It is impossible to understand how any open-minded person could, after observing the behavior of the European Union in the "negotiations" on Brexit, believe it would have been in Britain's interest to remain part of that empire. The cant, hypocrisy, arrogance, bad faith, malevolence, imperial ambition, defense of nomenklatura self-interest, hostility towards democracy, sovereignty, and freedom, and contempt for economic rationality so characteristic of the European Union have been very much on display.
That should have been no surprise to anyone who has read the account by Yanis Varoufakis, the former finance minister of Greece, of the "negotiations" with the European Union on Greece's financial travails. It is astonishing that Varoufakis should still, after his bruising experience with the unredeemedly and irredeemably thuggish EU apparatus, profess any faith in the "European ideal."
It is even more astonishing that the British government has not declared what its EU adversary most fears: that Britain will trade on World Trade Organization terms, respect principles of international law--and thus pay not a penny of the so-called "divorce bill"--and free itself as totally as possible from the corrosive influence of the European Union. If the European Union then came to Britain with a request for a free-trade agreement along the lines of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, as undoubtedly it would, Britain would be very open to such a request: the European Union would want such an agreement because of its mercantilist desire to protect its massive trade surplus with Britain; Britain would want one because of the country's free-trading instincts.
But the British government, and its so-called civil service which behaves like a prisoner so accustomed to being told what to do by Brussels warders that it has become institutionalized and afraid of having to assume responsibility again, has allowed itself to be seen as demandeur (to use the diplomatic jargon), fearful of "no deal" and begging for as many as possible of the EU shackles to be retained--and willing to pay any amount of British taxpayers' money for the privilege of being shackled. This, contrary to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's pompous assertions about "walking away," is the true absurdity. And as long as the British government thinks of itself as demandeur, it will be surrendering the upper hand--which in economic and political logic it possesses--to what Chancellor of...