Despite her leading them back to power in 1979 and keeping them in the majority of the House of Commons in the U.K. Parliament, Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Party ousted her as its leader, and thus from the prime minister’s office, in 1990.
Thatcher’s tenure of more than a decade as prime minister came to an end mostly because she rejected the idea of a European superstate that would have seriously curtailed the national sovereignty of Great Britain. Biographer Charles Moore explained, “She was fiercely against monetary and economic union and the euro — and very opposed to political union. She felt Britain would be better off if it kept a distance from all of this.”
In 1988, the “Iron Lady” announced her opposition to proposals from the European Community for a federal structure with increased centralization of decision making. She expressed fear that their proposals were at odds with smaller government and deregulation, declaring, “We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them re-imposed at a European level, with a European super-state exercising a new dominance from Brussels.”
Thatcher’s warnings were quite prophetic, and the European Union (EU) has grown increasingly centralized and authoritarian — so much so that in 2016, the British public voted to exit the EU in the famous Brexit vote.
Yet, Prime Minister Theresa May and her Conservative Party have dragged their feet in carrying out the wishes of the British public to escape from the centralizing and authoritarian clutches of the EU.
It appears the patience of the people of the United Kingdom has run out, and it is not just May who could be ousted from power in the next general election. The Conservative Party is facing an historic beating at the polls. In the upcoming elections for the European Parliament, the new Brexit Party is expected to win 34 percent of the vote, followed by Labour at 21, with May’s Tories (Conservative Party) trailing at just 11 percent, according to an Opinium survey.
While some might dismiss the results of an election for representatives to a body — the European Parliament — that the Brits are slated to leave, another poll (by the Sunday Telegraph) indicates even more serious trouble ahead for the Tories. Labour is in first place in a poll measuring British opinion for the next general election for the U.K. Parliament, pulling 27 percent. Brexit is in second place at 20 percent, and the Conservatives are again trailing at 19 percent.
If this figure — 19 percent — is accurate, it would be the worst result in the history of the Conservative Party. This would be less than half of those who voted Tory in the 2017 election. Andrew Hawkins, the chairman of ComRes Survey, after seeing the results, said, “If the Conservative leadership contenders are not careful, there will be no party for them to lead.”
Prime Minister May is in serious danger of being ousted for her failure to make a clean break with the European Union, as British voters demanded in their 2016 vote. Six hundred Conservative leaders wrote in the Telegraph, “Voters could not be clearer in saying how angry and betrayed they feel — Conservative voters most of all. The damage that this is doing to party and country is incalculable.”
May and the Tories have certainly been given concrete warnings to carry out the wishes of the British public and get out of the EU. In recent council elections for local government leaders, the Conservatives lost nearly 1,300 councillors across the country.
Farage said that “millions of people” would simply give up on both the Conservative Party and the Labour Party if May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn concluded a deal on Brexit. Campaigning on Saturday in Sunderland, Farage compared May’s Brexit proposal “like a surrender document of a nation that has been defeated in war.”
He added that May is the principal reason that Brexit has not yet happened, despite the wishes of the British public. “It hasn’t happened partly because of the dishonest, duplicitous, and utterly useless prime minster,” adding, “She is the worst prime minister in the history of this country, bar none.”
Farage told the rally that May’s proposed Brexit deal “may well leave us trapped inside the EU’s customs union in perpetuity.”
Unfortunately, the leadership of both major parties appear unwilling to make a clean break with the EU.
What has happened with the United Kingdom in regard to the 2016 Brexit vote should send a powerful warning to Americans about our own multilateral trade deals, particularly the USMCA proposal by President Donald Trump, that could very well leave America trapped inside a North American Union with Canada and Mexico. If USMCA is agreed to by Congress, then a very large chunk of America’s national sovereignty will have been surrendered, with more loss no doubt coming as the years go by.
The British failed to heed the warnings of Margaret Thatcher concerning the loss of British sovereignty to a centralized and authoritarian European Union. Hopefully, Americans will learn from their experience. It is much easier to enter into a sovereignty-killing trade deal than it is to exit one. The wisest choice for America is to exit entanglements such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organization, and avoid traps such as those that have ensnared the British lion.
Photo: AP Images