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Michael Moore couldn’t be more wrong about Brexit

18 October 2018

2:33 PM

18 October 2018

2:33 PM

How unfortunate that the person who once wrote a book called Stupid White Men now sounds an awful lot like a stupid white man. Yes, it’s Michael Moore, the dishevelled American filmmaker, who wasn’t in Britain for five minutes before he was making the most basic of factual errors. ‘You can’t leave Europe!’, he told the British people via an interview with Channel 4 News. Someone buy this bozo a dictionary. We aren’t leaving Europe, Michael — we’re leaving the EU.

Moore is one of those leftists who has been scratching their chins for years over the failure of ordinary people to revolt against their uncaring, neoliberal overlords and yet when Brits did precisely that against Brussels they had an attack of the Victorian vapours. ‘Oh no, not this much of a revolt, please!’ is the essence of their yellow-bellied cry. They hate us when we’re apathetic and they hate us when we’re agitating for change — there’s no pleasing them! So it makes sense that one of the first things the supposedly radical Moore did upon touchdown in Blighty is berate the genuinely radical vote for Brexit.

This vote can’t stand, he says. ‘You can’t leave Europe.’ Well, yes, we can’t, he’s technically right about that, because Europe is a continent and, physically, geographically and logically, countries can’t just walk away from continents. That isn’t what he meant, of course. He meant we can’t leave the EU. Why not? Because ‘you saved Europe’, he says. ‘You sacrificed hundreds of thousands of lives to save Europe, not once but twice.’ And now, ‘at this point in the 21st century’, you Brits want to say ‘nah, enough of that, we’re done’? ‘You can’t, I’m sorry, you can’t go’, he commands.

There’s so much wrong with this it’s hard to know where to start. Most striking is that classic Remainiac-style sleight of hand that conflates Europe and the EU. There are only two explanations for making such an ignorant confusion between two entirely different things: either you’re dim or you’re massively politically motivated to depict everyone who is anti-EU as anti-Europe. Which one are you, Moore?

Repeat after me, conflaters: Europe is a continent, the EU is a political institution. Europe has existed for yonks, the EU has been around since 1993. Europe includes Iceland, Norway, Kosovo, Albania and Switzerland, the EU does not. It’s not very Euro-friendly to so cavalierly erase our continental cousins in Reykjavik and Oslo, is it? Yet that’s what you do when you cynically say ‘Europe’ when you really mean the EU.

Europe gave us the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, revolutions, Shakespeare, Goethe, Picasso and Nutella. The EU gave us Jean-Claude Juncker, the plunging of Greek pensioners into poverty, and 2,000-word documents on cabbages. Politically, historically, territorially and morally, Europe and the EU are very different things. This is why some of us who loathe the EU still love Europe. Indeed, it is our love for Europe and its peoples’ history of struggle for greater freedom, democracy and comfort that makes us hostile to Brussels, which grates against all those things. The EU isn’t Europe; it’s anti-Europe.

And Michael, then there’s your claim that Brits died in their hundreds of thousands, twice, for ‘Europe’, by which you mean the EU. Mate, you’re embarrassing yourself. The EU didn’t exist in 1914 or in 1939. What’s more, millions of the men and women who fought and died in those wars did so for an ideal that the EU is deadset against: the right to nationhood, the right to live in a country that isn’t dominated by unaccountable outsiders. Face up to it, Mr Moore: you’re defending a cruel, aloof, undemocratic political institution, not a wonderful continent. Own that. Own your new decision to rally for the establishment rather than against it.


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