The Brexit will provoke a moment of Irrational imperialist flag-waving : the British will be freed from the European Union, just the time it will take for the dissolution of the United Kingdom itself.
« Our best defence is to stand apart and save Europe by our example », this is what a retired British general, Michael Rose, who commanded the S.A.S., has written in The Telegraph. A fine soldier this general, but geopolitically what he says is fundamentally flawed.
The Union of Scotland and England was decided by mutual consent of the two national parliaments in 1707 in the First Act of Union. The Kingdom of Great Britain was born. In 1800, the second Act of Union was voted, incorporating Ireland into Great Britain, thus creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, also known as the United Kingdom. This is the Union which is occasionally referred to by the British. The name was coined in 1800, but the concept goes back to 1707.
But the British are about to risk destroying that Union, out of revulsion for another Union. Rarely has such a grandiose people been poised to take such a mean-spirited step into a trap of their own making.
The frustration with a castrating European Union is based on two things: too much immigration (real and imaginary) and too much spending on other nations such as Greece.
There are geopolitical considerations which make the choice direly simple.
Firstly, the NATO issue. Pro-Brexit conservatives seem to think that EU defense policy is a wasteful and even treacherous duplication of NATO efforts. This idea, essentially advanced under George W. Bush, is now long buried in the United States, and no one brings it up, I have tried and have received bemused expressions in return — how out-of-touch can this journalist be! This pro-Brexit misrepresentation of NATO status in Europe is ridiculously outdated.
The British Army has always stood by itself, one is told by the Brexits such as General Rose. Sorry, but one RAF pilot in five was a Pole at the Battle of Britain. Today, there is a desire to expell Polish workers. Such an ungratefully short memory.
Secondly, immigration. Are there hordes of Afghans, Syrians and Eritreans entering Britain? The EU’s migration policies are incomplete, to be sure, but should be completed and not discarded. The migrants are on the move, Brexit or no. The Brexits are more concerned with European immigration, and do not see all the British expatriates in Europe as a compensation. Provincialism at its UKIP best.
Thirdly, renew with the Commonwealth, many Tories say. But what is the point of reviving that ghost? Australia almost tossed out the crown by referendum in 1999. Canada’s mood towards the Commonwealth is weak, and in Quebec is quasi-nil. What kind of dreamworld trade-off is that, more Commonwealth for less Europe? Is the rest of the Commonwealth even interested? It is Margaret Thatcher who severed the last organic ties with the former British Empire, ending imperial preference for visas and work permits.
SCOTLAND : HOW TO PUSH IT OUT OF THE UNION
The Scottish people will rapidly vote out of a Brexited UK. Was keeping Scotland in not a major goal of UKIP and the totality of the Conservative Party in 2015? Now UKIP and Co. are ready to provoke a near-certain exit of Scotland, because the Scottish will hold a sequel to the Brexit referendum. Proof of this: Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland and head of the separatist Scottish National Party, says so. She is nonetheless supporting « Remain », in an intellectually honest posture, and rejects the tactic of voting in favor of Brexit with a view to precipitating the dislocation of the Union. However, SNP ideology includes LEAVING NATO as well as the UK, so for the NATO standardbearers of British nationalism, Brexit weakens all at once NATO, the British Armed Forces (or whatever the new national arrangement will be) and European defense. Remember: the Royal Navy needs the Scottish lochs for its nuclear submarines. With Brexit they may be lost.
The U.K. can no longer be the U.K., the Kingdom of England is reborn as a sovereign state, 32% smaller. The Russian fleet is no longer afraid of skirting Scotland, which does not defend itself. Bye-bye the glorious empire so many conservatives are dreaming of.
IF THE U.K. LEAVES
So where is the geopolitical strategy ? The UK leaves the EU, it washes itself of Greek bailouts and mythical cucumber regulations — as if this sort of silly regulation did not already exist on national level. The City, heart of Britain’s economic punchiness, is no longer a European capital because it drifts into legal isolation.
The point is this: the wonderful UK will no longer exist outside of the EU. Save yourself from the EU and within two years, the UK as a legal concept sinks.
A nation is lost, one that I sorely respected and even perhaps loved. The English Navy and RAF will lose something, the Scottish replacements will be nothing. The Scottish were so glorious inside the British Armed Forces…. gone.
Who can possibly wish that? The Brexits have become reactionary Little Englanders, and a Little England will weigh on the world scene no more than a medium sized European nation.