Jackson: National Sovereignty At Heart Of Brexit Vote

Brexit Move Speaks To Voice Of The People

My favorite tweet in the early hours since Brexit stormed into reality, from Concealed Campus advocate Erik Soderstrom: “240 years later, Britain finally gets that whole taxation without representation thing.”

Yes, voters in the United Kingdom have punted the European Union, prompting pundits to point fingers every which way. But the only one that matters is the middle one the English (as opposed to the Scots, and Irish, who voted “stay”) raised to Brussels bureaucrats determined to direct a $15 trillion economy by micromanaging every aspect of life … right down to what sort of appliances people can put on their counters.


Say what you will about the Middle East refugees massed in Calais, just 20 miles from Dover’s storied white cliffs, aching to cross the English Channel for taxpayer-supported lives in the land of Shakespeare and Burke. The fateful event might have arrived when the masters of the Euroverse declared their plan to aggressively restrict high-energy gadgets — windmills can spin only so fast, you know — effectively outlawing fast-boil tea kettles favored throughout the UK.

Never mind that the unelected busybodies shelved the plan in February, at least in part over political implications, EU hotshots recognizing that pushing through would create a British backlash.

But it was an epiphany too late in coming. An overweening bureaucratic elite determined to carry out its progressive ideals would, inevitably, impose its fussiness on its inferiors. And everyone was its inferiors.

Well, Having been through this once before — Brussels banned high-powered vacuum cleaners in 2014, sparking a surge in sales ahead of the deadline — Brits understood shelving was not abandoning. Get past the Brexit referendum and the dictatorial twits would be back before the last votes from Shropshire were counted.

On such everyday details do grand philosophical battles pivot. America looks to its own dispute over tea as the spark that exploded in independence. But after choking down thousands of words on what constitutes a proper Brussels sprout (I know; irony) or the acceptable curvature of a banana, Britons’ declaration of sovereignty came down, symbolically, to tea.

Good for them.

Sure, there’s a certain amount of pain involved. Markets don’t like uncertainty. Never have. Never will. The global plunge is a reflection of the unknown and nothing more. I, personally, have resolved not to check in on my 401(k) accounts for at least a month. I mean, you either have a long-term strategy or you don’t.

Listen, GDP is important, but it’s not everything. Otherwise, the American colonies would have put a higher premium on reconciliation with George III. And that seems to have worked out OK.

These things have a way of sorting themselves out, especially when the proper players are properly motivated. After Brexit, they will be. Surely smart people can figure out how to promote international trade without demanding to trample each nation’s eccentricities.

What’s next?

There’s bound to be upheaval ahead. In the interim, there will be much wringing of hands over why Brexit supporters would want to throw the world into economic chaos.

The best answer I’ve heard came from someone calling a London radio program Friday morning, relayed on the Fox Business Channel: The UK is not an economy. It is a culture.

Imagine, along those lines, if when it was proposed in the Clinton administration, the North American Free Trade Agreement — NAFTA — had set up a bureaucracy in Ottawa with the authority to instruct United States citizens on how they conducted their lives.

So Britons peacefully rebelled, with remarkable diversity. These weren’t just stuffy Tories asserting themselves; the difference-makers came from working-class neighborhoods in the northeast and the Midlands, reliable Labour constituents who apparently have begun to reconsider whether their party reflects their concerns.

And there, perhaps, is the telltale signal election-watchers in the U.S. are looking for. It’s possible, of course, to make too much out of a favorite point of conservative history, the predicate-setting election of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher that predated the Reagan Revolution by two years. That was nearly 40 years ago, after all.

Still, there are hints for us. For reasons we are only beginning to understand, pollsters (again) missed badly predicting the Brexit outcome. Perhaps there is pressure to give a dishonest answer when the coverage of an issue (or a candidate) encourages condescension and bullying against a particular point of view.

And the unrest — over borders, flat wages, employment uncertainty, careless and overbearing bureaucrats — that drove Leave’s success has been evident throughout our own presidential primaries.

Does this all add up to good news for Donald Trump and bad news for Hillary Clinton? Conventional wisdom says yes. I’m not convinced.

It sure is encouraging news for people who give thumbs up to national sovereignty. It’s not hard to sort out which of the candidates better reflects this mood of the moment.

Veteran journalist and center-right blogger Tom Jackson has worked for newspapers in Washington D.C., Sacramento, Calif., and Tampa, Fla., racking up state and national awards for writing, editing and design along the way. Tom also has been published in assorted sports magazines, and his work has been included in several annual “Best Sports Stories” collections. A University of Florida alumnus, St. Louis Cardinals fan and eager-if-haphazard golfer, Tom splits time between Tampa and Cashiers, N.C., with his wife, two children and a couple of yappy dogs.