TPA Editorial

LETTER FROM STOURBRIDGE Britain’s EU Referendum – The Courage of One’s Convictions

keep-calm-and-brexit_NETThere are certain periods, even certain years, in a human life which are of special significance, and the same is true of the history of nations. I wrote in the February issue of TPA (Vol. 1 no.11) that “this year [2016] promises to be a memorable one for Britain” and that the result of the EU referendum “will determine Britain’s future for decades and perhaps centuries.” In that same issue I also pointed to the significance of the number 23 in British history. The intense, frustrating, and sometimes banal national debate on Britain’s membership of the EU came to a dramatic climax last month against a background of massive summer storms and the murder of a member of parliament only a week before the referendum vote. Presented with the binary choice of whether to remain in the EU or to leave it, 48.1% of the population opted to remain and 51.9% opted to leave. 46.5 million people were registered to vote and 33.5 million valid votes were cast – a 72% turnout. Voting in the referendum was held on 23 June, Midsummer’s Eve, or St. John’s Eve, and closed at 22:00. The ‘midsummer night’s dreaming’ then immediately began as to which side was going to win. The financial markets had for some time been convinced that it was the Remain camp, and soon after the polling stations closed, the value of the pound sterling shot up to US$1.50. When the earliest results became known at about midnight the £ began to drop like a stone, finally reaching $1.3777, its lowest level since 1985. It recovered somewhat within three days. On the stock market, after opening on 24 June, the US Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped nearly 450 points (2.5%) in under 30 minutes.

The ‘experts’ and ‘Project Fear’
For months, day after day, a continuous succession of economic so-called ‘experts’ such as George Soros, Jacob Rothschild, Jamie Dimon of J.P. Morgan Chase, Christine Lagarde of the IMF, Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, numerous foreign politicians, from Angela Merkel to Barack Obama and Shinzo Abe, senior British military figures, groups of businessmen and multinational corporations, both British and foreign, large groups of scientists and academics, including such as Stephen Hawking, various figures in the arts and sports, such as footballer David Beckham, and a host of media pundits – all urged the British people to stay in the EU and outlined the terrible disasters that would follow if their ‘advice’ was not heeded. Day in, day out, especially in the last three months before the vote, this parade of doom-mongers, wagging their admonishing fingers, passed before the media gaze of the British public. All this ‘advice’ was regarded by supporters of the ‘Leave’ campaign as ‘Project Fear’, the attempt to intimidate the voters into remaining in the EU. “Don’t take a leap in the dark”, these Jeremiahs told the British public, “don’t take a risk; don’t risk the uncertainty! Stay with what you know”. This, despite the fact that for decades the media had continually emphasised the importance in economic and artistic life, indeed, the importance in life in general, of taking risks, and jumping into the unknown. How many times had we been told that the modern age was “an age of uncertainty” which we had to get used to. Even Tony Blair had frequently lectured the British people and others on the fact that change was the norm in modern life and that they had to accept it 1.
But when it came to the EU referendum, suddenly all talk of risk was forgotten as the British were told from all sides that under no circumstances should they dare to contemplate leaving the comfortable and prosperity-enhancing safety of the EU, or the sky would fall on them, the economic ground under their feet would collapse. They would revert to a state of barbarism dominated by nationalists and the Far Right and would become an isolated, inward-looking, puny little nonentity in the world, adrift in the great tides of the times, unable to meet the challenges of China, India, and America.
On 23 June over half the British population showed that they had the nerve and the imagination, or else the sheer stubborn bloody-mindedness, to reject all this ‘advice’, whether well-meant or fear-mongering. They voted, albeit by a minority of just under 4%, to leave the EU. Certainly, many did not take kindly to all the foreigners trying to interfere, as they saw it, trying to influence a British democratic decision. They also did not take kindly to being branded as uneducated and ignorant, retrogressive racists by many in the Remain camp and by sections of the media who tried to make out that the young, the educated and the well-informed all wanted to stay in the EU. In fact, it was clear from numerous interviews and articles in the media that many of ‘the young, the educated and the well-informed’ did not have a clue about the origins and motivations of the EU. The young, primarily, if understandably, concerned for themselves rather than the country, and mostly lacking any sense of the country’s historical development, saw the EU predominantly in terms of what they believed it would give them personally, in the way of educational grants and subsidies, travel and job opportunities etc. The so-called ‘educated and well-informed’, especially in the media and the political world, often turned out to have no more idea of what the EU was really about, where it came from or what it was intending to become than did some in the Leave camp.

EU origins and aims – hidden again
As a result, this referendum focused mainly on two issues – economics and immigration, especially the former, rather than on issues of democracy, sovereignty, war and peace, which took very much a back seat. There was endless bickering over how much money ‘the average family’ would lose a week or a year if Britain were to leave; endless imagined statistics were bandied about regarding the negative effects on Britain’s economy. Many tried to point out in vain that all this was speculation, not fact. Those on the Remain side taunted the Leavers with the fact that so many British and foreign ‘experts’ had lined up on the side of Remain; they did not seem to know that many of these ‘experts’, especially the international ones, are linked by a complex web of contacts in the global elite, regularly meeting and keeping in touch with ‘received views’ at numerous conferences, seminars, congresses and the like, from Davos and Bilderberg to the Trilateral Commission and NATO meetings, to name but four and that this complex network of global elitists has a common interest in supporting and advancing an American agenda and a NATO agenda with regard to Europe.
Just as in the referendum of 1975, in which the British voted to decide whether to stay in the EEC, which they had joined two years earlier, the fact that the ‘European project’ had always been, from its beginnings in the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in 1950, a political project aimed at the creation of a centralised, federal United States of Europe, and that the economic focus of debate about the EEC/EU was merely used to mask that fact, was again hidden from the people, this time by the mainstream media. The difference from 1975, however, was that in 2016 the EU doubters and Eurosceptics had access to the Internet and could find out or confirm these things for themselves. The mainstream media debate nevertheless still sought to keep the EU origins hidden and especially to keep the British and above all the American instigation of and constant contribution to the European project hidden. Just as in 1975, no mention was made in the mainstream debate of the millions of CIA dollars that went to fund the European movement in the 1950s, all in the service not of peace or European harmony but of American Cold War aims and will to hegemony over both Europe and the USSR. A so-called expert and veteran commentator on constitutional history, politics and the intelligence services such as the academic Sir Peter Hennessy – ennobled in 2010 – could appear on the BBC (24.6.2016) and misleadingly claim that the Schuman Plan of 1950, which launched the ECSC, was the brainchild of French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman, adding, almost as an afterthought, “with some help from Jean Monnet”. In fact, of course, the Plan was the brainchild of Jean Monnet, and Schuman was simply used to introduce and ‘front’ the Plan.2
Once again, as in 1975, the media sought to distract and divert the people from the reality of the EU’s origin and aims into fruitless bickering over statistics on economics and immigration. In 1975, the people were almost totally bamboozled by the tactics of the media and the pro-EEC supporters in the political class and allowed themselves to be convinced the EEC was just an economic club that would make Britain more prosperous. They voted to stay in the EEC by 67.23% to 32.77%. This time, however, despite the media distraction tactics and fearmongering, many more people had become wise to what the EU was and is really about. They judged that its anti-democratic, centralist and overly bureaucratic aims are not the way of the future for Britain or for Europe and voted to reject them.

EU unreality
As numerous spokesmen and supporters of the Leave campaign pointed out, the British decision to leave could inspire other European countries to leave the EU as well, leading to the end of the EU itself. This would indeed clear the decks, so to speak, for new thinking about the future for Europe, and 100 years on from the emergence of Rudolf Steiner’s threefolding initiatives (1917-1922), this new thinking could and should focus on ideas and solutions influenced and informed by threefolding. In 1930, the Soviet Union seemed to many so-called ‘progressives’ and ‘idealists’ in western and central Europe to be a fully-functioning reality, a focus of hope for the future of the continent and the world. We now see that what once seemed so solid was actually built on a foundation of sand, and in just two short years (1989-91) it collapsed and was washed away. This writer feels confident that a similar lack of historical ‘legitimacy’ and fundamental reality in relation to the real needs of our modern epoch has always afflicted the EU, and that when sufficient people realise this and see that the would-be Emperor has no real clothes, the EU too will swiftly wither and fade away, as did the USSR and also the ‘Holy Roman Empire’ of the Carolingians after less than 100 years of existence in the 9th century (800-888). Top-down, elite-driven, one-pattern systemic solutions are not the way forward for Europe or anywhere else in this 5th post-Atlantean epoch (since 1413) and this Age of Michael (since 1879) – the epoch and age of increasing individual autonomy and diversity. In this epoch of the Consciousness Soul new communities have to be built by free, self-realised individuals and not from above, by elites working in accordance with intellectual constructs and abstract plans, no matter how ‘idealistically’ such constructs and plans may be presented.

Historic turning point for England
The phenomena of the tremendous storms over Britain in the week before the referendum and of the extremely rare and horrific murder, in very suspicious circumstances, of the 41 year-old Member of Parliament Jo Cox, a mother of two small children (the last time an English politician had been assassinated by an Englishman was in 1812!) exactly one week before the referendum vote and the fact that the referendum was being held between the anniversaries of those two great battles, so significant for Britain during the First World War, the battles of Jutland (31 May 1916) and the Somme (began 1 July 1916), were all evidence of the remarkable historical moment that this vote represented in British history.3 Exactly 1000 years after the conquest of England by the Danish Vikings in 1016 and 950 years after the invasion of England by the French-speaking (but originally Danish Viking) Normans in 1066 – conquests which began England’s long process of aggressive expansion, first to the Celtic periphery, then to the European continent and finally throughout the world – this whole historical process has now come to a close. The Scots, who cling to the illusory dream of the EU, will now refuse to be taken out of the EU by the English and it is expected they will press for a second independence referendum (the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon already intimated this on 24 June), in which they will most likely vote to leave the UK; in N. Ireland nationalist leaders have reacted to the referendum result by saying that N. Ireland, which voted largely to remain in the EU, also deserves not to be taken out of the EU and that a democratic vote to unite with the Republic of Ireland should be held.
We may now therefore be facing the imminent break-up of the United Kingdom, which actually only dates to 1801. This is not like the break-up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918-1920; it is a totally different historical phenomenon. England’s expansionary world role is over; the English need to realise this and accept it. The referendum campaign showed that there were still too few people – in both the Remain and Leave camps – who do understand this, again because of the short-sighted focus on economic and immigration statistics. The English still have a substantial problem with national vanity and pride, the product of 300 years of world empire and almost 1000 years of expansionism. This vanity and pride has become a drug; too many Britons are addicted to this drug, but it is a drug that will have to be kicked, in one individual soul at a time, if the country is to become free of it. The bombastic conservative and idealiser of the Roman and British Empires, Boris Johnson, former mayor of London, a leader of the Vote Leave campaign and now a prospective candidate to replace David Cameron as Prime Minister, is not the man to help the English kick this habit. His instincts are to stay close to the USA, to remain in NATO, to retain as much global power as possible, and approve the TTIP trade agreement deal with the USA. As Prime Minister, he would be the English counterpart to a US President Donald Trump. But perhaps the imperial nations, the UK and the US, will have to experience this double absurdity of the two blond buffoons with bizarre hairstyles as leaders before their peoples can see through the vainglorious illusions, and ultimately socially destructive consequences, of the habit of world domination.
The British have played a significant part over the past centuries, for both good or ill, in helping to create global consciousness. Perhaps it is now time for them to realise that they should ‘return’ to their mother continent and help her to play her part in the threefold world that consists of the Americas, Europe and Africa, and Asia-Pacific. The EU, however, was the wrong way to do this. Like the USSR, and like many other abstract intellectual designs that emerged in the 20th century, the EU – secretive, elitist, bureaucratic – goes against the real striving of human development in the modern age. When the EU has gone, Europe, and the English – if only they can kick their ‘habit’ – will be able to play the role on the world stage together with the other European peoples, that the 21st century is truly awaiting: an associative, mercurial role of mediation between East and West, North and South.
It is wonderful to behold when an individual (or a nation) stands up against all the odds and resists external pressures to conform and deny his own being, resists attempts to hector and bully him into submission, refuses to enter, or remain in, a conformist sheep-pen, no matter how attractively packaged and decorated the sheep-pen may be, and instead, asserts his individuality. For all their faults and problems, and they are many, over half the people of England and Wales at least, have shown the courage of their convictions and a faith in themselves. I hope that it may be an inspiration to other European peoples to do likewise – and that the result will be an alternative, real Europe, a threefold Europe.

Terry Boardman, Stourbridge (England)


1    E.g. Blair’s Flora Cameron Lecture on Politics and Public Affairs, Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas, USA in March 2008:

2   See, for example, R. C. Mowat, Creating the European Community (1973), and C. Booker and R. North, The Great Deception – Can the European Union Survive? Paperback ed. (2005) ch. 4..

3   There are also suspicious similarities to the assassination of the Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh who died on 11 Sept. 2003, following a fatal attack the day before. She died three days before Sweden’s referendum on joining the Euro. Just as Jo Cox supported remaining in the EU, Anna Lindh had supported joining the Euro. They were both murdered by individuals with mental problems who had been on drugs. Before Jo Cox’s murder, the Leave campaign momentum had been mounting and was 6-10 points head of Remain. Although the media tried to present her as a secular saint in the days after her death, and her murder did reduce the Leave lead, in the end it did not do so sufficiently to affect the final vote. The same had been true in the Swedish referendum in 2003; the Swedes voted to reject the Euro. On 16 June, the day of Jo Cox’s death, and after her murder, reporting restrictions were lifted on the case of 13 Muslim men who were convicted of sexual abuse of a 13 year old white girl over a 2 year period in Halifax, not far from Cox’s constituency, and sentenced to 150 years in prison. If she had not been killed, the Halifax case would have been a big news story and might well have had an effect on the immigration aspect of the referendum debate. The case was in effect ‘buried’ by Jo Cox’s murder.