Europeans love to tell the British they no longer have an empire anymore, and that becoming a region of the EU is something they ought to accept. Continentals seem to think the British Empire was all about owning territories because that’s what their empires focused on.
But European countries lost a fortune invading worthless deserts and fighting vanity wars in corners of the world with no strategic value. The British Empire was different; it was all about free trade—and that free trade is why countries from the Anglosphere dominate world economics.
But this free trade and Anglosphere dominance is something Brussels is determined to smash.
Earlier today, the European Commission (the unelected government of the EU) handed a fine to Google of $2.7 billion for antitrust offenses. I have no idea whether Google is guilty of putting its shopping pages above those of its rivals, and I don’t really care. I take the view that, in a free market, people can use another search engine if they don’t like Google.
Why do we need the European Union to interfere?
For decades Brussels has seen its role as an antidote to the capitalism of America, and this is just one example of that ambition. The reason the fine was the biggest in history is probably more to do with the real shortages of money in the European Commission than any genuine concern about improving the market.
The EU keeps its populace compliant by doling out colossal state subsidies to most nations, but this is paid for by Britain and Germany. Once Britain leaves the EU, the pork barrel politics of Brussels will have to change… unless another source of revenue presents itself.
When the Euro looked like collapsing a few years ago the EU’s solution was the Tobin Tax, which levied a charge on financial transactions. Estimates at the time suggested it might raise $30bn a year and even better almost none of this would come from continental Europe.
Instead, 70 percent would be paid by the British Capital—which is why I call it London Tax.
The London Tax is exactly the same as the Google fine: an opportunity to raise money while stiffing the economic advantage enjoyed by Britain and America. They are both evidence that you can either have a strong EU or you can have a strong Anglosphere—but you cannot have both.
That is why Britain was right to walk out of the EU. Brussels wants our money and clout to fight against the very values of free trade that make us rich. To continue would make us the ultimate turkeys voting for Christmas.
If America has any sense, it will fight hard against this fine. Do not make the mistake of letting the EU think you are an easy target for money. Britain did that for many years and it almost destroyed the country.
Lest we forget.
Andre Walker is a lobby correspondent covering the work of the British Parliament and prime minister. Before studying journalism at the University of London he worked as a political staffer for 15 years. You can follow him on Twitter @andrejpwalker