Professor Pippa Catterall, Professor on the History and Politics BA Honours course, has written a post for the London School of Economics (LSE) Blog about UK chief negotiator David Frost’s understanding of the work of Edmund Burke.
On 17 February, the UK’s chief negotiator for the next phase of Brexit, gave a speech in Brussels to set out his stall. In it the speech, he referenced the work of eighteenth-century political thinker and politician Edmund Burke, about whom he said: “Lots of modern British conservative politicians… would consider themselves to be intellectual heirs of Burke.”
Professor Catterall wrote: “Oddly, Frost passes up the aspect of Burke’s legacy that he could most obviously bend to his purpose. This is Burke’s sympathy with the American colonists in the 1770s. Perhaps even Frost is unwilling to claim parallels from the success of the American secession from Britain for the very different situation of Brexit Britain? Or perhaps he recognises that this would not help him to make his case. Indeed, it would lay bare his deceit that Britain is regaining ‘independence’. As a former diplomat, Frost should know that only a country with such independence can peacefully exercise the right to secede from what are at bottom treaty relations, without needing the American colonists’ use of force to throw off the British yoke.”