Possibly, possibly

The only way such delusions will fade is if they are finally tested in the real world and found wanting, whereupon this country may at last be ready to humbly engage with modernity. And in that sense, to paraphrase a faded politician, Brexit probably has to mean Brexit. That may result in a long spell of relative penury, and an atmosphere of recrimination and resentment. By the time everything is resolved a lot of us will either be very old or dead. But that may be the price we have to pay to belatedly put all our imperial baggage in the glass case where it belongs, and to edge our way back into the European family, if they will have us.

And what if it works?

25 comments on “Possibly, possibly

  1. Thirty four years ago Alan Hansen was proclaiming by 2033 world temperature would rise by 7F and the sea level would rise by 50 feet. That date is getting awfully close, and we haven’t seen anything like that. But I note no one seems minded to ask him about his errors. And so it goes 🙂

  2. I’m struck by the delusion about imperial delusions. After the mid sixties I don’t think I’ve met anyone with imperial delusions. I can imagine that they lingered later in Westminster and Whitehall but surely they are long dead now? The only counter-example I can think of is our two white elephant aircraft carriers (which obs ought to be sold pronto to some greater mug. India, perhaps?)

    As for “the European family”, now that’s delusional. As ever, nobody is prepared to defend the EU as is – it always has to be misrepresented as something else.

  3. Works in what sense? As with the climate, in economics, your scope of experimentation is quite limited. Like Daniel Kahnemann doing betting games on college students, forgetting to tell them whether they can play the game only once or as many times as they like, and extrapolating to the population at large. You can otherwise pretty much only do baseline to endpoint comparisons, and from one place to the other. And barring the lunacy of despots there are just too many uncontrolled variables to draw sensible conclusions anyway. It’s why neither climate or economics are fully-fledged sciences.

    Of course the notion of a European family is novel, but I disagree with dearieme that it’s delusional. It’s just embryonic. I think it will happen now, slowly, whether the EU survives or not. The connections (I’m thinking more at the micro than macro level) across Europe are just too strong for that not to happen.

    I suspect that (at the macro level, which is what gets talked about) Brexit will make absolutely bugger all perceptible difference to anything. So, Chesterton’s fence. At the micro level millions of people will live subtly to not-so-subtly different lives than they would have done without Brexit, but none of them will be aware of that other parallel universe, and whether or not it is better for them.

  4. As well never know the counter factual, no matter how good, or bad, life turns out after Brexit they will always be able to claim it would have been better had we Remained.

  5. The European “family” is a bad joke.

    It is receiving daily abuse from the scum at the top. And that is what the EU is all about. The good life for so-called elite scum. And a lovely mixture of bureaucratic Louis 14th style tyranny combined with Dhimmitude for the rest of the “family”.

    The truly sickening thing about the whole EU caper is the revelation of just how much vile, arrogant, treasonous,CM middle-class shite this country –esp Londinistan–is full of.

  6. Further, if the Europeans do indeed form a family, they will come together of their own, not by the dictates of politicians with secret plans.

  7. What gets my goat about the problems with leaving the EU, is that they are just about all caused by the EU, to stop others wanting the same. Why do we have to accept all 4 “freedoms”? Because if we don’t, others will want the same. And what’s wrong with that? Because it is “impossible”. Grrr!!

  8. dearieme,

    Around 75% of the population supported the EU/EEC in the early 90s. The idea that it’s “old Imperials” supporting leave is laughable.

  9. Dearime- yes I agree. I don’t recognise that part of John Harris’s explanation for why people voted leave or even follow its logic. It seems bizarre. Empire was a supra national power. The reason why its demise is usually celebrated is the autonomy of the nations. People rejecting a supra national power is because they’re hung up about when they’re grandfathers had millstones around they’re necks?

  10. BiND: they will always be able to claim it would have been better had we Remained.

    If, in ten years time say, the UK is prospering and the EU is moribund or defunct, the only way to claim that it would have been better for the UK to have remained would be to argue that the EU would be in better fettle had the UK remained a member.

    The argument for solidarity is not very compelling, given the punishment beatings Juncker, Selmayr, Barnier, Verhofstadt and no doubt others too have lined up.

  11. “Thirty four years ago Alan Hansen was proclaiming by 2033 world temperature would rise by 7F and the sea level would rise by 50 feet.”

    34 years ago Alan Hansen was winning the Div 1 title and the European Cup with Liverpool FC.

    Which is more than James Hansen has ever achieved in his entire life of global warming nonsense.

  12. “People rejecting a supra national power is because they’re hung up about when they’re grandfathers had millstones around they’re necks?”

    No, in the Leftist/Remain mindset, its a return to empire thats driving Brexit, ie a desire for Britain to be in charge of an empire rather than being a part of someone else’s empire. How exactly they can make this leap I don’t know, as I haven’t noticed anyone suggesting that post Brexit Britain will start subjugating other countries or doing a bit of Drake-like piracy on the high seas.

    The most apt analogy would be that of a country gaining its independence from the British Empire and running its own affairs, which is generally considered a Good Thing by the Left when done by people of a dusky hue. It seems that white folks leaving an empire is however a Bad Thing.

    I’m waiting for there to a a succession crisis in the USA, California deciding it wants to go it alone because it doesn’t like the Trump-like voters of the Mid West for example. What would the Left say about that?

  13. Jim,
    yes. Another thing i don’t get is John Harris slipping in even inventing the phrase English exceptionalism. Yes a majority of people were not persuaded EU membership was for them. You could call that exceptionaism, but only when all other EU countries have been given a vote and all the others decide the other way. So far all you can say is British exceptionalism seems to be have the vote respect what the majority decide.

  14. I think it’s fairly easy to measure “works”. Currently, UK per-capita GDP is 88% that of Germany. If it drops below 80%, it “failed”. If it stays the same or rises, it “works”

  15. Jim said: “The most apt analogy would be that of a country gaining its independence from the British Empire and running its own affairs, which is generally considered a Good Thing by the Left when done by people of a dusky hue. It seems that white folks leaving an empire is however a Bad Thing. ”

    It’s a Bad Thing as it makes it abundantly clear the EU *is* an empire now and is aiming to be a nation in the future.

  16. The American colonies were warned that Amexit would result in an economic sip, but they thought it worth paying. Ireland was warned that Irexit would result in an economic dip, but they thought it worth paying. The Soviet republics were warned that Sovexit would result in an economic dip, but they thought it a price worth paying. Scotland was warned it that Scotchit would result in an economic dip, but when pressed said they thought it would be a price worth paying. Buying my house caused an economic dip but it was a price worth paying. Having babies causes an economic dip, but I notice people are still doing it. How can people be so stupid to not realise that people balance costs and benefits when making choices and may well chose long-term good over short-term bad?

  17. @ jgh
    Believing Brexit may not be an unmitigated disaster is a thoughtcrime.
    They are not stupid, they are obeying the instructions of IngSoc and Big Brother.

  18. We heard the same crap when we left the ERM. Not one of those dim ‘experts’ has ever been held accountable for their pisspoor judgement.

    Pay no attention to them.

  19. TMB,

    “If, in ten years time say, the UK is prospering and the EU is moribund or defunct, the only way to claim that it would have been better for the UK to have remained would be to argue that the EU would be in better fettle had the UK remained a member.”

    And if the EU had been in better fettle that would have been even better for UK, they will argue.

    They will never accept that Brexit was a good move.

  20. BiND: They will never accept that Brexit was a good move.

    True, that will certainly be the case for some akin to those today who still contend that it was a mistake not to join the Euro. But for these people it’s a creed and there’s no arguing with people’s profound beliefs. Over time the cult may lose some of its adherents.

  21. Where does he get this strange confidence that there’ll be an EU that anyone would want to join by the time we’re all “very old or dead”? Do Europhiles ever engage with what it’s going to take to fix the Euro?

  22. “Pride and identity … runs deep: even if the economy takes a vertiginous plunge, it will take a lot longer than two years to shift it.”

    My thoughts exactly. The Empire might have meant something to my grandfather, I doubt I ever gave it a thought. Rather – as a so-called ‘Boomer’ – I was shaped by my parents experiences during WW2 and to a lesser extent my grandparents in the earlier escapade. Germany and Europe rather than Empire was the background. Having worked for much of my life in and around Europe I understand the desire to band together and frustrate any urge to nationalism/populism and repeating past mistakes. Unfortunately it doesn’t get me out of bed of a morning. I appreciate Brexit is a leap in the dark but we were stuck in a rut and ignored by both Westminster and Brussels. It will be an adventure – what’s not to like?

  23. The experiment has already been done. There are at least 9 self-governing territories in N and W Europe that are not EU members. A round number of them have PPP/head incomes lower than their nearest EU neighbour.

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