Will there always be an England? You know, the England of Buckingham Palace and Big Ben? The England of Shakespeare and J.K. Rowling? The England of afternoon tea and fish and chips? The England of the Magna Carta and a tradition of due process and free speech that was flourishing when America was still wilderness? Will this storied England always exist? Maybe not.
According to one Englishman, Nigel Farage, head of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), England’s freedom is under severe threat. As he explained in an exclusive interview with Fox News Opinion, “We’re seeing the abolition of the UK as a nation.”
The enemy of the UK, as Farage sees it, is a foreign foe. But interestingly, it’s not a foreign military foe — it’s a foreign bureaucratic foe — the European Union (EU).
To most Americans, the EU is a hulking abstraction; it’s an agglomeration of 28 countries and more than 500 million people, from Finland in the north to Greece in the south, from Bulgaria in the east to Portugal in the west. The capital of the EU is Brussels, Belgium, which has now become a boom city for bureaucrats, lobbyists, and favor-seekers — think Washington, D.C. on steroids.
And somewhere, on the fringe of it all, is the UK — it’s one of those 28 EU-member states.And that’s the problem: If the UK is just one of 28 states, submerged in a new continental superstate, how much independence can it have?
Farage estimates that 75 percent of the laws that affect Britons are now made in Brussels, not London. As he puts it, “English politics are now irrelevant to the corner store on High Street”–their term for Main Street. Important decisions are being made by “figures that nobody in England voted for, and, indeed, cannot name.”
Just last month, the EU banned high-powered vacuum cleaners, on the theory that too much energy consumption could contribute to “global warming.” This new EU directive, which supersedes national law and precedent, comes on top of earlier dictates from the EU covering televisions, washing machines, and refrigerators. And as the UK Telegraph newspaper reports, the EU will soon be going further:
“A study ordered by the European Commission has identified up to 30 electrical appliances including lawn mowers, smart phones and kettles that could be covered by the EU’s Ecodesign directive outlawing high-wattage devices.”
In other words, in the view of Farage and an increasing number of Britons in the UKIP movement, the EU is more than an abstraction — it’s a very real threat. Farage warns, “The EU is bureaucratic and anti-democratic. It is utterly taking away the ability of nations, including the UK, to determine their own future.”
“You Americans,” Farage continues, “are right to fear big government.” But, he adds, “Americans can vote to change their government.” In today’s UK, he says, it’s different: “Our situation is very much worse.”
Read the rest of the story on Fox News.