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Sir Hilary wide of the mark


Sir Hilary wide of the mark

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SIR HILARY BECKLES’ arguably unnecessary Brexit appraisal statement from the ‘Centre of Excellence’ (SUNDAY SUN, June 26) does not in the least surprise me.

He brings to the discussion the same old reductionist fallacy associated with his historical method.

He sneers offensively at the British electorate’s vote, by a few percentage points, to leave the European Union (EU) against the wishes of the United Kingdom prime minister and the majority of his Cabinet. It’s called “democracy”.

He says it’s “emotional despair over how to manage its post-imperial, ethnic nationalism”, “old England versus the world”, “extreme nationalism”, a retreat “at the expense of every other consideration”, a failure to meet the challenge “to participate in the global world as an equal partner”.

It’s an affirmation of “Englishness” as a “distinct standard not to be . . . diminished by deep association”. It’s all rather irresponsible and self-indulgent rhetoric, and as utterly bogus as Donald Trump.

To affirm my own “Englishness” – and “Welshness,” for that matter – for Professor Beckles’ benefit, though he knows it very well, let me remind him as follows.

 The referendum was indeed about sovereignty. It was about the UK Queen in Parliament and English law being increasingly overridden by EU law and the directives of unelected bureaucrats in Brussels. That is not Barbados and CARICOM. It was about measuring returns against investment and contributions. On that basis, UK “losses”, even after rebate, are said to be £8.5 billion annually. That is not Barbados and CARICOM.

Yes, the referendum was about immigration too, and the British people voted against unrestricted immigration from Europe which allows EU nationals to stay indefinitely or to work, and irrespective of “skills”. And that is not Barbados and CARICOM either. Then we have the possible accession of Turkey with all that entails.

What of a CARICOM single currency like the Euro? Will it come soon? If not, why not and what lessons do we learn from that? How can the UK be expected to accept, in relation to the EU, what we would not accept in relation to CARICOM?

In other words, Sir Hilary’s intervention essentially only mirrors his standard agenda and, in this case, is spinfully wide of the mark. Does that bring credit to the university?

The bottom line is that nation states, for good or ill, must take whatever steps they think right, subject to international norms, to preserve their identity and their economic and strategic interests, and so safeguard the overarching welfare of their peoples. I cannot imagine that any state would conceive that this is wrong – even though they might accept the virtues and benefits of regionalism and inter-state association, as the UK clearly does.

If Mr Stuart were to say it was wrong, we would say he was politically immature and morally delinquent, and should leave office forthwith. Indeed, we might even march about it. He won’t, of course. He’s far too wise for that.