Great Britain from Churchill to Brexit
The idea of this article came to me after the discussion I’ve had with Alon Ben-Meir, professor at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs, who’s been regularly publishing his opinions in the Huffington Post. A great analyst of the international relations, Professor Ben-Meir has a genuine consciousness of his time, he is a man who never ceases to remain righteous and call a spade a spade, whether is about the United States, Europe or the Middle East.
Contrary to popular belief, Winston Churchill’s acid lines, sometimes cynical or humorous, but always pragmatic, were not the fruit of spontaneity. In fact, Churchill started his adult life with a small speech impediment, something that he overcame by repeating his speech before its deliverance. The exercise became part of his public and political appearances, where he was thinking of all the questions that could arise and the sharp answers that he would provide.
Addresses, speeches and responses of the greatest wartime leader, travelled around the world, have been translated, transcribed accurately and shall always be current. When the Prime-minister Neville Chamberlain returned from Munich, where it was decided the Sudeten issue, Winston Churchill said to him: „“You were given the choice between war and dishonour. You chose dishonour and you will have war”. „”Never was so much owed by so many to so few” also said Winston Churchill referring to the Royal Air Force pilots who fail to put an end to the advantage of Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain.
What chasm between the mind of a great statesman and the artisans clowns of the Brexit. To even place them, in the same sentence, text or tome with Churchill is a trivial barbarism. But, wait until the end, because, not only is there a morbid reason and a spurt of emotion, but we shall even reveal a truth far more sinister. In an imaginary dialogue, but probably not very far from the truth, we could picture Nigel Farage talking with Boris Johnson:
– Nigel, we won!
– Did we really win? But how did this happen, Boris?
– I have no idea…
– Well, what shall we do now?
– It’s simple, we run off…
We cannot suspect that the two have ever had a moment of introspection, apart from this situation today, when they realized that they are too incompetent to find solutions to the existential problems that they have generated.
Paraphrasing Churchill, Britain had to choose between a war against the challenges that the European Union faces, such poverty, immigration crisis, inequality and inequity in our societies and the “honour” not be dictated from Brussels what to do, how to do and when to do it. Only that this “disgrace” never existed. Britain has never been part of the Eurozone, had preferential provisions and treatment in relation to the European Union representation in the Council and the Commission, on an equal footing with other Member States and a significant number of MEPs in the European Parliament. Moreover, the alleged dishonour of Britain was staged by people democratically elected to represent the very interests of the British citizens. Britain has chosen the “honour”, but will stand alone to fight the war, an out of the question tactic in the current context!
At the same time, never so many Britons were so indebted to the fewest. A few minutes after the publishing of the results of the referendum, the stock markets were burst into chaos, losing over 3 trillion dollars and the pound reached its lowest level since 1985. In other words, the stock market losses represent the cumulative value of the first 100 largest companies at global level. As if, in just two days, giants like Microsoft, Google, Apple, IBM, Visa, etc. have been erased from the map.
But, if we want to truly understand the tragedy of Britain’s exit from the European Union, we must look at the very own principles which designed the basis of this construct. Essentially, the “Leave” campaign didn’t brought any solid economic arguments or any kind of plan whatsoever. They chose to talk about and spread hatred, fear and called to nationalism and xenophobia by propaganda and lies. The call to Winston Churchill and his speech at the University of Zurich in 1946, further widens the chasm between the Union and post-Brexit Britain:
“I wish to speak to you today about the tragedy of Europe. This noble continent, comprising on the whole the fairest and the most cultivated regions of the earth, enjoying a temperate and equable climate, is the home of all the great parent races of the western world. It is the fountain of Christian faith and Christian ethics. It is the origin of most of the culture, the arts, philosophy and science both of ancient and modern time. If Europe were once united in the sharing of its common inheritance, there would be no limit to the happiness, to the prosperity and the glory which its three or four million people would enjoy. Yet it is from Europe that have sprung that series of frightful nationalistic quarrels, originated by the Teutonic nations in their rise to power, which we have seen in this twentieth century and even in our own lifetime wreck the peace and mar the prospects of all mankind.[…]
Yet all the while there is a remedy which, if it were generally and spontaneously adopted by the great majority of people in many lands, would as if by a miracle transform the whole scene, and would in a few years make all Europe, or the greater part of it, as free and as happy as Switzerland is today. What is this sovereign remedy? It is to recreate the European Family, or as much of it as we can, and to provide it with a structure under which it can dwell in peace, in safety and in freedom. We must build a kind of United States of Europe. In this way only will hundreds of millions of toilers be able to regain the simple joys and hopes which make life worth living. The process is simple. All that is needed is the resolve of hundreds of millions of men and women to do right instead of wrong and to gain as their reward blessing instead of cursing.[…]
We British have our own Commonwealth of Nations. These do not weaken, on the contrary they strengthen, the world organization. They are in fact its main support. And why should there not be a European group which could give a sense of enlarged patriotism and common citizenship to the distracted peoples of this turbulent and mighty continent? And why should it not take its rightful place with other great groupings and help to shape the onward destinies of men? In order that this should be accomplished there must be an act of faith in which millions of families speaking many languages must consciously take part.”
Faced with this reality and an assessment qui prodest, there is only one answer. The real inspirers and profiteers of the Brexit and the conspirators of EU’s collapse manipulated the discontent and frustrations of the people. They are the ones selling the illusion that they will take the destiny in their own hands, although they are the ones representing an exclusive government of oligarchy, which suppress any idea about the civil rights and freedoms.
In his speech at Fulton, Churchill certainly would not have wished that some threats would still be valid 70 years later:
“From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in some cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow.[…]
However, in a great number of countries, far from the Russian frontiers and throughout the world, Communist fifth columns are established and work in complete unity and absolute obedience to the directions they receive from the Communist centre. Except in the British Commonwealth and in the United States where Communism is in its infancy, the Communist parties or fifth columns constitute a growing challenge and peril to Christian civilization. These are sombre facts for anyone to have recite on the morrow a victory gained by so much splendid comradeship in arms and in the cause of freedom and democracy; but we should be most unwise not to face them squarely while time remains.[…]”
The fifth column functioned precisely in Great Britain and there are signs that will work also in other Member States of the European Union. Great Britain is even more special because, in spite of what the media across Europe portrays, except Boris Johnson, the pro Brexit voter was merely a nameless face. UKIP, Nigel Farage’s party, exists just to wear the Brexit’s flagship.
What is most worrying is the deplorable reaction of major British parties, their own failure and the catastrophic vision they have over the needs of their constituencies. The risk of taint, imperilling the political and military strategic role that Britain plays in both the Anglo-Saxon world and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, remain yet major threats. All political leaders in the European Union should keep in mind and assume the responsibility they have towards their citizens, their countries and the European continent.
In contrast to Winston Churchill, who foreshadowed and made history, defended the unity and integrity of the United Kingdom, the archangels of Brexit just left it facing the risk of secession. It’s what neither Napoleon nor Hitler, ever have hoped to succeed. Faced with this reality, Churchill is probably turning in his grave.
Foto: European Parliament