Remain doesn't get it. If they win, the EU is still doomed
UPDATE: Boris Johnson is now being slated (by Sky News and others) for using this argument. But he's quite right. EU Remain may win in June, but it will be a Pyrrhic victory. All previous pan-European projects have failed, going back to the Romans. The dishonest tactics of the Europhiles add yet more contempt about the establishment way of doing things. If they win, it's a case of one more such victory, and they're lost
This is not a whine. If Remain, as appears likely, and has always appeared likely, wins the June 23 referendum, they will have won it square if not fair. Their scaremongering tactics are disgraceful -- within the letter (just) of the law, not within the spirit. But if they win, they win. Or do they?
Establishment types tell us that their way of doing things is in the nature of politics. In a doomed-to-get-their-bottoms-bitten-very-badly-a-short-while-down-the-road-and-to-hell-with-the-next-generation sort of way, they're right.
But, ultimately, their battle is not with us, it is with history.
The European Union is but the latest in a long series -- dating back to the Roman Empire -- of supranational projects that have always ended badly.
Every new pan-European project has reflected the spirit of its time. The Romans civilised us with law and the respectful legacy of the Greeks. The Popes of the Middle Ages sought domination on the word of God. The Habsburgs (very similar for their time to the EU) offered a multi-national empire.
Napoleon brought modernity. The fierce and brutal totalitarian empires of the 20th century offered darker visions, but the rampant desire to dominate was only new in the degraded inhumanity that motivated them, and the scale of the bloody consequences they brought with them.
The EU is no such totalitarian empire. But it, too, reflects the spirit of its time, while reflecting the spirit of past times too. It is driven by an impulse to control and dominate that has its roots in centuries of mistrust of the peoples of Europe, who can only attain salvation if they yield to an all-knowing centre -- and the fashionable pretext of the day.
One piece of history will not go away. Every single one of these projects -- from the most benign to the most benighted -- has failed. The tension between the yearning for self-determination and the drive for centralisation has always proved irreconcilable.
If history is a guide to the present and the future, so it will be again.
But there is another side to this, which reflects the real spirit of our times, and which we would do well to consider, following the wrong-headed intervention into Britain's national debate by President Obama.
If the status quo is so beneficial -- if the dangers of rethinking it are so dire -- why is the status quo not working?
As Obama departed our shores, his own country remained convulsed in the most bitter and heated election campaign for decades. Two outsiders, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, have struck terror into America's political establishment. Trump may yet become the 45th president, succeeding Obama.
Europe lurches from crisis to endless crisis. Far-Right and far-Left parties smash the middle ground to pieces. No-one (outside the myopic and self-serving) European elites can see an end in sight. The smart money is on things getting worse not better.
The dirty tricks of the Remain campaign -- one mad scare story after another -- may secure victory in June, but they will only kick the can down the road.
Remain may say that their tactics are the norm for modern politics. But an ever increasing and sizeable proportion of the British, and other Western populations, become more and more sickened by what the Europhiles consider "normal".
Victory for Remain will be just another milestone on the road to the demise of a form of modern politics that is on its way out.
Nothing new in that. Just do what the Europhiles refuse to do, and take a look at a history.
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