June 23, 2016, will go down in British history as a most significant date – rivaling VE Day, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and even the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The vote to leave the EU is that important!
Like our own Fourth of July, June 23 will forevermore become known as Independence Day.
This breaking news story appears shocking to many, but is good for Donald Trump. And it rounds out a very bad week for President Obama and Hillary Clinton – Brexit plus the Supreme Court decision on immigration. Take note: the rise of nationalism can no longer be denied. It is a growing phenomenon not to be dismissed or ignored.
The British people in a democratic action have made their voice known and voted to leave the European Union. Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon will now be invoked, and Great Britain will no longer be tied to the yoke of Brussels. It will no longer have to foot the excessive bill presented by the Eurocrats or follow their dictates.
The euroskeptics, led by the likes of likely future Prime Minister Boris Johnson and cabinet members such as Michael Gove, Iain Duncan Smith and Priti Patel, have won the day and prevailed. As the queen herself purportedly said, “Give me three good reasons for staying in Europe.” The prime minister has announced he will step down by October, as he was utterly defeated.
The Union Jack can fly high again.
This does not mean the British won’t buy German cars, drink French wine, employ Polish plumbers or stop eating Italian pasta. What it does mean is that it will no longer give rise or be party to a European superstate that is controlled outside its national boundaries and its legally defined sovereignty.
Freedom was the rallying cry, and in a 52 to 48 percent victory (with over 72 percent turnout) the British people have accomplished what was thought impossible and unlikely only a few months ago. The argument for “taking your country back” won out over the fear mongering of David Cameron (Conservative leader), Jeremy Corbyn (Labour leader) and Tim Farron (Liberal leader) – and the entire British establishment. The elites have lost!
The vote broke into interesting regional differences with London and the South and Scotland voting to Remain, while the rest of England voted overwhelmingly to Leave.
Make no mistake, this is a popular revolution; it is nothing less. One question it raises worldwide is this: Is the reaction against globalism the new political tidal wave, and does it signal an eventual Trump presidency?
The effect on the British pound and on global markets is already being felt with massive selloffs and hits to the value of sterling. These are not thought to be lasting. Stabilization will prevail. But it will be a volatile period as the world adjusts to newfound populism and as the rest of Europe comes to terms with the great divorce. Indeed, a number of other European countries, from the Netherlands to Denmark to possibly France, may in time hold their own referendums, and the European project in the form of Brusselsocracy could be shattered and taken down – brick by brick.
When all is said and done there are four major conclusions to draw from the historic Brexit vote. They have to do with liberty, security, economy and global relations.
Taking up the cause of Locke and casting aside the philosophy of the European Rousseau, the Brits have cemented their place on the side of liberty. The Anglo-Saxon rule of law and the democratic spirit of a free people have triumphed over statism and the centralization of power.
The security of Britain was paramount in the campaign, and the notion that they would not be able to control their own borders clearly struck home. The immigration issue and the absolute fear of tides of people flowing into the country unabated gave rise to much of the populist and nationalist sentiment. The very posters used depicted throngs of masses in line to enter from outside the EU. A picture tells a thousand words, as the slogan goes. Britain also rejected the EU call for a standing army, instead wanting to double down on NATO, which has served it and the West so well.
The economic consequence of leaving Europe weighed heavily in the debate, and nearly every economist, all the banks and most of the large companies put forth a case that the economic costs of departure would be great. They lost.
The people wanted democracy more than a loaf of bread or more cash into the pockets of the “wankers” – as the super-rich are known here in the U.K. The cost of staying in Europe was actually equally great, and this case won the day. Loathing the unelected European institutions and their high expense and undemocratic nature has proved untenable for the U.K., at least.
Britain’s place in the world is well established both historically, in the Commonwealth, and in terms of size and role. Did tying its cart to a struggling and desperate union of 28 very different European partners make any sense? The answer was “No.”
Britain never joined the Euro currency or the European Central Bank, so the decision to leave all the other trappings of a failing Europe should not be made out to be more than it is. Britain is and will always be an island nation, apart from the continent and part of a “special relationship” with its distant cousin and former colony, the only superpower, the United States of America.
After the historic Brexit vote, this “special relationship” should be reassessed as the future of liberty depends on it. It is proper to ask: Will it survive the rest of this 21st century? Is it now perhaps more important than ever?
Our mutual and abiding interests, common worldview, congruence of sympathies, and the undeniably unique heritage of the Anglo-American tradition of LIBERTY should be our true future together. In my view with a shared Whig history, the King James Bible, the Anglican Church, long historical memory – all of these things make up a valuable Anglo-Atlanticist patrimony. Britain and America belong together, not in Europe.
The future will need such Anglo-American leadership more than ever before. Perhaps, herein lie the true “sinews of lasting peace,” as Churchill himself phrased it.
But the words that ring today throughout Britain, chiming from steeples and sung by loud choristers – in every town and in every Hobbit-like shire are those of the past civil-rights leader, “Free at last, free at last, Thank God almighty, we are free at last.”