Understanding Brexit in 2019

To understand what's going on in the U.K. after the defeat of Theresa May in the Commons, one needs some background not only on what motivated the Brits to vote to leave the European Union, but more importantly what it is about the E.U. that they particularly dislike.

The first part of it is easy.  The English, and it was they who provided the bulk of the "leave" votes, were simply tired of being told what to do by a European Commission that had not been elected by them or anybody else, for that matter.  It was a simple matter of sovereignty, especially after the European Commission turned out to be nothing more than a proxy for a new German diktat after Merkel, without consulting anyone, opened the borders of the E.U. to two million Muslim migrants in 2015.

This may have been the proximate cause of the Brexit outcome, but the deeper reasons involve long held fundamental grievances that had been simmering over many years and finally boiled over.  That had to do with the direction in which the E.U. is taking Europe.  To put it simply, that direction is an unmistakably left-wing course aiming at the creation of a new union of European nations that lack individual sovereignty and are told what to do by their betters – a kind of democratic Soviet Union, which history tells us is not possible.

To be sure, there are many in the U.K. who share these objectives, from the increasingly socialistic left under Jeremy Corbyn to Scottish nationalists and a rabidly pro-E.U. mainstream press, but they are still a minority and likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.

How we got to that point from the fundamental beliefs of Konrad Adenauer, Alcide de Gasperi, and Robert Schumann that economic interdependence would eliminate wars in Europe is another question, but suffice it to say that all three of these European political giants believed in competition and sovereignty, concepts that nobody in power in Brussels currently endorses.

So what are some of the ways in which Europe has taken a wrong turn that turns off the Brits?  They are the same that discomfit traditional Europeans, who value their sovereignty and traditions, and the same that have given rise to the dreaded "populist" movements across the continent.  There are way too many for a think piece to list, from prohibiting cucumbers that don't have the approved curvature to even more asinine regulations that only bureaucrats that don't have anything better to do can think of.  Two deserve special mention because they are particularly egregious and affect everybody: global warming and GMO.  

Global warming is behind the European cult of renewable energy.  This led in the E.U. renewable "champion" Germany to prices of kWh paid by households of 35 cents (2017) versus 11 cents in the U.S. and 22 cents in the U.K.  How is it possible for German industry not to collapse at those prices?  It is possible because the government makes the German consumer subsidize the industry at the cost of his own standard of living.  It is a gigantic fool's errand that is now coming to an end.  In 2019, many of the 29,000 highly touted wind turbines in Germany will be nearly twenty years old and will run out of subsidies, yet none of them is economically feasible without those subsidies, and they have to be shut down.  To add insult to injury, Merkel's government has engaged in blatant collusion with Putin against Eastern Europe by claiming that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project is strictly "commercial."  None of it has even remotely contributed to the avowed purpose of bringing down CO2 emissions, which have been rising since 2009.

Next, it is impossible today to walk into an E.U. supermarket without being assaulted on all sides by advertisements for non-genetically modified food – this at a time when non-GMO is rapidly disappearing because science has asserted itself in opposition.  In the world's largest producer of seed stock by far, the United States, the percentage of non-GMO seed is already less than 10 percent and rapidly declining.  The E.U., all-out propaganda notwithstanding, thus has a clear choice of going GMO or not growing food competitively.  It is not difficult to figure out which side will win.

So which way is Brexit going to go?  There are huge forces arrayed against following the British vote to leave.  There are the E.U., determined to make sure that leaving is neither easy nor cheap, lest anyone else get the idea; assorted left-wingers dreaming of socialist paradise; and the slavishly like-minded press.  They all hope for more of the same.  On the other side, seemingly outnumbered, are those who were tired of not being represented, of being told what cucumbers to buy and of imminent doom if they were to dare defy the powers that be.

For the sake of the United Kingdom and, ultimately, Europe itself, here is hoping that on March 29, 2019, the E.U. will be one member less.

Alex Alexiev is chairman of the Center for Balkan and Black Sea Studies (cbbss.org).  He can be reached at alexievalex4@gmail.com.