This article was first published on The Commentator.
“Hope in the face of difficulty, hope in the face of uncertainty; the audacity of hope.” These were the words of Barrack Obama in 2004, a message which along with the ‘Yes we can’ slogan underpinned his election campaign to become the first African American elected as President of the United States.
Obama’s dynamic personality and call for hope back in 2004 set him apart from the other candidates. He was tired of the old stale political system, and wanted change. Insults from his opponents rained down upon him – “talks about hope too much”, “naïve” and “idealistic”. Obama never accepted these criticisms. He would say “hope is not blind optimism; hope is not ignoring the challenges that stand in your way.” He continued to fight for his beliefs regardless of the scare stories and insults of his opponents because something more was at stake.
In his words “I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.”
It is to this curious backdrop we find the US President will deliver a plea on Friday to the British people to remain members of the European Union. He will peddle the same myths and downright lies about the EU as David Cameron and the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign. He will claim Britain, the world’s 5th largest economy, is too small and insignificant to trade with the rest of the world! Ironically, he will use the same arguments against hope which were made against him when he ran for President.
Obama doesn’t care about Britain and what is in the British interest. He is the American President, and cares only about America’s interests. The Presidency understands very little about our reasons for Brexit, instead they have swallowed the pro-EU myths – hook, line and sinker.
Brexit is heavily rooted in the campaign for American independence from the British Empire. It is a call for hope. It is a belief in our inalienable rights of democracy and liberty. These were the same principles the founding fathers fought for, and something Obama used to be proud of.
Obama quoted the Declaration of Independence countless times during his own election campaign. In response to a claim he merely delivered speeches and had no policies, he angrily quoted the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, just words!”
As the Declaration of Independence states: “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.” Additionally, it lists many grievances against King George III – one being “he has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant”.
The beautifully written words in the Declaration of Independence apply today in the same way as they did over 200 years ago. The EU has destroyed Britain’s democracy, vesting law-making powers in the hands of 28 unelected EU Commissioners. Laws are made in secret by people we in Britain have not voted for and can’t remove. The EU status quo has betrayed the British people, and no struggle is too great to get our rights of self-government back.
The Obama of old would have supported us in this struggle, as he said then: “Nothing in this country worthwhile has ever happened except somebody somewhere was willing to hope, that’s how this country was founded because a group of patriots decided they were going to take on the British Empire. Nobody was putting their money on them.”
Obama’s interference in the UK’s referendum about our EU membership can only end badly. The actor Hugh Grant summed up the attitude of the British people perfectly when he played the Prime Minister in the film ‘Love Actually’: “I love that word ‘relationship’. Covers all manner of sins, doesn’t it? I fear that this has become a bad relationship; a relationship based on the President taking exactly what he wants and casually ignoring all those things that really matter to Britain. We may be a small country, but we’re a great one, too. The country of Shakespeare, Churchill, the Beatles, Sean Connery, Harry Potter. David Beckham’s right foot. David Beckham’s left foot, come to that. And a friend who bullies us is no longer a friend. And since bullies only respond to strength, from now onward I will be prepared to be much stronger. And the President should be prepared for that.”
For a very long time the UK has enjoyed a special relationship with the US. However, a US President lecturing the British people on our EU membership, encouraging us to give away our right to be a democracy, is nothing less than an outrage. We are also a close trading partner. Interestingly our trade as a proportion with the US is increasing compared to our trade with the EU which is declining. Political union is not a requirement for trade.
The Obama who galvanised the world, who spoke of hope would be supporting Brexit. Unfortunately, the Obama of old is no longer with us. We currently have an Obama who is afraid of making decisions. We have an Obama who has backtracked on his promises and no longer speaks of hope. This Obama speaks only in favour of preserving the status quo and seems terrified of damaging what he believes is his legacy. Now, he is bowing to the Prime Minister’s cowardly pleas to support our EU membership in return for a trade-off for Britain to support America’s secretive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership deal with the EU. We the ‘Brexiteers’ are the new champions of hope. We are the ones providing the positive alternative in contrast to ‘project fear’. If you have hope, and believe the UK is better than the status quo, then you must vote to Get Britain Out on the 23rd June.