What About That Britain?

News from Britain is just astounding. Wales beat Northern Ireland to get into the Euro 1916 quarterfinals, for the first time ever.  And then there was that Brexit thing. Discuss.

13 thoughts on “What About That Britain?

  1. I haven’t given much thought or even paid attention to the Brexit thing prior to the referendum, but if Donald Trump is in favor of it, I can be confident in the belief that it is going to lead to a disaster.
    My second thought is that I’ll be long gone when the shit hits the fan if that turns out to be the end result of moving in the nativism direction.. Make Britannia Great Again?
    Looks like the numpties carried the day.

  2. My favorite part of the Brexit was Trump claiming that he predicted it, and tho’t it was a great thing. But then also, somehow, blamed Obama for it. If it’s a good thing shouldn’t you be giving Obama CREDIT for it happening. Dear god, this man, could he at least be consistent with his hatred and xenophobia?

  3. I didn’t think they’d actually do it, even though the polls were so close. But, in the last few days I started to have a bad feeling about it. I thought that I might be projecting our own predicament on the Brits. Alas, if I was projecting, the shoe fit pretty well.

    Young voters in the UK were 70% in favor of remaining in the EU so they were pretty clear about the future they wanted to pursue. Older voters were less decidedly in favor of leaving and generally the support for Brexit ran inversely to the level of education. So basically, a coalition of yahoos pulled the rug out from under the younger generation, and largely through misinformation and stoking resentment. (We used to call that “selling wolf tickets” back in the seventies)

    I suppose it’s one of the stages of denial, but, I have a consoling fantasy that Scotland might opt for another referendum on independence. I think they were 62% in favor of remaining in the EU. Ireland was similar. But, since independence lost by about 10%, it might be the proverbial exercise in futility. Still, it would be poetic justice if Scotland and Ireland decided to rejoin. I know that’s highly improbable, but, if the nearly impossible happens, I can pretend that I’m smart for week or so.

    My view of this is colored by a French history magazine that I bought at Austerlitz train station a few weeks ago. The entire issue was inspired by the upcoming Brexit vote. So, naturally, William the Conqueror and the Norman era were well represented, since that’s when Britain became part of Europe. That’s too deep of a bond to be undone with just one decision, but, that’s also what makes it unsettling.

    My interest in this is mostly due to the fact that I am of a generation that looked to Europe as a kind of experiment in progress. I know that I romanticize life in the EU and ignore some of the troublesome and annoying realities. (Like those crummy little parking spaces!) But, somehow, I deeply want them to succeed, and this is a spanner in the works for sure.

  4. As I memorably read in a website I don’t remember:
    “Shit is fucked-up, and bullshit!”

    That is all…..

  5. It is interesting to me how almost all the media reports and conversations around Brexit fail to really mention the austerity that has been imposed on many countries, either in the Eurozone or in the case of England, by the Brits themselves. Regardless of where people direct their anger I think this is really a case of austerity creating the conditions within which most of the anger is generated even if the anger is directed at other targets. This, as much as anything, needs to be a warning sign to Americans because Trump is using the same tactics as the Brexit folks, creating targets for the anger and directing it away from the real source of the problem.

  6. @goatherd —

    I’m with you pretty much all the way.

    But first, a quibble. Don’t put too much trust in a Frenchie magazine. A couple of generations before William the Bastard (or conqueror if you prefer) brought England into Europe, the King of England was King Knut the Great of [pretty much every place in] Scandinavia. (Not to mention, you know, there was Julius Caesar.)

    As to the wildly unlikely Scexit keeping Scotland in the EU, it took their First Minister about one day to bring the matter up seriously.

    So don’t give up hope.

    And after reading a lot of reactions to the vote, along with policy arguments, some of them quite seriously unfriendly to Britain (Surprise!) and downright punitive, I have an idea for a Peace Offensive: Whoever runs Britain asks the EU to be patient while they let the uneducated geezers die off. Oh, and the UK promises to stop starving the education budget and the National Health, so that the next bunch of voters won’t be so dumb, nor fall for the idiot pledge to save all that money they send to the EU and use it to fund health services. Then they can come back and help form a more perfect union, which the Continent badly needs.

    A year late and 21 shillings short? Yeah.

  7. But, I think Tom has it just right. Between the Guardian and Le Monde there seems to be plenty of evidence and conviction that austerity is the reason that recovery has been so slow and piecemeal, and that certain problems like high unemployment have been so persistent. Recent archeological evidence and interpretation indicates that public works projects and other ways of stimulating and stabilizing an economy go all the way back to Ur. So there is a long history and a lot of empirical data that suggests that government spending has a beneficial effect.

    I am either too biased or too thick to see the theory behind austerity. It does seem to unite the moral scolds, tightwad businessmen and starry eyed young conservatives who crave an opportunity to talk about the Austrian School. But, if you look at the results of “conservative” economic policies, most notably in Kansas and Louisiana, you see a similar types of failure. Krugman did some number crunching with another economist and they found the returns and benefits of austerity were meagre at best. But, ideas die hard when so much is invested in them.

    True enough, Porlock, Cnut was quite a remarkable leader, and the history of the Nordic people is germane to the history of Europe. But, I think they were still primarily an oppositional force to what was Europe at the time, and they were involved in a separate theatre of events for the most part. (This is probably my limitation; too many BBC docs in place of serious reading.) But, If I am reading you correctly, the implication of your point is that the Norman conquest was a discrete historical event with observable effects and consequences, but, that shouldn’t obscure the fact that there were other slower and less dramatic processes that were mixing together the various cultural elements that would become Europe. I can go along with that. Brexit is another discrete historical event on a smaller scale. As for the effects and consequences, those remain to be seen.

    I should note that the major article in the magazine was actually written by an historian from Oxford, and translated into French, and that I am still very impressed with the quality of the magazine, which is like Smithsonian was at its best. (Q.v. http://www.histoire.presse.fr, it’s worth a glance.)

    Swami, what does your new hat say?

  8. The big cities of northern England that are the traditional heartland of the Labour Party voted overwhelmingly to leave the EU. If they’d voted even 50/50, we would have read the headline “UK votes to remain in the EU”.

  9. goatherd … It’s my “Make America Great Again” hat. What better way to showcase my stupidity?

Comments are closed.