United Kingdom

Obama Urges Britain to Remain in European Union, Says UK Could Go to Back of Trade Deal Line

London Mayor Boris Johnson blames Obama's position on "ancestral dislike" for British empire


White House

In London for a three day trip coinciding with the Queen's birthday and a heated campaign over a referendum on European Union membership set for June, President Obama urged Brits to remain in the European Union.

"As citizens of the United Kingdom take stock of their relationship with the EU, you should be proud that the EU has helped spread British values and practices–democracy, the rule of law, open markets–across the continent and to its periphery," the president wrote in an op-ed in The Telegraph. "The European Union doesn't moderate British influence–it magnifies it."

The president defended the post-World War 2 order, lumping the European Union in with the United Nations, NATO, Bretton Woods (meaning the IMF, World Bank, and WTO), and the Marshall Plan.

"Their efforts provided a foundation for democracy, open markets, and the rule of law, while underwriting more than seven decades of relative peace and prosperity in Europe," the president said. "Today, we face tests to this order–terrorism and aggression; migration and economic headwinds–challenges that can only be met if the United States and the United Kingdom can rely on one another, on our special relationship, and on the partnerships that lead to progress."

The "special relationship," the president noted in a later press conference, wouldn't stop the United Kingdom from being "at the back of the queue" on trade deals if it weren't part of the European Union. "No man is an island," the president said while in the island nation.

President Obama pinned the decision on Britain's future in the European Union to a wider set of concerns about terrorism, climate change, income inequality, jobs, and trade and an assumption of specific partisan solutions, which doesn't seem to help the cause of the "Remain" campaign, which is trying to dispel fears of loss of sovereignty that animates the "Leave" side.

Packaging partisan presumptions into the benefits of EU membership is an argument against it. The EU has a "long-running problem with voters," as euronews called it, and pitching membership in the EU as consensus on issues where consensus on policy doesn't actually exist supports skepticism about the project of European integration.

Supporters of the "Leave" campaign, led by London Mayor Boris Johnson, lambasted Obama for involving himself in the debate. In an op-ed in The Sun, Johnson pointed out the EU "generates 60 percent of all the laws that pass through Westminster" and was costing the United Kingdom $500 million a week. He rejected the idea that British influence was magnified by the EU, saying the country had been outvoted 40 times in the last five years. Neither had membership with the EU, Johnson argued, secured a U.S. trade deal for the U.K.

Johnson called Obama "downright hypocritical," pointing out the U.S. would never accept an arrangement like the European Union and "guards its democracy with more hysterical jealousy than any other country on earth." The U.S., Johnson noted, was the only country that hadn't signed U.N. conventions on children and women.

Unfortunately for Johnson, he led with a debunked story about a Winston Churchill bust and suggested the half-Kenyan Obama's "ancestral dislike of the British empire" informed his thought process. In Britain President Obama scores approval ratings in the 70s. Americans and Brits largely set aside any "ancestral dislikes" long ago. Whether Obama's personal popularity translates to the issue of EU membership, on which polls find British voters more or less evenly split, remains to be seen.

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  1. Ugh. Why doesn’t Obama just come right out and say he wants to be part of the hegemony?

  2. you should be proud that the EU has helped spread British values and practices?democracy, the rule of law, open markets?across the continent

    Wake me up when these values reach France.

    1. Enjoy your eternal slumber.

      1. Well they’re on their 5th Republic now, so maybe by their 7th or 8th they’ll have things figured out.

    2. Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way.

  3. “No man is an island,” the president said while in the island nation.

    Paul Simon rolled over in his gave.

    1. I should have typed “tiny grave.” Missed opportunity, anyone?

  4. you do realise the debunking of the bust thing has already been debunked its self? http://order-order.com/2016/04…..hill-bust/

    also the argument that Obama dose not like Britain is one that’s been around since he gave Gordon brown a box set of DVDs that wouldn’t work in the UK, in return of a hand crafty desk made out of a royal navy anti slaving ship, the mans a cretin.

    1. That’s Crafted dammit.

    2. Do you think Obama knows that the British Empire did more then any other nation on Earth to put an end to the African slave trade? Or spread democracy, or the rule of law, etc etc.

  5. I remember reading then-president of France Nicholas Sarkozy describing Obama’s personality as a “dangerous combination of naive and arrogant.” It seems Obama’s pronouncements from on high about what’s best for Britain is further evidence that Sarkosy’s assessment was right in the money.

    1. He always reminded me of your typical college freshman. So yeah naive and arrogant are spot on.

    2. He comes across as a real nagger.

    3. Sophomoronic?

  6. I do kinda like the fact that some Brits are totally for the idea of leaving the EU because the EU doesn’t serve their interests at the same time they chide people in Northern Ireland and Scotland who want to leave the UK.

    1. Are these necessarily the same people though. In my experience Nationalists seem to be somewhat sympathetic towards other Nationalists.

      Then again you can’t really have a Great Britain without Scotland and Northern Ireland. Perhaps I’m confusing them with English nationalists.

      1. It’s a funny point but – full name is United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. So sans NI, you can have it. Sans Scotland, do you still have the United Kingdom? The “United” part refers to union of Scotland and England. If Scotland leaves, are we back to Kingdom of England? And do the Welsh get to complain (er..moreso than usual, beacuse Welsh)?

        1. Still could be Great Britain because you don’t have the separate kingdoms of Britannia, Saxony, etc.

          1. Not the Kingdom of Saxony, which wasn’t in England, or I don’t think it was. But East Saxony, Saxony, etc. Also, North Umbria. But not Kingdom of Saxony.

            1. Its called great Britain, because its full of Britons and its bigger than Brittany in France,

    2. The hell?

      Northern Ireland was majority Protestand and even more majority Pro-UK, hence armed violence by minority.

      Scotland got the referendum they wanted and populace voted to stay in because they decided it was in their interest.

      People who think it’s in UK’s interest to GTFO also think it’s in the interest of Scotland and NI to stay in UK, and thus use persuasion to keep it in (because Outers hold very little government power, no, even if UK govt. crushed SNP with tanks tomorrow, it would be on the Inners who run the country). Barring subset of Englishmen who want Scotland to leave, so they can have less Socialism.

      This is before we get into the comparison of a country that existed as a country since 1707, created by a treaty that merged two countries into one, vs. a trade block that the UK entered in 1973 as a trade block, which is now morphing into a country without any input from subject populace.

  7. None of our business.

    But if I were a Brit I’d probably vote “leave”

  8. London Mayor Boris Johnson blames Obama’s position on “ancestral dislike” for British empire

    Kenya’s independence only goes back 52 years; what do you expect?

  9. Dude that makes no sense at all man.


  10. When a french politician calls you naive and arrogant you’re in deep trouble.

  11. David Cameron should return their bust of Chia Pet Obama

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  13. Queen E: My the colonials are getting uppity these days.
    Prince P: Lie back and think of England.
    Queen E; Do mind if I think of Idris Elba instead?
    Prince P: I don’t give a toss what you think of muffin. Just lie back.

  14. London Mayor Boris Johnson blames Obama’s position on “ancestral dislike” for British empire

    Dinesh D’souza, eat your heart out.

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  16. The “special relationship,” the presidentnotedin a later press conference, wouldn’t stop the United Kingdom from being “at the back of the queue” on trade deals if it weren’t part of the European Union.

    Ah, the gentle “push” progs so love. America’s role as world bully remains secure. Awesome great job, BO.

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