The recent grave warnings emanating from the U.S. State Department and the Irish government that Britain should not leave the European Union, and indeed that a referendum on this issue is unwise, prompt me to ask how these people, even allowing for the self-infatuation of “the best and the brightest,” know what is in the best interests of the British.
While it is true that the business of America is business and that the State Department’s comments are due to worries about U.S. investment in the United Kingdom (the apple pie aspect), Americans also assert that the business of America is democracy (the total package being Mom’s democratic apple pie).
The reality of the EU is not about a “democratic deficit”; it is that the EU is definitely not a democracy. The British object to rule by unelected bureaucrats and they want them off their back. Hence the demand for a referendum. The Irish fears are likely about the possible disappearance of Britain as a source of funds, since Britain contributed £7 billion to prop up the Irish economy, the progressive Irish having in 2000 joined what was then referred to by ultra-cool commentators as “the adventure of the euro.” Some adventure!
The stick-in-the-mud British can take heart from the fact that the same people who now warn against a referendum on the EU are those who castigated them for not submitting to the delights of the euro. Even the Germans are now worried about being in a eurozone of which they are the financial saviors with no end to the prospect of eternal bailouts of its Mediterranean members.
The only amusing aspect of the whole EU mess is the contortions that Scot nationalists are going through with their campaign for independence while at the same time avoiding the euro like an outbreak of social disease at a Sunday school picnic, and hoping that they can still use the British pound as their currency! I can only suggest they create a new currency for Scotland, called the sporran or maybe the haggis. Readers’ suggestions would be welcome.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.