by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Amid the shambolic fracas in the British government and Parliament over how and when Brexit should take place, it’s important to step back and remember the why.
The United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union is not ultimately about trade or regulations. It’s about something more fundamental: the natural right of people to form and control their government. At its core, Brexit is about democracy and self-rule. Britons wanted their government, parliament, and courts to once again be the final authorities in the land.
The flow of power out of Britain and into Brussels isn’t some theoretical concern. The way the European Union has worked has imposed on British law, laws passed in Brussels by European parliamentarians. The Germans and the Italians, in effect, can tell the Brits what their law is, even over the objections of the Brits. So much for the consent of the governed. …
… The real reason Europe has remained at continental peace for nearly 80 years now isn’t that EU parliamentarians can share a common beer at a common bar in Strasbourg. We should attribute European peace to the realization that many self-ruling nations each benefit from liberalized international trade and travel. Enlightened national interest can breed international cooperation and peace.
But the virtues of free trade and cultural intermixing don’t in turn call for the abolition of self-rule and its replacement with a multinational government.
By taking power further and further away from the governed, the “European Project” is essentially an undemocratic project.
Brexit, as we write, is in shambles. That fact shouldn’t distract from it’s deeper meaning.