It has long been my contention that while history is characterised by relentless and grinding change, society and culture are sticky accretions perpetually damned to seek a fixed point of stability. The desire for a reference point around which agreement can be built and compliance measured being the natural condition of a social animal. I further contend that the nations that are most successful are those actively seek ride the change, and even shape external events, where others at best endure and worst erode. The analogy I like to describe the effect of relentless change on culture and society being plate tectonics; where active faults can either slip easily to the new equilibrium, or stick…
It is in this context that Brexit is interesting, for we have to hope for something better than an ugly counter revolution where we begin burning Brexiters for their heresy.
I voted out, and I want you to understand why:
1. I simply don’t consider it to be a legitimate form of governance, in being neither representative of, nor accountable to, any useful definition of a collective ‘us’. I respect that you may feel differently.
2. The noble ideal of increasing harmony and wellbeing between european nations reached its high water mark pre-Maastricht, and that since then it has been working in reverse. I will not condone what has been done to an entire generation of young people in Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy. Life chances ruined by the Euro with endless 40% youth employment.
In what universe was I going to tacitly support an institution I didn’t believe in, carrying out actions that I abhor?
Well blow me down! I thought it would be 52:48 to Remain, not 52:48 to Leave. Now it has happened, how do we make the best of it? First of all; the sky is not falling in. It’s a big change, but the reason why the UK has survived over three centuries without revolution, invasion, or collapse, is because we always step up to a challenge. And because we know a changing world demands continual adaptation. Moreover, it is a victory won by Vote Leave not Leave.eu.
So we don’t need to run scared of Nige…
Regardless of whether ‘Remain’ or ‘Leave’ wins the day. Because regardless of who wins, it won’t be decisive in either direction.
The question is to whom will we be the better neighbours?
I give my consent that you may govern in my name, and assent to be bound by the actions you take in my name as if they were my own.
However, the authority to govern that you possess in consequence is never to be leased out to a third party, and I will not deem those actions as were they my own.
What it boils down to is who ‘us’ is.
The conflict between traditionalist or conservative values and progressive or liberal values. If that makes you picture a Manichean conflict between Shoreditch and the Duchy or Cornwall you’re missing the point. It’s simply a question of the pace of change, and whether the pace is evolutionary or revolutionary in character. But that’s by the by, the interesting part of who starts it and what that says about the nation in question.
Society is aware of where it’s heading, and those losing do the fighting.
The Guardian’s exclusive from John McDonnell in advance of the Labour conference:
McDonnell will announce that Labour MPs will be expected later this autumn to vote for the chancellor’s fiscal charter unveiled in the budget in July. It commits the government to delivering an overall surplus by 2019-20 and to running an overall budget surplus in “normal times”. The shadow chancellor said: “We will support the charter. We will support the charter on the basis we are going to want to balance the book, we do want to live within our means and we will tackle the deficit.” But McDonnell makes clear that he takes a radically different approach to the austerity measures of the Tories
Is he going to rearrange the spending deck-chairs, or is he going to be asking (all of) us for a lot more money?