For a people, sovereignty means being able to decide freely. The British wanted to leave the European Union: it is their right.
Sovereignism means egoism. It is an ideology that reduces identity to sovereignty. After Donald Trump, its champion of the moment is now found in Boris Johnson. For it is the history, the geography, the culture, the language and the traditions that constitute the identity signature of peoples and this cannot be reduced to their political organisation alone.
It is false to believe that peoples and states can achieve lasting independence from each other, that they can take decisions without considering the consequences for their citizens and partners. In this sense, sovereignism is a demagogic lie that can only result in further suffering. With its excesses, it breaks the ramparts of reason to flood the horizon with uncontrollable passions. History is full of examples of its excesses.
"Taking back control" is a nationalist slogan that pretended to ignore the reality of an interdependent world, especially within a nation that owes its fortune only to absolute liberalism and openness.
Whatever the outcome of the ongoing negotiations on the future relationship between continental Europe and the United Kingdom, the lives of the women and men who populate them will be affected. Agreement or no agreement, there will then have to be an agreement on further trade and cooperation. This is what the European Union has planned and is already devising emergency measures to ensure that the latter to do not come to a halt. The EU has been built to put the interests of its citizens first by force of reason, and to the very end it will try to make this prevail. If there is no response from the other side of the Channel before the end of December, it will continue the dialogue with its close neighbour and has already organised itself so that air, road and rail transport will not be interrupted.
This is what a politically troubled English Prime Minister seems to be counting on, a man who is nostalgic for the empire and the mirage of a clever fish swimming against the current in the tumultuous ocean of international power struggles. The laws of nature, however, constantly remind us of the importance of size in a predatory globalisation that shows no mercy for the weakest. By acting in this way, Mr Johnson is weakening the West, Europe and even NATO in the face of Chinese, Russian or Turkish dictatorships; he is perpetuating the myth that some people confer on borders that are already overwhelmed by the absence of agreement.
Those who praise borders with only the prospect of their recovery in mind, should observe the traffic jams and problems that are piling up in Calais and Dover! Thirty years ago, almost to the day, the Channel Tunnel was opened. We can now measure the step backwards that the re-establishment of controls represents. The men we wanted to bring together are going to be made to wait in vast car parks. It will be expensive, as will many of the consequences of this incomprehensible saga. Our maritime neighbour, who is no longer in good shape, will be greatly weakened by it, and this is not good news. European fishermen and farmers, businesses and all the economic players who trusted each other across borders will find additional reasons for mistrust and difficulties.
When foolishness thus governs public action, despair and anger are not far away. What a waste!