Hatherley’s theory, which this book not so much tests as pummels furiously for signs of weakness, is that for all its evident problems, belonging to Europe means – or meant – committing to an idea that everyday life can be made better for the vast majority of people with planning, humility and a good measure of collective provision. Europe, he reckons at the outset, reminds him of fast, comprehensive public transport, generous and affordable rented housing and public spaces that you want to spend hours in rather than hurry through.
It’s also bollocks. There’s no need to be ruled from Brussels to have those things.
In fact Brussels has entirely scrotum all to do with any of them. Thus staying in the EU is irrelevant to whether we have them or not. Apparently Canada is a nice enough social democracy having those things. It’s also not in the EU. QED.