The Weekly Standard: Handing Britain To Jeremy Corbyn To Own the Libs

Me at the Weekly Standard.

The Left doesn’t care for democracy. Indeed the Guardian recently published a piece criticizing the universal franchise, while the Right is perfectly happy to wreck the country’s finances to win an argument. Or to “Own the Libs,” as they say these days. One of the most disconcerting things, from a conservative point of view, is watching so many of my political co-religionists turn into Maoists, intent on radicalism and revolution, interested only in distant, vague prospects of a better future and blind to the immediate, far larger, chances of catastrophe.

Conservatism is by nature averse to risks and is based on the principle that huge, radical changes are almost by definition unwise, whatever direction they take. And while the Leave vote was a gamble, the “hard Brexit” version being called for by Tory rebels looks like Russian roulette with five bullets in the cylinder.

Polarization tends to develop its own momentum, and what was off the table even two years ago now seems mainstream. There was always a Tory strain of Euroskepticism but it crystallised in the late 1980s with growing centralization and the onward rush of the Maastricht Treaty which, in 1993, turned the European Community into the European Union. Back then, hostility was largely directed towards political aspects of the E.U., the principal gripe being that Britain had meant to join a “Common Market,” not a super-state. Which was true enough. Back then, the Euroskeptics merely wanted a new relationship, as Liam Fox said in 2012, “one based on an economic partnership involving a customs union and a single market in goods and services.”

Just six years later the same Liam Fox now calls such an arrangement a “betrayal”—and he’s certainly not the only one who’s hardened his stance.

Read it all there.

Comments so far

  1. I think that was unfair to Liam Fox. Firstly his opinions on the EU in 2012 were, er, six years ago and a lot has happened since then. Secondly staying in a customs union would indeed be a betrayal of the Brexit vote, regardless of one’s own personal opinions about it. Also ‘hard Brexit’ is really just ‘Brexit’, just as ‘Crashing out of the EU without a deal’ is really just ‘Leaving the EU without a deal’. Now, blowing up the Channel Tunnel, stopping all ferry links and not allowing any planes from EU countries to use our airspace or land; THAT would be a ‘hard Brexit’.

What do you think?