Sam Hooper on Brexit

This, on the subject of Brexit, is an excellent post:

Spare a thought for poor Ryan Heath of Politico EU. He simply finds Brexit – and specifically Britain’s ongoing debate about the nature and timing of our departure from the European Union – too boring to deal with anymore.

I’m very sorry that Ryan Heath finds Brexit so boring, and one country’s lonely attempt to address the preeminent challenge of the early 21st century a bothersome distraction from the true job of a Politico journalist – breathlessly reporting court gossip and revealing who was spotted dining with who at whichever Michelin-starred restaurant in Brussels or Strasbourg.

And:

If Ryan Heath spent less time airily declaring his boredom, he might dwell on the fact that Brexit – in all its halting, stop-start awkwardness – is the first significant attempt by any country to answer the question of how a modern nation state can reconcile the technocratic demands of global trade with the need to preserve meaningful democracy. On this key question, Britain is currently the laboratory of the world. No other first-tier country has dared to touch the subject with a ten-foot bargepole.

Ryan Heath thinks that Britain has made a fool of herself by taking the plunge and voting for Brexit in an attempt to address these looming challenges. That may be so. But what has any other country done to address the pressing challenge of adapting democracy to work in a globalized world? What has the United States done under Trump? Germany under “leader of the free world” Angela Merkel? Or France under the establishment’s beloved Emmanuel Macron?

It is easy to laugh and cast judgments at Brexit’s many pitfalls and the…significant intellectual and personality flaws of those who claim to be leading and speaking for it. But it is much less funny when one is forced to acknowledge that other countries still have their heads in the sand and are not even attempting to answer these increasingly existential questions, despite facing exactly the same democratic pressures and rifts as Britain.

Go and read the whole thing.

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16 thoughts on “Sam Hooper on Brexit

  1. I’m proud to be a knuckle-dragging racist colonel Blimp egotistical gammon has-been with no international experience and a circle of friends that doesn’t extend beyond my local football hooligan club.

    I can’t wait to see the EU army. Then when the frogs get uppity again we will see kraut troops marching down the Champs Elysées again.

  2. I’m afraid Mr Hooper lost me when he started on about UKIP leaders ‘grunting about Muslims and immigration’.

    Somewhat ironic in an article about journalists displaying their ignorant prejudices in their articles.

  3. I’m afraid Mr Hooper lost me when he started on about UKIP leaders ‘grunting about Muslims and immigration’.

    Fair point.

  4. “the first significant attempt by any country to answer the question of how a modern nation state can reconcile the technocratic demands of global trade with the need to preserve meaningful democracy”

    Erm, I realize that the UK is on an island somewhere, but even so: the chap surely must have heard of Switzerland? Japan perhaps?

  5. ‘“the first significant attempt by any country to answer the question of how a modern ancient nation state can reconcile the technocratic demands of global trade with the need to preserve meaningful democracy’

    Erm, I realize that the UK is on an island somewhere, but even so: the chap surely must have heard of Switzerland? Japan perhaps?”

    Try that. Most likely still bollocks tho’

    The thing is, the two oldest coherent political entities in the EU are the UK (going further back, England and Wales) and France. And I’m not sure about France. Political structures in every other member date from 1945, and in some cases, much later. Portugal disposed of a monarchy in 1910, only getting rid of the Generals in 1974. Spain : 1978. Germany : unified in 1862, then catastrophic military defeat in ’45, re-unified 1990. France -umm, catastrophic military defeat in 1940, and that Vichy thing in the south-east for a bit

    As democratic states, they’re definitely very modern. Just how well are those democratic structures actually bedded in? No idea, but it’s very odd how the EEC/EC/EU slid another structure straight over the top, unopposed. And since when has the EU been all for global trade anyway?

  6. A comment on the yellow jackets here:

    http://www.kimdutoit.com/2018/12/19/the-dying-of-the-light/

    The original article hit the nail on the head and the take away point is:

    France is in real trouble. I mean REAL trouble. That once great country, in fact, is dying. It, along with most of the rest of Europe, has a worthless leadership class that, as we saw at the WWI commemorations, sees nationalism as a bad thing. That leadership argues that true patriotism means going along with the elite’s efforts to kill the sense, the very idea of nation; it means allowing one’s culture, traditions, and history to be wiped away, and rewritten to justify the on-going social, economic and political destruction. To object, for example, to the importation of hundreds-of-thousands of poor, illiterate and often violent migrants from some of the most failed countries on earth, many espousing an ideology of hatred for all that France and Western Civilization represent, makes you a vile racist and a deplorable, one who should not be heard, a “far right” pariah. In other words, Citizen, fermé la bouche and let your betters decide for you. Nothing to see, keep moving. Leadership should be left to the professionals; do not attempt decision-making at home . . .

    Illiterate and (often) violent migrants from some of the most failed countries on earth indeed.

  7. Re Yellow vests France

    Blue Vests next?
    Police are threatening to do same – block roundabouts etc. Tax too high, pay too low, overtime never paid.

    Macron bailed on a visit to south today, sent Foreign Minister instead.

    Foreign Minister? Outside Paris is Foreign country?

  8. Paris is Foreign country?

    Pcar, according to my good friend from Angers, yes it is. He maintains that there are two nations in France; Parisians and the French.

  9. @pcar

    PGEC facing possible bankruptcy. So what.

    The underlying business keeps running, the bankruptcy (if it happens) is just a legal process to decide who (shareholders, creditors, or rate-payers) pays the costs of the 2018 fires. e.g. the cost of 2017 fires was put onto the ratepayers by spreading the cost over a few decades and bumping up peoples bills.

  10. Sam Hooper does an excellent job of articulating why the reflexive, condemn without thinking anti-Trumpers have made my teeth ache for the last few years. At least he’s trying something different.

  11. It occurred to me the other day that remainers act as if they have Stockholm Syndrome.

    #RemainerStockholmSyndrome – use it everywhere (I just released into the wild on my local paper website which is reporting that the Bollocks to Brexit bus has visited Norwich).

  12. I’ve read it all – it’s less than excellent, to put it mildly.

    …Brexit… is the first significant attempt by any country to answer the question of how a modern nation state can reconcile the technocratic demands of global trade with the need to preserve meaningful democracy…

    But what has any other country done to address the pressing challenge of adapting democracy to work in a globalized world? What has the United States done under Trump?

    Trump’s government has renegotiated NAFTA and launched a trade offensive against China. Trade being one of Trump’s two signature issues, he has aggressively used the tariff powers Congress has waived in the past in favor of the president. You have to be blind or looking the other way not to have noticed.

    The US has an administration focused on fixing the country’s skewed trade balance. France has a powerful street movement that has already extracted major concessions from its government. What does Britain have?

    Then there are bits like this:

    …civil order has been restored in Paris only thanks to EU-branded armored personnel carriers…

    This is at best a rhetorical exaggeration. Order hasn’t been restored – more protests are planned for this Saturday. The personnel carriers with EU flags are as French as the beret and the baguette (probably back from a peacekeeping mission outside the EU). If the quote above was intended as a statement of fact, it lends support to the author’s opponent: “While many Brits have strong emotions about the EU, they rarely have a strong understanding.”

  13. What does Britain have?

    You may not have noticed, but Britain is leaving the EU. I’d take a bet that in 10 years time this decision will be more significant and nation-changing than America electing Trump.

  14. What does Britain have?

    The pound for a start.

    We understand the EU perfectly which is why we voted to leave.

    What will Britain have?

    The last laugh, we always do. And I don’t think we’ll have to wait 10 years.

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