Brexit Vote Gets To The Heart Of What It Means To Be British

 

640px-Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom.svgThese last weeks leading up to the June 23rd Brexit vote will be about instilling fear. Cameron’s threats to the elderly on pensions and the scaremongering from all sides will trigger some reliable — and often noble — British character traits: to avoid controversy, to be risk averse, and to suffer quietly. As America’s Founders wrote in the Declaration of Independence, “[A]ll experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

But deep in its heart, I believe the old Britain I know wants to leave, but will be too wary to change. In many ways, there is a cultural war of attributes over the British psyche. The love of what is British and the Island mentality, versus the fear of risk and change. To accept the risks of leaving is to change one’s identity; to stay is to lose it.

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  1. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    I hope a vote to leave doesn’t change one’s identity, but reaffirms it.

    My fear is that if remain carries the day the abuse the UK will suffer from the EU will be insufferable. I expect they will be forced to abandon the British Pound and fully integrate to the Euro followed by a campaign to erase any sovereign identity.

    A vote for remain is a vote to reaffirm the tyranny of EU.

    • #1
  2. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    They wouldn’t be going through all this if they didn’t see the sinking ship ahead.  Do the people have a say? Is there British patriotism of the Thatcher days still around? Or has it become a multi-cultural soup where there is no longer the stomach for that?  They may be prolonging the pain if they don’t do the necessary surgery.

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  3. Kay of MT Member
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    Front Seat Cat: Is there British patriotism of the Thatcher days still around?

    Yes! But these groups have been labeled by the PTB, thugs, trouble makers, evil, criminals, speakers of hate, and a number of other derogatory names, when they are just trying to reassert British culture, and awaken the populist to the dangers of being controlled by the elite and the EU.

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  4. Johnnie Alum 13 Inactive
    Johnnie Alum 13
    @JohnnieAlum13

    If leave wins, I hope that the Tories will pick Michael Gove instead of Boris to be the new PM once Cameron steps down.

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  5. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Johnnie Alum 13:If leave wins, I hope that the Tories will pick Michael Gove instead of Boris to be the new PM once Cameron steps down.

    Will Cameron step down? I’ve not heard that before.

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  6. Johnnie Alum 13 Inactive
    Johnnie Alum 13
    @JohnnieAlum13

    BrentB67:Will Cameron step down? I’ve not heard that before.

    If leave wins, I don’t see how he’ll be able to stay on as PM. He’ll have exhausted all of his political capital.

    If remains wins, then he’ll be able to stay as PM.

    • #6
  7. GreenCarder Inactive
    GreenCarder
    @GreenCarder

    When it comes down to pulling the trigger on the vote, fear of the unknown (Leaving) will trump the many – but known – drawbacks of Remaining for a meaningful enough number of voters to tip the outcome to Remain.

    • #7
  8. GreenCarder Inactive
    GreenCarder
    @GreenCarder

    BrentB67:

    Johnnie Alum 13:If leave wins, I hope that the Tories will pick Michael Gove instead of Boris to be the new PM once Cameron steps down.

    Will Cameron step down? I’ve not heard that before.


    Johnnie Alum 13
    :

    BrentB67:Will Cameron step down? I’ve not heard that before.

    If leave wins, I don’t see how he’ll be able to stay on as PM. He’ll have exhausted all of his political capital.

    If remains wins, then he’ll be able to stay as PM.

    If Leave wins, Cameron will have to step down right away. The public will have issued an explicit repudiation of his policy platform, making his position untenable. The Tories will need to elect a new leader (from among the Euroskeptic crowd) and then, presumably, go to the country to seek a new mandate in a general election.

    I doubt Cameron et al ever imagined it would come to this.

    • #8
  9. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    GreenCarder:When it comes down to pulling the trigger on the vote, fear of the unknown (Leaving) will trump the many – but known – drawbacks of Remaining for a meaningful enough number of voters to tip the outcome to Remain.

    BREXIT will not win.  The elites do not want it so it will not happen.  It really is that simple.

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  10. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    For the sake of my friends and relatives in Europe, I really hope Brexit happens.  The tyranny of the EU bureaucrats & elites is strangling the European West.

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  11. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Fake John/Jane Galt:

    GreenCarder:When it comes down to pulling the trigger on the vote, fear of the unknown (Leaving) will trump the many – but known – drawbacks of Remaining for a meaningful enough number of voters to tip the outcome to Remain.

    BREXIT will not win. The elites do not want it so it will not happen. It really is that simple.

    The elites didn’t want Trump….

    • #11
  12. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    BrentB67:

    Fake John/Jane Galt:

    GreenCarder:When it comes down to pulling the trigger on the vote, fear of the unknown (Leaving) will trump the many – but known – drawbacks of Remaining for a meaningful enough number of voters to tip the outcome to Remain.

    BREXIT will not win. The elites do not want it so it will not happen. It really is that simple.

    The elites didn’t want Trump….

    The elites want a HRC POTUS.  DJT is just method they are using for that to occur.  True it looks like they may have lost some control over the DJT method but they are not all powerful or all knowing forces just very powerful forces.  If HRC ends up as POTUS then I suspect they will consider it a win since that was the outcome they were after.

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  13. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    So he’s holding a gun to granny’s head and threatening to pull the trigger if people don’t vote to stay.  Nice guy.  We sometimes call those types “terrorists.”

    • #13
  14. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    This is the level of rhetoric surrounding the Brexit ‘debate’:

    Why is it so dangerous? Because no one can foresee what the long-term consequences would be,” [Donald] Tusk said. “As a historian I fear that Brexit could be the beginning of the destruction of not only the EU but also of western political civilization in its entirety.

    Donald Tusk is President of the European Council. This position is distinct from Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the Union. There are at least three other ‘Presidents’.

    (I suspect at least one contributor would sympathise with Tusk’s fear.)

    • #14
  15. Douglas Inactive
    Douglas
    @Douglas

    BrentB67:I hope a vote to leave doesn’t change one’s identity, but reaffirms it.

    My fear is that if remain carries the day the abuse the UK will suffer from the EU will be insufferable. I expect they will be forced to abandon the British Pound and fully integrate to the Euro followed by a campaign to erase any sovereign identity.

    A vote for remain is a vote to reaffirm the tyranny of EU.

    Even if they do vote to leave, you know the Eurocrats are going to punish the Brits at every possible turn. Had we a real American President, he’d step up the Anglo relations several pegs and dare “Europe” to do anything about it (while pointing the Eurocrats gaze to Russia and just smiling).

    But we don’t have a real American President.

    • #15
  16. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    genferei:This is the level of rhetoric surrounding the Brexit ‘debate’:

    Why is it so dangerous? Because no one can foresee what the long-term consequences would be,” [Donald] Tusk said. “As a historian I fear that Brexit could be the beginning of the destruction of not only the EU but also of western political civilization in its entirety.

    Donald Tusk is President of the European Council. This position is distinct from Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the Union. There are at least three other ‘Presidents’.

    (I suspect at least one contributor would sympathise with Tusk’s fear.)

    That fear might be legitimate, but only for a very special (and repulsive, elitist) definition of “western political civilization.”

    And by the way, what IS western political civilization, as compared to western civilization?

    • #16
  17. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    The Reticulator: And by the way, what IS western political civilization, as compared to western civilization?

    An excellent point.

    (The original German doesn’t seem to help: ‘der gesamten politischen Zivilisation des Westens’.)

    • #17
  18. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    So taking power away from centralized bureaucracies,  rent seekers, those who most benefit from the apparatus will cast independent nations into chaos?   It is true that leaving may spark more creative destruction and ordered chaos will become more recognizable,  but we always live in a world of ordered chaos.  The governing elite pretend ( and actually believe they are successful)  to guide chaos toward the general benefit,  but they guide it toward their own benefit, not because they are evil, but  because centrally guiding the vast EU economies is way beyond human capacity.   There was a time when we could centrally club an industrial economy in one direction or another, but the administrative state is now obsolete and paradoxically also threatens totalitarianism.  We must decentralize and replace the regulatory apparatus with simple laws.  These self satisfied super rational sophisticates are irrelevant to a modern economy and I suspect some of them know it.

    • #18
  19. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Kate Jones: But deep in its heart, I believe the old Britain I know wants to leave, but will be too wary to change.

    Just as I believe the American colonies probably would have preferred to remain a part of the British Empire if only Britain would have stopped treating them as second-class subjects, I believe Britain would love to remain a part of a rational and non-exploitive version of the European project.

    The problem is that there is no longer any hope that the EU can be reformed so that it respects the diversity and sovereignty of its components states.

    In short, the evils are no longer sufferable.

    Britain has another option, which I find isn’t mentioned enough in these discussions: The European Free Trade Association.

    • #19
  20. Charles Mark Member
    Charles Mark
    @CharlesMark

    If it’s as close as the polls suggest then I don’t see any chance they’ll vote to leave. It’s like the Scottish referendum – “better the Devil you know” and all that.

    Personally I hope they vote Leave. The Common Market is perfectly fine  but I never voted for and don’t want a United States of Europe.

    • #20
  21. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    genferei:

    (I suspect at least one contributor would sympathise with Tusk’s fear.)

    You’re right, I would.

    For those interested in reading a calm argument for remaining, I think Matthew Scott sums up the case patiently and fairly. There has been some hysteria on the Remain side, certainly; and predictions of doom that aren’t justified by anything we can to a high degree of accuracy predict. (I confess there’s part of me at this point that would like to see the thing break up just so politicians would be forced to stop blaming the EU for what are really their own failures of governance.) But on balance, under the geopolitical circumstances, I agree with Scott. This is not the right moment for throwing another lit match into a geopolitical tinderbox, and the arguments for staying are stronger than those for leaving. The idea that Britain will never again get a chance to leave the EU should it vote to remain and regret it is exaggerated and without legal foundation; I agree entirely with Scott’s arguments (toward the last paragraph) about why this isn’t so.

    • #21
  22. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Charles Mark:If it’s as close as the polls suggest then I don’t see any chance they’ll vote to leave. It’s like the Scottish referendum – “better the Devil you know” and all that.

    The difference is that the Scots know Westminster a lot better than the British know Brussels. The Scots have been dealing with Westminster for 400 years!

    • #22
  23. Irregardless Member
    Irregardless
    @

    genferei: Quoting Tusk: Why is it so dangerous? Because no one can foresee what the long-term consequences would be,” [Donald] Tusk said. “As a historian I fear that Brexit could be the beginning of the destruction of not only the EU but also of western political civilization in its entirety.

    Hmmm.  I love appeals to authority, especially completely irrelevant, vacuous appeals to authority that could be flipped 180 degrees with exactly the same effect:  “Why is it so dangerous? Because no one can foresee what the long-term consequences would be.  As a[n amateur] historian, I fear that [the rejection of] Brexit could be the beginning of the destruction of not only the EU but also of western political civilization in its entirety.”

    • #23
  24. Irregardless Member
    Irregardless
    @

    The Reticulator: And by the way, what IS western political civilization, as compared to western civilization?

    The EU, as compared to Europe.  He’s just being tautological.

    • #24
  25. Irregardless Member
    Irregardless
    @

    Misthiocracy: The difference is that the Scots know Westminster a lot better than the British know Brussels. The Scots have been dealing with Westminster for 400 years!

    All the more so.  If that 400 years of history didn’t learn ’em, hard to blame the Brits for not getting it after only a few decades.

    • #25
  26. Charles Mark Member
    Charles Mark
    @CharlesMark

    image

    • #26
  27. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: I think Matthew Scott sums up the case patiently and fairly.

    No wonder Leave is winning then. (Although I fully expect Remain to prevail by 10% on the night.) It’s just a fantasy nightmare. EU collapse [as the citizens of other countries decide their own fate]! Trade wars [just as take place in Asia and Latin America in the absence of a central political authority. Oh.]! Russia invades! Hungary comes to blows with Romania! Post-Merkel Germany seeks lebensraum!

    • #27
  28. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    genferei: Russia invades!

    A “fantasy nightmare?”

    • #28
  29. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: I think Matthew Scott sums up the case patiently and fairly.

    I found it unpersuasive.

    He dismisses the economic argument with a complete non-sequitur comparing economic growth before and after joining the EC and comparing against the U.S.  He provides no justification for claiming the growth was due to EC membership — it could just as easily (and in my opinion probably was) due to staying out of the Euro.

    He dismisses the complaints against the undemocratic and one-size-fits-all behavior of EU bureaucrats with an extended diatribe against the undemocratic elements of the UK’s own government.  Um, So what?  That’s the complaint of a child when caught doing something anti-social: “But Timmy was doing it too!”  As a fan of subsidiarity in government, I see eliminating the EU’s power over UK affairs as a great good.

    He dismisses the sovereignty complaints with another non-sequitur:  the UK can withdraw its delegation of power to the EU by an Act of Parliament at any time, so the referendum is unnecessary.  What?  The referendum is the people requesting Parliament do exactly that.

    Let me echo genferei:  No wonder Leave is winning then.

    • #29
  30. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Phil Turmel: He dismisses the sovereignty complaints with another non-sequitur: the UK can withdraw its delegation of power to the EU by an Act of Parliament at any time, so the referendum is unnecessary. What? The referendum is the people requesting Parliament do exactly that.

    That’s not what he’s saying: He’s saying that it isn’t true that this is “the last chance,” as it’s been marketed.

    • #30

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