‘Sovereignty’ won’t mean we’re happy ever after
I read with interest Major Field’s pro-Brexit letter concerned largely with matters of sovereignty.
It was a coherent argument but is guilty, I’m afraid, of a certain naivety about the political realities of the modern world.
Brexiteers seem to imagine that ‘sovereignty’ is like the ‘home’ square in Ludo: you can get there and be happy ever after in splendid isolation.
Well, perhaps Britain could in the 19th Century, surrounded by its vast, exploitative and lucrative Empire.
Now we are an economically weak and unbalanced nation (not enough industry, too much City of London spivvery) and when we leave the EU, the trade deals of “global Britain” will see us eaten alive.
The USA will privatise our NHS in return for chlorinated chicken and India will insist on massive immigration in return for some access to their market. God only know what Russia and China, both of whom hate and now rather despise us, will inflict on us, alone and friendless.
You can’t put ‘sovereignty’ in your pocket like the frightened virgin’s tuppence: you have to use it!
In the Federal Europe of the Future, Britain could be a decisive force – helping to shape a continent to our own taste and convenience.
The EU is already based upon our preferred free trade ideology and when we have insisted upon opt-outs (no Euro, no paperless borders, big rebates) we have always got them.
EU immigration is a wholly made-in-Westminster problem; other EU nations exercise number control in subtle ways but it has suited our MPs to blame others and take the cheap labour (it was called having your cake and eating it). Look, the Empire is gone; only a fool or a sentimental Brexiteer believes in go-it-alone ‘global Britain.’ You never get exactly what you want in life (and certainly not in international politics) but think of this: Britain happy to be in Europe! (Geographically we are there already!) Britain shaping Europe into a new force in the world and one day (long after we are all dead), Britain as part of a rather wonderful European Confederation of Nations!
Such is our historic opportunity, if we can clamber out of the nostalgiawallow that is Brexit!