‘Nations stumble upon establishments, which are indeed the result of human action,
but not the execution of any human design.’
Adam Ferguson, An Essay on the History of Civil Society (1767)

05 July 2018

On the Record | President Trump’s Brexit Opening

Please see my latest wire for The American Spectator, ‘President Trump’s Brexit Opening’:

London in July, and more than an unusual summer heat wave awaits Britain’s prime minister Theresa May. The Brexit timetable is “hotting up” as ministers prepare to finalize the Government’s list of demands for Brussels, while restive Conservative MPs jostle for position to defenestrate their leader once the European Union deal is done. As tensions heighten, can President Trump offer respite to his beleaguered British counterpart?

The Cabinet meets this Friday at the premier’s country retreat at Chequers, where they will thrash out the Government’s white paper setting out the objectives for its future social, economic, and security relationship with Europe. Too little, too late, is the general consensus, as the formal Brexit separation takes place next March: while various measures and proposals have been drawn up and discussed desultorily, none have benefited from rigorous analysis, and now Brexiteers are fearful that the Cabinet will be presented with a fait accompli, take-it-or-leave-it Damoclean sword dangling over their heads.

Rumors circulate, for instance, that Mrs. May will propose abiding by European single market rules for goods, leaving the corollary of free movement of labor for the UK-EU negotiating table — ostensibly on the grounds that, as the United Kingdom currently abides by these regulations, this trade component can be quickly agreed by the two parties. Yet her critics argue that this concession empowers the EU to continue dictating terms, frustrating British attempts to innovate and compete for international trade agreements. Brussels mandarins, who habitually voice their disdain for Britain’s “independence” initiative, have no incentive to coöperate and encourage discontent on the Continent. They regularly back-foot Mrs. May and her Brexit ministers.

“Nothing durable can be accomplished without the impulse of general concurrence,” wrote Germaine de Staël, during those unfortunate “eras in history when the course of national feeling is dependent on a single man.” Woe to Britain that its fate rests with Theresa May, unloved by Conservatives, and overwhelmed and underwhelming on the Brexit file.

Read more . . .


My thanks to editor Wlady Pleszczynski of The American Spectator.