Brexit may do Europe as well as Britain a favour
by John Kane-Berman
As chancellor of Oxford, ex-chairman of the BBC Trust, one-time governor of Hong Kong, former member of the European Commission, and erstwhile "wet" in Margaret Thatcher's cabinet, Chris Patten is a certified member of the Great and the Good. He has pronounced that the British vote to quit the European Union (EU) means that "Donald Trump-style populism has come to Britain".
Anger at loss of control over immigration helped to swing the British vote in the referendum last month. But 17 million people do not all vote the same way for the same reason, and Lord Patten's sneer helps to explain why the Great and the Good got it wrong. They were so busy whipping up alarm that they failed to address the objections from all sorts of people for all sorts of reasons to all the grandiosity and interference from Brussels.
Among the supporters of Brexit was a former chief of the British defence staff, Charles Guthrie, who voiced concern at the EU's ambitions to start a European army. Operational planning, in which 28 countries would all want a say, would be a "nightmare", said Field Marshal Guthrie. This was not the case with NATO.
Another concern was that of small business. Daniel Hannan wrote that the biggest surprise to him as a new member of the European parliament was how hungry big companies were for more regulation and how they captured the Brussels machine to raise barriers to market entry. Smaller companies could not afford lobbyists in Brussels, so 70% of them wanted the United Kingdom (UK) to take back control of employment, health, safety, and trade policy.