Category Archive 'Brexit'

02 Oct 2016

The Guardian Admires Daniel Hannan

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danielhannan
Daniel Hannan

Britain’s Guardian, the voice of Labour, has a very good, very long article by Sam Knight, paying tribute to Daniel Hannan as the key figure responsible for the recent referendum victory taking Britain out of the EU.

Hannan was part of a particular generation of young Conservatives deeply marked by these events. He was in his first term at Oxford, studying history at Oriel, when Thatcher resigned on 23 November 1990. Twenty-three days later, John Major approved an early draft of Maastricht. The sense of a mighty mistake being made has never left Hannan. By the end of term, he had founded the Campaign for an Independent Britain, or CIB, at the Queen’s Lane cafe on Oxford High Street.

“I remember swearing what the old adventure stories would call a terrible oath to do something,” he told me. …

At Oxford, Hannan’s screeds on Maastricht quoted Aristotle, Shakespeare and William Pitt the Younger. But he also had an eye for a stunt. Conservative ministers visiting the CIB were ambushed and photographed with anti-EU T-shirts, while Hannan’s speeches – as his writings are now – were littered with arch, aphoristic observations. Lord Salisbury was able to run the British empire with 52 civil servants. King’s College, Cambridge, has produced more Nobel prize winners than France. The world’s oldest parliaments all hail from small islands. Goldman Sachs wants you to vote remain. “A Hannan soundbite does stick with you,” said Littlewood. “He does make you think.” …

[W]orking to another order of events, separated Hannan and the other Maastricht diehards – even from fellow Tories who might otherwise agree with them. “The view at the centre was these were the people who had kept the Conservative party out of power for years,” said Gove. “Whatever they are most passionately in favour of must perforce be at best eccentric, at worst electoral disaster.”

One new MP in 2005 remembered being lobbied to support the move out of the EPP and asking an older colleague for advice. “He said, ‘You just cannot. It looks good. But you cannot give an inch to these guys because they will never, ever accept it. They will take and take and take until they have won.’” Several Conservative MPs I spoke to for this article compared Hannan and his set to “entryists” and “Trots” for their ideological purity, their quest to reassert what they regard as Britain’s lost place in the world. “They are grammar-school imperialists,” one MP told me. “A hundred years ago Hannan and his ilk would have been able to vent their rather bizarre beliefs bullying people in a nether-province of India.”

Hannan says such insults have never bothered him. “It passes by as the idle wind that I respect not,” he said. He simply regards himself as a different kind of a politician. “I think public life for me has a slightly didactic role, OK,” he said. “You should be trying to shift the centre ground of public opinion.” …

In November 2009, though, the Conservatives abandoned their own manifesto promise to hold a referendum on the Lisbon treaty. Hannan called Cameron’s office to resign from his duties in Brussels – he was the party’s legal affairs spokesman in Europe. A senior aide picked up the phone. “I said … I just think you’ve made the most terrible mistake,” Hannan recalled. But he promised to step down without publicity. The adviser thanked him, and asked Hannan what he planned to do next. “I’m going to devote myself full time to securing and then winning a referendum on leaving the EU,” Hannan replied. The aide laughed down the line. “Good luck with that.”

Hannan put the phone down. He was in his office in Brussels. The Macauley poem, Horatius at the Bridge, entered his mind: “Who will stand on either hand / And keep the bridge with me?

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip to Frank A. Dobbs.

Hannan is a brilliant conservative who knows what he is talking about, as this video of Hannan in action in the EU Parliament demonstrates.

27 Jun 2016

McArdle Explains Britain’s Decision to the Elites

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GlobalCitizen

Megan McArdle tries to explain to the elites why Brexit won.

When asked “Where are you from?” almost no one would answer “Europe,” because after 50 years of assiduous labor by the eurocrats, Europe remains a continent, not an identity. As Matthew Yglesias points out, an EU-wide soccer team would be invincible — but who would root for it? These sorts of tribal affiliations cause problems, obviously, which is why elites were so eager to tamp them down. Unfortunately, they are also what glues polities together, and makes people willing to sacrifice for them. Trying to build the state without the nation has led to the mess that is the current EU. And to Thursday’s election results.

Elites missed this because they’re the exception — the one group that has a transnational identity. And in fact the arguments for the EU look a lot like the old arguments for national states: a project that will empower people like us against the scary people who aren’t.

Unhappily for the elites, there is no “Transnationalprofessionalistan” to which they can move. (And who would trim the hedges, make the widgets, and staff the nursing homes if there were?) They have to live in physical places, filled with other people whose loyalties are to a particular place and way of life, not an abstract ideal, or the joys of rootless cosmopolitanism.

Even simple self-interest suggests that it may be time for the elites in Britain and beyond to sue for peace, rather than letting their newborn transnational identity drive them into a war they can’t win.

Read the whole thing.

26 Jun 2016

Tom Whyman Does Not Like His Fellow Britons

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TomWhyman
Dr.Tom Whyman, (part-time) Philosophy teacher, University of Essex

Part-time red-brick academic Tom Whyman inveighs against his native English village in the American Sunday Times:

Alresford is my personal hell.

We are not used to thinking that a place like this — a pleasant town with a pretty center — might actually be hell. There is almost no poverty and only the occasional act of violence. There are good schools, a range of shops, a heritage railway. In fact, it’s somewhere that a lot of people, apparently, actively want to live: Houses in the center easily sell for upward of a million pounds. (What they will cost once the vote to leave the European Union makes the economy crater remains to be seen.)

But dig below the surface, and you will find the demons crawling. You can see them in the looks that residents give you when they pass; sneering snobs glaring down their noses with entitlement; small-minded townies, bullying you with eyes that you recognize from the primary school lunchroom; the old people, 80 and above, wearing blank stares. You can hear it in their bothered tutting at the bus stop (especially if they ever hear a visitor mispronouncing the name of the town), the shots that constantly ring out from across the countryside as they set about murdering as many of the local pheasants as they can. …

[I]t is impossible to leave Alresford, because Alresford is not just a place: It is an ideology that infects your very soul. Let’s call it “Alresfordism.” It is an ideology of smallness, of contraction, of wanting to curl up in our own personal, financially secure hole and will everything amusing or interesting or exciting in the world away.

Since my late teens, every effort I have ever exerted has been with the intention of escaping Alresford. And yet, I am an early-career academic and so I am forced to move back, every summer, to live with my parents because I cannot afford to pay rent elsewhere after my temporary teaching contract ends. Then, sometimes, I think: What if I’m actually secretly comfortable here? What if I have chosen the security of death in Alresford over the risks of life elsewhere? What if I am in fact fully in the clutches of Alresfordism?

26 Jun 2016

The Left’s Brexit Reaction

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Tweet157

26 Jun 2016

UK Students: “We Woke Up Feeling Betrayed This Morning”

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OxfordStudents

Vox:

Standing outside a university café, after a night of celebration following her final exam, 19-year-old (Oxford) medical student Evie Rothwell said she was feeling a sense of “betrayal” this morning.

“A really important decision was made for us by the older generation,” she explained, noting that exit polls showed that three-quarters of voters aged 18 to 24 wanted to remain in the EU. By contrast, more than 60 percent of seniors aged 65+ voted to leave.

“Essentially people much, much older than us — and who won’t be around for the consequences — are giving us a future we don’t want,” added Jack Lennard, who just finished his undergraduate degree in archeology and anthropology.

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To which Wretchard replied (on Facebook):

Essentially people much older than you gave you what you now take for granted. They won World War 2, fueled the great boom, walked through the valley of the shadow of nuclear death — and had you.

You didn’t make the present, nor as you now complain, are you making the future. No children, no national defense, no love of God or country.

But that’s just it. You’ve brainwashed yourselves into thinking someone else: the old, the older, the government, the dead would always do things for you.

If you learn anything from Brexit, learn that nobody got anywhere expecting someone to do things for him.”

24 Jun 2016

Hitler’s Opinion of the British EU Referendum

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24 Jun 2016

Brexit Vote: Normal People Voting Down Their Elites

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Brexit1

J. Duncan Barry, on Facebook, explains why the majority of the British people voted as they did.

This Canadian reaction typifies a mental and moral attitude which helps to explain the ‪#‎Brexit‬ victory:

    [MACLEANS:] “There is a growing realization in many corners of the U.K. that the EU referendum should never have been called in the first place. Unlike the national sovereignty debates of Scotland and even Quebec, which were largely dependent on a people’s sense of cultural identity, the question of EU membership and whether it truly benefits Britain is exceedingly complex, fantastically dull, hugely important, and exactly the sort of thing policy-makers are elected to decide so normal people don’t have to.”

It’s pretty simple, isn’t it? Normal people want a say in the unfolding of their own lives. At least normal English folk do. The whole approach to the living of one’s own life embodied by the EU is antithetical to the deepest roots of the Anglo experience.

Great Britain is not Europe. Duh. It’s called “diversity.” Not every culture has to be emulsified into one, huge, swirling Euro-mess. And I am already mourning the loss of regional European micro-cultures that are being swept up into the (vastly irrational) reasoning machine that Brussels pretends to be. And I’m quite confident that they’ll realize this sooner or later. The larger financial realities do not bode well for the Brussels contraption, so it will be interesting to see how long they endure the pain they inflict on themselves.

I would argue that as soon as *we* can find a constructive way to secede from America’s comparable tyranny of a controlling, élite minority, that we’ll find a similar, healthy detachment from a way of thinking and a way of life that goes against the grain of everything we gained from the Magna Carta to the Declaration of Independence. And the sooner the better!

24 Jun 2016

Britain Votes For Independence

UnhappyAboutBrexit

Telegraph: Britain votes to leave the European Union.

23 Jun 2016

Don’t Be Taken in: Vote Yes!

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Brexit

16 Jun 2016

Naval Battle Over Brexit in the Thames

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ThamesNavalBattle

Pro- and Anti- Leaving-the-European-Union boats battled with water-hoses and Rock music and rammed one another on the Thames. Buzzfeed has lots of pictures.

24 May 2016

Hitler Learns of the British EU Referendum

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