‘Britons should be proud of the UK – but all too often we’re told we should be ashamed,’ writes Henry Smith MP

Westminster Palace

‘Britons should be proud of the UK – but all too often we’re told we should be ashamed,’ writes Henry Smith MP

Henry Smith MP

By Henry Smith MP

Published: 18/05/2024

- 06:00

British scepticism has now soured into cynicism, writes Henry Smith MP

One of the great traits of the British people is our sense of scepticism, it has in the past kept British democracy robust and healthy, with a good collective sense of humour too; would-be dictators, which many other European nations have fallen for in relatively recent history, never got even close to taking hold here.

That scepticism has now soured into cynicism however, and our humour is dulled by fear of mocking no-go areas of new conventions.

It’s not the British people’s fault, but rather over a quarter-of-a-century of too many politicians, aided by much of the established media, along with a self-preserving culture of those who manage our public sector.

Whether it’s an unaccountable Bank of England effectively setting swathes of UK economic policy or a civil service intent on delivering its own agenda, the people are all too often effectively excluded from making the real decisions that impact their lives.

SunakRishi SunakGetty

The last decade is a case in point, on finally being given a chance – for once against the establishment’s best efforts - to vote on leaving the undemocratic, remote and centralising European Union, the British people seized the opportunity to free themselves, but of course, the usual establishment suspects immediately went into action at the unexpected result and almost succeeded in cancelling this attempt to take back control.

Even since officially leaving the EU, too many politicians have gone to significant lengths to maintain the constraints and have all too often deliberately avoided taking advantage of the new freedoms we could and should’ve realised.

In many respects, we’re still subject to supranational control. Take one issue which is consistently at the top of a clear majority of British people’s concerns - unsustainable immigration levels. Despite promises to address the issues and many pieces of legislation, the illegal entry of migrants, aided by criminal gangs no less, continues at a worrying pace and scale.

Part of the problem is of course our being subject to the European Court of Human Rights which supersedes our ability to control our borders by granting asylum to those on often-spurious grounds and meaning the risk of deportation, even after committing serious crimes on our streets, is remote.

European Court of Human Rights in StrasbourgEuropean Court of Human Rights in StrasbourgGETTY

The ECHR was a convention written for the immediacy of challenges faced post-Second World War and which is now far from the realities of a world already a quarter way through the 21st century.

These problems have been long in the making, a consequence of misguided post-British Empire guilt by too many in the establishment that has resulted in a narrative, often expressed in policies such as a curriculum in our schools, which teaches young people to be ashamed of their country’s history – despite Britain being first to establish a Bill of Rights, actively abolish slavery and stood alone against tyranny despite all the odds at the start of World War II.

We should be proud of what our United Kingdom has achieved, but all too often an account of how we should be ashamed is promoted instead.

We are told that 2024 is an unprecedented year of elections globally, although, in reality, many of these democratic decisions are a fig-leaf or false choice.

One interesting poll will be the European parliamentary elections in early June. Uncontrolled mass migration is a massive matter of concern across the continent too, and given the policy vacuum created by the EU itself and many member states governments in this policy area, I suspect predictions of establishment parties likely losing significant support will come true.

Perhaps there is hope – unlikely I fear because the European project won’t allow it – but there may just finally be a chance to change the ECHR.

You may like