Douglas Carswell

14 JUN 2016

Western civilisation is what we're fighting for

Donald Tusk, one of the EU's five unelected, unaccountable presidents, says Brexit will mean the end of "Western political civilisation." Marie Antoinette had a better sense of irony.

The essence of Western civilisation is liberal democracy. Individual rights, dispersed power, and the rule of law made the West prosperous.

The political model that traces its roots to ancient Greece has proved so successful, it is now copied in capitals from Seoul to Santiago.

Across the Western world, there's only one political entity rejecting the principles on which the West was built. I'll give you a clue: it's the one that employs five presidents.

Mr. Tusk is a good example of the EU's contempt for democracy. We never voted for him. We can't remove him. The constitution that created his position was expressly rejected by many of the people over whom he presides, but implemented anyway.

But there's another Western political innovation the EU opposes even more: national self-determination.

A couple of months ago, I visited Świdnica, Clacton's twin in Mr. Tusk's native Poland. Its top attraction is the Church of the Peace, which commemorates the Peace of Westphalia – the treaties that created the system of sovereign nation states which underpins modern international law.

Peaceful cooperation between independent, self-governing nation states is no dream. It's increasingly the global norm. If we vote Leave, we'll be able to strike new trade deals with countries beyond Europe's borders not in spite of our independence, but because of it.

Look at the mess unfolding across the Channel. The mass youth unemployment. The migrant crisis. Growing animosity between north and south. Who really believes European federalism is keeping the peace?

On the Leave side, we're campaigning to take back the democratic, national self-determination that made the West exceptional. The risk is giving it away.

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Printed by Douglas Carswell of 61 Station Road, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex