But here there is a great irony: Britain is not and never has been a nation state. For most of its history as a state, it has been at the heart not of a national polity, but of a vast multinational and polyglot empire. And the UK is itself a four-nation amalgam of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. There is no single pre-EU UK “nation” to return to. There is no unified “people” to whom power is being returned. And this is the contradiction that the Brexit project cannot even acknowledge, let alone resolve. … [Read more...] about Independence Day will expose Brexit as a ruse to free an imaginary nation
Brexit referendum date
As in any marriage there were happier times. After Edward Heath had taken the UK into the European Economic Community in 1973, successive prime ministers – Thatcher, Major, Blair, Gordon Brown – all entered office proclaiming themselves strong Europeans. Even Cameron said he wanted his party to stop “banging on” about Europe. In 1975, addressing the Conservative Group for Europe, before the confirmatory referendum later that year, Thatcher proudly proclaimed her pro-EC views, and taunted Labour over its European divisions. “We are inextricably part of Europe,” she said. “Neither Mr Foot nor Mr Benn nor anyone else will ever be able to take us ‘out of Europe’, for Europe is where we are and where have always been,” she declared. … [Read more...] about Farewell Europe: the long road to Brexit
It’s said that David Cameron hoped to emulate Wilson’s success, using a renegotiation to argue that the organisation in which he believed we should stay was a very different beast from the one that had become so widely distrusted. But the circumstances of the 2016 referendum were different from those surrounding Wilson’s triumph. The European union of 2016 is vastly different from the EEC, vastly more likely to engineer change or frustrate the kind of changes that many UK voters yearn for; dominant in ways that people find menacing. The mere Economic Community had no great ambitions for wholesale political and economic integration. … [Read more...] about Why did the UK change its mind about Brexit?
I’ve just been on holiday in London. I’m from Brazil and next I’m going to Amsterdam and then Paris. Everyone I know who comes to London loves the city and people; there are so many different things to see. We have beaches in Brazil but the UK has Windsor castle. I love Windsor castle and I love visiting. I love Prince Harry. I don’t feel sad about Brexit. It will be a good thing. We talk about Brexit a bit in Brazil and some people don’t like it but to be honest people are more interested in Prince Harry. … [Read more...] about The nation now leaving platform one … views from the Eurostar on Brexit
Which brings me back to this benighted land that has been captured by the Brexiters. Is this economy going to show some resilience in the face of what, frankly, I still regard as a potential economic catastrophe? In my last column I expressed the hope that Boris Johnson would see sense, ensure that this would be “Brexit in name only” and that we should, in our own interest, keep close to the customs union and the single market after this year’s transition period. … [Read more...] about Brexit Britain may soon find itself sinking faster than Venice