Tories Call for British Secession

The Brits are tired of unelected, unaccountable Eurocrats pushing them around.

We may not hear about it on this side of the pond, but the nations of Europe have a federalism problem much like ours.

America was originally designed to keep as much power as possible with the individual states, only giving to the Federal government explicitly designated authority.  Unfortunately, our Federal government has long since crossed that boundary, collecting vastly more taxpayer dollars and having enormously more influence on our lives than the Founders ever intended.

As troublesome as this is, and as difficult as it will be to reverse, at least it can in theory be fixed.  It is not totally inconceivable that we'd elect a true-blooded conservative President and Congress which will chop the Federal bureaucracy and regulations down to size.  Alternatively, the governors of the states may demand their proper powers back; there are signs of this happening.

Europe via the EU has a far worse problem.  Unlike America, the European Commission has no Constitution even attempting to limit its powers.  There is a European Parliament elected by the voters, but without continent-wide political parties it's hard for this body to act as any sort of check on the Europe-wide governance bodies and bureaucracies.

And these bodies are?  Primarily, the European Commission (EC) and European Courts of Justice.  Neither of these bodies are directly elected; both have a vested interest in accumulating ever more power at the expense of what once were the individual nations of Europe.  Because the legal agreements establishing them are technically international treaties, these organizations are extremely difficult to change.

Just as we in America stifle under rule from Washington, so individual Europeans have their daily lives impacted by mandates from Brussels.

In America, we have the occasional far-lefty nutjob who claims that felons should have the right to vote while in prison.  In Europe, the unelected European Court of Human Rights simply decided that they magically have this right and ordered England to make it soThat the elected MPs of Parliament's overwhelming voted in opposition meant nothing at all.

Occasionally it's possible to get the most ludicrous EU regulations repealed.  For some years, Europe-wide regulations forbade the sale of any vegetable that did not meet strict appearance standards.  Cucumbers, for instance, must "be reasonably well shaped and practically straight (maximum height of the arc: 10 mm per 10 cm of the length of cucumber)."  Eventually the wastage grew too obvious and the rules were relaxed.

On the really important stuff, though, the more irrational the rule, the more adamantly the EU clings to it.  The European Court of Human Rights routinely rules that convicted foreign felons cannot be deported to their home countries due to a "right to family life" in the European country of which they are not a citizen and where they committed dreadful crimes.

What sort of family life could be more important than getting rid of thugs, criminals, and other illegal aliens?  Would you believe... a pet cat?  Not even a terrorist gets the OK from the Eurocrats to receive a richly-deserved heave-ho.  Again, there is absolutely nothing England's Parliament can do about it.

In Or Out?

Except that it turns out that there is.  The treaties which created the EC monster are dreadfully hard to change, but any member country, technically, can pull out at any time.  Senior members of the Conservative Party are demanding a referendum on exactly that.

Mr Pritchard says that the EU has become an “occupying force” which is eroding British sovereignty and that the “unquestioning support” of backbenchers is no longer guaranteed.

He says the Government should hold a referendum next year on whether Britain should have a “trade only” relationship with the EU, rather than the political union which has evolved “by stealth”.

This MP and senior party secretary didn't mince words:

For many Britons, the EU has already become a kind of occupying force, setting unfamiliar rules, demanding levies, curbing freedoms, subverting our culture and imposing alien taxes. In less than four decades, Britain has become enslaved to Europe – servitude that intrudes and impinges on millions of British lives every day. Brussels has become a burdensome yoke, disfiguring Britain's independence and diluting her sovereignty...

The Coalition should agree to a referendum on Europe asking whether Britain should be part of a political union or of the trade-only relationship we thought we had signed up to. [emphasis added]

In America, this would probably be someone up for re-election throwing red meat to the rubes.  In England, however, the system works differently.  The Prime Minister isn't elected directly by the people.  He is appointed by the Queen, but he has to have the support of a majority of the members of Parliament (MPs), a little like our Speaker of the House of Representatives who's elected by his own Congress.

Like the Speaker, the Prime Minister is generally the leader of the majority party.  Just at the moment, though, there is no majority party; at the last election, the voters split between three major parties.  Prime Minister David Cameron is a member of the Conservative, or Tory, Party, but he became Prime Minister with the support of the Liberal Democrats.

The coalition government is working about as well as the party names would imply.  Conservative voters are furious that the Government they nominally run isn't the least bit conservative, and Lib Dem voters complain that it's not liberal enough.  At any time, Parliament can call for a vote of confidence; if the Prime Minister loses the vote, he's no longer Prime Minister.  If there's nobody else who can gather a majority, all of Parliament goes back for a snap re-election.

If Mr. Pritchard has enough MPs willing to put their seats on the line, he absolutely has the power to bring down David Cameron's government and trigger a new election.  Considering the outrages shoved down British throats by the EC and combined with the massive upcoming bill to bail out Greece, Italy, Ireland, Spain, France, and who knows who else which the chattering classes expect the British taxpayer to cover, Pritchard might have a winning argument.

America's elites sneered when Texas Governor Rick Perry mused about secession.  Wouldn't it be something if England actually did secede from the EU, restoring final authority to the British people's elected representatives in Parliament and telling the Brussels bureaucrats to stick their inane orders where the sun don't shine?

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Foreign Affairs.
Reader Comments

"Secession, State, & Liberty", a book sponsored by the Ludwig von Mises institute and edited by David Gordon is a book explaining how and why the Constitution gives the states the right of secession. This occurred causing the War of Northern Aggression or the Civil War. The victors as a typical result were able to rewrite history in regard to the causes of the war. They were wrong and the problems still remain today although they lay under the surface. The recent governors bringing up secession as an option is only a first salvo against the oppression of the federal government. Don't think it is the southern states that think this way as probably the most active movement is in Vermont. People are fed up. The KGB in Russia did a study on the US about 5 years ago and they predicted a breakup of the US into roughly 5 different areas. Google it and see for yourself if you don't believe me. Also I would encourage you to read "Secession, State & Liberty" to broaden your knowledge base on this important subject and decide for yourself about the matter of secession.

September 30, 2011 11:49 AM

And the EU fights back, demanding that English taxpayers start paying welfare to all migrants the moment they arrive in England!

September 30, 2011 1:01 PM

However, secession from the EU would be *much* easier for the Brits to pull off than a US state from the US. The Brits don't even use the same currency as the "core" EU countries. Here, not only would there be economic consequences, there would be all manner of cultural and legal issues overlapping other states. I hope the Brits do it, and the Greeks and a number of other "non-core" EU nations. That would give a definitive conclusion to the EU experiment and prove once and for all that individual cultures and borders *do* matter

September 30, 2011 1:08 PM

When the USSR broke up we, the US, admonished Russia for interfering with Georgia when they wanted local rule as they did with several other country/states that were within the old USSR. Why should we, as Americans, not be able to enjoy the pursuit of life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness here in America? The Constitution spelled it out very clearly a way to secede if a state realized that it could not, in good conscience, go along with the federal government on matters of principle.

You will see the EU implode before your very eyes over the days ahead. The brits are different from the Greeks as they are different from the Dutch. This was an easy call on the front end when government bureaucrats tried, and have failed, with their experiment of making a united Europe. If you will stop and notice another agenda that is trying to get traction you will see the progressives trying to meld the US into the UN and creating a world order. If you want to talk about insanity get involved with that group.

All people should be free to line their lives in freedom without interference from others. Unfortunately governments get involved with making laws that have horrible unintended consequences. Look no further than the "cucumber" example cited in the above article. Can we really trust politicians?

September 30, 2011 3:01 PM

what is needed is for brits to do away with the pound and everyone to use the euro. ECB would have less problems if everyone was on euro.

October 1, 2011 10:43 AM
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