Monday, January 21, 2019

The Remaining Remainers Remain Recalcitrant

Friends, Brexit hangs in the balance in the United Kingdom, and so does democracy itself.  Will the people's voice be respected by the politicians, or will they try to sabotage Brexit at the 11th hour?  We will find out soon.

Here's my perspective on how Britain should move forward on Brexit, coming soon to the virtual pages of American Greatness:

The Time Has Come for Britain to Embrace a No-Deal Brexit

Ever since June 2016, when the British people voted by 52% to 48% to leave the European Union, establishment British politicians have been grappling with the consequences. With some notable exceptions, they have conceded that the will of the people would have to be respected, and some form of Brexit would indeed take place. Few politicians, and few ordinary Britons, however, understood or agreed on what precisely “Brexit” would mean. That Britain would formally leave the EU was fairly obvious, but the extent of the ties that would remain, and the degree to which Britain would still obey EU laws and regulations, was anything but clear. Not surprisingly, given the vehemence with which many Britons opposed Brexit, the “Remainers” worked hard from the start to manipulate the terms of Britain's divorce from the EU so that the practical impact of Brexit would be minimal. Some would like to stay in the EU customs union, for example, and allow for the free movement of EU and British citizens back and forth – calling into question whether “Brexit” would have much real meaning at all.

Now the British people are approaching crunch time: the deadline for Britain to leave the EU is March 29th. Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, struck a deal with EU authorities that would have scripted Britain's departure from the organization and kept most economic ties in place. That solution, though, was roundly rejected by Parliament, which is divided between those who want a fuller, more robust version of Brexit – something akin to a definitive break – and those who see even Theresa May's demi-Brexit as going too far. This large faction in Parliament would like to cancel Brexit altogether, or submit the matter to the British electorate anew, so that voters would have the option of reversing course. In addition to the pro- and anti-Brexit forces, some British party leaders are simply playing political games: they seek to destabilize Theresa May's Conservative government and precipitate a general election, although it is by no means clear that such an election would ease Britain's path to (or away from) Brexit in any way, shape, or form.

In a nutshell, the British political establishment appears hopelessly divided, dysfunctional, and paralyzed. Generating a workable plan for Brexit that will pass Parliament appears next to impossible. Under these circumstances, politicians usually fudge the issue: they decide not to decide (just yet) and give themselves an extension. This is indeed an option for Britain and the EU, but both would have to agree on the terms and extent of any Brexit postponement, and none of this would make sense if the deadlock in Parliament seemed irresolvable. Extending the deadline for Brexit would also be a profound humiliation to both the British government and the EU. They would be admitting that, after almost three years of negotiating, they are unable to move forward.

From Theresa May's perspective, however, the alternative to a postponement – a “no-deal Brexit,” which would abruptly sever all ties between Britain and the EU – may appear even worse. Economists, legal experts, journalists, and others have been warning for months that a no-deal Brexit would be deeply painful and disruptive, especially to trade. The status of Britons living in Europe, and Europeans living in Britain, would be jeopardized. The border between the Republic of Ireland and British Northern Ireland would once again become meaningful, and border crossings and cross-border trade would have to be, or might have to be, policed by customs officials and border authorities. Remainers have worked hard to convince the British people that such a “hard” Brexit would produce “chaos” and misery on an apocalyptic scale. Mrs. May, as a theoretical opponent of Brexit herself, may be inclined to give credence to these doomsday scenarios.

The truth, however, is that anti-Brexit propaganda has consistently attempted to play on the fears of British voters, and it frequently has exaggerated the ill-effects that a vote for Brexit, or actual Brexit, would produce. By and large, the British economy has performed well since 2016, despite the massive uncertainties surrounding how Brexit will be implemented. Indeed, the confusion regarding Brexit is arguably more harmful economically than Brexit itself. 

Remainers like to argue that the Brexit vote should be overturned, because some of the claims made by Brexit supporters were inaccurate. The same can be said about the claims of Remainers, however, both at the time of the 2016 referendum and today. No election takes place in a context of perfect honesty and intellectual clarity. 

The best and most balanced assessment of the situation Britain finds itself in today, then, is this: despite the hyperbolic rhetoric on both sides of the debate, nothing truly terrible has befallen the British people because they voted to leave the EU, and if they do leave the EU, even under no-deal conditions, in March, life will go on, and Britain will still be strong, prosperous, and free. Some suspect, and I am one of them, that it may even be stronger, more prosperous, and certainly it will be freer and more fully sovereign than it has been in decades.

The one option that any right-thinking person must reject is another referendum. The British people have spoken on the issue of Brexit, and it is high time for their political leadership to accept the legitimacy of the people's views. The attitude that elections are only valid when they lead to congenial results, which appears to be spreading throughout the West, and which certainly has a firm grip on the hard-left of the U.S. Democratic Party, is not one that can be reconciled with the integrity of the democratic process and the values that undergird it. Britons cannot be asked by their elitist, internationalist political masters to keep voting on Brexit until they get it “right”. Theresa May should disabuse the Remainers of this fantasy once and for all.

Increasingly, therefore, there is only one path forward for Britain that respects the democratic rights of her people: a no-deal Brexit. Whatever temporary “chaos” such a move generates, Britons and Europeans should have confidence that, ultimately, life outside the purview of EU bureaucrats is possible – as we in America can attest – and in truth it isn't so bad.

I strongly endorse the concept of a no-deal Brexit, and I look forward to welcoming the people of Britain into the family of truly sovereign nations, where in truth they have always belonged.

Dr. Nicholas L. Waddy is an Associate Professor of History at SUNY Alfred and blogs at: He appears weekly on the Newsmaker Show on WLEA 1480.

Here is the American Greatness version: 

And, if you have a moment, you may wish to read this superb essay on the rank intolerance that prevails in today's artistic, literary, and entertainment communities: 

Consider also this recent Washington Post editorial.  The Left is trying to create a narrative indicating that Trump and Republicans are "losing" the shutdown, and that Democrats wouldn't even think of giving in to any of the President's demands.  This editorial suggests otherwise.  It suggests that some on the Left are willing to negotiate, and in the end Trump may just get his wall... 


  1. Dr. Waddy: Yours is an eloquent and well reasoned essay with which I agree completely. I was in Parliament Square the day before the most recent vote and most of the demonstrators supported "leave means leave". My love for that historically greatest of all nations was increased exponentially by my recent travel there and I rejoice at the probability of their break with the bureaucratically increasingly totalitarian EU, which is in keeping with Great Britain's precious democracy and its deserved confidence in its, on balance, positive example. They understood their vulnerability to unacceptable control by nations with far less fortunate political and cultural histories and, accordingly, defended and reasserted their sovereignty. In doing so they were true to themselves and guaranteed the world the continued benefit of their radiant civilization. Oh, those Brits can surmount any difficulties which may emerge; they've proven that time and time again.

  2. Well said, Jack! It's frankly a bad joke to suggest that the mighty Brits could be defeated by something as trivial as the re-imposition of border checks and mild tariffs. History suggests they can conquer obstacles far greater than these. Unfortunately, though, the Brits are led by men (and women) who think small, and who have long since contaminated British political life with defeatism and self-doubt. I say a no-deal Brexit could be the establishment's worst nightmare, because it could prove just how useless EU ties are, and how easily a nation can prosper outside its jurisdiction...

  3. Dr. Waddy: Point most well taken. I'm reminded of how Margaret Thatcher kept the faith and saved her country. Similarly the success of Brexit would discredit its naysayers, demonstrate that the EU way is intolerable for a greatly free people and perhaps generate a most salubrious regenerated national pride in those wonderful Brits.

  4. Yes! I greatly fear that Britain's weaselly leaders will deprive us of this triumph, though. Now is the fateful moment when British voters need to keep the pressure on! Victory is so close we can taste it.

  5. Dr. Waddy: Re; article on the uh, disapproval of creative works of the politically incorrect. I walk out of the room if Jane Fonda appears on the screen; I gladly played the lead in On Golden Pond for a wonderful theatre group but I would never consider the shame of watching the movie, for any reason, because of that vicious traitor's presence. But that's my choice, not that of incipient dictators. One can be confident that any (gasp) "censorship" of Hanoi Jane's opuses, despite the fact that censorship is only an official, not a business function, would be excoriated by the left. I took a course on aesthetics in which the principle of "aesthetic detachment", consideration of the merits of the work free of the demerits of the artist was plausibly considered. But I refuse to afford it to those who reject it according to their prejudices; ever blatant and obvious totalitarians they are.

  6. Hi Jack. An interesting and wholly valid perspective. I'm somewhere in the middle. I don't like boycotts in general, and I don't look for purity in entertainers or politicians, but I do shy away from putting money in the pockets of evildoers. Unfortunately, virtually every corporation these days falls in the "evil" category -- but not because I view wealth accumulation as wicked. Far from it. But I see most of the corporate elite as enabling the leftist elite, and that's not something I wish to encourage. Realistically, though, one can't function in this day and age without doing business with scumbags, or at least with cowards. In the end, therefore, I say "live and let live".

  7. Dr. Waddy: I can subscribe to that principle but I am confident that the left in power would not abide such insolently free discretion. Political correctness is wholly their institution in today's world, since the complete disempowerment of Naziism; vicious Marxist bigotry, when it effects their purposes, is celebrated by them and, when made possible by the ill considered "tolerance" of the just, forcibly advanced. We must heed this!

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