Water, water everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink
So go the famous lines from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. That endless poem was written by an Englishman, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, but we can be sure he wasn’t talking about Brexit — the burning thirst for relief from an imminent ugly death notwithstanding.
Last week’s advisory referendum on whether or not the United Kingdom should leave the European Union turned out an unexpected result: leave. A solid majority of 52% of the voting public voted to leave, compared to 48% who voted to stay. Nigel Farage of UKIP fame and Boris Johnson, former mayor of London, led the campaign to leave, facing what was previously imagined to be overwhelming opposition from both of the United Kingdom’s major establishment parties, the Conservative and Labour parties. David Cameron, leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister of the UK, has already stated his intention to resign due to the result of the vote, which he opposed.
Expectations on the Right were low after the suspiciously narrow victory of a geriatric Green Party apparatchik over a nationalist candidate in Austria’s presidential election, but they’ve surged again in anticipation of the United States’ November presidential election that will test American nationalism against the ruling progressive clerisy for the first time.
Those expectations will have to be moderated with a dose of reality concerning power dynamics.
While the success of Brexit was an indisputable morale victory for British nativists and their sympathizers worldwide, its impact on the actual structure of the British state and the EU, both official and unofficial, is negligible, if not inflammatory and liable to damage the demographic base of nationalists. I’ve written extensively before on the dictum that right-wing activism always fails, and the outcome of the Brexit referendum does not bring it into question. Why?
The outcome of the vote is just a guarantee that a battle is going to occur. The actual victory is yet to be won. Nothing has been won back quite yet, except the right to a challenge of the status quo, and if my two eyes are of any help, the opposing forces are numerous and powerful.
The impositions on Great Britain by the European Union and the problems caused by EU membership and EU-supported ideology are not manifested abstractly, nor can they be revoked or solved with a simple vote, or a simple change of minds. They are manifested in tens of thousands of highly-paid bureaucrats deeply entrenched in the state apparatus. They are manifested in scores of elites and aspiring elites (both domestic and foreign) who reside in London, Oxford, and Cambridge, and work 40-hour weeks, fifty weeks a year, turning the gears and cogs of the machinery of the state. They cannot be removed with the flick of a pen because they are the ones holding the pens.
Britain’s membership in the European Union and the problems caused thereby are not simply a question of what bill the British Parliament passes. There is no on/off switch for EU membership anywhere. The question is how to remove or repurpose the multitudes of faceless bureaucrats and the elite support network behind them. In 2015, there were 2.9 million employees of the UK central government. What do you do with 2.9 million bureaucrats? Not all of them are EU bureaucrats, but the intertwinement between the UK and the EU is so extensive that many of them might as well be. Back in 2008, a figure for the number of actual EU bureaucrats was given at 170,000. They’re not a force to ignore, either.
That’s not counting the wealthy elites who throw their considerable financial fortunes at EU-style integration with the mainland. Nor is it counting the bought-and-paid-for media. Nor is it counting British academia, which for all intents and purposes has already been an internationalist non-British academia since the 1930s.
What do you do with all these people to enact a separation from the EU that isn’t just nominal, but real and results in real improvements in British well-being and sovereignty?
If you don’t have an answer yet, you better start thinking quickly, because they are already working overtime to scheme up a way to prevent Brexit from happening, and if not that, then to delay it until Britain becomes more diverse, and if not that, then to attach so many provisions and exceptions to Brexit that the status quo only changes in name, and if not that, then to invent a slew of treaties and agreements with the EU to be passed immediately upon formal exit from the EU that will recreate the EU in all but name.
How will nationalists and nativists stop them? They don’t control the millions of government, media and academic positions that determine what agreements and treaties get passed. Electoral politics is going to remain the main strategy at first glance, but if right-wing electoral politics was the right tool for this kind of job, Britain wouldn’t be in the mess it is in today at all. It is perfectly possible for the British Right to win consistent electoral victories and still find that every new law, agreement, treaty, and government regulation ends up benefiting and promoting left-wing groups and causes.
You can coordinate 52% of the population of Britain to vote against EU membership, but how do you plan to coordinate 52% of the population of Britain to consistently campaign and vote against the multitudes of legal minutiae and government dictates promulgated by left-wing bureaucrats, who might number in the millions?
It’s easy to list the problems caused by the EU. They are many and will be fatal to Britain. It’s much harder to actually solve them by getting rid of all the flesh, blood, gold, and brick invested in the system that led to decades of EU membership.
The key thing to ask about Brexit is this: who got fired? Who lost funding? Which bureaucrats are homeless? Which people are blacklisted and will be forever unhireable due to their support for the Remain campaign that lost? No one got fired. No one lost funding. No bureaucrats are homeless, and they will fight regulation and treaty to keep their positions and maintain the status quo. David Cameron is never going to suffer any serious consequences for his positions and decisions.
There are hundreds of thousands of people in Britain who receive monthly paychecks from pro-EU organizations (including the government), who cannot imagine a different lifestyle, who have invested their entire lives and personalities into their careers as left-wing bureaucrats, whose only skills are the skills of bureaucrats and left-wing ideologues, who only have friends who are also pro-EU functionaries of various kinds, who have married foreigners and brought them to Britain thanks to EU laws, and so on. Those people’s lives and personalities don’t change with a Brexit announcement, and they will viciously resist any change to the status quo.
The entire apparatus of the state that had an existential interest in preventing Brexit — the media, academia, the establishment parties, the NGOs and foundations, the permanent bureaucracy — is still right where it was on June 22. Brexit has given Euroskeptics a democratic, moral mandate, perhaps, but it has not given them the power to excise or remodel this apparatus in order to make Brexit meaningful.
The British middle and working classes are probably going to be economically punished by the state for their insolence and refusal to cooperate with the high-status program of EU integration. Expect more immigration, expect more dysfunctional and violent immigrants, expect more haranguing about racism, bigotry and Islamophobia and the need for more African refugee settlement in Britain to spur diversity and tolerance. It’s already begun on the front page of CNN.
The American globalists across the pond are not happy about the rebellious peasants in the far-off backwater province of Great Britain. The activists and bureaucrats who decide immigration and economic policy will appease them at the expense of the Leave demographic.
The failure of the Cathedral-State to ensure a loss for the Leave campaign indicates a growing weakness. However, it is still by any measure the more powerful faction and still has the power to import enough socialism and diversity into Britain to destroy it completely, long before the right-wing opposition develops an effective counter-plan that doesn’t involve elections. The state’s growing weakness, if anything, will make it more likely to attack, harm, and eliminate its domestic enemies.
One likely outcome is that, after years and years of delay and fruitless negotiation, the United Kingdom finally officially leaves the European Union, only to immediately become party to a stack of treaties and agreements recreating the conditions of EU membership in all but name. It would not be hard to mimic the essentials of EU membership without making it obvious. Everyone, including Boris and Nige, agrees that Britain should have all kinds of agreements and treaties with Europe even after Britain leaves the EU. What kinds of treaties will those be? That will be overwhelmingly decided by the academics, journalists, elites, and bureaucrats who will make the final decision.
Another likely outcome is that, as the BBC is reporting, Scotland will hold a second independence referendum (the first was held in 2014), secede from the United Kingdom, rejoin the European Union, and then function as one prong out of two to punish and isolate the remainder of nationalist Britain. Scotland, unlike England, is extremely left-wing, voted 62% to remain in the EU, and the ruling Scottish National Party — backed by the establishment — has no qualms raising the prospect of leaving the British union specifically in order to join the European one. Northern Ireland also voted to remain with 56% of the vote, and the well-known Irish Sinn Fein are already calling for Northern Ireland to secede and unite with the rest of Ireland in the EU.
Particularly vociferous leftists are even petitioning for the secession of London from England, in order to rejoin the EU. They’ve collected more than 175,000 signatures. The thought seems ridiculous now, but the British have historically been fond of international zones for neutral cities, kept peaceful by international forces. They proposed or carried out that idea everywhere from Jerusalem to Danzig, there’s no reason they might not finally try it at home.
A United Kingdom of England and Wales — let’s assume with London still in it — would most likely end up surrounded by the European Union on all sides after Scottish and Northern Irish secession and accession to the EU. Not only that, but that future EU would be even more left-wing and tyrannical than one with England and Wales still in it because they would have that much less rightward pressure on them. And on top of those two horrible outcomes, the remainder of the left-wing bureaucracy in England would probably also end up replicating the EU in all but name through various byzantine treaties and agreements.
This scenario might even be better for Brussels than the current arrangement, since a coterie of little, isolated statelets like Scotland are easier to control and administer like provinces than a small number of enormous states like Britain, France and Spain. That may explain, aside from incoherent rage, why the inner circle of powerful Eurocrats are now pushing for a speedy Brexit.
I sincerely hope this worst-case scenario won’t occur, but it is the current trajectory that Britain is on. The nativist element in Britain can only act as a retardant on the left-ward drift of Britain and the convergence with Brussels as long as they don’t carry out a seismic and decisive change of strategy. Barring that, the state and the elites that back it will have their way.
The Internet lit up with #Brexit hashtags again yesterday as Iceland eliminated England by 2-1 from the UEFA Euro cup, but for all these Brexits, there is no real exit on the horizon for Great Britain. No easy exit, at the very least.
Now is not the time for the Farage camp to rest on their laurels, even for a jiffy. It is time to prepare for a furious and unrestricted pushback.