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BREXIT - counting the damage

Posted by Frank Preiss, on 11 September 2020. Comments: 0

BREXIT - counting the damage

There is no point in rehearsing the case against leaving the EU. It has happened. But now Brexit is back on the agenda.

As the government stumbles from one self-made crisis to another it has really only offered one justification for inflicting on the UK what it has admitted will be considerable economic damage, that much misused word 'sovereignty' which it paraphrases as 'taking back control'.

'Portfolio' words like sovereignty mean nothing without context and cases. The fact is that the only unfettered sovereignty Britain could hope for would be by cutting itself off completely from its neighbours and the rest of the world. But whenever one state wants to form a relationship with another, military, political or economic, however unequal, sovereignty must be shared, compromises conceded.

Over the last 80 years most of the world has accepted this basic principle and has evolved legal frameworks to underpin a succession of treaties, pacts and alliances, of which the European Union is arguably the most advanced and successful product to date.

Britain played a big and honourable part in this process: as our imperial power declined, our moral standing and reputation increased. For many years we 'punched above our weight' in world affairs.

Last week Boris Johnson, no doubt urged on by the unelected Dominic Cummings, inflicted mortal damage on that standing. It will take a generation to recover the respect of our former European partners and the world at large, if we ever do.

I didn't vote for that in 2016, nor in 2019. Did anyone?

 

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