KASSAM: What’s Going On With Brexit? Here’s An Explainer
“Ok, but seriously, let’s talk about Brexit. What’s going on?”
The number of times I’ve heard that exact sentence in the past few months makes me want to affect a Mexican accent and pretend I’ve just hopped over the border, such is my embarrassment (and inability to answer the question).
Brexit is certainly a mess, but I often remind people that America didn’t achieve functional independence until around 1815, despite the 1776 declaration.
It is unlikely to take Britain 39 years to extricate ourselves from the European Union, but it certainly feels like a lot longer than shy of three years since the original Brexit vote.
You’ll have probably noticed that Theresa May is the worst prime minister in recent history, and that is saying something considering we had Gordon Brown (remember him? Me neither).
But it isn’t May’s fault that her party — the so-called Conservative Party — is so divided on the matter. This is the primary problem we face, and a problem I have been attempting to solve for what seems like most of my adult life.
After Margaret Thatcher, or especially after Margaret Thatcher I should say, the Conservative Party ceased to be conservative.
Like your Republican politicians who have failed to grasp the importance of “faith, family, and freedom”, the Tories are known for having traded “God, King, and country” for some cheap gains on the stock market, or a few percentage points of gross domestic product.
That has rendered much of the party in government unable to aspire to what should be a basic philosophical concept: sovereignty. Many of them simply don’t believe in it, anymore.
It was a problem identified by the greatest Prime Minister Britain never had: Enoch Powell, before the Thatcher years.
In 1970, Powell broke from the Tories because they promised a negotiation over Britain’s entrance into the European Economic Community, the forerunner to the European Union. He went on, despite being the highest of Tories, to advise the public to vote for the Labour Party in 1974. This led to Prime Minister Ted Heath being unceremoniously turfed out of office as Labour rode the Powell wave to victory.
“I had had my revenge on the man who had destroyed the self-government of the United Kingdom,” Powell once commented on the matter.
The problem is today, we have no Enoch Powell, and no one willing to exact electoral revenge on a Conservative Party Prime Minister who has sabotaged the self-government of the United Kingdom.
The latest attempts by the British Cabinet to oust Theresa May were not just half-hearted, but have at their core the idea of replacing one establishment member of the Conservative Party with another: Michael Gove.
Gove — an establishment journalist turned politician — talks a good game, but when push comes to shove, he tends to side with the path of least resistance. Example: he backed May’s bungled “Withdrawal Agreement” with the European Union.
He was a poor Education secretary, a poor chief whip, a poor Justice secretary, and is most recently known for banning “micro beads” in cosmetic products. Hardly the radical, pioneering political position needed in 2019.
He’s also pretty terrible at wielding the knife, having tried and failed before to pinch the keys to 10 Downing Street by shafting his buddy Boris Johnson.
If you can’t take down a candidate like Boris in a party leadership election, what are the chances you can assail the entirety of the European Union and all of its institutions? Not high.
So Britain is left between a rock and a hard place. Another fake conservative government, with another phony conservative prime minister; or a general election this year if enough Conservative Party MPs side with the Labour Party in calling for a vote of no confidence in Her Majesty’s Government.
This could easily lead to Jeremy Corbyn — a Hezbollah-supporting, Soviet Union fanboy — becoming prime minister. But then again, at least we know he probably supports Brexit.
But like Powell backing Labour in February of 1974, there is no sure sign that the party would even go on to fulfill such a position. They balked from it once, they’ll balk from it again. Powell’s only success in this regard was forcing the Conservative Party to correct to the political right under Margaret Thatcher. It did not change Britain’s relationship with Europe for the better.
The best Britain can currently hope for is that the Conservative Party gets a mighty good kicking in whatever elections we may have next: local, national, or even European, and that the party will correct to the right from there.
But in the absence of Powell, we all must become Enoch.
As the man himself retorted when accused of being a “Judas” against the Conservative Party, all Britons must be willing to adopt his mantra: “Judas was paid. I am making a sacrifice.”
We will all have to make political sacrifices to see Brexit through. What those look like will soon become clear.
Raheem Kassam (@RaheemKassam) is the global editor in chief of Human Events and a fellow at the Claremont Institute and the Middle East Forum. He is the author of two bestselling books: “No Go Zones” and “Enoch Was Right.”
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.