In Spite of Boris, Britain’s Referendum Can Be A Catalyst for Change at Home and Abroad
When the news broke of David Cameron’s ‘’special deal’’ with the European Union on the 18th February, it would be fair to say the deal that was attained did not initially qualify a paradigm shift in popular opinion. The furore of pre-determined Eurosceptic articles simply reinforced long-held opinions, regurgitated to incorporate the immediate details of the deal. Those who sincerely believed that the Prime Minister would return with an entirely new legislative basis with which to interact with the European Union were either suspended in disbelief or very wrongly misled; for a single member state no matter their primacy to unilaterally alter the fundamental workings of the largest and most successful example of the largest supranational, regional institution would be contrary to the fundamental principles to which the Union subscribes.
A mere squabble between university chums
The announcement of the referendum date perhaps did more to increase the scope of certain actors within the Conservative party to manipulate the domestic situation to suit their careerist motives, whether an uncharacteristically nepotistic shift towards the Prime Minister or in more prominent cases, forge out one’s route to Number 10. In the consequent weeks we have seen what many have classed as an inevitability for many years, Boris Johnson opposing the Prime Minister on what is swiftly developing into the greatest national decision of a generation and it is more than convenient that the nation’s most popular politician announced his allegiance to a cause fervent with nationalistic charge, but lacked a meaningful, authoritative figurehead. It is a deep shame that in keeping with the British media circus, a decision that has the potential to reconfigure the European outlook has been reduced to a mere squabble between university chums.
Whilst Boris Johnson has indirectly given impetus to a campaign that was in danger of becoming sterile, a more compelling account for leaving has been presented by his partner, barrister Marina Wheeler. His rhetoric is conceptualised in a deeply Draconian conceptualisation of parliamentary sovereignty that is unequivocally appealing to the ‘Little Englander’ mentality to which poses the greatest fundamental risk to the continued membership of the European Union. The world has unfortunately found itself at the stage on the political cycle where scapegoat populism has risen again and the bureaucratic body in Brussels have become the centre of British angst. At the London European Forum, Nick Clegg described the turning of the political tide within Brussels; the traditional perception of unilateral British preoccupation with the inefficiencies and wide-reaching implications of a creeping bureaucratic process has turned towards an acknowledgment of the need for significant change within many respective member states. By staging a referendum on membership without a commitment to an ever closer political union Britain has consequently begun the incremental process for European transformation from within, but this must also be set against the wider context of Britain as an actor on the international stage.
Great Britain is at the heart of restructuring and liberating the continent once again
Britain has not recovered from recession, whilst growing at a rate higher than its continental adversaries, to separate ourselves politically from Britain’s largest export market given the continued fragility of economic recovery would be foolish and those championing to leave the European Union have not and can not provide the public with concrete answers. The United Kingdom, supplemented by the European-wide security mechanisms has the capacity to lead the fight against the grave security with regards to Russian Nationalism and turmoil in the Middle East as a primary protagonist of a united body of over 500 million individuals as opposed to a peripheral entity, angrily floating in the North Sea south of Greenland. The French newspaper ‘Le Monde’ has suggested that Cameron’s deal for the United Kingdom signalled the Kiss of Death for the European Union, but should the referendum see the United Kingdom remain in the European Union, it would signify a turning point for positive change both within the European Union and the United Kingdom; directly leading a challenge on the saturation of European Union bureaucracy that inhibits and frustrates member states with regards to the wider legislative process whilst instilling within the populous the perception that Great Britain is at the heart of restructuring and liberating the continent once again.