Nostalgia’s a very powerful force

Ignore it at your peril:

A former foreign policy adviser to Margaret Thatcher has said that the return of blue British passports was an act of ‘nostalgia’ driven by ageing Brexit voters.

Charles Powell said it had been Mrs Thatcher’s Conservative government which phased out the old passport and brought in the EU-style burgundy version in the 1980s.

The new blue passports will start to be issued a few months after the UK leaves the European Union in March 2019.

Mr Powell told the Daily Express that the move to restore blue passports was ‘part of the nostalgia on which the predominantly elderly Brexit constituency thrives’.

Sure, it’s nostalgia. It might even be misplaced such. But there is a significant section of the country unenamoured with the European State to come, desirous of not being subsumed into the technocratic bureaucracy.

Sure, old maids cycling to morning communion and all that. But, as GKC himself pointed out:

We only know the last sad squires rode slowly towards the sea,
And a new people takes the land: and still it is not we.

They have given us into the hand of new unhappy lords,
Lords without anger or honour, who dare not carry their swords.
They fight by shuffling papers; they have bright dead alien eyes;
They look at our labour and laughter as a tired man looks at flies.
And the load of their loveless pity is worse than the ancient wrongs,
Their doors are shut in the evening; and they know no songs.

We hear men speaking for us of new laws strong and sweet,
Yet is there no man speaketh as we speak in the street.
It may be we shall rise the last as Frenchmen rose the first,
Our wrath come after Russia’s wrath and our wrath be the worst.
It may be we are meant to mark with our riot and our rest
God’s scorn for all men governing. It may be beer is best.
But we are the people of England; and we have not spoken yet.
Smile at us, pay us, pass us. But do not quite forget.

We did speak, didn’t we? And whether it was merely nostalgia or not, do not forget that.

33 comments on “Nostalgia’s a very powerful force

  1. “But there is a significant section of the country unenamoured with he European State to come, desirous of not being subsumed into the technocratic bureaucracy.”

    Well quite. People looking back at their idealised past sometimes do trigger powerful, dangerous forces… But history suggests those who look forward to an idealised future can be just as bad. Is the EU a force for good? Perhaps, though it also seems to have many of the characteristics necessary for it to do great harm. I’d want to reserve judgment until I’ve seen what it evolves into, and I’d rather be on the outside til it happens.

    A special Christmas thank you to all those who actively campaigned and organised for the Leave vote. I owe youse one.

  2. ” People looking back at their idealised past sometimes do trigger powerful, dangerous forces… But history suggests those who look forward to an idealised future can be just as bad. ”

    I’d suggest that those who wish to create the shining city on the hill (usually via socialism) have created far more death and destruction than the people who want to try and keep things as they are (or were).

  3. Merry Christmas all.
    On what basis other than sentiment does one choose the colour of a cover?
    And no, we haven’t spoken yet- maybe cleared our throats.

  4. Mr Powell told the Daily Express that the move to restore blue passports was ‘part of the nostalgia on which the predominantly elderly Brexit constituency thrives’.

    So what?

    Unless you have something better to offer, there’s nothing wrong with nostalgia. Would it be better if our passports featured a holographic representation of Stormzy’s GANG SIGNS & PRAYER album cover?


    He said: ‘So long as they are content with symbols, rather than substance, I see no harm in letting tham have their way.

    ‘If we get their agreement to full alignment with the single market in return, it’s a good deal.’

    This attitude – the Cyril Sneer-like dedication to doing everything their base hates, conserving absolutely nothing of value in the process (hey, remember weekly bin collections?) and yet somehow despite their decades of incompetence and flaccid failure considering themselves better than you is why the Conservative Party needs to die a horrible metaphorical Ecksian death.

    Preferably in a nostalgic way, with a fag and a firing squad.

    Merry Christmas!

  5. Or olive green with a RAF roundel on it. Include the RAF’s motto on it:

    Per Ardua ad Astra – Through adversity to the stars

    I would like it. Hate to think what the average Guardian reader would think.

  6. Holy shit, Tim. I have never, ever, seen that poem — and I am mightily impressed.

    That’s a solid American education for you: there isn’t too much from the UK between Dickens and Tolkien, other than warmed-over Marxism, that passes muster over here.

    P.S. Yes, I’ve gone and read the whole thing.

  7. Powell is one of those rootless establishment poobahs who envisages themselves as a disinterested voice of reason but in fact embody as hidebound and doctrinaire a viewpoint as any held by the so-called Little Englanders they despise so much. Look at the preening condescension in the idea that the knuckle-dragging Brexiteers can be bought off with a colour change in their passport as long as they toe the line on single market access. Doesn’t he realise? The asteroid has already hit and he’s just waiting for the blast wave.

  8. Brexit is nothing to do with nostalgia had little to do with the EU and nothing to with the single market which was supported by close 100% of people who understood what it was. Only tiny numbers of old gentlemen were ever were worried about the EU as a constitutional question and they had never worried anyone else . It was immigration age and class hatred wot did it.
    The BNP was the second choice of a majority of Labour voters in the 90s .The two Party system kept the rage submerged while a Liberal consensus started every conversation with what the English owed newcomers , suggesting the English were just one of many cultures in the new multi-cultural civic space.
    Islamic separatists encouraged the anger and UKIP trouble makers , spent years associating the EU with what they characterised as a conspiracy to take England form the English. Brexit was a chance to register that fear and resentment and the many took it from Surrey to Stockport.
    Class resentment was also a key feature of the Brexit vote. With further education available to the upper half of the young, the older and less privileged felt their status dropping in painful ways . Excluded from higher earnings, they were also excluded form a form of “polite society”. Liberal values came be no more than class markers and also age specific .
    Age and a University education were the two closet correlations in the Brexit vote , along with attitudes to immigration.
    This kind of class hatred is rarely far beneath whatever the ostensible subject is.

    All of these divisions are sharpened by stagnant wages post 2008 which has boosted populists of the far right and left around the West . Brexit is obviously part of a pattern which includes Wilders Le Pen , Trump , but also Corbyn and the European far left.

    We can see why it is so hard for people to admit they were wrong but unless some common sense is allowed back into our politics god knows where we will end up

  9. Given that both the Pope and Justin Welby have aligned themselves tiday with unaccountable elites versus those dreadful common people, what is the story behind Welby’s alleged career in the oil industry? Was he the voice of HR? We all know that the Pope is not really religious-minded.

  10. Brexit is nothing to do with BLAH BLAH BLAH.

    When voting, the voter gets to choose for WHATEVERTHEFUCKREASON he wants to.

    The people have chosen. Support democracy, and accept the outcome. Or be anti-democracy and keep griping. Shithead.

  11. Assuming that is accurate, it took a while to phase the old ones out. My first passport was an old-style one, and I got that in the mid 90’s. The post-uni-bar-afternoon-session photo haunted me for far too long.. I was delighted when it was replaced and would have taken a dayglo pink EU passport without a murmur of dissatisfaction.

  12. Keep rambling New Facepainter. Cos a tiny handful of old folk got 17 million votes.

    Worse to come for traitors like you.

    Much worse.

  13. @Newmania: the irony being that if you are correct (and I’m prepared to admit there’s more than a tinge of truth in what you say, though I think the concept of sovereignty means a lot more to a lot more people than you give credit) then the whole Brexit/Trump/rise of the far Right issue has been the creation of the liberal Left. Because they can brook no opposition to their nostrums, for decades they have ignored and sidelined anyone who disagreed with them. You can only do that so long before the top blows off, and it has big time, not only here in the UK, but in the US too and to a lesser extent in the rest of Europe as well.

    If they had only been prepared to accept that their opponents had some points that needed addressing, rather than calling them names, then things would undoubtedly be different. The Left have brought all of this on themselves, by their assumption of moral superiority, and downright arrogance towards people we now see they consider inferiors.

    Weird isn’t it, the Right were supposed to be the arrogant ones, ignoring the needs and desires of the common man, and feathering the pockets and interests of their own class, yet all along it was the Left who were paying lip service to democracy and the rights of the poor and oppressed, and when forced to choose they turned against the poor and ‘uneducated’ in favour of their own kind. How delightfully reactionary!!!

  14. @ Newmania
    As readers of this blog know, I voted “Remain” BUT I do view the EU as a constitutional question and the old gentleman with whom I regularly train on Tuesday evenings voted “Leave” on the massive cost to the UK of subsidising continentals through the EU.
    Immigration is not a problem in itself – just as a cause of a housing crisis and unemployment (a net increase of 3 million in UK residents born abroad between the 2001 and 2011 censuses which cannot *all* be due to the errors in the 2001 census): there are not enough houses thanks to Attlee’s Toen and Country Planning Act; there are not enough jobs for those who do not fit HR department’s preferred profile – 90% of those labelled “autistic” are unemployed although there were claims when I was younger that half of the Oxbridge dons were on the ASD spectrum (Oxbridge colleges didn’t have HR departments in those days).
    Your ability to read the minds of those whom you have never met is a wonderful gift.

  15. Jim – I do hold the Liberal constituency responsible for this catastrophe, in part . Our group have persuaded Polly Toynbee to speak at an even in the New Year and I intend to ask her about her role in the whole thing . I wonder if any humility has been aquired ?

    John 77 – I read the surveys not the minds . In the 60s a decent house could be purchased for one good salary , say £50,000. That house would cost you £500,000 today in the South East .
    In the same period the UK population has increased by about 10m , from 60m to 70m.
    I appreciate of course this is very rough and ready stuff but take a step back and you cans ee that blaming the high cost of housing on immigration is a myth.

    Clearly you , like many others were ;prepared to believe that this and many more problems could be blamed on foreigners . The question is why? Well the suggestion that outsiders are taking “our stuff” has always been potent .
    Unemployment is not a significant problem in this country .The suggestion has usually been that low skilled Eastern Europeans EU workers ( by which we mean on slightly more skilled than UK workers on average ) drag down wages . There is little truth to this, by increasing the size of the economy immigration has created jobs , as well as funded services .

    The real problem is the people don`t like immigration , simple as that ., I have some sympathy but sugar coating it with the many proxy arguments for tribal resentment is just playing with your food .

  16. ” Our group have persuaded Polly Toynbee to speak at an even in the New Year and I intend to ask her about her role in the whole thing . I wonder if any humility has been acquired ?”

    Not a fucking chance. The Left have convinced themselves they are superior beings to everyone who disagrees with them, who are morally substandard beings, with whom to agree and accept even on jot of their concerns would taint the superior Leftist with their dark stain. You won’t get one milligram of acceptance of responsibility for what has occurred. The Left are in utter denial – they are so far down the moral superiority road they can’t pull back now without destroying their entire ego.

  17. @ Newmania
    Clearly I think properly and you choose not to do so.
    Firstly I said *nothing* about the price of houses (which is largely, but not solely, a consequence of the shortage)
    Secondly in the 60s a decent house could be be bought for £3,000. In the mid-70s £50,000 bought a five-bedroom detached house with a nice garden in one of the better areas of Mrs Thatcher’s constituency.
    Thirdly the population in the 1960s was in the low 50s millions, not 60 million – it was 52.8m in mid-61 and in mid-71 it reached 55.9m .
    Fourthly, you said: “Only tiny numbers of old gentlemen were ever were worried about the EU as a constitutional question and they had never worried anyone else … Class resentment was a key feature of the Brexit vote. …the older and less privileged felt their status dropping in painful ways.” So did you read minds or did you make it up? [NB quoting someone as accurate as Diane Abbott without saying that you are doing so counts as making it up].
    Fifthly, I don’t blame immigration for the housing problem – I blame Attlee’s lack of imagination in setting the same density rules for houses and blocks of flats and the vested interests blocking any relaxation of the choking planning regulations.
    Sixthly “Unemployment is not a significant problem in this country” WTF?!? Which country do you live in? I live in England and it IS a significant problem in England. Do you believe in perpetual motion machines? If not, why suppose that immigration increases the number of jobs by the number of immigrant workers? Immigration cannot drag down wages below NMW so what it does instead is to increase unemployment among those already resident.
    Seventhly I like immigrants so your attempt to smear me as anti-immigrant displays your unwillingness to think properly – the first immigrant I met was a Polish Battle of Britain pilot who couldn’t go home after WWII (his son was at school with me); the young couple in the second-floor flat who pop down almost daily to make sure my elderly mother-in-law is OK are Colombian immigrants ….

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