Globalism vs Nationalism in the UK
A Tale of Star-Crossed Ideologies
Since the beginnings of Brexit and the rise of Trump in the US, globalism, and nationalism have been discussed extensively in political discourse. Yet one major commonality is a nigh-universal shunning of nationalism in the mainstream, a resentment stemming from notable far-right nationalist groups such as the British National Party, Britain First, and the English Defence League. Some even praised the lingering death of a nationalist UKIP, conveniently forgetting that the single-issue party got exactly what it was after.
An escape from European globalism.
But why did this escape garner the supporters it did? Despite his party-loyal backing of the remain campaign, Jeremy Corbyn, a left-Labour communist, has previously spoken against the EU even argued for EU reform during the Remain campaign. What about this globalist organisation has brought UKIP and Comrade Corbyn into agreement?
In short, the nationalistic aspects of a globalist EU.
Were the EU a truly globalist union, it would support and facilitate the free trade of its members. Yet the EU is not a free-trade area; it does not remove barriers between members to try to communally increase their wealth. It is a customs union, with high tariffs upon any individual trade deals between members and the outside world, and Britain is one of the most highly affected by this, as it sells more to the rest of the world than to Europe.
According to the Spectator, in 2006, the EU was taking 55% of our exports simply for allowing us to trade outside of their boundaries. Yet this restriction of trade is by no means just an economic tool; European trade deals with non-EU countries are a heavily political matter. The recently-passed EU-Canadian trade deal, for example, was held up by risks of a Romanian veto due to a Canadian-Romanian dispute about visas.
This is not new to Europe, either. In a stealthy crawl, the EU has become more and more nationalistic, acquiring citizenship, passports, a criminal justice system and constitution, a president, a flag, a national anthem and, most importantly, legislative powers over its member states. If a statute passed by the UK Parliament whilst still a member of the EU came into conflict with Brussels, the unelected European government would take precedence.
The nationalisation of the EU has not yet stopped, either. The Five Presidents’ Report in 2014 stated in its introduction that the Euro was more than just a currency- it was a “political and economic project”, after which the EU would expect permanent “monetary sovereignty”. Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, called for the creation of an EU Army in 2016, prompting questions of how far EU politicians would go to defend an ‘Economic community’.
The answer: As far as they needed to, including plans to “punish” the UK for daring to leave their economic agreement, as warned by senior German MEP Hans-Olaf Henkel. The only sensible reason for such a plan in Europe would be a tacit threat to other countries who may be inclined to follow the UK, after exit-stirrings in Greece, Italy and Portugal, countries whose European debts currently exceed their own national incomes.
We thus have an answer to the riddle; the meeting point of a right-wing populist UKIP and a left-Labour socialist is the opposition of a nationalistic European Union with the economic, political and future military might to undermine NATO and supersede the parliamentary rights of its member states. Home-grown nationalism and a refusal to participate in this union was our country’s defence against it.
That is not to say that globalists in the UK aren’t right. Increased integration into a global, rather than European economy will create more trade, movement of labour and capital. The UK itself can make sure of this by using comparative advantage and protecting itself from EU economic cycles. Yet it is vital we do not fall victim to the mistakes of other globalist countries.
Unregulated migration in Germany has led to a significant rise in terrorism (from 13 incidents in 2014 to 50 in 2015, a rise not seen within more nationalistic countries such as the Czech and Slovak republics. Likewise, the UK housing and public services are collapsing under the strain of mass migration from EU countries. This is likely to increase as migrants accepted into Germany are granted EU citizenship, and gain access to the free movement of labour.
Nationalism in the UK has its uses; not all of it is a far-right wing or rooted in bigotry. Likewise, globalism is a useful tool, but a potentially dangerous one when pursued with Merkel-grade zealotry. As in all political discourse, extremism on either side will eventually become counteractive, if not destructive.
By Josh Matthews