Rolf Norfolk Blog | Fighting Talk: Brexit And Civil Disorder | Talkmarkets
Editor at Broad Oak Magazine
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Rolf is an Oxford-educated British IFA, now retired. Rolf has been a bear from the late 90s on, hence the byline "Sackerson" (a famous 16th century bear on London's animal-baiting circuit). Rolf runs the Broad Oak Magazine blog; originally named "Bearwatch", it was set up ... more

Fighting Talk: Brexit And Civil Disorder

Date: Wednesday, March 13, 2019 7:15 AM EDT

 “We should cut the heads off the politicians,” said the waiter in Corfu to us, as EU-imposed austerity crushed Greece in 2010. Before the week was out there were riots in Athens, buildings were set on fire and three bank employees burned to death.

Thankfully, we’re nowhere near that stage, but if you lift the lid off social media you’ll see the pot is bubbling ferociously. Britain is split in two, each half calling the other all sorts of names. Most of these ranters qualify for jury service and the franchise; one trembles at the thought of “direct democracy.” One in four of the population is said to suffer from a mental disorder and to judge by Facebook it’s plausible.

But in a way, hardly surprising. Far from seeking to reunite the country, professional politicians in the UK have been fomenting discontent among Remainers and have even advised EU leaders on how to subvert the Referendum result.[i] Is it a coincidence that the Daily Mail has been given a new editor who has U-turned the paper’s line and now characterizes Brexiteers as “saboteurs” leading us to an “abyss”?[ii]

Even the Eurocrats are infected. Mr. Van Rompuy, who looks as if he couldn’t decapitate a boiled egg, fantasizes about holding a knife to our throat[iii]; Mr Tusk, even less loved in his native Poland than here[iv], smirks at a vision of “those who promoted Brexit” in Hell[v]. Their intemperate language is a clue to the fact that there is not one but two crises brewing.

The first is the European Union’s. Jean Monnet’s dream of a Europe that could never make war with itself again, has been caught in the trap of confusing aim with method. Full political unification has been pursued clandestinely and with an almost suicidal obsession, like Captain Ahab after his White Whale. As a prelude, the single currency was forced into being despite the unreadiness of participants like Greece and Italy, both of which fudged their economic data to qualify and have suffered for it since.

The EU’s appetite for centralized control and aggrandizement remains unslaked (would C P Snow have dubbed them “the labradors of power”?) Straight after the centenary of the Armistice, Frau Merkel returned to her theme of a European intervention force.[vi] Now she is after an aircraft carrier[vii] - just when it is rumored that China plans to sell off her own to Pakistan.[viii] How does one justify the expense of such capital ships, with their increasing vulnerability?[ix]

And the interference in the Ukraine that has heightened tensions between the Western alliance and Russia – see the military build-up in the region on both sides[x] [xi] - hasn’t put the EU off its plan to foster supranational order elsewhere, too: “Africa is the future,” said Mr Juncker in his 2018 “State of the Union” address, urging more collective arrangements there of the kind that were the foundation stones of the EU.[xii]

In the midst of this, Brexit and the common man threaten to spoil the grand project of the philosopher-kings. Again and again, on shows like Question Time, ordinary people are bluntly challenging their elected representatives to do what was solemnly promised in 2016.

This brings us to the second, local crisis. By affirming (not only orally but in the official pamphlet[xiii]) that the Referendum would be held once only and that the result would be implemented whatever the outcome, our leaders effectively turned it into a binding plebiscite; and now they wish to resile.

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