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What I've learned this week.

That insecure, narcissistic, retarded-adolescents who can barely distinguish between reality and computer games, are inventing and controlling technologies on which the future of civilisation may depend (Andrew O'Hagan's "The Satoshi Affair" in the LRB, 30th June). That a majority of working people are being written out of this future, robbed of dignity, security and jobs, and they're so furious that they'll lash out right and left at institutions they blame - like Parliament, the EU, and perhaps in November the USA. And that we lack any politicians who have clue what's going on, the nous or the backbone to handle it. It will take some time to digest these lessons.

To be absolutely honest, I did know all this already but, hell, I don't get too many opportunities to exercise my rhetoric nowadays...

Comments

  1. What is unbelievable is that they did not see this coming. You can't treat people the way they have been treated and expect them to vote the way you tell them. Extraordinary arrogance and ignorance has destroyed the country and made us a laughing stock. I am embarrassed in front of my friends and business partners from the mainland. These people are so out of touch that they do not understand how integrated the young are with their European counterparts. And how every angry and betrayed the young feel. Only Sturgeon's speech and the resounding remain vote from our daft wee country has given any comfort to a deep grief.

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  2. I concur with most of Dick's observations but living in an economically deprived part of the UK – Wales – where jobs, schools, libraries, A & E departments, transport infrastructure, social services etc., are crumbling and/or disappearing despite the dismayed protests of the 'concerned electorate' I disagree with Leslie that 'they' did not see it coming. 'They' just assumed that 'they' – Osborne and Cameron in particular – thought that these people were insufficient in number to matter in a referendum because 'they' won the last election – sort of – due to our first past the post election system. And 'they' were wrong, very wrong.

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  3. I concur with most of Dick's observations but living in an economically deprived part of the UK – Wales – where jobs, schools, libraries, A & E departments, transport infrastructure, social services etc., are crumbling and/or disappearing despite the dismayed protests of the 'concerned electorate' I disagree with Leslie that 'they' did not see it coming. 'They' just assumed that 'they' – Osborne and Cameron in particular – thought that these people were insufficient in number to matter in a referendum because 'they' won the last election – sort of – due to our first past the post election system. And 'they' were wrong, very wrong.

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  4. We may lack politicians who, in any positive sense, know what is going on; but we do not lack politicians with the low cunning to exploit what is going on. Hence, in the referendum campaign we had the extraordinary spectacle of Eton-educated politicians telling angry and anxious electors not to trust expert evidence because it came from the establishment! The UK has just shot itself in the foot, to a large extent because of a wave of irresponsible and unprincipled demagoguery. And, of course, because of the mean-spirited and mealy-mouthed shiftiness of the current leadership of the Labour Party, who left their natural constituency completely exposed to said demagoguery.
    'El País' this morning argued that the axis of politics in many democracies is shifting from Left/Right to Them/Us and this shift is creating and being driven by a populist insurgency. The referendum campaign is a prime example, provided we add that the 'Them' can drive the campaign against themselves when it suits them.

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  5. the vote will make the UK immediately poorer, possibly spark a Scottish independence referendum re-run, possibly put Boris Johnson in No 10, a man unfit to lead the UKJ, wound the main money making and tax-producing engine of the country, the City, damage exports, make imports much more expensive…and more. An aggressive Russia is encouraged and may wade further into a faltering and still-corrupt Ukraine.

    but ...

    The largest and rational point of the Brexiteers was lack of accountability. A country used to regarding a parliament as the centre of its political life for over three centuries, with in that time no revolutions, no invasions and no disastrous military defeats, will not easily take to a rival political centre with ambitions to be a state. That the other EU leaders seem at least ambiguous about whether they DO wish closer union and even - as the control of the euro demands - a closer fiscal union and an EU finance minister with real power (as the High Representative for Foreign Affairs does not have). This ambiguity has been very damaging. The reasonable argument has been that to be clear would precipitate a split: but to have fudged HAS precipitated a split, which may spread.
    The EU could have - may still be able to - exist as a community of at least two concentric circles: those who do want to, and will, come closer, ultimately moving towards a federal state; and those who don't and for the foreseeable future won't. Had UK been part of the latter, and the Labour Party led by someone competent instead of one forced to renege on his decades' long-held beliefs, we would still be in.

    What to do? Fight for a better Labour Party, and a better EU. Something called Rejoin should be on the agenda.

    JL

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    Replies
    1. Well, the fight for a better Labour Party seems to have begun in the early hours of this morning.
      Alan

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  6. Wow, most comments ever, so some good has come out of Brexit (joke (sick)). Leslie, agree they didn't see it coming, even Boris by the look on his face yesterday. Not even sure he wanted it, he was just in it to damage Cameron, now has to carry the can. Mark, the Welsh result surprised me as I'd thought it would be more like Scotland.

    Alan - that anti-expert remark hit home with me as I've just finished a review of Colin Crouch's latest book "The Knowledge Corrupters", in which he argues that attacking professionals and experts is a central dogma of neoliberalism, on the grounds that they claim to know more than the market, which is to replace them. That Boris believes this too means we're in for more of the same, that their populism won't stretch to the economic sphere, just to authoritarian handling of immigrants. Or maybe they'll split further over this issue as some of them profess to be anti-austerity.

    John, agree about the concentric zones, not sure whether we'll be either though. As for the Labour Party, I still think Keir Starmer is their best hope, but don't see any avenue toward him from the present mess. And he carries two albatrosses - "Sir" in front of his name, and even less sense of humour than Corbyn (I spoke to David Beida who knows him a bit).

    It appears that a mass shift to the Right is going on throughout the world, as was predicted back in 1994 in a grim LRB piece by Edward Luttak that I keep, curly and yellowing, in my desk tray http://www.lrb.co.uk/v16/n07/edward-luttwak/why-fascism-is-the-wave-of-the-future. It might be that WWII victory was a blip, sustained mainly by thriving democracies in the UK and USA. If the USA were to fall to Trump (which admittedly is seeming slightly less likely) then Luttwak's gloomy vision could come true.

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