Now the British Tories have spoken, Queen Elizabeth has confirmed, and Boris Johnson is the new Prime Minister of the UK. We will now see if Mr. Johnson can Brexit, or will he follow the failure of the last two of his predecessors and possibly, God forbid, default to a Jeremy Corbin-led Labor government. He says he is firmly committed to meeting the October 31 deadline, Brexit deal or no deal, and we’ll see, but it will be difficult at best, and European Union member Ireland holds the key to a deal with the EU because it has the most to lose in a “no deal” Brexit. There is not much more to say at this point, but I enjoy what others in recent history have said about this issue and I have pulled up two quotes that are interesting and instructive.
First, former French President Charles de Gaulle in his remarks blocking the UK’s entry into what was then the European Common Market in 1963: “England in effect is insular, she is maritime…..She has in all her doings very marked and very original habits and traditions……the nature, the structure, the very situation that are England’s differ profoundly from those of the continent.”
Next, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 2001: “I would never be prepared to give up our own currency………The greatest issue in this election, indeed the greatest issue before our country, is whether Britain is to remain a free, independent, nation state. Or whether we are to be dissolved in a federal Europe. There are no half measures, no third ways–and no second choices.”
These are two of the savviest European leaders of the 20th century, steeped in European history, and I think they are spot on in these remarks, then and now. And as for my thoughts, well, Brexit means Brexit. Good luck, Mr. Johnson.