Britain’s European De-integration Rapidly Approaches
In a speech last year, Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown (Britain’s equivalent to secretary of the Treasury or minister for Finance) said that “no country can take its future prosperity for granted. Nations will rise and fall depending on their willingness and their capacity to face up to the difficult long-term decisions about the future.”
No decision about Britain’s future is more important than that of national sovereignty versus European assimilation.
In the same speech, Mr. Brown emphasized that with respect to trade and economic integration, it was in Britain’s “national interest” to “continue to resist inflexible regulation from the European Union”—that Britain should be a nation that “looks outward to Europe and the international economy,” implying it should be distinct from the EU.
Our publication—and its predecessor (the Plain Truth under Herbert W. Armstrong)—has insisted for years that Britain will ultimately leave or be forcibly ejected from this union of European nations. Brown’s remarks are especially confirmatory for two reasons.
First, Gordon Brown is Britain’s top banker. He develops the nation’s budget and influences the UK’s economic policies. He steers policies on trade and investment, and helps determine the most beneficial value and exchange rate for the UK pound sterling. For these reasons, he is one of Britain’s most influential personalities. If there were compelling economic reasons for Britain to halt further integration or even consider withdrawal, he would know.
Moreover, Brown seems skeptical about the European economic model. According to Times Online, Mr. Brown has “bought eagerly” the idea that it is because of Britain’s “shared Anglo-Saxon economic model” that Britain and America have outperformed Japan and the rest of Europe over the past decade (Dec. 6, 2005). The realization is that if Britain outperformed Europe over the past 10 years because of its current economic policies, there certainly wouldn’t seem to be compelling financial reasons for Britain to further integrate economically into Europe.
Even the Wall Street Journal recently ran an article titled “Dollarize the UK” in which it said it made more sense economically for Britain to adopt the U.S. greenback as opposed to the euro (April 11).
There are other issues that highlight Brown’s euroskeptic approach.
As reported by the Guardian, Brown vehemently fought to keep Britain’s tax rebate that the EU took away last year. Brown criticized the EU for not similarly removing French farming subsidies, which were the reason the British had a tax rebate in the first place (Nov. 22, 2005).
More recently Brown has accused the EU of damaging the UK and costing Britain £10 billion last year by not enforcing its energy policies that Germany, Spain and Austria were “blatantly flouting” (Knight-Ridder, April 2).
The second and perhaps more important reason that Gordon Brown’s remarks suggest that the UK will not further integrate with the EU is that Brown is considered by many to be the Labor Party’s next leader and possible prime minister of England—and Brown is decidedly pro-American.
The Times Online says Brown has “never hidden his admiration for America” and has “imbibed everything American for years” (op. cit.). In fact, some consider his closest circle of advisers, of which at least two were educated at Harvard, to be more pro-American than him.
But the most recent evidence of his pro-U.S. outlook is his recent employment of Alan Greenspan.
That’s right, former U.S. Reserve Bank Chairman Alan Greenspan, whom many considered to be among the world’s most powerful and influential men, is now working as a consultant for his friend Gordon Brown, the UK’s chancellor of the Exchequer! Greenspan was credited by many with influencing Brown to recommend keeping the pound and not adopting the euro in 2004, to the dismay of Tony Blair.
Brown is also patriotically British.
In a 2005 interview, Brown criticized UK schools for not putting enough emphasis on British history. “I do think people should be encouraged to learn history all the years they’re at school. And I do think in colleges, history and the teaching of history is going to be more important in the years to come, and I think, in a world of global change, issues of national identity become incredibly important” (Independent, March 15, 2005).
He then said that Britons should celebrate their past rather than feel guilty about their empire heritage: “I think the days of Britain having to apologize for our history are over. … I think we should move forward. I think we should celebrate much of our past rather than apologize for it and we should talk, rightly so, about British values” (ibid.).
Whether or not Gordon Brown becomes the next prime minister is still uncertain. What is certain is that at some point in the near future, Britain will not be a part of the European Union.
For an explanation of why the Trumpet can state this with such authority, read our book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.