Wednesday 19 June 2019

On Tory Party Psychopathy

In their 1994 study of the Tory party membership, Patrick Seyd, Jeremy Richardson and Paul Whiteley came to the surprising conclusion that despite the success of the Thatcher years, the membership were, in the main, distinctly non-Thatcherite and much less extreme than the "swivel-eyed loons" referenced 20 years later. Well, if a certain YouGov poll of party members is anything to go by, we've gone way beyond even that. In case you haven't heard, 63% would rather have Brexit if it meant Scotland leaving the UK, 61% if it meant severe damage to the UK economy, 59% if Northern Ireland left, and 54% prioritise Brexit over the continued survival of the Conservative Party. The only thing that is not an acceptable price to pay is Jeremy Corbyn in Number 10. Interesting. Okay, so what is happening. How have we gone from a party whose official mythology paints it as level headed, and pragmatic in the pursuit of power to, well, outright psychopathy?

Stephen Bush suggests we need to look at things through Tory members' eyes. For them, for a variety of reasons, Brexit is an unalloyed good that might cause some difficulties at first but midwife considerable upsides eventually. The prospects of things getting that bad so lumps of the UK fall off aren't entertained with much seriousness, and so we get the answers we get. Yes, there is some truth to this. And yes, there is more going on.

In 2019 a lot of Tories don't feel particularly attached to the union. Unless they happen to be Scottish Tories. This is partly a consequence of the Tory implosion in 1997 where they were eradicated and from 2001 had to get by with just a single MP until the Davidson/May renaissance in 2017. For much of the last 20 years the Tories have been a de facto English nationalist party, a position that was actively cultivated by Dave in his talking up of the SNP "threat" before the 2015 general election. You might remember the SNP were opposed to his austerity scheme and derailed the roll out of the bedroom tax in Scotland, in turn reinforcing the divisive idiotics that the SNP headed up a nation of idlers subsidised by England. And since the referendum the Scottish government have positioned themselves as implacable opponents of Brexit. Scotland here then is less a valued part of the UK, and more an obstacle to levers' hearts' desires. A consequence of this is Northern Ireland. More or less forgotten by Westminster until May needed DUP support, it's almost as if The Troubles were expunged from national consciousness until we were forced to consider the politics of the place again. But it's not so much the new found relevance of the DUP that annoys, but again the presentation of the border as an obstacle. Rather than address it, as per May's dreadful deal, or pretend it isn't there thanks to the technical fixes Boris Johnson keeps banging on about, Tories are increasingly happy for it to just go away. By narrowing the Tory horizon to England and, at a push, Wales, should we be really surprised?

It must be noted we're not dealing with the same Tory membership as those who held out against Thatcherite values. When May could do no wrong, hard to believe now I know, the Tories basically consumed UKIP. They ate the vote and they ate the membership. Anecdotal reports rolled in to Conservative Home and off the lips of worried MPs how associations were starting to see the reappearance of people who had decamped to UKIP. Matters were made worse more recently as Mr Magic Pockets Arron Banks urged kippers, and anyone else who was listening, to ditch their party and join the Tories to deselect remainy MPs, put pressure on May, and influence the outcome of any coming leadership contest. No wonder they're quite happy to see the party crash and burn then. For them, their relationship to the Tories, their membership is even more transactional than Labour's support. And with the arrival - and success - of the Brexit Party, there's somewhere to go if they burn the house down.

This doesn't capture all the Tory membership by any means, and it's hardly the case the bulk outside of UKIP returnees are any better politically or, for that matter, much different in terms of demographics and values. They too are mostly white, disproportionately retired, and better off than most when it comes to fixed assets, share ownership and other income. The key difference is unlike the membership of the mid 90s, these are far less likely to be involved in community activities and charitable ventures than their forebears. One reason why membership ballooned to almost three million in the post-war period was the party provided a means for social networking for the ambitious and the upwardly mobile respectable, associations had dozens if not hundreds of clubs and bars between them where 'better' people could drink away from the hoi polloi of the working men's club and the spit 'n' sawdust. Charitable good works were also very important. One could mix with other like minded souls and discharge patrician obligations to the less fortunate. The mid 90s membership surveyed by Seyd et al were aged remnants of these cohorts, of which now few persist. Long-term members who've been around since the Thatcher years are more likely to identify with and still hold sacred the values the blessed Margaret allowed to prosper. Senses of social obligation aren't as great, and members are not embedded in the same broader networks as the older generation. And as for the new lot with their transactional mindset of Tory-because-Brexit and mercenary attitude to the party and its success, the psychopathy we're seeing is yet another symptom of the party's long-term decline. A process, of course, Theresa May has done well to accelerate.

The present Tory party membership then is more socially isolated than previous generations of activists. This is reinforced by the lumpenising effects retirement has on a membership comprised more of older men than anyone else, and crucially the anxieties one experiences when you are dependent on supplementary share income on top of one's pension(s). Economic anxiety isn't about being poor. It's always about already having property and wealth, even if those holdings are quite modest. Brexit appears to be attractive because in an uncertain world, the nation remains permanent. Reasserting itself by leaving the EU again promises the better, easier society of yesteryear when we were in charge of our destiny. Promises of certainty always go down best with those who don't feel it, and feel disarmed and out of sorts with the world. Therefore, risking the union or the economy doesn't matter because they think they're relatively insulated from anything going wrong, but they keenly feel it where Corbyn is concerned because he represents a direct threat to how they perceive their interests. More than that, he condenses everything they find objectionable about modern Britain, and why a Corbyn Brexit is not acceptable to them.

In sum, the Tory party have lost their collective mind, but it's the outcome of long-term changes that, at various intervals and unknown to them, has been shepherded along by successive party leaders. When things are this bad, when the very existence of the party itself is disregarded in cavalier fashion, you know we're in new territory. Whether the Tories die remains to be seen, but it's giving off every indication that it's chill with the prospect.


Speedy said...

As you know, the conservatives moved away from conservatism with Thatcher. This completes the picture, particularly as the vast bulk of the people that voted her in and got wealthy in the process - that most selfish generation, the Baby Boomers - is in the driving seat.

Basically, the nation's fate is in the hands of the most despicable slice of the most despicable generation, one with an overweening sense of entitlement, that could do no wrong, etc, embodied by Michael Caine et al.

Your analysis seems spot on, and indicates why Boris may drive the UK off the cliff - given their propensity to vote, Farrage's observation that together with the Brexit Party they would be unstoppable seems to hold water. This is why Boris won't go with a referendum because in a two-way contest he would lose. But an election with an electoral pact (or endorsement from Farrage) could see the no-deal parliament form a clear majority given the UK's skewed electoral system.

The Labour Party (according to the reports) is clearly going to stick with its ambiguity (in order to keep at least 26 MPs in work and of course provide Corbyn et al with cover) so will be eviscerated. The Lib Dems will be "resurgent" (by which I mean they may go back to Coalition figures) but it will be too little too late - the opposition to brutal no-deal WTO free-for-all will have been hopelessly divided and that is almost certainly what the future will hold. All this current blah-blah about Labour's nuanced position will look particularly "frit" in the historical context, a decade or so from now when the UK will languish in a sub-American strip-capitalist dystopia. I suppose Corbyn, Milne et al will have got what they wanted - further evidence that capitalism is "bad" - but pity the British people.

Boffy said...

As I wrote on my blog yesterday, you have to relaise who it is that the Tories are, who there members are, and which class interest they represent.

The idea that the Tories represent the interests of the super rich is wrong. Those interests today are much more closely represented by the Liberals and Blair-rights. The super rich are those who form the dominant segment of the global ruling class. They own their wealth not in the form of capital but in the form of fictitious capital (shares, bonds, property and their derivatives). The long-term health of those assets, and the revenues form them depends upon the role of a social-democratic state, and increasingly one that operates at an international level, such as the EU.

The Tories membership as all the interviews with members of local Tory associations how, is not made up of such people, but people who are in reality a million miles away from them. The not so very rich. They are the owners and families of the 5 million small businesses. Usually not very bright, but individualists focused on making money, and because of the nature of their small businesses making money by any kind penny-pinching and unscrupulous means, which is why they are so hostile to unions, consumer rights, or any kind of regulations. They are also usually hostile to big business. Thatcher the shopkeeper's daughter epitomised this social class.

They are bright enough to know that "the economy" is not the same as the people within it. They are happy to see "the economy" trashed if it facilitates their own money making ambitions, and given that this Toryism is largely English Toryism, its not surprising they have little interest in whether it means breaking apart the UK.

Boffy said...

If Labour continues its current trajectory it will be destroyed. As I wrote on my blog post yesterday, Boris will not be able to push through a crash out No Deal. He will need to pursue the course I thought at the start of the year May would inevitably follow - I underestimated just what a bad politician she is - that is to argue for a managed No Deal, negotiated over the next year, and to fight and win an election on that basis. The Tories can win a clear majority on that basis if Labour continues its current pro-Brexit stance.

But, about 150 Tory MP's, many facing reselection, will not accept such a No Deal Brexit. Like Heseltine et al, they represent the social-democratic wing of the party that does represent the interests of big capital, and the global super rich. They will have every reason to split and join the Liberals. But so too will about 150 Blair rights. Together with the existing Liberals, and SNP that give its working majority in parliament against a No Deal Brexit.

It would mean the Tories reduced to a core rump, but a sizeable one, with Labour reduced, to a Stalinist parliamentary husk, dependent as Paul Mason says, on Stalinoid TU bureaucrats, with the majority of its rank and file membership, as Ash Sarkar has said, already greatly demoralised by Corbyn's stance, and almost total abandonment of the field of battle.

Ironically it will mean the Macronisation of UK politics with the rebirth of a centre party and the marginalisation once more of the left, unless of course, the Left mobilises to prevent that from happening, which increasingly means standing against Corbyn and those behind him.

PlebJames said...

Whilst we're crystal ball gazing...
Another course the future might take is, Farage and Boris make a pact - realising the danger, Corbyn then backs a second referendum, but indicates that he was forced into by events. Then Labour win the next election - phew! Let's hope that happens :)

Boffy said...

If Bojo sets in place a negotiated No Deal strategy, and calls a GE in Sep/Oct, he doesn't need Farage. So long as Labour keeps its current stance or something close to it, the Tories would win just on the basis of a core vote strategy, with a split opposition.

There are only two ways that does not happen. Either as stated above the Tory social-democrats split, and are joined by the Blair-rights inside the Liberals - Chuka already promoted to Business spokesman - which means that FPTP would turn massively in the Liberals favour, and Labour would drop to around the same kind of 6-10 seats the Liberals won in the 2015 elections, the Liberals for the foreseeable future would become the new Workers Party, resuming the position they held prior to 1906.

Alternatively, Labour quickly ditches its pro-Brexit stance and firmly occupies the anti-Brexit ground. Backing a second referendum is no longer - if it ever was - an adequate position in that regard. Labour has to commit to fighting an election on the basis that it will simply revoke Article 50, setting out why Brexit is reactionary, why the EU and free movement is a good thing, and why our position is remain and reform.

Corbyn simply saying he has reluctantly been dragged into backing a second referendum - who already doesn't know that - is not leadership, it simply continues his current period of being AWOL from the political battlefield, where is he? As Ash Sarkar says, you cannot mobilise your troops without providing clear leadership, him going away to read Wilson's memoirs isn't that! Labour voters already deserting in droves to the Liberals and Greens will not come back on that pathetic basis, and if the Liberals are transformed by Tory and Labour splits even less will that be the case.

Arguing at this late stage that you have reluctantly been convinced of the need for a second referendum is disastrous, because now no one believes or trusts Corbyn anyway. It would be seen as just another bureaucratic manouvre. So, Labour would lose such an election on that basis.

It has to go further and be the most militant of anti-Brexiters, arguing clearly, now for Revoke, and mobilising rallies, marches, civil disobedience, strikes and so on to demand a General Election on that basis. A second referendum either before or after such an election is no good. For one thing, what would Labour do if that referendum came out in favour of leave. Why on Earth would a progressive party that has argued correctly against such a reactionary and disastrous policy then find itself having to implement it? Crazy politics, and a an unprincipled and opportunist position adopted by the People's Voters, as a soft option from simply arguing the principled position of straight out opposition to Brexit, and all the reaction that goes with it.

Speedy said...

I (sort of - I can't see Labour reduced to Lib Dem numbers) agree with Boffy in so much as I cannot see the benefit of another referendum - a narrow result the other way, although technically in the UK's interest, would just split the country the other way and create all kinds of unforeseen problems.

Therefore Revoke and Reform makes a lot of sense. It would certainly be in the workers' interest. However, it's never going to happen on JC's watch. He couldn't even front it convincingly. Remember: he does not represent "labour" but the ideological Left, with a Maoist as his press officer.

Given the fact that Johnson is not a hardline Leaver (he's only hardline himself), as an alternative to No Deal I could see him trying to rebrand May's deal, but I don't think the arithmetic will help him. Europe will call Bojo's bluff - not least because they loathe him so deeply - and there will be disorderly no deal. Short of calling an election, which I outline above, I can see no other feasible outcomes: Labour will not do enough to save itself. Europe will not blink. Johnson will not be able to square the circle. The UK will crash out on Halloween.

Dipper said...

That poll is utterly ridiculous.

Would you favour remaining in the EU if it meant civil war?

If you answer yes, it shows you are uncaring about the effect of Civil War and utterly deranged.

If you answer no, it shows you think we should leave the EU as clearly you don't want a civil war.

So the correct answer to these ridiculous questions is, depending on how you feel at the time, either 'the two outcomes are not dependent one on the other so this is an illogical question and I am not answering', or 'you can stick your stupid questions up your arse'.

Dipper said...

'Remain and Reform'

of all the nonsense uttered during the last there years, this is head and shoulders above everything else.

No-one in the EU wants reform along the lines of anything Labour have proposed. There isn't a single voice for it. You will be crushed.

And then what will you do?

Leavers are always a few steps ahead of you Remainers. You will catch up eventually.

Dipper said...

"In sum, the Tory party have lost their collective mind"

no. The Tory party have been following closely and have arrived at the only sane conclusion.

Lets just consider this 'second referendum question' business.

In general, referenda should be used sparingly on constitutional issues.

If you are going to put options for leaving the EU, such as No Deal, or the May Withdrawal agreement on, then this is an unnecessary referendum. Parliament is in effect not asking a question as to what it should do, it is asking if we want to over-rule their judgement seeing as they have rejected both.

So the only thing that can appear on the ballot paper is "Do you wish to revoke A50?" YES or YES?

So Parliament may as well simply admit it never intended to Leave the EU and just revoke A50. The only problem after having done that is convincing people they should respect a political process of rule that ignores majority opinion.

Tory members know this and are holding Parliament to the promise they made in 2016.

Speedy said...

"Leavers are always a few steps ahead of you Remainers. You will catch up eventually."

There is a great deal of truth in that - Remain struggled (and struggles) to explain its nuanced, intelligent, sensible reasons for remaining in the EU in the storm of fake news churned out at the behest of the oligarchs of Fleet Street and the simplistic bombast of Leavers.

Very much could be said of how the democracies struggled to contain fascism with its binary solutions in the run-up to the second world war, because Leave, driven by populist simplicities and "big lies" is very much the bedfellow of fascism.

I would like to be encouraged by the fact that the democracies eventually won, but there was much more luck involved, and of course the equally vile Stalinist regime. As Churchill said in his history (to paraphrase) - how many other great civilisations fell to be lost to history?

It is perfectly likely that Leave will win this race (I mean, they already have).

Boffy said...

I am in favour of staying in the EU even if it means Civil War. Important historical events are always resolved by such means. The question too is, are those who back Leave prepared to insist on leaving the EU even if it means Civil War?

At the moment, there is far more evidence that there would be much greater hostility from the majority of the population, particularly its youth, that backs Remain if Britain does Brexit - particularly when the dire consequences of that begin to be felt, and people see that they were sold a pup - than there is evidence that all of the middle class Tory septegenarians and octogenarians are going to rise up with their zimmer frames in bloody civil war if Brexit is stopped!

It was Remainers who mobilised more than a million to march against Brexit, whilst Farage could mobilise just a few dozen disgruntled followers to march from Tyneside - he of course managed only a couple of miles. Even his right flank amongst the UKIP/EDL fantatics could only manage 3,000 to demonstrate in London for Leave Means Leave. It was Remainers that got 6 million votes for a petition to revole Article 50, whereas the Leavers could manage only 300,000 demanding that there was a No Deal Brexit. It was Remain supporting parties, not Leave supporting parties that won a clear majority in the EU parliament elections - also seen across the EU too.

There is plenty of potential amongst the EU working class to mobilise for a campaign of reform based upon fighting for progressive social-democratic reforms, such as levelling pensions and benefits across the EU, opposition to austerity, strengthening workers rights, including for free movement, increased industrial democracy, and a democratisation of EU institutions. Syriza showed that in Greece, Podemos showed it in Spain, the left Bloc have shown it in Portugal. It should be built on by creating an EU wide Workers Party to fight for it.

Dipper said...

ha. great entertainment as always.

@ Speedy. Please explain the nuance intelligent reasoning behind the repeated projections by the European Commission of a UK population of around 75-80 million by mid century. Which subtle nuanced way are you going to find to build a nation somewhere between the size of Seven and The Netherlands in thirty years?

I particularly liked the nuanced reply the EU gave to David Cameron's request to suspend FOM. Such a subtle way of saying 'No' by simply saying 'No'

@ Boffy. Remainers want Civil War!!. Well let me help you with putting that shoe in your mouth. To repeat, the correct answer to the Remain/Civiil war question is that the prospect of a Civil War is in no way influenced by the Remain/Leave decision, so it is a stupid question.

Speedy said...

Dipper, I come across this often, particularly on social media - the he says, she says - from both sides, although more often Remain tends to be meeting outrageous propositions with outraged facts.

However, by nuance I mean -

The argument to remain in the EU was not simple. The EU had/ has many structural problems, which are easy to make capital out of. However, if you believe in economic prosperity, workers rights, food standards and global influence for the UK, it is the only game in town. I don't buy for a moment this "have faith" argument.

Leavers talk about WTO rules - but this is simply a broader global organisation that rules trade and under which the UK's influence will be very much diminished.

Even in terms of "us making our own rules" this is not true, because our parliament agreed to adopt EU rules, etc... it was all our own choice and we had the best of both worlds, being out if the Euro.

These are the kind of intelligent, nuanced arguments I mean.

I see, literally, no argument for leaving the EU, given the conditions of the 21st century. If you want the UK to be a poorer, less equal society with crappy food, less rights for workers, NO CHANGE IN IMMIGRATION (which is now higher from outside the EU than ever before and will continue to grow) and basically more of a slave to the US than before, then I can't argue with you, you win.

Dipper said...

@ Speedy

economic prosperity, workers rights ...

Firstly, workers rights were largely introduced into the UK through a UK parliament and were then picked up from the UK by the EU. There is no need to be in the EU to have workers' rights. FOM means employers can take cheap educated labour from across Europe. This diminishes the status of UK workers in the UK jobs market. If allowing employers access to workers across Europe is a good idea, why stop at Europe? Why not the whole world?

Economic Prosperity. since when? The EU is an oasis of low growth in a sea of economic boom. Regulations and economic policy are crushing non-German economies.

UK Parliament agreed to adopt EU rules ... If you agree to do what I say, you are not making your own decisions, you are carrying out my decisions, and the fact that you have agreed it does not make them your decisions. You are free to end this relationship at any time of my, sorry your choosing.

food standards. Funnily enough, haven't heard too much about the perils of chlorinated chicken since patients started dying from food poisoning. But yes the EU does a great job of regulating beef, or horse, or whatever that meat might be.

No change in immigration? I don't think so. Seriously, since when has any nation growing by a quarter in a generation been unstoppably inevitable? Simply not a serious argument.

Dipper said...

The whole of the EU is a massive exercise in cognitive dissonance. Take Canada. Have you ever heard of any Canadian citizen, let alone political movements, that say they don't think of themselves as Canadian but regard themselves as citizens of North America? That says the notion of an independent Canada is obviously unsustainable, and that Canada would be much better off part of the USA? And all those 'little Hong Kongers' demonstrating in the streets. Where are all the people telling them that any notion of independence is unsustainable and they should willingly accept direct rule from China. After all, they will participate in making China's laws!

Normal people don't behave in the way that the Remainers in the UK behave. Normal nations don't behave like this. If a friend of yours behaved like this, constantly explaining why they went along with absolutely everything their partner said, and said that anyway leaving them would be completely impossible, you mind would instinctively be wondering just how badly they were being beaten on a daily basis to make them have such a low opinion of themselves and their capability for independent action.

Speedy said...


"Economic Prosperity. since when?"

Britain joined because joining the European project was perceived to be a way to stop its relative economic decline. In 1950, UK’s per capita GDP was almost a third larger than the EU6 average; in 1973, it was about 10% below; it has been comparatively stable ever since. On this basis, joining the EU worked – it helped to halt Britain’s relative economic decline vis-à-vis the EU6.

The EU, taken as a whole is the UK’s largest trading partner. In 2017, UK exports to the EU were £274 billion (44% of all UK exports). UK imports from the EU were £341 billion (53% of all UK imports).


The statistics also show, however, that non-EU net migration has gradually increased over the last five years, with 232,000 more non-EU citizens arriving than leaving last year.

Just a quick Sunday morning Google. I am sure you will be able to find lots of "whatabouts" to troll me with, but the overwhelming evidence points to the economic benefit of EU membership, the fact that it is by far our largest trading partner (so any fool can see tariff free access etc is beneficial) and if I recall correctly the US is way down, around 40 bil, so I would have thought any reasonable CONSERVATIVE would see the logic of retaining this relationship.

Re immigration - you can clearly see that EU immigration will simply be replaced by non-EU immigration to shore up the economy and the EU has nothing to do with it. If you want to control immigration, why not start with that? But of course they won't because that was never the Leavers intention - they played the immigration card to get people to vote for them but they don't give a shit. They are only interested in shoring up their own elite power.

As far as "taking back control" is concerned - tell that to Trump and the WTO. Never before has Britain been so humiliated and small. And that's BEFORE Brexit.

I understand you are attached to some visceral hatred of unaccountable European institutions etc which you imagine constraining free-wheeling British capital - as Gove so nebulously reassured a woman worried about her husband losing his job, we are "great" - but this has little relationship to the realities of the world we live in today. There are many historical examples of such delusional thinking (Lepanto was lost because they decided the technology being used by the Christians was un-Muslim, and God was on their side, which pretty much chimes with the faith of most Brexiters). And simply being lectured now by a "Remainer" (48 per cent of the country) I imagine filling you with contempt, but relax - you are on the right side of history. You have won. I don't doubt Brexit will take place, and, in your lifetime excuse after excuse (mainly around purity) will be used for the UK's accelerated humiliation and decline. The writing was on the wall for the Ottomans at Lepanto, although they simply brushed themselves off and began again. It took another 400 years for the reality to really bite. In this case, it will be around 40 years, so you may be around to see it. I hope so ;-)

Dipper said...

@ speedy "In 1950, UK’s per capita GDP was almost a third larger than the EU6 average; in 1973, it was about 10% below". Would that be the 1950 that was five years after a war which had destroyed most of Europe's industrial capacity? No surprise that after it was rebuilt their economies improved.

I'm well aware of the rise of non-EU migration. Quite why after all this time in the EU our economy only works if we 'shore it up' with cheap labour is a critical point. And again, I've given up asking why 'left wing' people are so keen for British workers to face unlimited competition for cheap labour. If importing cheap labour is such a great way of making your country prosperous, how come there isn't massive world-wide competition for immigrants? How come it is just us?

And the Ottomans? The use of inappropriate historical examples to make bogus political points for now is a whole sub genre of entertainment. Please give me more of these.

Jus on mass immigration as a means of generating wealth; its a scam, like the Nick Leeson scam. Leeson said two things; I'm making lots of money. Please send more cash. One of these things turned out to be a lie. similarly, proponents of mass immigration say two things; this is making us loads of money; send more cash (for overstretched public services). One of these will turn out to be a lie. And just as after Leeson everyone went - 'what were they thinking'? How come trading futures is massively profitable for Leeson and absolutely no-one else? How come he, alone, despite all evidence, has the magic touch? Similarly in generations to come people will say 'What was the UK thinking'? Why, despite all the evidence, was importing millions of Eastern Europeans to do low paid jobs going to build a leading world economy? How come the UK alone thought this the route to prosperity? Why, when everyone in the world accepts that the route to wealth is through replacing people with machines, did the UK think they would get rich doing the opposite?

Speedy said...

Dipper - you may have missed my portrayal as a reactionary, racist, etc, by certain contributors because in the past I have questioned the Left's obsession with immigration as a moral good (when, in fact, it is morally neutral) largely for the reasons you mention. Unlike some, my positions as a supporter of democratic socialism are pretty consistent, and transparent.

But to address a few of your points:

- my historical metaphor was precisely to illustrate how historical context is all: what may have had validity at certain times is no longer valid now. The UK could have conceivably remodelled itself as a global trading power etc pre-EU, but this opportunity is now lost because times have changed, and, most importantly, it burnt its boats. The article I linked to, if you read it, provides a useful explanation of the historical context in which the UK existed and why it chose to do what it did.

- the low-wage, high immigration economy was born of Thatcherism and the remodelling of the economy built upon by Major and Blair. It is exquisitely Neo-Liberal, so I don't understand your problem. Except I do - you are unhappy with the impact on the cultural fabric of the UK. Well pal, I strongly suspect you voted for it.

Dipper said...

@ Speedy

well, I kind of agree. Butt he thing is that what the EU is offering is not a soft landing for a fading imperial nations, it is being completely sucked dry by a machine that will never stop. As always, 90% of our predicament lies not with the finding of political machinery in the UK but developments in the EU.

I'd quite like a deal, I'd quite like some kind of semi-detached membership, but that isn't on offer at the moment. I'd like the negotiations to produce that end-game.

The thing is, we cannot give in to the punishment brigade of Selmayar/Macron/Verhofstadt, because the thing we know about those kind of people is no amount of punishment is ever enough. They have to face a loss, even as we do too, so they know that they have gone too far.