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How did Britain become a global superpower? Historian and classicist Ian Morris thinks geography has a lot to do with it. Prof. Morris discusses his latest book, Geography is Destiny: Britain and the World: A 10,000 Year History, which traces the long history of Britain’s complex relationship with the European continent. He draws surprising parallels between characters ranging from the Roman Britons and Nigel Farage, to the Papacy and the European Union.
Prof. Ian Morris is the Jean and Rebecca Willard Professor of Classics and Professor in History at Stanford University, as well as the author of the critically acclaimed Why the West Rules—for Now. His latest book, Geography is Destiny, may be purchased here.
JY and I have just returned from a three-week vacation to Scotland. First 10 days or so were spent in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Greenock, Inverness visiting family and some site-seeing; last 10 days on a golf trip with 48 other people (38 golfers who play an annual tournament usually in California and 12 wives/girl friends). The golf trip began in St Andrews, then traveled to Dornoch, then south to No Berwick, then home.
We had an amazing run of luck with both the weather (warm! sunny!) and transportation (planes, trains, automobiles and buses) until our return home. A delay in Edinburgh resulted in a missed connection, which resulted in an unplanned night in the biggest, most generic, bordering-on-creepy hotel near Heathrow in London. We arrived at LAX a day late without two pieces of luggage, which will hopefully arrive within the next day or two. Heathrow, thanks to staff shortages, seems to be a huge choke point for international travel; many in our group were missing luggage (and tragically, some golf clubs) upon their arrival in Scotland.
I think it’s fair to say that no foresight about the pandemic was involved in the vote and slowly impemented Brexit process….but what a coincidence of history that Brexit got firmed up just as the virus arrived. I’ve been looking for whether the citizens now think with hindsight (and with the EU in another internal […]
In the first true Brexit Era outing, James and Toby talk about their recreation of the famous VJ-Day kiss in London, as well as the BBC’s woeful coverage of the Brexit celebrations.
Then it’s off to Boris’s ‘Green Conservatism,’ Prince William’s criticisms of the BAFTAs for being insufficiently diverse and whether the word ‘Empire’ should be dropped from the Order of the British Empire.
As Brexit went into effect, we dined on fish and chips while listening/watching the BBC on the computer. My wife had a gin and tonic (Beefeaters, of course) while I sucked down some Guinness. Yes, I know it’s Irish, but it was as close as I could get.
As we were listening, we realized the importance of this event. First, it was a revolution for freedom accomplished peacefully through the Democratic process. Second, none of the horrors predicted by the “remainers” (also called “remoaners”) have come true. Sure, there will be bumps during the process of renegotiating relations with other countries and the European Union Minus One, but that’s to be expected.
I wrote this less than 10 hours before the UK officially left the EU. Hooray! For most Americans, who have seen the political and social havoc that Brexit has wrought from a distance and at intervals, I’m sure this seems like the inevitable, albeit, long conclusion to a rocky process. But living on the ground, even compared to the experiences of the most well-informed non-Brits, is an entirely different experience.
In lectures, tutorials, and railway stopping protests, Brexit has been continually hashed out over the last two years. Every time a cabinet minister or prominent MP comes to visit our uni Tory Society, he or she is bombarded with Brexit related questions, to almost the exclusion of domestic policy. Bringing high school friends to Parliament last summer came with a man wearing a Boris mask and a Union Jack leotard shouting about the French, and a troop of be-started pro-EU protests singing about trade policy. We’ve watched two prime ministers be felled, hosted contentious debates from the highest placed on both sides at Union, and seen the pound flail in value. In short, it has been an exhausting and deeply divisive two years.
And now I’m left to wonder about the direction that the UK will take once it is free from the EU’s grasp in a few hours. At 11 pm, Boris Johnson will speak, no bells will toll and then … I don’t think that the UK will fall in the brave new post-European world that it has created for itself. It was dragged kicking and screaming into the ever-increasing treaties and blocs that formed the EU over decades, and its dictates did much to offend traditional British political and social mores. There will be trade deals and immigration upset on the horizon to be sure, and negotiating the precise nature of Britain’s relationship will be a challenge, but life will go on here. The bigger curiosity is to see how the UK responds as it turns inwards politically and farther outwards in commerce and alliances.
Yesterday, the United Kingdom formally left the European Union. Good for them, and congratulations to our cousins across the pond! I have looked forward to this day for years, and I’m happy for them.
There’s been discussion and debate about how pro-Brexit Brits should celebrate this event — or even if they should celebrate at all. Many among the significant fraction of the population that opposed the exit — the “remainers” — reportedly take umbrage at the seeming insensitivity of the happy revelers.
The weekend is almost here! Kick it off right with the Friday Three Martini Lunch. Join Jim and Greg as they celebrate the United Kingdom finally exiting the European Union Friday. They also discuss the latest impeachment news and how Democratic senators have already decided that Trump won’t really be acquitted unless they get to call new witnesses at the trial. They’re left scratching their heads as Democrat John Delaney ends a two-and-a-half year presidential campaign just three days before people finally start voting. And in a Super Bowl pitting the 49’ers and the Chiefs, Jim still finds a way to root against the Patriots.
My wife (neutral observer) and I are going to celebrate Brexit tomorrow night with fish and chips for dinner. I’m going to down it with some Guiness Stout. Yeah, I know it’s Irish, but that’s close enough for me (a former government worker). Does anyone else have any special plans? A Brexit party, perhaps? Preview […]
Rob Long of National Review Online is here in Jim’s absence. Join Rob and Greg as they cheer a major step in the Brexit process in the UK and apply the lessons of that odyssey to American politics this election year. They’re also a bit stunned to see Bernie Sanders not only leading in a nationwide poll but also jumping out to a double-digit lead in New Hampshire. And they have a field day with former Clinton Press Secretary Joe Lockhart tweeting out a conversation he overheard of GOP senators panicked over the impeachment case presented by Democrats, only to admit many retweets later that he just made it up.
On this week’s edition of the United Kingdom’s Fastest Growing and Most Trusted Podcast®, the country’s true power couple, James and Toby, marvel at the Queen’s negotiating skills, who has proved better than Theresa May at facing down a hostile foreign power.
They also discuss the subject of the latest Delingpod, Laurence Fox, and the reaction to his appearance on the BBC’s Question Time.
The speech, which is written for the Queen by the majority, dealt mostly with Brexit and the problems of the NHS, which throughout the campaign was alternately described as the “best in the world” and an abomination — often by the same people and in the same sentence. A vote on the government’s Brexit bill, which would rule out an extension and set a final divorce date, is expected to come as early as tomorrow.
It’s finally Friday! Yes, we are fully aware of the impeachment votes in the House Judiciary Committee but Jim sums up his analysis in roughly two seconds as we begin today’s podcast. After that Jim and Greg celebrate the big win for the Conservative Party in the UK and are thrilled to report the political demise of Jeremy Corbyn. They are also hoping that the substance matches the excitement as Congress prepares to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement to replace NAFTA and President Trump announces agreement on “phase one” of trade negotiations with China. And Jim details why Joe Biden’s campaign could face serious turbulence after reports that Hunter Biden had a 1988 drug arrest expunged at the same time Sen. Biden was advocating for very tough drug crime sentencing.
Another fruitless search for good news today but we have plenty to say about our bad and crazy martini! Join Jim and Greg as they react to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez openly cheering on anti-Semitic, America-hating Jeremy Corbyn to be the next prime minister in the United Kingdom. They fume as Rep. Rashida Tlaib falsely assumes the race of the people responsible for targeting and killing of Jewish people in Jersey City. They also slam the media for losing interest in the murders when the facts of the case don’t support their preferred narrative. And while Democrats haven’t even taken over the Virginia General Assembly yet, they’re already talking about deploying the National Guard to counties that refuse to enforce their upcoming gun control legislation.
In what may be the Conservative’s last ad filmed before the election, BoJo parodies the carol singers scene from Love Actually to good effect. This just premiered a couple of hours ago on the UK and is already hugely popular. “Brilliant,” as my countrymen like to say. The Conservatives are polling at about 43%, Labor at 33%, and then the also-rans. It’s important that Boris get a majority of seats in order to forestall a “hung” Parliament or a bunch of jockeying to form a coalition. Wonder if this ad is good for a couple of points?
The British Parliament will stand for election on 12 December 2019. The norm, which all of us have come to expect, is for “October surprises.” That is, carefully hoarded negative stories to be sprung on the “conservative” party just in time to decisively tilt the election. Obama’s college transcripts have never been leaked, nor has the damning Los Angeles Times recording of Obama with Rashid Khalidi, a Jew-hating Muslim radical. So, it is a true “man bites dog” story when the Times of London publishes a crushing story, based on a massive leak of potentially fatal internal Labour Party documents. The updated story starts:
John McDonnell has apologised to the Jewish community “for the suffering we have inflicted on them” after Labour’s failure to stamp out rampant anti-semitism in the party was exposed in a massive leak of documents from its own disciplinary department.
The nation-state isn’t forever (sorry, Fukuyama). Liberal democracy, with its mountains of debt and its failing program of compelled cohesion, will become increasingly unstable. At some point there will be a breakup, although when or how it will come about is anyone’s guess. If Las Vegas bookies have odds on this sort of thing, they […]
In a column for Bloomberg titled “What Economists (Including Me) Got Wrong About Globalization,” Krugman admits that the economic consensus for free trade that has prevailed for decades has failed to recognize how globalization has badly hurt America’s working and middle class workers. Krugman writes: Preview Open