Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

Beer and sovereignty: similar stories of stolen identity

Anyone remember Watney's Red Barrel? This ubiquitous, tasteless brew was a product of the overhaul of the British brewing industry in the 1960s and 70s, as the plethora of local breweries steeped in heritage were systematically bought out by the 'Big Six' of Bass Charrington, Whitbread, Watney Mann, Scottish & Newcastle, Allied and Courage. Up and down the country, pub regulars saw their traditional hand-pulled ales replaced by a mass-marketed keg beer.

Leading beer writer Roger Protz carefully documented how an important aspect of local identity was trashed by the national conglomerates. In a 1989 Guardian article 'Watney, Watney everywhere, not any drop to drink', Protz told of the loss of family brewers in his home county of Norfolk. Bullards and Steward & Pattison were taken over by the rapidly expanding London firm of Watney Mann in 1963, and despite promises to the contrary, both breweries were shut down. Brewing was maintained at another subsidiary in Norwich, but the former Morgan's plant was transformed into a modern production line, churning out Watney's Red. This too stopped brewing in 1985, and the remnants of the supposedly Norfolk ales were transferred to Manchester before being phased out.A Watney spokesman declared: -

'Now we can get on with the essential business of supplying our pubs with beer.'

Bemused drinkers wondered: 'If they didn't want the brewery, why did they buy it?' Alas, the corporate bullies were following a master plan; it was always their intention to eradicate anything in the way of their economy of scale. Their method was to fool the public: initially pledging to secure the future of local beer and brewing, while imposing the national brand by stealth. Through planned obsolescence, it's easy to reduce sales of a product that a company doesn't want to sell.

Just like county breweries were relegated to the status of distribution depots, so the EU has reduced national parliaments to talking shops. Effectively, most of the law-making business of Westminster is merely rubber-stamping the diktats of Brussels. What was presented as a Common Market has morphed into a superstate. However, there is growing unrest among the European people. Better late than never, they realise that the EU has lied to them. By deceit the predatory Eurocrats have stolen national sovereignty, but despite all the brainwashing and propaganda for their progressive ideals, they are fomenting a backlash.

As the bland homogenisation of beer led to the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), the largest consumer movement in Europe, so the federalists have provoked a reaction. Populist parties are rising across the continent, and unlike the insularity and hostility portrayed by liberal globalists, these patriots are often working together for a shared goal of national revival. In response, the EU tries to take the credit for a peaceful Europe since the Second World War, portraying nationalism as a xenophobic and dangerous attitude. Countries have been forced to open their borders, to seek approval for their annual budgets, and to incorporate their armed forces in the EU army. As if there is no alternative…

National Populism: the Revolt against Liberal Democracy, a new book by British scholars Robin Eatwell and Matthew Goodwin, explores the widening gap between the establishment and the hoi polloi. Distrust in politicians is worsening, and the EU is a focus of the authors. Through a consensus of the elite, the underlying plan of the Treaty of Rome in 1957 has been enacted. The strategy from the outset was to integrate gradually so not to upset the electorates. A lack of enthusiasm among the people for the European project has always been apparent, as shown in the few referendums that otherwise compliant nations have risked holding.

By the clearly stated terms of the referendum on the UK leaving or remaining in the EU, the vote for Brexit should have been a decisive instruction. Instead, we are labouring through years of negotiations and probably a long transition period. 'Brexit means Brexit', assured Theresa May, but despite the mandate of the largest vote in British political history, it seems that we are heading towards Brexit in name only.Proud Britons have been astonished by the inability of government and civil service to free us from the tentacles of the Brussels regime. For decades since joining the EEC we were told that our national parliament was autonomous and supreme: now we know the reality. We have suffered the humiliation of May offering her Brexit plan to the German chancellor before her own Cabinet, and her proposal to secure 'our share' of UK fishing grounds.

The schism between the rulers and the ruled is the major political problem of our time. A cosmopolitan, wealthy, university-educated class is blissfully ignorant if not brazenly contemptuous of the concerns of the lower classes. They don't care. Our political masters want a passive electorate; they want low voter turnout. Anyone who grumbles about mass immigration or Islam is denounced as racist: the answer is more immigration. Liberal globalists believe that anyone complaining of job losses to global outsourcing must be too thick to prosper in the modern world: the answer is more globalisation. The EU's answer to anyone opposing the creep of federalism is more federalism. And so it goes on.

National Populism should be required reading for politicians, the Civil Service, BBC, schools and universities. Inevitably it will not reach those parts, despite the authors being highly respected, objective researchers on our political scene. It is easier for the establishment to caricature their opponents as extremists ('Brexiteers'), making pantomime figures of Arron Banks, Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson.

Last week the outspoken Trump supporter Ann Coulter was interviewed for the Sunday Times by Dekka Aitkenhead, who expressed horror at Coulter's suggestion that Brexit should have been implemented immediately, rather than getting bogged down in negotiations with the EU. Doesn't she know about the Irish border problem? Well, I doubt whether Aikenhead knew much about that before the referendum: it was never mentioned by the Remain campaign. Coulter's response, cast as a flippant remark by her biased interviewer, was quite true: 'the elite', she explained, will always use 'complexity' to frustrate the will of the people.

Can populism reassert nationhood and replace the façade of 'liberal democracy' with genuine democratic principles? There is much pessimism about the future, as shown in the polling data from various Western countries reported by Eatwell and Goodwin. But arguably the EU and its globalist supporters have built an unsustainable tower that will surely topple sooner or later. People power, ultimately, is irresistible.

Walk into a pub today and you are likely to find an array of hand pumps, serving ales from the surviving family firms or the new craft brewers. They would not be there without CAMRA; real ale is a perishable product that requires skilled handling. It's more convenient for the global drinks companies to sell only processed fizz. And the same may be said of parliament. Westminster should be a hive of activity, debating and making laws, as promised in the governing party's manifesto. Instead the Commons and Lords have become bloated virtue-signalling chambers, with no real power. If we want sovereignty, we must fight for it. Send the EU the same way as Watney's Red Barrel

Follow the author on Twitter @CraeNiall

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