Melanie Phillips: David Frost’s reflections on the revolution in Britain

Frost
Edmund Burke, by Joshua Reynolds (1771).

The inestimable Melanie Phillips comments on the recent speech at Brussels university by David Frost, lead UK negotiator with the EU over the post-Brexit trade deal. It was, as she puts it, “a belter.” She continues,

“Straightening his country’s spine from its five-decade scoliosis as a demoralised supplicant at the European table, Frost reclaimed, on behalf of the British government, the moral and intellectual high ground for Britain’s departure from the EU – and for doing so entirely on the UK’s terms.

“This magnificent speech, which deserves to be read in full (as you can mostly do in this edited transcript here) had three essential components: an unequivocal statement that if the EU continues to insist on its “level playing-field” manacles, the UK will walk away; a confident put-down of all those who continue to insist that going it alone would be catastrophic for the UK; and a magisterial statement of why it matters so much that the UK becomes again an independent and self-governing nation.

“Moreover, Frost framed his remarks in the context of Edmund Burke’s “Reflections on the Revolution in France”. Remarkably for a British official, he thus anchored the UK’s restoration of its ancient freedoms firmly in the context of its own culture, history and traditions – as well as calling back into much-needed service the words of the philosopher-genius who gave conservatism its foundational and now almost forgotten purpose of upholding and defending the social contract between the dead, the living and the unborn.”

She quotes Frost as saying – in rather ringing terms, I must say:

“… I do think the EU needs to understand, I mean genuinely understand, not just say it, that countries geographically in Europe can, if they choose it, be independent countries. Independence does not mean a limited degree of freedom in return for accepting some of the norms of the central power. It means – independence – just that. I recognise that some in Brussels might be uncomfortable with that – but the EU must, if it is to achieve what it wants in the world, find a way of relating to its neighbours as friends and genuinely sovereign equals.”

Huzzah! She then continues,

“David Frost has given the EU a lesson in what democracy and national independence actually mean. It was a great speech. It was also the thinking of a patriot who actually has faith in his country. Among our post-national official class who have long believed that Britain cannot survive through its own efforts, this is rare indeed.”

Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest! And, I might say, “Rule Britannia!”

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Author: The Anglophilic Anglican

I am an ordained Anglican clergyman, published writer, former op-ed columnist, and experienced outdoor and informal educator. I am also a traditionalist: religiously, philosophically, politically, and socially. I seek to do my bit to promote and restore the Good, the True, and the Beautiful, in a world which has too-often lost touch with all three, and to help re-weave the connections between God, Nature, and humankind which our techno-industrial civilization has strained and broken.

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