Simon Schama and the “Remain” shame

In Simon Schama’s latest editorial (“Let us write our own history and vote to remain a beacon of tolerance”, Weekend June 18th/19th) he makes several claims. Due to Mr Schama’s high profile status, I believe some of these avowals should be addressed.

First, Mr Schama asserts, “Most of the arguments about the unelected are uninformed by even a passing acquaintance with the way the institutions of the EU actually work. The commission proposes, but nothing can be enacted except by the decision of the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers, the latter composed of representatives of the elected governments of member states.”

Here, Mr Schama seems to concede the commission is indeed an unelected body, but no need to worry because there is the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. What he fails to mention is the critical fact that this unelected body has the sole right to propose legislation. That means the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers can only make decisions on proposals from the commission, an unelected body. The fact that all decisions are derivatives of the whims of an unelected body is a somewhat important detail to overlook or omit. Additionally, unlike most parliaments, which are comprised of the government and the opposition, this dynamic is non-existent in the European Parliament. The European Parliament acts as a rubber stamper to whatever the unelected commission proposes.

After this, Mr Schama goes into some history of immigration to Britain from the Norman Conquest to Jewish émigrés, etc.…but he’s right when he admits the Brexit camp will say this has nothing to do with the EU, because it doesn’t.

His secondary argument is that Brexit will lead to isolation, economic catastrophe, xenophobia, racism, insularity, impotence and every other nasty word in Mr Schama’s vast lexicon. However, he fails to explain why nations must enter into political and/or monetary unions in order to engage in trade, immigration, cultural exchange, and other amicable transactions, and if they don’t, disaster is the inevitable result.

That’s because nations don’t have to enter into political or monetary unions simply to trade with each other – the idea is absurd and out-dated according to most economists (except those economists benefitting from the EU). As history tells us, most monetary unions (let alone political unions) implode. For example, the Latin Monetary Union started in 1865 by Napoleon III which blew up in 1927 – the Greek economy being one of the leading contributors. Even the monetary union between Norway, Sweden, and Denmark fell apart in 1924.

Sadly, Mr Schama ends with the tragic death of MP Jo Cox by writing, “I invoke the memory of Jo Cox, it is not to exploit her death but to honour her…she understood with instinctive decency that to be British was also to be a citizen of the world.”

Mr Schama, just because you say you don’t wish to exploit her death doesn’t mean you’re not. You are exploiting her death – your meaning is as obvious as it is dangerous and repellent. Jo Cox was murdered at the hands of a mentally ill neo-Nazi, it has nothing to do with the Brexit debate. One might want to self reflect, particularly if in the same article you accuse people of, “Surfing the moral sewer.”

Finally, what Mr Schama and the Remain camp desire is illegal and unconstitutional under British law. Full stop. As Dicey wrote:

“The principle of Parliamentary sovereignty means neither more nor less than this, namely, that Parliament thus defined has, under the English constitution, the right to make or unmake any law whatever; and, further, that no person or body is recognised by the law of England as having a right to override or set aside the legislation of Parliament.”

In light of the above, what else need be said?

 

 

 

 

Britain leaving the EU is necessary and an important precedent for the democratic world

Barack Obama is against Brexit – so what? That would be putting a very small cart before an enormous horse for without British institutions and common law, and without British political philosophy, the US executive branch probably would have never come into existence in the first place.

Likewise, global institutions such as the IMF, UN, and the OECD are also against Brexit – but it should be noted these organisations are recipients of substantial amounts of money from the EU so their objective opinion should be treated with some scepticism.

In the media you can hear academics, CEOs, various important analysts, etc…predict an economic apocalypse and the collapse of the Sterling if Britain were to vote to leave the EU. However, it’s important to remember these are the same folks who forecasted the decline and fall of London as a global financial centre if the UK voted not to adopt the Euro currency. Well, the UK didn’t adopt the Euro and London experienced a financial renaissance where decline in economic growth largely mirrored increasing European integration in the Eurozone over the past four decades. With the advantage of hindsight, we can see the post-apocalyptical, Europhile analysis was dead wrong. I think it will probably be again.

British Prime Minister, David Cameron, is in the remain camp. He asserts that Britain has always been a European power since the time of the Romans. Yet, there is a difference between being a European power and being powered from Europe.

Direct representative democracy originated in Britain. Parliamentary sovereignty derived from represenative democracy and is arguably the most important feature in Britain’s un-codified constitution. Whether this advancement began in 1215 or later with William Blackstone in the late 18th century or even posterior in the 19th century when reading Dicey, I will leave that debate to the faculty lounge. The important point is that it was a process and it exists today.

It is the greatest endowment Britain gave the world.

It is the very soul of Britain.

This political system is the reason why most stable and rich democracies adopted it. It’s the reason why billions of people live in prosperous countries in peace. It’s the reason why mercantilism, fascism, Nazism, and communism were defeated. Most importantly it holds the individual over the vast, Byzantine bureaucracies of the State because there is a direct relationship between the elected and the electorate.

In brief, the EU is not a democratic institution.[1] The real power brokers of the EU, whether it is European Council President Donald Tusk, the president of the Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, or EU Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini, the important commom denominator is that no one voted for them (you probably never even heard of them). There is an elected body in the EU, the European Parliament, but because the Commission has the sole right to propose legislation, it’s essentially powerless. Additionally, the European Parliament encompasses an unwieldy group of communists, fascists, socialists, Berlusconi’s bimbos, and, in general, a place where professional politicians go to die.

For Britain to sell its sovereignty and forfeit its democracy to these un-elected bureaucrats in return for some perceived sense of potential GDP growth is unforgivable and absurd. Nor do you need to join a political union in order to engage in free and amicable trade with neighboring countries.

The antiquated model of custom unions, like the EU, will eventually be tossed into the waste paper basket of history. Britain will eventually leave at some point and probably some other countries as well, particularly Greece, just like they were kicked out of the Latin Monetary Union in the beginning of the 20th century. This is inevitable. It will probably be best to get out now than suffer under the regulatory burden, the taxation without representation, and the countless, faceless committees that make up the EU for much longer.

Britain, please don’t sell your soul to the elitist professional bureaucrats, the academics, or to the special interest groups that are telling you to do the opposite.

[1] For more information please see (https://christophergrace.org/2016/02/05/is-the-eus-democratic-deficit-causing-more-problems-than-its-solving/)