humour. This used to be not only the British way but also legitimate marks of political superiority. A return to form would put an end to today’s much overblown Brexit anxiety. It would also help to heal the current divide much quicker than many think. And help not only the UK but entire Europe.