It’s on the order of insanity, this wild, wobbly overreaction to the British voting to get out of the European Union.
No actual separation is likely to occur for about two years, meaning nothing changes during that period. Negotiations could keep important elements of the partnership intact, and disaster is hardly inevitable if the EU’s bureaucratic bombardments get replaced as wished by restored British sovereignty.
The last thing needed is the irrational assumption that the worst British exit possibilities are an immediate certainty. Such fear engenders chaos, and thus we have the pound plunging in exchange value, markets going kerpow and great gobs of the EU-hugging British rendered furious. Their mentally deficient cousins have done them in at the ballot box, they say.
And why did these over-the-line commoners commit this electoral atrocity? Because of nationalism, the hoity-toity explain, meaning by that word a bigoted sense that one’s own nation is the only nation worth a hoot. The likelier truth is more nuanced, namely that those in the “leave” crowd are lovingly attached to their land’s beauty, poetry, people and history and to its uplifting principles secured by blood, sweat and tears.
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One of the greatest of those principles, they would tell you, is that rulers should rule by the consent of the governed. That’s not what happens when officials in other lands devotedly dictate matters large and small.
Figuring out the exact percentage of British laws and regulations that arrived after crossing the channel from Europe is no easy matter, experts have said. A guess can be as low as 15 percent or as high as 70 percent, and a not unusual calculation is something like 50 percent, with the most EU regulatory heft seen in agriculture, trade and the environment.
An important issue for the British is the EU law that any citizen of an EU country can live in any other EU country without a visa. To object to the rule, some say, is xenophobic. The other side is that the numbers can be such that newcomers cannot be assimilated or accommodated and that social issues and high costs can then arise. The point is to control the entries as Britain already does with half its immigrants, who come from such non-EU lands as India and Pakistan. Special attention is then paid to whether jobs are available.
What’s been most important about the EU for Britain is the trade agreement in which all 28 EU countries are part of a single market. Hanging on to some of that arrangement’s features would be beneficial to both Britain and the EU, and here is something more the EU should do: pursue reforms better enabling it to serve ends that are worthy and to keep other countries from saying goodbye. It’s unlikely Western Europe is weakened militarily. Britain will remain in NATO.
Some 240 years ago, the American colonies announced their intentions to break with an already spreading British empire that had suddenly started intervening in their freedoms more than they would tolerate.
Many in England feared lost world influence along with lost trade benefits if the break became actuality. Tories in America figured the colonies could never make it by themselves. What ensued was not two years of negotiation but eight years of war. The colonies won. America did not droop. It boomed. Freer trade with fewer rules quickly meant more prosperity for both sides. And there came occasions when a reinstituted soulful linkage had enormous world benefits.