David Cameron & The Squandering of A Great Inheritance

The suspension of the Brexit referendum signifies Cameron’s Tory base never cared about British sovereignty; rhetoric aside, the forward positioning of London’s dominant equity class in markets abroad would need protection.  Cameron’s misreading the wiles of his fellow travelers speaks to the difficulty contemporary politicians have in an age of permanent fracturing.  If Tory leadership sought protection from democracy, it found it in the death of Jo Cox.  Sadly, this great Island was once ruled by statesman that understood a simple truth:  politics is applied ethics.

Last year alone Great Britain celebrated the anniversary of Magna Carta and Waterloo, two milestones that perfectly embody the stout heritage of the Union Jack.  These remain proud and determined symbols of the permanent ascendancy of Western Civilization.  For Magna Carta, it symbolized liberty under the rule of law.  Waterloo represented the defense of a free society against a tyrannical despot.

Both are dead vestigial earnests that no longer serve because the society that created them no longer lives.

Here’s Foreign Secretary George Canning in the House of Commons 1807 justifying resumption of hostilities toward France:  “The single rule for the conduct of a British statesman is attachment to the interests of Great Britain.  This nation has the means, and I am confident has the spirit and determination, to persevere with firmness in a struggle, from which there is no escape or retreat; and which cannot be concluded, with safety to Great Britain, but in proportion as with that object is united the liberty and tranquility of Europe.”

Ask the Irish about the distinct moral heritage London so gainfully seeks to defend!

The realism underwriting the brutal efficiency which London sought in its defense of Hanover to the detriment of Paris would play out in the Great Warpath.  It is this perfidy that underwrites Tory sentiment in Cox.

It is true that London and by extension the Dominions refused to accept domination of the Continent by one power, yet it remains the largest English contribution to London’s failure to secure North America and by extension the loyalties of American subjects aligned to the crown; London lost the New World because its leadership lost alliances favorable to its interests abroad.

Both Gladstone in 1876, Disraeli in ’78 along with Sir Edward Grey in 1914 would cite long historical examples whereby England defended a moral heritage that she alone recognized.  It is not only partially correct, but unjustified to believe that contemporary English statesman grasp a heritage that fortified its predecessors.

The underlying question of sovereignty regarding Brexit is moot, the moral culture that secured Carta and Waterloo is over, and with great regret, for the challenge rising in Eurabia will require a Churchill.  This referendum will go on, tearing Tories apart; and the continuity of British policy abroad means simply this:  periods of isolation are used to strengthen the very identity needed to resolve great challenges.  As Arnold Toynbee said, “great Civilizations aren’t murdered, they commit suicide”.  

 

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About William Holland

Systematic Theologian/International Relations
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