The other side of the story amongst the one-sided media coverage.
From the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, through the Austro-Hungarian Empire and to the Soviet Union, Europe has had its fair share of trans-national imperial powers sweeping across its lands. However, in a modern world, this kind of body will not be seen mobilising armies across various fronts, or brutally removing regimes to claim newly-vacated lands. Enter: the European Union. As much I reminisce about the glory days where my Lithuanian ancestors, with their Slavic neighbours to the South, were kicking some serious Teutonic behind, a contemporary Europe should not endure the reign of a similar superpower. However, a seemingly forgetful Europe has once again found itself trapped by such a regime.
Sprung from an idea of uniting a torn-apart Europe post World War II, an economic body of nations was set up in order to make trade easier between its members, and to allow for representative trade dealings to be made with other significant nations and markets, limiting convoluted and non-standardised agreements between individual European countries and their foreign counterparts. This could, in turn and in theory, help minimise divisive nationalistic cultures within its member nations who were now part of a greater, more fraternal union. This concept gained traction throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s, and more nations joined, rightly seeing the benefits of a combined body which saw easier trade and economic fluidity across much of the continent. Stretching across most of Western and Central Europe, the European Economic Community was antipodal to the Eastern Bloc nations of the Soviet Union, and a true example of the dichotomy between free-capitalist and totalitarian-communist economies. Free Europe was in full flight.
The fall of the Soviet Union was undoubtedly a significant time for Europe, and the world for that matter. A joyous moment for most, the Union’s collapse was a huge victory for the free world, and those nations which were so brutally oppressed for decades by an invading ideological regime. But in a case of cruel irony, the collapse sowed the seeds for the foundation of a new regime which would “unite” Europe – but unlike its economic predecessor, the European Union is a political entity. An expensive and over-zealous parliament rules from Brussels, where elected representatives from member nations pass bills they cannot effectively enforce, and coerce nations into handing over their sovereignty to an unaccountable power – at the expense of said nations. The precedent set by this kind of domineering control is not one of unity, peace and camaraderie – but rather one of overarching governance and dissolution of national identity, stinking severely of previous regimes which attempted to “unite” Europe. It’s saddening to think that this was what the Union was founded to prevent.
So where does Britain fit into all of this? Considered separate from its continental counterparts, the United Kingdom sits both geographically and culturally detached from the vast mainland, celebrating its own rich imperial history and a family of daughter nations across the Commonwealth. Of course, the UK is heavily involved with its nearest neighbours, and fights alongside those nations which share its values. But to be governed under the same body as all these nations is another kettle of fish. The UK joined the EU having been a member of the Economic Community before the Soviets’ demise, and thus naturally followed into the new body. From here, we soon reach the problems that caused Britons to vote for their independence. An arrogant EU attempted to force the UK to follow its underdeveloped border security laws, diminishing the UK’s right to protect its borders through measures it sees fit. A body with nothing itself to protect has no right interfering with a sovereign nation’s own domestic laws. An internal movement soon arose in response to this attack on the UK’s rights.
The UK Independence Party (UKIP), until recently lead by Nigel Farage, fought for many years to prove to Britons that their nation was stronger and more sovereign outside the EU, and won the right to have a referendum to do just that. And, against the onslaught of economic fear campaigns (already proven to be false by recent economic trends) run by a multitude of high-profile individuals, including former Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, the UK voted to gain its independence from a body which did not in any way represent its interests, nor respect its sovereignty. The UK will now have a tough time to implement the legislation to officially leave the EU, however will be stronger for it. And finally, this body of captive nations will receive the shock it needs to allow it to begin acting within each country’s interests, if it wants them to remain.
Running up against UKIP’s “Leave” campaign was a fierce “Remain” movement, which saw the nation ripped in two, a crack still not repaired, and one that may last many more years. A fundamental democratic right of course, many ‘Remainers’ campaigned strongly to see the UK continue its involvement within the EU, however the actions of many before and after the vote shows how fundamentally undemocratic the movement was. They used dishonest economic arguments, crying that the markets and the Pound would crash, and while of course the markets took a small hit, they have returned to pre-Brexit levels. The Pound is steadily returning to its original value. The UK now has at least two years to reach a trade agreement with the EU to ensure that it is not adversely affected by its exit from the EU’s economy, however, given the positive benefit for both sides to retain the free trade, this should not be a diplomatic issue.
The horrific conduct of many within the Remain camp was most truly seen only after the vote took place. Hypocritical campaigners took to the internet to express their disgust at the democratic vote, and demanded a second referendum in a true example of “democracy as long as I win.” They whinged and whined, and still whinge and whine, that “the youth voted to stay,” and while it is true that over sixty percent of eighteen-to-twenty-four year olds voted to stay, the turnout of this age bracket was a poor thirty-four percent. To claim that the youth voted to stay is an inherent fallacy, considering that only about twenty percent of them actually voted in that way. But “oh no, the old people voted to leave, what about our future!” To suggest that one person’s vote is more important than another’s based on age alone is a frightening premise, and a troubling precedent to put forward. This was the generation that lived through the wars of the twentieth century, contributed significantly to British society and made the nation what it is today, and to suggest that they do not have the UK’s interests at heart is a ridiculous and offensive notion.
For future reference, those who argue so passionately for an issue in a referendum are advised to refrain from simply posting on Twitter and actually vote, saving them the trouble of obnoxiously complaining after-the-fact on the internet that their voice was not heard. The conduct and poor character of such people should prove that Britain did in fact make the right choice by not indulging them in their lies and arrogance. And while the EU may roll on for a little while longer, Britain has truly proved that no self-respecting nation should have to bow down to an unaccountable superpower, with no interests at heart other than the agenda of globalisation and the compromisation of national identity. Well done UK, you have made the right choice.