by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The British people voted to leave the European Union because many of them felt that they had lost control over their country, that key decisions important to their own lives and to the common life of the British people were being made by unaccountable men far away in Brussels. The existence of a European Parliament did little to assuage those anxieties, because the European Parliament is a parliament that barely deserves the name: The real power rests in the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, and — above all — the European bureaucracy based in Brussels.
Since the Brexit vote, the people of the United Kingdom have been informed by their government that they may not have their own way and get what they voted for because giving it to them is too complicated. Which — again — is precisely the point. The difficulty of leaving the European Union highlights the necessity of doing so if the people of the United Kingdom are to remain the masters of their own lives. The British fought hard and sacrificed much for the principle that Parliament is sovereign — that even the king must answer to the people through their representatives — and the self-satisfied gentlemen in Brussels made a smug show out of pissing on that principle from a great height.
The British indictment of the European Union will sound entirely familiar to American ears: It represents the wresting of power from the people by unaccountable elites, it holds in contempt the concept of national sovereignty, it is associated with excessive and disorderly immigration, it pursues economic policies that serve the interests of the high and mighty rather than the common people, etc.