Monday, 20 June 2016

Yet more on Brexit

You want Brexit articles? We got 'em.

1. France's plan for Bloody Brexit. But note that Michel Houellebecq is pro-Brexit (and not out of spite).

2. More on left-wing Brexiteers, or Lexiters: have they lost their nerve? Of the ones who haven't, here's the long version of the Lexit argument (also good on the history of the Left's loathing turned to love of the EU): "the British left risks throwing away the one institution which it has, historically, been able to use effectively—the democratic state"; also, why do you love the EU so much if you hate TTIP? (Good question.) And here's Kate Hoey with the short version: "The middle-classes who have colonised the Left support the EU not because they are the Left, but because they aren’t. They support it because they are middle class. No wonder they support it – it’s a middle class autocracy." (A form of government that I don't recall being discussed in Plato's Republic.) And here's a summary of where both sides of the Brexit debate stand on the left.

3. Meanwhile, the TLS has been warming our hearts. It has a rather sweet letter to the TLS asking the UK to stay in. I was struck by seeing Bjorn from ABBA, Serge Betsen and Alfred Brendel all listed as signatories. I'm not sure it's right to take political/constitutional advice from Raymond Blanc and Luděk “Ludo” Mikloško (the "West Ham FC legend"), but I found the whole thing touching nonetheless. And there is more TLS mood affiliation here, a symposium (not just a collection of little comments, but a symposium!) on the question "What in your view have been the main implications of the UK’s membership of the EU for its cultural life and/or your own work?"Ah, the arts! Axel Scheffler! Charlotte Gainsbourg! Consider my heart well and truly warmed, but I think Simon Jenkins' head has the measure of it: "Remain or leave will make no difference, and thank goodness."

4. The UK as superhero: "our involvement in the European project is “mission accomplished”", our work here is done. This is the nub of the argument: "The UK has retarded political union for too long. As a fan of the Single European State I say quite candidly that one reason I believe the UK should leave now is so as to get out of the way and allow destiny to proceed." Hmm. It's a view. But I'm not sure it's a killer 'we have to leave now' argument. Or maybe, as Lord Saatchi suggests, the UK is on its way to leading Europe. Hmm. Again, I doubt it.

5. By the way, the EU referendum is going to make Tony Blair Prime Minister again. You heard it here first.

6. Meanwhile, here is the Economist, making some really rather good pro-Remain points, illustrated with this chart - the Venn diagram of your nightmares. (For an A* you have to re-draw the chart with NATO membership shown as a box, not just italics. Use only one side of the paper.)

7.  Paul Krugman is a reluctant remainer. Also sane, and perhaps a little more emotional, here's John Kay: "A European elite sees “more Europe” as the answer to every question. But European citizens will not allow that elite to create the institution it seeks. As Philip Bobbitt has written: “It is a failure of imagination to assume that the only thing that will replace the nation-state is another structure with nation-state-like characteristics.”" OK, I see that. But how are the European citizens to do that? Maybe if they had a referendum they could vote 'no' or 'non' or ''nee' or whatever it is whenever they got the chance - surely that would make it clear? Oh. (Here's a Dutchman reminding us about that Dutch referendum that was roundly ignored.)

8. The constitutional/democratic/sovereignty arguments in favour of Brexit are perhaps clear and unanswerable. Equally, the economic arguments in favour of Remain are clear and unanswerable. If you're wavering, you're not alone (focus groups discussing Brexit).

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