(p. C1) The Brexit campaign started as a cry for liberty, perhaps articulated most clearly by Michael Gove, the British justice secretary (and, on this issue, the most prominent dissenter in Mr. Cameron’s cabinet). Mr. Gove offered practical examples of the problems of EU membership. As a minister, he said, he deals constantly with edicts and regulations framed at the European level–rules that he doesn’t want and can’t change. These were rules that no one in Britain asked for, rules promulgated by officials whose names Brits don’t know, people whom they never elected and cannot remove from office. Yet they become the law of the land. Much of what we think of as British democracy, Mr. Gove argued, is now no such thing.
Instead of grumbling about the things we can’t change, Mr. Gove said, it was time to follow “the Americans who declared their independence and never looked back” and “become an exemplar of what an inclusive, open and innovative democracy can achieve.” Many of the Brexiteers think that Britain voted this week to follow a template set in 1776 on the other side of the Atlantic.
. . .
(p. C2) Mr. Gove has taken to borrowing the 18th-century politician William Pitt’s dictum about how England can “save herself by her exertions and Europe by her example.” After Mr. Cameron departs and new British leadership arrives, it will be keen to strike new alliances based on the principles of democracy, sovereignty and freedom. You never know: That might just catch on.
For the full commentary, see:
FRASER NELSON. “A Very British Revolution; The vote to leave the EU began as a cry for liberty and ended as a rebuke to the establishment.” The Wall Street Journal (Sat., June 24, 2016): C1-C2.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date June 24, 2016, and has the title “Brexit: A Very British Revolution; The vote to leave the EU began as a cry for liberty and ended as a rebuke to the establishment.”)