Britons couldn’t care less about their traditions

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 06.44.12Dalrymple reminds us that European referenda on such matters as treaties and constitutions,

if the votes went against the wishes of the political élites, were simply ignored.

The founders of the European Union

believed in (at best) a very reduced role for the people in directing political affairs, the people being ill-equipped to understand them.

This underlying assumption

explains why European politicians seldom speak in plain terms about the European Project. They know the population would reject it and might agitate against it. So the exact nature of the Project (the construction of a Yugoslavia on a vast scale) is delicately hidden from the view of the vulgar as if it were the Ark of the Covenant.

A popular vote for withdrawal from the EU

will not necessarily result in withdrawal. The subsequent negotiations will be sufficiently drawn out for almost everyone to forget the result of the referendum, in which they were not passionately interested in the first place. Few will care if, in the end, the vote is disregarded.

Close to extinction

Close to extinction

Dalrymple believes the EU to be,

if not a disaster, an unnecessary monstrosity, though more of a brontosaurus than a tyrannosaurus. It is a peaceful vegetarian monster that munches its way through society rather than a carnivorous one that tears it apart with vicious teeth. It feeds on regulation rather than on meat.

Its lack of overt aggression

makes it a difficult enemy to confront and defeat. By its incompetence and its promotion of ambitious mediocrity, it will make life less good than it might otherwise have been, but not intolerable — at least, not until it breaks up in acrimony.

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 06.56.59Of course,

it would have been better for Britain never to have joined so sclerotic a union founded on essentially Colbertian principles, doing so just at the moment when that model, which served well enough in the reconstruction of Europe after the Second World War, had lost its dynamism.

But

the problems Britain faces lie much deeper than its membership in the EU.

It is not the EU’s fault, Dalrymple points out, that Britain

  • does not educate its children properly
  • has to import labour so that even elementary jobs are done
  • has the highest crime rate in Europe
  • has the worst infrastructure in western Europe
  • has some of the world’s dirtiest streets
  • suffers the most drunken young people in Europe
  • is weighed down by one of the world’s fattest populations
  • has failed to raise its lamentable productivity
  • is afflicted by a public administration that is incompetent — incapable of managing immigration whether subsumed in the Brussels structure or not
  • is held back by very poor research & development in what remains of its industry
  • is cursed by heavy bureaucracy — imposed on, for example, medicine, so that doctors find themselves doing paperwork for as much time as they treat patients

Partisans of Brexit argue that the EU is destroying England’s traditions, but

the British people have long shown a less than robust attachment to them. There was not so much as a sigh, let alone a protest, when Tony Blair changed the constitution on a personal whim.

The notion of the freeborn Englishman

has long since been of no application. The average Briton wants to be a ward of the State and regrets only that the State is not generous enough.

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