July 1, 2016

Are you an EU devotee?

Are you an EU devotee?

Robert Seddon discusses how, to some, the European Union has emerged as a guiding light of moral values. 

A notable feature of the Brexit referendum, both before and especially after the vote, is its moralism. Some came from Leave, championing an ethos of democratic self-governance, but a great deal has emanated from Remain. Would there be similar outbursts over membership of the World Trade Organisation? Would the same protestors turn out to defend the International Organisation for Standardisation? In this remarkable new epoch, a body known for regulating toasters and vacuum cleaners is practically vying with the Vatican for devotion.

Of course, the European Union has absorbed many of the functions and trappings of a nation-state, and there is nothing unusual about love of one’s country. Yet Europhiles have not tended to consider themselves patriots, any more than they consider themselves nationalists; the ‘patriotic Europeans’ are a very different group. The E.U. often acts like a nation, e.g. in trying to work out what to do about its external borders, but in its mythos it embodies an enlightened post-national order, or at any rate exists to keep France and Germany from each other’s throats.

Unlike other international bodies (except perhaps the United Nations), the European Union exists in a dualist state: there is the worldly, bureaucratic E.U., the byzantine and protectionist one that regulates bananas and light bulbs, and then there is the spiritual and transcendental E.U., the one symbolising cosmopolitan values and the quelling of jingoism.

How did this come about? Not in isolation. The impulse to be associated with something spiritually ideal and unsullied exists in our domestic politics too: recall how the Liberal Democrats haemorrhaged support after they got involved in the grubby compromises of actual governance. The great impossible dream is to belong to the Lovely Party, the party of omelettes for all without breaking eggs. Some dream of Corbyn, some the Greens, and some of faraway Brussels.

Some of this is politics as fashion statement: ‘virtue signalling’ has become the term du jour. Yet some Remainers really do seem quite at sea, disoriented and distrustful of a country ready to jettison the E.U. in favour of—who knows what? That question has usually been given a practical bent: what are the exact terms of our withdrawal? Yet it’s possible that some people really do feel they’re about to be cast out of the Garden of Eden, exiled from the only source of spiritual nourishment they’ve known in terms of geopolitical identity, with no guidance but schoolbook memories of the 1832 Reform Act and ‘If I should die, think only this of me’.

No wonder Boris Johnson (one of those Leavers for whom the protectionist E.U. isn’t cosmopolitan enough) has been so keen to emphasise that Britain will always be culturally and geographically European.

So that’s how the E.U. has become a moral totem; and that’s why, if you voted Remain on more pragmatic grounds, you may have spent recent days in toe-curling embarrassment.

4.00 avg. rating (81% score) - 3 votes
  • Shadow Warrior

    Hammond is continuity Brown. He is a hand-wringing lefty looking for clever wheezes to raise more tax in ways that people don’t immediately notice.

  • captainslugwash

    I predict the Budget will attempt to show the Left how caring the Tories are, and it will be funded by screwing over the working man.
    If Corp Tax comes down, I bet Divi tax will be going up.
    I would love to be wrong.

  • skynine

    We really need to look at tax credits, in particular in work tax credits that encourage people to work part time to preserve the benefits. 45% of women work part time and I would hazard a guess that tax credits are the main cause. This leads to low pay, low skill work in supermarkets and the retail sector including coffee shops. The government needs to get back to the employer paying people to do a job for economic reasons rather than to get onto the tax credit ladder. Like all government benefits it distorts the market and diverts government expenditure into non productive areas.
    The refrain that the government has cut expenditure is not true, it increases every year as more and more goes into welfare.

  • MrVeryAngry

    fat chance

  • MrSauce

    So, when wouldn’t we want a ‘budget for growth’?

  • Rob

    I note that the UK Government has just slapped on a 25% tax charge for anyone moving abroad and wishing to move out their private pension from the UK.

  • SonofBoudica

    The Remoaners will do their utmost to sabotage the Government’s negotiating position. They do not want a successful outcome; they want a failure. They want to be able to scream “Told you so!” from the rooftops.

  • EnglandLaments

    Thank goodness for Andrew Neil, the one media hack who scares the pants off the established politicians. He was spot on with Heidi Allen!

  • joshuafalken

    I had a very long, hard, studied and considered look at the hope, care and aspirations of all Europeans, before I voted to get the UK out of the toxic grasp of Brussels.

    The European Union and it’s charge of “ever closer union” has borrowed and spent its way to oblivion, whilst enslaving the working and middle classes in debt.

    The central control mantra of the unaccountable Brussels ruling elite, delivered through a mixture of socialism, globalism and corporatism is entirely responsible for the populist revolt by the millions of “Just About Managings” across Europe.

    We must remember the ultimate goal of socialists, globalists and corporatists is control, not prosperity. see https://mises.org/blog/goal-socialists-socialism-—-not-prosperity.

    Social equality and economic growth always fail under central control and fighting against the Brussels doctrine on behalf of all Europeans is why I voted for Brexit.

    Britain has a long history of helping Europeans depose tyrants and Brussels is just the latest incarnation.

    Britain is the most racially advanced and accepting society on the planet. We welcome those in need and those that can help us with open arms and a smile; that will not change.

    We are also one of the most innovative, talented and open societies in the world, which why everyone wants to live here. However, we cannot fit everyone in, so we have to have clear, balanced and fair immigration policy which is where the arguments start between the monetarists and humanists will never be reconciled.

    I thought long and hard before coming to the conclusion that leaving the EU was in the best interest of all Europeans, as Brussels is toxic and cannot be reformed from within.

    Also, I find it insulting that people who voted Remain have insufficient faith in British ingenuity, compassion and skill to get a good deal for us and see the Europe that we love get a better deal from Brussels and the reform that European people deserve. https://mishtalk.com/2017/03/29/bad-brexit-deal-better-than-no-deal-mathematical-idiocy-odds-of-no-deal/ and https://www.worldheadlines.info/2017/03/after-brexit-9-reasons-to-be-bullish-on-great-britain/

    The politics of left verses right are dead because neither have delivered the promised economic growth and social mobility for anyone, but themselves. The populists are not selfish per-se, they just want to take back control of their own destiny that left/right politicians have freely given away and/or exploited for their own ends. In my constituency, the local residents group are taking over the councils as politicians ignore voters, so Westminster should beware of the well-organised, local resident independents at the next election. This is a peoples revolution which should be shouted from the rooftops, but liberals remained deafened by the socialist, globalist and corporatist “vested interests” that have spectacularly failed us and are obediently crying foul and fake.

    There will be an initial unpalatable inflationary cost to fighting globalism and rolling back central control that few appear to have factored in, but dismantling failed left/right vested interests should eventually free libertarian socially-conservative capitalism from the shackles of TBTF corporatism to feed economic growth and social mobility.

  • agdpa

    The EU usually makes the wrong decision – on immigration, on freedom of movement, on the euro, on the Ukraine, etc. etc. Little hope it will get Brexit right.

  • brownowl

    Eh? Reference please!

  • Neil2

    Sod caring. Screw the spongers and breeders. Kill HS2. Stop all “green” subsidies. Slash “foreign aid” and walk away from the EUSSR with immediate effect.

  • Rob
  • John C

    What a confused article. It conflates surveillance by the security services with poor defences against fraud.

  • John C

    Err, it’s the UK that’s leaving the EU, not vice versa.

  • John C

    Me, now. ‘Growth’ is a manic obsession.

  • La Face Nord

    Mr Redwood – are you aware of the Biased BBC website? It’s been exposing their agenda for a long time, but I imagine you’ve been well aware of the BBC’s agenda for quite some time…

  • Contact Rvtech

    The post is great

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