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Tue Jun 28, 2016, 02:19 AM

Philip Pullman on the 1,000 causes of Brexit

The dog-whistle call of Nigel Farage’s racism and the lies of Boris Johnson are the final act of a tragedy that began 70 years ago

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/jun/25/philip-pullman-on-the-1000-causes-of-brexit?CMP=fb_gu

... There is our country’s post-imperial reluctance to let go of the idea that we are a great nation, combined with our post-second-world-war delusion that we were still a great power. That was why we refused the chance to join the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951, and our infatuation with our own greatness was sufficiently undamaged by Suez in 1956 to make us refuse to join the EEC when that got going with the Treaty of Rome in 1958. If we’d committed ourselves to Europe early, with everyone else, we’d now have a much deeper understanding of our real relationship to the continent, namely that we belong there.

Then there was General de Gaulle’s double “Non” in 1963 and 1967, which kept us out when we finally thought it might be a good idea to join. Goodness knows what the source of his hostility was, but it wouldn’t be at all surprising if his notoriously prickly character was still harbouring some ancient resentment from his treatment by this country during the war.

But if we’d had the chance to join early, we could have had a much greater influence on the way the European project developed, and we’d feel much more at home in it now. Instead, we were bewitched (some of our leaders still are) by the fantasy of the “special relationship”, invented by Winston Churchill and entirely ignored by the other party to it, the US. Caught up in the glamour of this imaginary nonsense, toadying, deluded, we’ve been facing the wrong way for the past 70 years.
...
But the most immediate cause of the disaster this country suffered last night was the flippant, careless, irresponsible way David Cameron tried to buy off the right wing of his own party by offering them a referendum. I don’t think that device should have any place at all in a parliamentary democracy: it slips far too easily into a sort of raucous populism. We elect MPs so that they can have the time and the resources to make important decisions. That’s what they should do.

But then, if we had a properly thought-out constitution instead of a cobwebbed, rotten, diseased and decaying mess of a patched-up, cobbled-together, bloated, corrupted, leaking and stinking hulk, we wouldn’t have come to this point anyway. We desperately need fundamental change. But who can bring us that now?


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Reply Philip Pullman on the 1,000 causes of Brexit (Original post)
BlueMTexpat Jun 2016 OP
bemildred Jun 2016 #1
BlueMTexpat Jun 2016 #2
bemildred Jun 2016 #5
DonCoquixote Jun 2016 #3
BlueMTexpat Jun 2016 #4
bemildred Jun 2016 #6

Response to BlueMTexpat (Original post)

Tue Jun 28, 2016, 02:47 AM

1. He does have a way with words. nt

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Response to bemildred (Reply #1)

Tue Jun 28, 2016, 02:58 AM

2. LOL - he should.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Pullman

He is the author of several best-selling books, most notably the fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials and the fictionalised biography of Jesus, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ. In 2008, The Times named Pullman one of the "50 greatest British writers since 1945"


He also pulls no punches. Good for him! It's too bad more like him didn't speak out BEFORE the vote last week.

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Response to BlueMTexpat (Reply #2)

Tue Jun 28, 2016, 06:55 AM

5. Yes, I read all of "His Dark Materials", he is very good, and very British. nt

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Response to BlueMTexpat (Original post)

Tue Jun 28, 2016, 03:05 AM

3. a quote

"Then there was General de Gaulle’s double “Non” in 1963 and 1967, which kept us out when we finally thought it might be a good idea to join. Goodness knows what the source of his hostility was"

Well that was the age old "perfidious albion" insult given by De Gaulle because at the time, hethought England was trying to take it's colonies in Algeria. Granted, England was capable of that and worse, but thankfully, Algeria was able to kick the French out on their own. Of course, one of the paratrooper in that war, a war criminal, and one who recently advocated spreading "monsieur Ebola" in Africa is one Marie Le Pen. We will know him better because his daughter, marine, is vocally planning a "Frexit" if she wins the elections next year.

I brought that up because sadly, the author seems to view Europe through Rose Colored Glasses. The ugly fact is, the EU was founded by a bunch of fallen Empires in the hope of not being eaten by the Soviets or Devoured by Americans, but now that neither we nor the Russians are what we were in 1945 (for both good and ill), they are showing their teeth like a bunch of rats with no cats. As much as England is getting a well deserved shaming, the rest of the continent, especially France, will look worse by the time the decade is done. Combine that with a possible Trump presidency, where Putin can con Trump into closing military bases, and you may very well have Europe go from Imperial Euro-fueled arrogance to a heap of charnel the rest of the world picks through.

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Response to DonCoquixote (Reply #3)

Tue Jun 28, 2016, 03:43 AM

4. There are some

inaccuracies in your quick synopsis. One big fact, however, is that your version of the EU is the same as that touted by the RW and the Far Left. The "isms" have certainly come full circle here, a la Nigel Farage and Jill Stein and all those who see this result as an anti-neoliberalist vote. You need to analyze things much more critically.

Algeria was one colony of France, not plural. It was the last of France's three North African colonies (Morocco and Tunisia were the other two) to gain its independence. That occurred in 1963, so de Gaulle would have had little reason to think that England was trying to take over France's colonies there ((France had none by then) and was NOT the reason for his "Non."

The unsavory paratrooper you mention is Jean-Marie le Pen. He went to Algeria in 1957, not as a paratrooper but rather as an "intelligence" officer and was most likely directly involved in dirty torture and other tactics of that very dirty war. Daughter Marine, although a RWer, an advocate of Frexit and definitely not someone I admire, has actually broken politically with her father. She is more politically astute, although every bit as bad.

Le Pen's true political soulmate is his granddaughter, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen. Marine is her aunt.

While it is true that media outlets tout that Marine le Pen leads Hollande in the polls right now, the next Presidential elections are not until 2017. Nicolas Sarkozy also leads Hollande. Hollande is so unpopular with so many, he could even stand down and let a more popular candidate run in his stead in 2017. But that is not what is happening now and we have a ways to go until 2017. In the meantime, the adverse impacts of Brexit on the UK will really begin to sink in and make the EU "Exit" crowd think twice.

France also has a two-round election system. Candidates must be elected by an absolute majority. If there are, as usual, several candidates in the running and no one candidate achieves 51% of the vote in the first round, then there is a second round of voting between the top two finishers in the first round. Even now, the Sarko voters and the Hollande voters outnumber le Pen's.

While Marine le Pen's numbers may look good now, if she is one of the top two finishers in the Presidential elections, it is more likely than not that supporters of losing candidates will unite behind the other finisher to defeat her, just as was done in 2002, when Socialists held their noses to vote for Chirac in order to deny the Far Right a win.

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Response to DonCoquixote (Reply #3)

Tue Jun 28, 2016, 07:04 AM

6. spreading "monsieur Ebola" in Africa is such an amazingly stupid idea.

I mean not just evil, but stupid, likely to not do what you want (wipe out anybody you want wiped out) and yet likely enough bite you in the ass yourself (wipe you out).

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