Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
Email. info@brugesgroup.com
Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
Email. info@brugesgroup.com
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
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Global realists versus rootless globalists

We're all global now. In our use of the internet, in the clothes and food we buy, and in our increasingly multicultural society. But that doesn't make us globalists.

Boundaries are important in all walks of life, from the professional register that confirms the status of a doctor or lawyer to the catchment area of eligibility for services. Otherwise, there could be no planning or standard-setting, and chaos would ensue. Civilised society requires organisation, with fair rules that are upheld consistently. I can't vote for a councillor in a neighbouring borough, and I wouldn't expect to receive a council tax bill from there either.

If all this seems too obvious, consider the sloganeering from the type of person that David Goodhart characterised as 'Anywheres'. Middle-class professional people rise above petty patriotism to declare themselves 'citizens of the world'. Numerous MPs (Labour and Tory) signal their virtue by promoting socially liberal causes such as transgenderism and 'refugees welcome' over the priorities of more traditionally-minded electors.

'Good fences make good neighbours', Benjamin Franklin said. If householders lock their doors at night, that doesn't make them xenophobic hermits. The old saying that every Englishman's home is his castle didn't stop Britons from exploring the world and painting the map pink. The British empire, more ecumenical than other European conquests, was a global force for good (although that's not what is taught in schools). The Commonwealth continues to thrive as an international fraternity.

'No borders' is a childlike refrain, based on an emotive but simplistic dichotomy of immigration good, border control bad. This is moralistic rather than logical reasoning. If you ask a committed liberal globalist how many migrants should be allowed into our overcrowded isles, you probably won't get a straight answer. The most deluded might tell you that there's plenty of fields beyond zone 6, or that the whole world population could fit into the Isle of Wight. How many refugees did Gary Lineker and JK Rowling take into their commodious homes?

Yet globalists are apt to delineate when it suits them. They enthuse over the EU, a protectionist regime that charges heavy tariffs on African exports. They demonise Russia. And while taking the moral high ground, they blithely accept exploitation of the poor by callous commerce. Think #MeToo sweatshirts made in sweatshops by children, paid a pittance.

Global trade is undoubtedly beneficial, and a clarion call of Brexiteers. But governments and post-national bodies such as the EU are colluding with crony capitalism, forging an unholy alliance that keeps the little man and woman down. Political leaders are imperilling their own citizens by opening the door to unscrupulous foreign manipulation. Arch-globalist George Osborne, when chancellor of the exchequer, kow-towed to President Xi and gave the Chinese state access to our communications and energy networks. Unashamed nationalist Donald Trump, constantly lampooned in Osborne's Evening Standard, is doing a better job of protecting his country.

Reluctance of our political class to honour the referendum result demonstrates the allure of globalism, albeit of narrowly Eurocentric bent. A leaked transcript of the Chancellor of Exchequer and other senior ministers reassuring business leaders from the likes of Siemens and Amazon that the government would prevent a clean break from the EU shows where power lies – not with the people.

With trepidation (being no socialist), I quote from a pro-Brexit pamphlet of the Communist Party of Great Britain: -

'Parliament as it has evolved with the development of capitalism stands for the rule capital. But up to now it has sought the appearance of rule by consent of the people. Now it has to deal with a decision by the majority of the people that runs directly counter to global capitalism's settled strategy for Europe – the obliteration of nation states and the enthronement of the freedom of capital as the only measure of freedom itself. Parliament's mask is slipping.

Our leading universities are immersed in globalist hubris too. They don't regard themselves as British, but as global institutes. Certainly academic leaders and researchers should compete in the worldwide market, and knowledge transcends borders. But I'd like to see more working-class students on campus. Is the high seat of learning in their home city not for them? In the cafeteria of my university you will hear plenty of Mandarin but no Cockney.

Nonetheless, the natives are becoming restless, and the privileged elite realise that they are threatened by popular revolt. The World Economic Forum at Davos has become an embarrassment, several presidents and prime ministers giving it a wide berth this year. Patriotism is ascendant, as citizens around the globe are rejecting their self-serving political establishment. They want their countries back.

Globalists, however, won't give up easily. Figures like Tony Blair, exercising their remnants of influence, continue to preach the New World Order. From the gilets jaunes to Brexit protestors, charges of extremism and fascism are made by the political and cultural establishment in an effort to maintain their moral and material superiority.

A letter in the Guardian last week suggested that their cause is becoming desperate. Philosopher bore Bernhard-Henry Lévy and dozens of prominent authors (including Milan Kundera and Salman Rushdie) used the worst invectives against the barbarians within the gates. Warning of a collapse of European values, they opined that 'abstractions such as soul and identity often exist only in the imagination of demogogues'. These esteemed novelists seem insensitive to the importance of the soul to Christians and other religions, or of identity to emancipatory movements such as LGBT.

Of course, the concept of soul that these verbose Europhiles abhor is that of the patriot. Contradicting themselves, they implore: 'urgently, we need to sound the alarm against these arsonists of soul and spirit who want to make a bonfire of our freedoms'. I'd wager that Lévy wrote the previously quoted line, and Kundera the latter. It's a silly error for supposedly brilliant writers, but it exposes an underlying fault.

Jet-setting globalists are blind to the reality that pride and belonging rest in nations, not continents. 

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Wednesday, 24 April 2019
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