Answering Questions Nobody Asked

Writing in Prospect Magazine, Oliver Kamm takes eight hundred words to explain what is obvious to most:

Public opinion is right. The government has no plan for Brexit because Leave campaigners themselves had no plan for it. Theresa May is winging it. There was no vote to leave the single market or the customs union, yet the prime minister insisted on a maximalist vision of departure from Europe that will require reimposing a hard Irish border and will damage economic growth by constraining flows of goods, services, investment and labour. May’s very act of triggering Article 50 when she didn’t know what her European policy was, as well as her vainglorious decision to hold an unnecessary election, has brought British policymaking to a state of stasis that inspires pity and derision among our European partners.

Yet there is no obvious appetite to revisit the referendum vote. Around two-thirds of voters (in the Comres poll) believe the country should accept Brexit and “move on.” What’s the explanation, given that the government doesn’t command public support or respect in its handling of the process?

So the public don’t like the way May’s government is handling Brexit, but they don’t want to reverse their decision to leave? Well yes. What they want is a government which handles Brexit competently. Is this so difficult to understand? When people complain about the state of the NHS, they’re not saying they don’t want healthcare. When the public complains about the way their local council handles rubbish collections, they’re not calling for rubbish collections to be abolished.

But Kamm, living as he does in a Metropolitan media bubble and heavily invested in the status quo of the Establishment (of which he is very much part), can’t understand this. What’s more, he’s assumed everyone else can’t either, so he’s penned this piece. He does offer us an explanation, however. The TL:DR version is:

Firstly, Leave voters are stupid and don’t understand the consequences of Brexit. Secondly, May and Corbyn are making it unreasonably difficult to simply reverse. If only the plebs were as smart as me.

Tell me I’m being unfair.

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13 thoughts on “Answering Questions Nobody Asked

  1. Just popped in to say that Oliver Kamm is a pompous idiot.

    There are a few who hold that opinion of him. I doubt he’ll have changed many minds with this article.

  2. Kamm is also dishonest as there was indeed a vote to leave the single market and the customs union. It was made absolutely clear that that would be the consequence of leaving the EU. How many times does this have to be spelt out to these people?

  3. MF is spot on but as pointed out elsewhere they keep lying on so many things, like Corbyn being a negotiator for peace, that others simply get tired correcting them. The false narrative becomes recorded truth in the end.

  4. I voted Remain. It was an – on balance I think the economics of it outweigh the bureaucracy. But my side lost. No point whinging about it. I’m used to disappointments in life – most football fans are. It’s our job to make the most of the opportunities that Brexit throws up – Control of borders, control of courts – ECJ judgements were sometimes insane – less bureaucracy ( I work in financial services and Euro regulation is so slow and bureaucratic. One joy I’ll share – cross European meetings in fin servs – I was in one in Frankfurt – are always in English, even if there are no Brits around.
    From what I’ve seen, matching progress to date against what we made as recommendations to HMT, and discussions with others in the Brexit process, it’s going OK. The UK was a basket case in 1973 – though not as much as I thought at the time – but now if there was a vote to join the EU I’d vote against.
    Most of the remainers I speak with just want Brexit to be a success.

  5. Tim is spot on
    For the record ( or imo ) it wasn’t made clear that the Leave vote meant being out of the SM, as it wasn’t on the ballot, wasn’t in the Manifesto, wasn’t included in the Referendum Act. What happened was that David Cameron and many others went on opinion based shows and said that it was clear to them that in their opinion a vote to leave EU membership would also result in leaving the Single Market. He didn’t go back to the EC and get the wording on the ballot changed, and he’s a proven liar to boot.

  6. The whole lot can be dismissed and scorned as being “populist” i.e. what the voters want.

    Can’t have populist policies and demands ruling the rulers, can we?

  7. Every time Kamm gets a (deserved) drubbing here, I feel that Laurie Penny is getting away scot free 🙂

  8. I am always surprised how politicians (of both parties, the hard socialists and soft socialists) swiftly praise the public for electing them — and thus showing great judgement in their view — but when the same people voted to leave the EU those politicians begin to declare the public has made a mistake. Had those voters also made a mistake in electing people who talk about democracy but don’t want to see it in action? Of course not; that would suggest the election winners were just lucky. A lottery, this election racket, right?

    I voted leave because, on balance, I felt the UK still had it in them to make their own decisions and — free of unelected Belgians who backed by a bloc vote of small Baltic states had fun making up our laws — Britain could formulate a plan for our own future. I also had no doubt that if the leave vote had lost we would never have heard a word about it ever again. Taking orders from Berlin would have carried on as before as if nothing had happened.

    I also concede that Cameron’s somewhat silly premiership and his inept ‘government’ had no idea what they would do if leave won. They were utterly unprepared, which is the most stinging condemnation of any ruling body. There was no sense of any plan because, if we all voted stay, our MPs could carry on doing very little for their money other than rubber-stamping the latest cucumber curve allowance regulations from Brussels. I have no doubt if remain had won, Cameron would still be in No 10 and May would be still employed as she was hurrying round various mosques reassuring the one true faith that halal is fully approved by those in power. Cameron might even have had the smarts not to call that disastrous election…

    But if we have learned one thing, it is that those who talk about democracy and the opinion of the people really don’t believe it. But then, once you start to occupy the top seats at the very full table the last thing you want is someone suggesting you work for a living.

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