Tuesday, 19 July 2016

How wrong was Leave? [postscript]

A little postscript to this series.

We started with an article by Matthew Parris that put me in mind of some lines from TS Eliot. Neither Eliot nor Parris was born in the UK: Parris in Johannesburg and Eliot in St Louis.

It's notable that the leaders of the Leave campaign were also largely born not only outside the UK but outside the Commonwealth: Boris Johnson (born in New York), Daniel Hannan (Lima, Peru), Gisela Stuart (Velden, Germany). (Stuart came to the UK in 1974 - it seems that it had some attractions even before the EU had much time to work its magic on the UK or to introduce freedom of movement.) Even Michael Gove has crossed Hadrian's Wall, perhaps soon to be an international border.

So, even if we are looking only at the main players in the story of Brexit, we see that there is far more to the UK's global links than the EU. That's not going to change.

Finally, a thought about stereotypes. Eliot came to London and worked in finance. (He worked for Lloyds Bank, an institution founded before the EU was thought of and one that might still be in the business of furthering global trade after the EU has passed away.) He was also a poet and critic, i.e. not the stereotypical banker. We have stereotypes about foreign bankers that do not always fit the facts. I hope Parris' stereotypes about Leave voters are similarly far off the mark.

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