Thursday, 9 October 2014

Not My Vision For The United Kingdom

The Mad Monarchist is definitely the best monarchist blog on the web. The author writes some fantastic posts and generally comes across as one of the more sensible people in the often rather eccentric monarchist camp. However, his Vision for the United Kingdom is definitely not one that I share.

You can tell he is an American when he writes:

When it comes to internal politics, there seems to be no chance of really significant changes in policy when even UKIP is promising to maintain the NHS.

Don't you love that typical American conservative bemusement at us crazy British people and our beloved NHS?

I think MadMonarchist's comment about Enoch Powell shows how out of touch he is with modern Britain. I do not for a minute accept that Enoch Powell's prophecies have been fulfilled. Yes, immigration has brought problems and the tabloid press will never tire of drawing attention to them. However, these are not the problems Powell predicted. Enoch Powell did not predict honour killings in Muslim families, the radicalization of young Muslims, the ovrcrowding of primary schools or police stations needing to hire Polish interpreters. What he predicted was that black people and white people were incapable of living together. This has essentially been proven wrong. The Afro-Carribean immigrants that so frightened Enoch Powell are fully assimilated and often intermarried into the mainstream of British society. Immigration poses new problems, but we can find answers to them. I believe that the UK is a richer place for the diversity that immigration has brought.

Central to MadMonarchist's proposals is the UK leaving the European Union. He does not think the Conservative leadership in favour of this. I'd like to think he is right and the Conservative leadership genuinely do want to keep the UK in the EU. However, when even David Cameron talks about re-negotiating free movement of labour, a fundamental principle of the EU, a completely unrealistic and unworkable demand, one has to doubt that his commitment to staying in is very strong. He suggests as an alternative to Tory ambivalent Euroscepticism:

However, another party that certainly does is the UK Independence Party and its leader, Nigel Farage, has spoken frequently of his vision for a United Kingdom that, once free of the constraints of the EU, renews closer ties with the countries of the Commonwealth, particularly those parts of the former British Empire which remain the most similar in their values, economies, language and principles. Indeed, Farage has spoken of Britain joining the EU almost as a betrayal, of turning their backs on the Commonwealth Realms with whom Britain has traditionally been most attached.

It would appear that MadMonarchist regards UKIP as a credible political force that ought to be taken seriously. UKIP are getting a lot of media attention at the moment, but it remains to be seen whether they will make a serious long term impact on British politics. It is open to doubt whether they will make many gains in the next general election. They are essentially a one-man band, with no figure other than Farage having any credibility. Any UKIP MPs are likely to become laughing stocks once they show their inevitable incompetence.

UKIP are essentially a party of protest. They soak up a lot of the 'Not Labout, Not Conservative' votes that used to go to the Liberal Democrats before the coalition. A large proportion of their voters would be horrified by the libertarian and right-wing leanings of the party's leadership. The main issue that UKIP talks about is immigration. The British people for the most part don't care that much about the EU. But stirred up by the prejudice of an ugly right-wing press, many voters will to an anti-immigration party, in the misguided belief that our problems can be blamed on foreigners. UKIP are utterly cynical and appeal to the lowest and basest instincts of voters.

I won't go into the complex economic issues of the UK leaving the EU, except to say that I think it would be disastrous for our economy and an even bigger disaster for Britain's political influence globally. Personally, I doubt that we ever would leave the UK. I don't personally like referendums, but for political reasons, it is inevitable that a referendum would be required before exiting the EU. I'm confident the British people would vote to stay in the European Union. The Scottish independence referendum has shown that voters are cautitious about change. Those arguing for 'Brexit' have to be able to prove their case against the arguments of business and the forces of the establishment which would support staying in. The Scots would predominantly vote to stay, as would the Welsh. I suspect the mass of Labour voters in England would be induced to stay. The Labour party leadership would paint 'Brexit' as a Tory ploy and Labour voters would vote against it.

As an alternative to the EU, MadMonarchist argues that the Commonwealth could be turned into a stronger economic and political union. I seriously doubt this is realistic. Why would the Australians want to buy more British goods when they can buy cheaper goods from Asian countries next door? You can't re-structure global economic realities simply on the strength of sentiment. What is more, would we really want stronger political ties with some of the corrupt regimes in the Commonwealth? Undoubtedly, a stronger Commonwealth would cost us. The Third World members would make large demands for aid from Britain in return for these stronger ties.

The implementation of MadMonarchist's vision would be seen by the world as Britain wanting her empire back. It would arouse all the old grievances that we might have wanted buried. The sight of Britain trying to act like an imperial power again would arouse the contempt of the world. Don't get me wrong, I'm an admirer of the British Empire, but her defenders cannot ignore the resentment that many feel towards that historic institution. That is why Britain is such a divided nation today, with many Scots resenting the old imperialist past, England nostalgic for it and many ethnic minorities feeling uncomfortable with English nostalgia. That is part of why a referendum for British exit from the EU is likely to fail; the 'Brexit' side will summon up all that nostalgia for the divisive imperial past and those who can't buy into that will oppose it.

MadMonarchist does not say a lot about NATO in this post, but he seems to indicate that the UK leaving NATO would be a good idea. I find it hard to see how anybody could take such a view with the rise of a belligerent and aggressive Russia, as well as the various other threats to the West around the world.

MadMonarchist, I think your blog is fantastic and I stand shoulder to shoulder with you in your monarchism, but your view of Britain is like a Victorian Imperialist theme park. My vision of Britain is of a diverse, inclusive United Kingdom working together with our partners in the European Union for peace, prosperity and security.

No comments:

Post a Comment