Increasingly, many if not most Australian, British, American and other Western politicians have been imposing policies the people would never vote for by hiding behind the skirts of the unelected — from activist judges to UN and Brussels-based bureaucrats. Whether it is destroying the economy through blind adherence to global warming theory or abandoning control of national borders, these objectives are achieved by those politicians pretending they are impotent, instead of honestly admitting that the resulting chaos is exactly what they want.
It was refreshing then to welcome not only the most important but the most successful British politician of the last decade, Nigel Farage. Not only was he right to plan the return of the UK to independence, once his goal was in reach, he did what Cincinnatus and Washington did, he stood down and went back to whatever is the equivalent of his farm. As George III reportedly said of Washington’s gesture, this made him ‘the most distinguished of any man living’.
Farage’s visit coincided with that of the UK’s leading media personality, uniquely successful across the media as a journalist, editor, TV presenter, owner and publisher. He is Andrew Neil, publisher of The Spectator. When invited by 2GB’s Alan Jones to denounce the increasingly discredited global warming theory, Neil demurred in favour of his Australian editor, Rowan Dean. This was not to taint, even at this distance, his role as presenter on the BBC which unlike our public broadcasters, still observes C. P. Scott’s dictum that comment is free but facts are sacred.
It remains extraordinary that the United Kingdom ever agreed to hobble and demean herself by surrendering her sovereignty to lesser men, so that she was, as John of Gaunt warned, ‘leased out…with inky blots and rotten parchment bonds.’
Britain remains after all that ancient kingdom which was at the centre of the greatest and most benevolent empire the world has ever seen, and which, with her dominions, fought alone for the first two years of the second world war against the most evil empire the modern world had then seen.
Even before the general recognition of state sovereignty through the Peace of Westphalia, England and Scotland had long been sovereign states with secure borders. The entry of the UK into the European Communities was achieved only by misleading the people that Britain would retain her ‘essential sovereignty’ and that it was only about trade. This was done by hiding the declared EC agenda for an ‘ever closer union’ involving economic, monetary and political integration. Worse, rather than being a democratic federation, it was to be a political and bureaucratic directorate with a façade of a parliament and a powerful court working more against the law-abiding than the delinquent, something I discovered when I introduced into Australian universities the study of EU law. On any closer examination, it was clear that while the UK was meticulous in applying EU law, some others took a far more nonchalant attitude to the binding effect of EU norms. Nor were the British told that while they would be one of the largest contributors to the budget, they would never have the export benefit Germany would enjoy from the single currency nor the free ride Germany has long had for her defence. Nor was it explained that a high level of protectionism was the price paid for French participation.
Above all, it was never explained to the British people that entry would punish efficient agricultural exporters like Australia and worse, would every day at Heathrow deliver a gratuitous slap in the face to citizens of Australia and other countries who had stood by Britain in her darkest hour.
The fundamental reason for entry was the elites’ belief that the British prime minister would take his rightful place in the cockpit of Europe from which the continent is governed. This was never to be; the cockpit was always well and truly filled by the capacious bodies of those two co-princes, the French president and the German chancellor. Instead the UK would be bled dry, cynically demonstrated at the time of the UK application, when the EC rushed through a Common Fishing Policy which expropriated most of Britain’s interest in the richest fishing waters in the world. A government with any respect would have immediately withdrawn the British application.
Even under Eurocrat tutelage, the UK remains one of the world’s great powers exerting significant economic, political, military, intelligence, scientific, cultural and ‘soft power’ influence. While the UK had doomed herself to the economic doldrums by the introduction of socialism in 1945 and then EC membership, much of this was reversed when Margaret Thatcher came to power in 1979.
If, after Brexit, there is a resurgence of Thatcherism and Britain is again committed to maximum freedom, limited government, deregulation and low taxation, she will undoubtedly surge ahead of the EU laggards.
What Britain needs is an economic agenda similar to that of President Trump’s, and a PM with Trump’s unique ability to achieve so much so early in his term. As incidentally does Australia, an opportunity recently forgone by the federal Liberal caucus.
Nevertheless, Australia remains exceptionally fortunate in being settled by the British who immediately introduced four of our six foundation pillars — the rule of law, our language, constitutional government and civil society based on Judeo-Christian principles. Britain soon gave us the fifth pillar, self-government under the Westminster system and then facilitated the sixth, the fulfilment of our wish to form one country. Our extraordinary good fortune continued when the United States, another benign and benevolent force, succeeded the UK as the world’s dominant power.
A newly independent Britain will return to her full place in an Anglosphere strengthened by this and by the restoration of the US, economically and militarily. Even without its natural associate states such as Israel and India, this group already represents almost half the world’s wealth, and is united in a common language and culture and in sharing the values and institutions whose origins go back through the Declaration of Independence, the Glorious Revolution and beyond the Magna Carta.
Nigel Farage and Andrew Neil featured with John Howard and Tony Abbott in The Spectator Anglo-Australian Forum in Sydney on 7 September 2018