Monday, 13 June 2016

The Sun has come out on Brexit

The Sun has come out for Brexit in a big way. And while there is a tendency to sneer at the Sun I find it a far less repellent vessel than the Guardian which pretends to serve the working classes and the poor but in actual fact mistrusts them and despises them. A brief glance at anything written by Polly Toynbee should confirm this. 

And though the article on the front page of the Sun is largely the worst of eurosceptic tripe, it still speaks to a particular mood as ever it has.

The Sun came out strong for Mrs Thatcher. And though many have resented it ever since, we cannot say that the left offered a viable alternative or any new ideas. Neil Kinnock was the best they could muster.

But then the Sun also backed Blair. He was a disaster of a Prime Minister. He pioneered the creation of a client state, using welfare and the public sector as a warehouse for a cosseted powerbase. Qualification inflation destroyed the credibility of many good degrees. His misadventure in Iraq. But in supporting Blair, it was tapping into another mood. And it was the right call. It was time for the Tories, lead by Major, to go. They were exhausted as a political force.

The Sun, among others was the instrumental in keeping the Tories out for some time. And when all they had to offer was Hague, Howard and Duncan-Sith, it is fair to say the Tories of that era had nothing to offer.

Whatever your opinion on this vessel, it has been on the right side of history at those pivotal moments. And now there comes another of those moments.

This is far more important than any general election. We can change the ruling party, but an election does not allow us to challenge the orthodoxy underpinning the establishment. This, the same establishment that has delivered catastrophe after catastrophe in foreign policy, has near bankrupted us twice just in my lifetime, has eroded faith in our public institutions to crumbling point. And so I once again see that tide of history approaching. And once again the message is that, for all the good that you have done, it is time to go.

In just over a week now, we have a landmark opportunity to hit the factory reset button on European and domestic politics. To turn a corner, and to part ways with a post-war settlement that has outlived its usefulness. A chance to steer the ship in a different direction. A bloodless revolution and a real democratic correction.

As much as it is time for change, it is also necessary - for the marketplace of ideas functions like any other. A market distorted for long enough by unnatural interventions will eventually self-correct.

Market corrections are often unplanned, chaotic and ruthless. And so we have one opportunity for a managed amicable departure that we must seize. Should we pass up this opportunity then we do so in the blind hope that the market correction will not happen. Such is to deny a force of nature.

And in this, we must not flinch. Nor can we lie to ourselves about the gravity of this decision. It most certainly will have far reaching implications. It is a challenge that we will have to rise to as we have so many before. But rise to it we must.

Should we fail to answer the call of history we will feel the full force of our denial. There are always consequences when a society retreats to the comfort zone of the familiar and kicks the can down the road. Whatever the price we must pay, we must pay it now, lest we pay a devastating price when history chooses for us.

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