September 22nd, 2021


Nobody does hysteria like the media

Wesley Pruden

By Wesley Pruden

Published June 28, 2016

Chicken Little will have company when the sky falls on the British isles and the world ends, which the European Union, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the BBC, CBS, NBC, ABC and Barack Obama can now say with confidence will be at 2:20 in the morning next Thursday (just in time for the late final editions).

There's not much time left. The most powerful men in Brussels, all but neutered by Brexit, are sorting through the ruins of their loftiest ambitions to see what they can salvage. They're trying to make the whys and wherefores of the divorce as difficult as they can, like a dumped husband desperate for a good lawyer with experience in palimony litigation. "Out is out," says Jean-Claude Juncker, and with a name like that you know he's capable of mischief against what the French call, with an oily sneer, "the Anglo-Saxons."

The chiefs of the Brussels bureaucrats, like chiefs everywhere, are terrified of running out of Indians. Driven by spite and malice, they're out to bloody the divorce to frighten the envious French, the melancholy Danes and the Italians with ants in their pants not to try throwing off their leg irons to follow the British to unfettered lives.

What they want first is to pressure the British into invoking Article 50, which is the formal notification to exit the EU, which starts the two-year process for getting out of Dodge. The Brexit vote was not a notification to the EU, but a notification to the British government — to file for the divorce.

Brexit frightens the people who ought to be frightened all across the known world. That's the parallel between Brexit and the presidential election here at home. It's the disconnect between the establishment elites and the people whose interests they plunder with such ease and abandon. Donald Trump's views on immigration, trade, globalism and assimilation reflect, with uncanny precision, the views of the European — and British — elites on immigration, trade, globalism and assimilation. The elites don't understand what's happened to them and they retreat into a babble of outdated bromides.

Millions of voters forgive the Donald for his gaffes, his ignorance, and his rude insults because he's insulting the very people the peasants think should be rudely insulted. The revolt against the company store suddenly looks unstoppable in the fears and frights of the huddled elites yearning to be told it's all a bad dream.

Hillary Clinton, observes Josh Kraushaar in National Journal magazine (no friend of the Donald), "is just about the worst possible Democratic nominee to run in these volatile, anti-establishment times. She hobnobs with the global elite, maintains close relationships with Wall Street honchos, has trouble connecting with working-class voters and carries an air of entitlement . . . voters don't trust her and don't much like her." The most ordinary Republican candidate who isn't Donald Trump would roll over the Lady Macbeth lately from Little Rock.

The British have found their man, if they can see him. Boris Johnson on Sunday gave what amounts to a masterful "victory speech" in an op-ed essay in the London Sunday Telegraph: thoughtful, kind, generous and conciliatory without retreating an inch from the sentiment that won the day. "In the end," he says, "there was a clear result. More than 17 million people voted to leave the EU — more than have ever assented to any proposition. . . . Some now cast doubt on their motives, or even their understanding of what was at stake . . . the number one issue was ‘control' — a sense that British democracy was being undermined by the EU system, and that we should restore to the people that vital power to kick out their rulers at elections, and to choose new ones.

"There were more than 16 million who wanted to remain. They are our neighbors, brothers and sisters who did what they passionately believe was right. In a democracy majorities may decide but everyone is of equal value." The great change wrought by Brexit is that Britain will extricate itself from "the vast and growing corpus of law enacted by a European Court of Justice from which there can be no appeal."

The only mystery here is why it took Britain so long to extricate itself. Submitting to tyranny in fear and loathing is not an Anglo-Saxon trait. "Britons," in the words of one of the kingdom's ancient anthems, "never, never, never shall be slaves."

A fresh wind is blowing across troubled waters everywhere, and exactly where it leads the ships of state no one knows. But the wind is rising, it's fresh and it will blow Chicken Little and his frightened disciples out of the way. The storm has been a long time coming, and now it's here.

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JWR contributor Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.