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Britain's prime minister David Cameron sounds mighty proud of himself for having carved out all kinds of special exceptions for Great Britain that will allow his country to stay in the European Union and its common market on what he claims are great terms. Others differ. France's president, for example, describes the concessions Mr. Cameron negotiated as only "modest."

Not all of his own countrymen are sold on the prime minister's plan to have the best of both worlds--Europe and Britain, too. They'd rather be responsible for determining their own economy and destiny, thank you, rather than stay entangled with the bureaucrats and vested interests in Brussels--the ones who keep churning out those ever-changing clauses, sub-clauses and counter-clauses. Not to mention appellate processes that can go on forever. When things went wrong, at least they knew whom to blame: themselves. And whom to praise when things went right. It's called independence.

These dissenters favor what's called Brexit--which is short for having the British leave the European Union and take responsibility for their own affairs, which is what other free nations do.

For who would call the European Union a great success? Unemployment among its young people is running at 48 percent in Greece, 46 percent in Spain, and 38 percent in Italy as once national economies with their own national currencies sputter and stall. And the Germans grow increasingly tired and exasperated at having to pay the bills other nations run up.

Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady herself, saw all this coming, as she did so many things. Early on she spoke of the attempt "to create a European super-state [as] "perhaps the greatest folly of the modern era." How, after all, impose one currency, one economy, and one national identity on such different countries with such different histories, languages, customs and cultures in general? The answer: Don't. Because you can't. Lady Thatcher called it years ago.

The lady and Lady is sorely missed, for she had a way of speaking truth to expediency--no matter how many trimmers and compromisers preferred to avoid the hard choices. Something tells us that all the Tony Blairs with their Third Ways will be forgotten long before Margaret Thatcher. She understood that it wasn't her power she was out to save, but the power of her ideas.

Lady Thatcher never hesitated to remind others that some hard truths could not be evaded but had to be faced--and ought to be. When others in her Cabinet urged her to compromise, she made it clear that "the lady's not for turning." Her exact words when addressing an American president who was dallying with one aggressor or another in the Middle East escape us, but her meaning was clear enough: "George, now is no time to go wobbly."

Even while intriguers like Alexander Haig in the White House were trying to keep her from acting like the Iron Lady she was, she dispatched an armada across the Atlantic to take back the Falklands after Argentina had seized those islands. And saw the mission through to improbable victory, demonstrating that the British lion had not been reduced to a mouse after all.

Once the junta in Buenos Aires had seen its prize warships blown out of the water with heavy losses, it was unable to hold onto either its popularity or power. The colonels wouldn't be the first or the last to learn that it didn't pay to mess with Lady Thatcher. No, she might not always prevail, but she understood that more important than winning is to stand for something. She did. And still does.

No wonder many of her countrymen are doing the same by coming out for Brexit. For how many Americans--or Canadians or Mexicans--would agree to erase the borders between their countries and establish a new Supreme Court to decide all cases dealing with human rights?

Conclusion: Hail Britannia! The free, independent, proud nation and empire she championed. The mother country we're descended from. And home of the mother tongue we still speak. That you're reading this newspaper in English says all that needs to be said about how much the English-speaking peoples around the world have to lose if Britain doesn't stay British.


Paul Greenberg is the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial writer and columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Editorial on 03/02/2016

Print Headline: Here comes Brexit

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  • Jackabbott
    March 2, 2016 at 10:16 a.m.

    in its essence the EU is a good thing that over-reached. At least it has keep traditional enemies and animosity under wraps with no wars.
    What really deserves our attention here is the change in the stability of Europe due to the immigration crisis( a smaller situation is playing out here in the USA). The USA has played in a part in this with the polices in the Middle East of first Bush and now Obama. As the USA continues on what a lot of observers and many political polls point out is the decline here and matching fact of we are heading In the wrong direction. We are already getting a taste of the future with an ex prez o Mexico telling us who not to vote for and the Pope, of all people, dropping hints about our border line boundary with another country.

  • c8rb9swbellnet
    March 2, 2016 at 10:23 a.m.

    The previous comment beats me on wars in Europe but I think that it should be expanded to note that Europe has not had a big war among themselves for a longer period than I can remember - They always conjured some way to significantly reduce their population through killing each other - I celebrate the EU and hope that the English will not bring about its end

  • mrcharles
    March 2, 2016 at 11:49 a.m.

    Arent Europeans socialist or not , mostly white people. If it is true with what some say is that they have a history of wars and burning heretics and sometimes the burnors become the burnees when the winds shift, would this not be an attack on white people. Logically then, should we not trust white people?

    Now Jack , PG quoted, "George, now is no time to go wobbly."-- would that not be a foreigner telling an American President what to do? The bible says women should be subordinate to the man and shut up in church.

    An the audacity of that Pope[ some say he is the vicar of Christ here on earth so any bad mouthing should be done with fear and trembling as you Know Who is pretty severe in his chastisements- just ask Noah?] . He must understand he must bow down to the will of the people as his church is the church of the people, you know the SUPER POPES like Jackabbott who have their own divine opinions and who may have thoughts like Mr. Dale Crawford from the heritage south and who may be the next dog gone VP of the Confederate States of America, whoops!!!, I mean United [ like Rubio is a uniter] .

    I hate that is all we hear is we need to take back our country , that we are declining and lagging behind in that new fangled science and are going in the wrong direction that W laid out for us. The gop gloom and doom and fire and brimstone I would submit for your consideration, Love America and its record Dow numbers or leave America to go back where you came from [ Geronimo and Cochise and Setting Bull agree]

    Didnt we kick those redcoats behind? Yeah America. You know the story of old England's habit of keeping a painting of George Washington in their toilet area, You may ask Why? Well it scared the _______ out of them! please no children read this.