Sunday, 28 August 2016
Brexit is a matter of instinct
The prosecutor investigating the aftermath of the Italy earthquake says shoddy cut-price renovations in breach of local building regulations could be partly to blame for the high death toll. Three medieval towns were flattened by a 6.2-magnitude quake on Wednesday, killing 291 including three Britons. Now Giuseppe Saieva has warned that property owners who commissioned sub-standard work could be held responsible for contributing to the quake's deadly impact.
And this, ultimately is why Britain never belonged in the EU and will do just fine outside of it. When it comes down to it we are not culturally aligned. Brits do like to is and whine about regulation but on the quiet we love it. We moan - but we would moan more without the good governance we are accustomed to. We obey rules and regulations. The continentals don't. That's why they don't see it as a problem.
From banking to construction there is a laissez faire approach to the rule of law and the above is a natural consequence of it. Italy's economy suffers because of the same attitude and their complete lack of enforcement. Because we observe the rule of law and the sanctity of the contract we are the choice destination for business. That will not change.
Like it or not, there is a massive cultural gulf between us and the continentals and any "European identity" is one that only really exists in the minds of narcissists and eurocrats. To say one identifies as European in respect of our EU membership is to have bought into le grand project - but there is no European demos at all.
Ultimately there is only a convergence of political elites. There may be technical and regulatory integration at the ports and airports which are largely the domain of the technocrats and customs officials, but it's out in the shires where we find the real measure of legal and cultural convergence. And if we're honest, it's not happening. We are fundamentally different and a supreme government for Europe is just a bad idea.
In the end the EU is just a rogue non-state actor. We don't need them. We do not need them for legal, technical or academic cooperation and we don't need anyone telling us how to run our country. There are plenty of arguments for maintaining close relations with the EU but there was never a real case for being a member. We don't need the EU instructing us in good governance. We invented it.
Brexit is not a binary choice between internationalism and isolationism. We simply recognise that there are different means to achieve the same thing that do not mean giving up essential controls - and in so doing we safeguard that which makes us unique. In that regard, the decision to vote to leave was as much instinct as anything else. It is a recognition that it is our diversity that gives us our power and homogenising Europe is a futile and ultimately undesirable pursuit - and we don't need a supreme government for Europe in order to cooperate with our allies.