In just over a week, Britons will vote in the referendum that will make or break their pact with the European Union. The latest polls show a surge for the “take control” campaign led by Tory Boris Johnson that urges Britons to recover their sovereign rights by leaving the EU.
There is more at stake than sovereignty, however. The outcome will illustrate whether 21st-century Britons view themselves as part of the continuous history and future of Western civilisation.
When the fight over the EU referendum erupted between British Prime Minister David Cameron and his conservative stablemate Johnson, the politics of the campaign was laid bare in parliament. Johnson asked Cameron what sovereign powers would be returned to Britain if citizens decided to stay in the EU. Cameron’s claim that powers over welfare and immigration would be restored were met with a one-word reply from the usually eloquent Johnson: “rubbish”.
The referendum vote is viewed broadly as a contest between two ideals: free trade and national sovereignty. Cameron attempted to reconcile the two by negotiating a reform pact with all 28 EU leaders. The subsequent white paper published in February stated the UK was not committed to further integration with the EU and powers over national security, policing, immigration and asylum policy would be returned to the British government.
However, critics argue the agreement would give Britons control only over immigration flows from outside the EU, not within it. Such a policy reflects the Schengen Agreement, the future of which has been imperilled by the EU’s mishandling of the Syrian crisis.
Those campaigning for British sovereignty over EU membership have made immigration their core mandate for good reason. Pew research shows that much European disaffection with the EU is attributable to its handling of the “refugee issue”: 94 per cent of Greeks, 88 per cent of Swedes, 77 per cent of Italians and 70 per cent of Britons disapprove of the EU’s approach. In large part, the disapproval stems from the fact that the so-called European refugee crisis is neither European nor a refugee crisis. It is a border security crisis created by the EU socialist bloc whose sovereign champion is former communist turned centre-right Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel.
Socialist French President Francois Hollande, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Merkel were instrumental in pressuring European states to open their borders to supposed refugees fleeing the Syrian crisis. Merkel maintained her open border stance even after she was warned last year by the German Interior Ministry that a third of people claiming asylum as Syrian refugees were not Syrian.
In the wake of the jihadist terrorist attacks on Paris, Hollande denied the French people’s wish to tighten border security. Instead, he defended the open border policy that had led directly to jihadists entering France and launching murderous attacks on European citizens. And after Brussels was attacked by jihadists in February, the Belgian foreign ambassador to Australia claimed it had “nothing to do with the refugee crisis”.
Unfortunately, it was not a tacit acknowledgment that the refugee crisis was, in fact, an EU-driven border security crisis. It later transpired that like France, Belgium had been targeted by Islamist terrorists who had entered or re-entered Europe through open borders.
In June 2015, socialist backed EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini revised the history of Western civilisation, reducing it to a shadow of its former self. Such cultural reductionism is required to make the socialist case against Western civilisation sound reasonable. She stated: “Diversity is the core feature of our European history ... We know diversity and complexity — especially here in Brussels — from our own experience. For this reason I am not afraid to say that political Islam should be part of the picture.”
Note that Mogherini did not advocate simply for the religious freedom to practice Islam, which is part of the Western tradition of plurality. The EU foreign affairs chief advocated for political Islam, which constitutes the establishment of a theocratic state under sharia law. That is not reflective of cultural plurality. It reflects monotheism and requires the cessation of liberalism as a democratic project.
Writing in The Guardian, the assistant secretary of the Muslim Council for Britain, Miqdaad Versi has urged Muslims to vote against, Brexit because the EU is their “ummah”. Versi wrote: “The Arabic term ‘ummah’ refers to a multi-belief and multiethnic community united by shared values, where the whole collective is greater than the sum of its parts. The Prophet Muhammad referred to the Jewish tribes of Medina as part of the ummah, alongside Muslims … it seems that the EU is that ummah.”
However ignorant of Europe’s roots in Western civilisation, Versi is partly right. A supranational organisation that erodes the nation state system of liberal democracy, degrades Western culture and advocates for political Islam does resemble an ummah.
In January, European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans conceded that at least 60 per cent of those who entered Europe during the so-called refugee crisis are economic migrants, not refugees. Despite clear evidence that open border policy has been exploited by Islamic terrorists and fake refugees, Europe’s leaders continue to pressure nation states to weaken their borders. In May, the EC threatened states asserting their sovereign right to border security with a €250,000 ($380,000) fine for each migrant not accepted under a predetermined quota. Conservative governments rejected the threat as blackmail.
The border security crisis created by the EU is, at best, evidence of its leadership’s vast incompetence. At worst, the EU open border crisis indicates EU leaders are indifferent or hostile to Western civilisation. A European Union stripped of Western values is not European. Until the EU acknowledges that the past and future of Europe is Western civilisation — meaning Judaeo-Christianity, liberal democracy, secular law, formal equality, freedom of speech and public reason — it does not deserve British loyalty.
A vote for Brexit a vote for freedom, truth, beauty and the Western tradition.