As Hillary Clinton is fond of saying, it’s time to move on.
Britain’s vote to leave the European Union has led to intense soul-searching in that country’s cultural establishment. The New York Times asked five writers and theater professionals for their thoughts. In a sometimes heated email exchange last week, they debated whether it is too soon for artists to make art about “Brexit,” whether fiction has failed to capture social changes in Britain during the past 20 years, and what kind of art this historic moment might inspire. These are excerpts from the conversation.
Some of what follows is interesting stuff for creative types, discussing the role of upheaval in art. The level of angst is what’s odd. The EU as we know it, after all, is 23 years old. Its standardized monetary system is 14. The cosmopolitan elitists are acting as if those crazy hill folk have just ripped asunder a thousand-year-old alliance. I’d be stunned if two of the five artists interviewed could name two current presidents of different institutions in the EU. If you think there is going to be a great wave of literature coming from the fact that London writers no longer have to pretend to know what’s happening in Brussels you’re going to be more disappointed than a Californian trying to find a decent taco in Kazakhstan.
That’s quite a case of the media vapors there. The markets have calmed down, Britain hasn’t disappeared from the map, there’s no rioting in the streets and it almost seems like the media elite here are disappointed.
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal provides an example of just why people might not be inclined to love the heavy Kumbaya hand of the European Union.
The European Union’s current overreaching and meddling in Poland’s legal affairs under the guise of its lawless, ironically named “Framework to Strengthen the Rule of law,” provides a glimpse at some of the dynamics underlying last month’s Brexit vote. The framework, announced in March 2014, did not directly factor into Brexit, but it demonstrates the EU’s troubling propensity to harass its member states and dictate Brussels-based solutions for domestic problems. If pursued, the framework could further destabilize the EU.
At issue is a standoff between Poland’s new center-right governing coalition and its Constitutional Tribunal—akin to the U.S. Supreme Court—regarding the validity of appointments to the Tribunal. The new governing coalition believes its appointees should be seated, while the Tribunal believes the seats should go to the appointees of the outgoing center-left government. Which side is correct under Polish law is less important than the complete lack of evidence that the impasse cannot be resolved politically within Poland, to say nothing of the lack of evidence that the dispute threatens the “rule of law” values enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union (updating the 1992 Maastricht Treaty).
No matter. Instead of directing its energies to resolving the refugee crisis, calming the turmoil surrounding the Brexit referendum or revitalizing its moribund economy, the EU is flexing its muscle to dictate its preferred result for Poland’s internal dispute. This would be cause for concern were the EU’s actions within the scope of its governing treaties. But in this case, the EU is inserting itself into Polish affairs because it sees an opportunity to institute its Framework, an authority that it simply conjured out of thin air.
What’s to like about that?