Sovereignty is indivisible, and the opponents of Brexit know it

Hans J. Morgenthau, the Jewish-American political and legal theorist, once stated this point, “Sovereignty over the same territory cannot reside simultaneously in two different authorities, that is, sovereignty is indivisible.”

Jesus Christ, who understood the law better than any twentieth-century theorist, stated it with more grandeur and precision:

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.

The political forces that wish the United Kingdom to remain in the European Union grasp this point much more firmly than do the Brexiteers. They realise they are in an all-or-nothing game. And so they set out to demonise and dismiss the very idea of national independence. They deploy the now familiar wizardry where words are used not to describe reality but to create reality. National independence is called a “cliff edge” and those who seek it are branded "reckless", “extreme” and "uneducated". 

Having, they hope, marginalised and excluded patriotic voices, the Remainers proceed to undermine even the very limited independence represented by the May and Johnson deals. Their weapon of choice is the Customs Union.

Simon Jenkins, writing in the Guardian on 21 October, stated that:

If Johnson adds a customs union, remainers should finally accept his deal. Such a concession would allow all sides to honour the political objective of Brexit and end uncertainty about trade and the Irish border.

Recent scheming by Nick Boles and Kenneth Clarke has also focused on a plan to require the Prime Minister to negotiate a customs union with the EU. Former Chancellor Philip Hammond has publicly backed attempts to keep the UK in the EU Customs Union after Brexit. Everywhere the EU Customs Union is being hawked.

And why is a customs union the focus of those who seek to reverse the Brexit vote? The following extract from a League of Nations pamphlet, reissued by the UN in 1947, lays it out plainly:

For a customs union to exist, it is necessary to allow free movement of goods within the union. For a customs union to be a reality, it is necessary to allow the free movement of persons. For a customs union to be stable, it is necessary to maintain free exchangeability of currency and stable exchange rates within the union. This implies, inter alia, free movement of capital within the union. When there is free movement of goods, persons and capital in any area, diverse economic policies concerned with maintaining economic activity cannot be pursued.

Therefore, if a customs union is conceded, the free movement of goods, people and capital follows immediately and economic and social policy won’t dilly-dally as it follows the van down the same road. 

As further evidence of the central nature of this idea, we can point to the British civil servant: Sir Arthur Salter. He was a stalwart of the League of Nations and, together with Jean Monnet, the mainspring of the drive towards a united Europe. In his 1929 paper 'The "United States of Europe" Idea' and 1933 book "The United States of Europe", he proposed an institution with a ruling secretariat, a council of ministers, a parliamentary assembly and a court of justice. He outlined that this institution should be given supranational powers, eliminating national vetoes. His first step towards this goal was to be a customs union.

Those patriots who believe that the United Kingdom can and should come out and be separate from the European leviathan must see this problem with clarity:

  • A customs union is the centrepiece of the European project and has been since its inception a full century ago.
  • Entering a customs union means surrendering economic sovereignty
  • Sovereignty, being indivisible, must be fully regained or entirely lost.
  • We must be prepared for a long fight and we must not stop until victory is complete.

That victory won't look like the Boris deal or the May deal. And it won't come until we remember what sovereignty means. To complete the quote from the Gospel of Matthew:

Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Mammon is a reference to money or wealth and the influence it can purchase. Therefore, as a nation, we can never reclaim self-determination whilst we sell ourselves to the highest bidder, or bow down when offered easy money. Sovereignty is about so much more than the lure of the temporary and the material. We must rediscover its real nature and value if we are to be free.

Our parliament is now a shambles, reduced to ineffectiveness by vested interests and haphazard intrigue. But such inactivity is nevertheless preferable to the alternative: continued and active misrule. Under this parliament, and those that have preceded it, the family has been destroyed, the money has been counterfeited, the poor have been robbed and the boys and girls have been raped. Our victory must be over more than mere scheming politicians. It must be a victory over the inversion that substitutes evil for good.

Nothing less will do.