Monday, 31 October 2016

More on why Remain lost

This, from Daniel Korski (deputy director of the policy unit in David Cameron’s government) is fascinating.

I thought there are two striking aspects of the piece. First, it clearly emerges that the British Establishment really did not understand Europe: we thought we could block Juncker; we miscalculated the renegotiation terribly; at one point he refers to "Whitehall departments [that our man in the EU] believed had long since given up trying to understand Europe".

Second, Korski has some interesting insights on politicians: "British politics is famously adversarial, and those who make it to the top are results-focused leaders. They start and end meetings promptly and go into a conversation with clear set of points. Once these have been made, they seek to end the conversation. Cameron is no exception; rather, he is the exemplar. He can be charming. But his style is functional, whether in telephone calls or in person. // Continental politics, on the other hand, tend to be more consensual. European leaders spend a lot of time discussing issues, talking around a subject. They even vacation together." Urgh.

On Labour politicians in particular: "Labour’s problem was structural. In many constituencies, especially in the North, Labour MPs never really needed to canvass the electorate. These constituencies had returned Labour MPs to the House of Commons since time immemorial. And so they remained largely uncavassed. // Many Labour MPs also did not seem to me to have the intellectual tools to have serious arguments about Europe with their constituents. They just hadn’t had to do it before. Whereas every Tory MP and would-be politician had been forced to hone his or her views on Europe, Labour — though historically and nominally pro-European — was full of MPs who struggled to make the case for the EU."

But read the whole piece.

And then read this, from Dominic Cummings. Fantastically complementary. The Remain man in Downing Street failing to understand Merkel, the Labour Party, the EU or anything of any importance, compared with the dedicated Leaver spending money finding individual streets that would vote Leave. And note Cummings' comments about PPE.

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