Skip to comments.DICK MORRIS: Why I have championed the UK's independence
Posted on 06/15/2004 2:45:16 PM PDT by MadIvan
DEMOCRACY is like water in that it finds its own level. When the political parties fail to articulate the grievances of the voters and conspire to maintain the status quo, public opinion will find a way to be heard.
On Sunday the Euro-consensus enforced by a tripartite agreement of the professional politicians and their allies in the media was shattered by a raw and angry expression of popular patriotism and a determination to maintain the national identity and the nationhood itself of the United Kingdom.
It has been my pleasure and joy to have worked with the UK Independence Party ever since Roger Knapman, the party leader, and his wife Carolyn approached me aboard a cruise ship gliding over the Mediterranean. A small party, with only three members in the eunuch-like European Parliament, it was clear that the Independence Party was expressing the will of a huge, but neglected, part of the British electorate. It remained only to penetrate the political and media monopoly of the pro-EU establishment to tell UK voters that there was another option.
But this was no easy task. Barred from using radio or television ads, lumped with the racist British National Party and the extremist Green Party as one of the others in the national polling, and shut out of all media coverage, it was not easy to bring even the fact of UKIPs existence to the attention of the average British voter.
Further, the reasons for opposition to the EU spanned a wide range of political sentiment. A horizontal issue, cutting across all areas of British life, the intrusion of Brussels into the domestic life of the UK spurred broad resentment for a variety of reasons. Some opposed the EU because of its inherently undemocratic nature government by bureaucracy not democracy. Others chaffed at its fiats and regulations. Many failed to see why the UK should give the EU twice as much money as it gets back. Opposition to the euro and the new constitution fueled the fire.
Meanwhile, it was evident that Tony Blair was in trouble and that the Labour Party was falling in the national polls. But the media, focused on Iraq, chalked up his troubles to the chaos in Baghdad rather than the rapid erosion of British sovereignty that was taking place on his watch and with his complicity.
It remained for the UK Independence Party to summarise the case against the EU in a single word: No. No was a blank slate on which voters could write their own reasons for opposing Brussels. The constraints placed on the UKIPs campaign by regulations, finances and the national media made it hard to project more than a single-word campaign but no sufficed quite well to express its views.
Once the message was clear, the question remained how to project it. Denied access to media advertising and unable to penetrate the wall of censorship by the Euro-friendly news organisations, the party resorted to billboards animated by its one- word slogan: No. The response was electrifying. Suddenly, tens of thousands of frustrated Brits called the Independence Party and rallied to its cause. Nobody had stood up to the European juggernaut before and now that a party was openly demanding withdrawal from Brussels, the British people flocked to its standard.
The resounding affirmation of the UKIP position in the European parliamentary election will likely reshape politics in Britain and on the Continent for the next four or five years. The Conservative Party will no longer be able to straddle the Europe issue, opposing integration while out of power but leading the UK into the Common Market and Maastricht once safely ensconced in Downing Street.
If the Tories are to entertain any realistic hope of attaining power at the next general election they will have to shift their party position and advocate withdrawal from the European Union as it is currently constituted. As their erstwhile leader Margaret Thatcher has pointed out, unless the Tories are willing to pull out, their demand for renegotiation of the EU treaties will never amount to anything.
For its part, Labour in general and Tony Blair in particular will have to come to realise that its blue- collar base will not happily assent to the erosion of national sovereignty and that while their party leaders seem to see no real point in preserving a separate United Kingdom, they most assuredly do.
The Liberal Democrats, accustomed to defeat, will likely be the last to respond, just adding the opposition of Independence Party voters to the long list of reasons why they will never take power.
But perhaps the most important impact of the UKIP revolution will be on the press and the media. The election results will open the eyes of the national media, long in the habit of ignoring anti-EU sentiment, and force it to take account of the broad dissatisfaction with the European Union and the political integration it portends. The British media has often treated those who resisted European political integration as racists. But there is nothing remotely racist or even reactionary about the UKIP. Its opposition to Brussels is in the best tradition of British freedom and represents nothing more or less than a desire to see the Thatcher agenda of economic and political liberty maintained in the face of European forces that would extinguish it.
The UKIPs strong showing necessitates a broad national debate on the key issue of whether Britain truly wants the political integration implicit in the EU or whether it desires only a free-trade agreement. British voters grasp that the rational desire of the nations of Europe to trade freely with one another has been hijacked to mean continental economic and political integration. In the short term, Brussels wants a uniform currency, labour laws, tax policies and interest rates. In the longer term, under the new constitution, those backing integration want a full political union with one foreign and defence policy.
But beyond the questions of national sovereignty lies the key choice of government by democracy or bureaucracy. The underlying assumption of the EU leaders is that it is better for the well-educated and well-intentioned civil servants in Brussels to make decisions based on the merits of each case, sheltered from the chaotic world of popular democracy. With their melancholy experiences with democracy, the Germans and the French willingly agree to the surrender of popular control in the interests of national uniformity and what they perceive to be enlightened government.
But the British experience, like the American, is quite different. In London, as in Washington, there is a deep belief in democracy and an inveterate optimism about reliance on public opinion as the basis for public policy.
The UK Independence Party voters want a free-trade union, but are not interested in the political and economic integration that Brussels desires. Nigel Farage, a UKIP member of the European Parliament, puts it best, demanding British withdrawal from the EU and a subsequent renegotiation to establish a free-trade union which is what we thought we were getting into in the first place.
Will Europe oblige? Of course it will. Britain imports vastly more from the Continent than it exports. The EU will not cut itself off from its best customer.
Finally, it remains for me, as an American, to explain my commitment to British independence. In the Second World War and most recently in the War on Terror, we in the United States have come to see how crucial it is for the world to have an independent Britain, able to stand up for freedom and democracy at our side. The traditions and the values of the British people are so deeply imbued with the love of freedom that they make the UK a reliable ally in the global battle for freedom in a way that many other nations with their different national experiences will likely never be.
May there always be an England (and a United Kingdom, too).
Dick Morris was consultant to the UKIP on the European election and Bill Clinton's chief strategist, widely credited withhis 1996 victory
A very good article by Dick Morris. Thanks.
FWEIW, I'd STILL feel better if Morris was working for Blair.
If you've got a little time on your hands after withdrawing from the EU, would you be kind enough to re-assert dominion over Canada?
No one ever said Dickie wasn't a good campaign operative.. it is just his predictions which stink.
GORE: Toe-sucking weirdo... sucks toes.... pays money to suck toes... weirdo...
There's some logical flaw in your statement, .. I knoiw there is...wouldn't you, as an operative, base your actions upon your strategy, which is a fucntion of your predictions?..
Sorry, was just having an "if only" moment.
Here, here!!!! Ivan, the tragedy of Tony Blair is that he gets much of what Morris writes about, but still wants to lead his nation into the abyss of the EU. From where I sit here in Los Angeles, the EU seems to be a dressed up, pseudo-democratic version of the old Soviet Union. It seems to be trying to achieve by cunning what was not achieved by war.
You have FREEPMAIL!!
Yes - but as a TV and newspaper pundit, your demand is based on how entertaining you are. Constantly making brash predictions will keep you in demand. Only politically aware people like us will remember his multiple blown predictions. Most people have very short memory spans when it comes to politics.
Given that the UKIP got something less than a fifth of the UK's eu assembly seats, what are the practical implications of this? What would it really take to at the very least slow or halt EU legal encroachment, constitution ratifications, etc.
I assume the tories are 'pr-eu, but with alterations' (translated as Pro-EU, period.)...am I wrong about this?
OK...but I STILL think he's a putz...
Hurrah to Roger Knapman! One question: why and how was UKIP banned from TV and radio advertising?
I honestly don't know. I have even seen the BNP put up advertisements, so I can't suggest it has to do with ideology. Perhaps it has to do with the danger they pose to the established order? :)
Is it true that the UKIP actually WAS banned from radio/TV? Were other parties able to run ads on the EU election topic?
sorry for skepticism, but this is a Morris article.
Hurray for the UKIP!
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.