Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Brexit is a search for Britain's soul

In a nutshell, Brexit is a national identity crisis. There is a gulf between the governors and the governed. There is a distinct cultural and moral disparity between the ruling class and the public. More broadly the culture divide is the regions against the capital and its increasingly alien values.

The Labour party, a party nominally a party of the working class now represents the politics of juvenile urban leftists who wag their fingers at the great unwashed from their well insulated citadels of conformity. Meanwhile, the conservative party cowers in terror at the thought of expressing any actual conservative values and is so out of touch it thinks the populist sops like grammar schools, Thatcherism lite and blue passports are enough to unite the country.

As a whole we call this the establishment. In more granular terms it is a collection of competing micro establishments positioning themselves for power, poised to exploit the political vacuum when the time is right. This is how Momentum captured the Labour party and this is how the Brexit ultras are calling the shots inside the Tory party.

In fact, the Tory party no longer exists as such. It is an administrative apparatus to assist in the election of self-proclaimed conservatives but as an ideological entity with distinct values, it has gone the way of the dinosaurs. As with Labour, the corpse of that party is only animated by way of being infested with parasites in the same way that roadkill appears to be breathing when infested with maggots.

The response to Brexit has demonstrated better than anything ever could that UK politics no longer functions and out self-absorbed media is no longer capable of holding it to account. We are therefore, adrift, rudderless and without leadership.

Depressingly, it is only going to get worse. Nobody within Wesminster can put their finger on the pulse of the nation and arguably it is now too fragmented to ever unite. Moreover, the single most unapproachable concepts for Westminster are that, firstly, Westminster is the problem, and secondly, there are no solutions to the problems ripping at the social fabric of the UK until that singular reality is acknowledged.

Westminster though, is not in the business of reforming. The entire apparatus is designed for continuity. It exists for the perpetuation of the status quo, to preserve its own dominion, and wherever possible, enrich the denizens of it.

We are, though, at a turning point in history. One in which a small country cannot be expected to wield the same influence, nor can it sustain the politics or policies of yore. We are faced with the reality that you can have control of immigration, but not a welfare state and you can have trade, but not democracy. Our establishment wants an all pervading welfare state and it wants trade. The public want control of immigration and democracy. On these lines the culture war is fought.

We are told that without the preset rate of immigration we cannot sustain an NHS or expect to keep our pension entitlements. That may be so, but one certainty is that we cannot carry on as we are with a fiscally illiterate population that does not save and to a large extent cannot save. The entire British model of governance is one of robbing Peter to pay Paul. It just about functions but is increasingly unable to cope with demand.

Consequently we need an entirely new model and a profound re-imagining of our values. That though, is not going to come from Westminster. Too many vested interests stand between us and reform.

We are therefore at a stalemate where there is no possibility of a frank and mature debate. As Sam Hooper notes, "Good healthcare systems don't have entire industries and political parties devoted to praising them and thwarting any kind of meaningful reform. Only in Britain do we seem to think that our NHS Industrial Complex is something to be proud of".

And there we get to the crux of the issue. You cannot have honest politics unless you have a n honest electorate. We demand change, we demand good governance, but were Mrs May to run on any policies of serious reform, she would lose the next election. I'm quite sure that the so-called "Dementia Tax" cost her a parliamentary majority. 

Because of that, there is nothing to be done. We just have to wait for it all to gradually fold in on itself while the politicians cannibalise defence, policing and anything else that isn't nailed down in order to keep the ponzi scheme running. We can expect the Royal Navy to be trimmed to one operational carrier and half a dozen escorts. As much as running ships is expensive, the RN cannot secure the man power. As a nation we are not even interested in power projection or even defending ourselves in any meaningful way.

That brings me to what prompted this post; an article by Hosuk Lee-Makiyama, entitled "The incredible shrinking Britain" in which he charts the demise of British influence in the world. Rightly, he notes that Britain's decline is nothing new under the sun, and is only really accelerated by Brexit. EU membership of itself was not arresting the decline and nor should we expect it to.

Makiyama notes that "The country’s role has been hollowed to the point where special interests gain more from gaming domestic politics than from playing a bigger role in the world. Indeed, for backbenchers, hedge fund managers and think tank quacks, Little Britain seems far more lucrative than a Great Britain".

He's not wrong. Brexit is largely defined criminally stupid backbenchers, Tory cronies, The Legatum Institute and its crossovers into financial interests in the City, not least the BBA. The vultures are moving in for the great British fire sale. 

This is one of the more regrettable consequences of Brexit, but I'm still not persuaded that that Brexit of itself is a bad thing. It really comes back to what I said up top. We are a nation in the midst of an identity crisis, deeply at odds with ourselves and incapable of protecting our values not least because we don't know what they are. Or at least our establishment does not.

A worthwhile comparator in this is recent foreign policy moves by the USA. The move to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the move to defund UNWRA and taking Pakistan to task for its role in assisting terrorism, are not of themselves bad things. Trump is breaking from decades of mealy mouthed international politics, shattering the hypocrisy of the two state solution pretense, and abandoning the head-in-sand approach to Iran. 

Now you could say that this is bull in a china shop diplomacy, needlessly expending international political capital, but these moves are indeed signals to domestic politics. We have long ignored the elephant in the room that UNWRA is a corrupt slush fund that props up the Palestinian kleptocracy and nobody doubts that Israel will annex the West Bank in entirety. Though the "international community" is offended, no conservative is going to care especially about that. 

Meanwhile, the USA is turning its back on the pretense that Iran can be brought round and that it will eventually liberalise. An unequivocal message has been sent that the USA supports secularist efforts to topple the mullahs. Whatever you may think of the strategic acumen behind these moves, there can be no doubt that the USA is unequivocally backing it's liberal democratic allies. And that is important. 

It's important because after a decades of a mealy mouthed hypocritical globalist consensus we have lost any sense of what it is that we do stand for in the world. Iraq certainly didn't help. It was a body blow to western self confidence and this might well be a sign of recovery. 

Now compare that with the EU which has virtually silent on Iran, has refused to back the USA over Jerusalem, stays silent on Pakistan, is impotent in Syria, and will always back away from a fight. I am no fan of the orange baboon, but I do know that if the USA is opposed to Hamas, Hezbollah, Pakistan and unequivocally pro-Israel, then I've got more in common values wise with the USA than the EU. I rather suspect much of Britain does too. 

When the EU talks of defending European values I don't know what the EU is talking about. If it stands in opposition to the USA, then with whom is it aligned? I don't know. And this is why I'm not especially troubled by the loss of UK influence. 

The globalist elite consensus is one of habitual capitulation and moral cowardice. It extends goodwill to those who conform to the consensus and joins the ranks of polite society. The bland functionaries working inside the EU, marinated in political correctness, are a product of that culture of conformity and the policies and directives which flow from it are a reflection of that "progressive" groupthink. 

This is where London establishment political culture differs little, in that there is no virtue signalling vain initiative they will not throw UK resources at regardless of how counterproductive or amoral it may be. There stands the gulf between the public and the Euro-elites. 

We cannot expect an unequivocal moral stance from the British left because it is what it has always been. A loose alliance between corrupt islamists and antisemitic far left degenerates masquerading as a social democratic movement. It will make no foreign policy proclamations that could hurt its chances in local elections. In this, you would expect a self-confident conservative movement to stand proudly on its values yet for some reason it has allowed itself to believe that the left have the moral high ground. 

So entrenched is this sense of self-doubt, undoubtedly a product of the Iraq war, Britain isn't sure in a test of values which side will win out. Until we resolve that question we cannot possibly hope to project or influence. Meanwhile had we stayed in the EU would would have lazily gone along with the consensus of the Euro elites having soured the public's relationship with the USA through its military adventures.

Ordinarily elections have served to to settle the question of who we are and what we believe in but because of the Westminster system we have a hollowed out husk where neither party especially represents the values of the public and consequently any actions the UK government takes on behalf of the UK will not enjoy the legitimacy that Blair and Thatcher commanded. We are simply lumbered with whichever motley crew wins power by way of an accident of numbers.  

In effect Brexit is a search for the soul of Britain. It perhaps requires a period of disengagement while we sort this out through democratic means. Those are the conversations we need to have because we can legitimately project an image into the world. To do that we first have to reunite the country.

To do that we need to recognise that the current model of Westminster rule is no longer fit for purpose. The cultures and economies between north and south are too different to be ruled as one, and decisions made in London, and the values of London media are not suited to the nation as a whole. In respect of that we need extensive devolution, de-Londonisation, and a new constitution. 

Britain is never again going to be a global superpower, and its diminishing influence in the world is a fact of life irrespective of Brexit. Long before Brexit was ever even a word our FCO diplomats said that Britain was becoming "self-absorbed an insular". The trend is deep set. It cannot be reversed. What we can expect and demand though, is a government by the people for the people which adequately represents the values of those it serves. 

I am at ease with the UK becoming a mid ranking power if the tradeoff is a country that at least knows what it is and what it stands for. That is the purpose of Brexit, that is the process we have embarked upon. The politicians could not take the tough choices so we have forced the issue. Being that our establishment does not represent us, I do not want it influencing the world in my name. 

When remainers speak of a loss of influence, they are speaking of a loss of influence for the British establishment. Its influence, though, is really contingent on the degree to which we conform with the globalist consensus. That to me is not influence, nor is it especially principled. It is subservience.

We are told that Britain's "clout" is amplified by the EU yet time and again the EU has demonstrated that when it comes to a fight it will quietly acquiesce, appease or surrender. There will be technocratic sanctions and much empty posturing but by the EUs silence shall we know it. 

If the EU will not stand up for liberal secular democracy and will not defend us from the many threats we face I find it difficult to believe that UK values are advanced by being a part of it. In the international arena the beacon enlightenment is where it has always been - to the West of us. And how depressing it is that it takes a man like Trump to remind us of that. 

Our globalist technocrats and trade wonks see influence mainly through the prism trade and the WTO. Presently China is is making all the right noises to much applause. This is the China of censorship, mobile execution vans, human rights abuses, counterfeiting, and mass pollution. If a few duplicitous words from a communist monolith is all it takes to turn heads away from our oldest and most valued ally then we really have lost our way.

Brexit may well be a mark of decline and it probably is an economic miscalculation, but it's about something more important than that. It's about who we are and what we stand for. In that assessment the EUs detatched political elites are on the wrong side of history. The EU is a construct lacking legitimacy and support for its eventual aims. It is a political project done to the peoples of Europe rather than one born from them. Around the edges we are seeing the real" will of the people", ever more at odds with the globalist consensus. 

For as long as the EU continues there will be an existential question hanging over its head. European unity is a myth. How then can we be an active member of an entity that does not know what it is, where it is going, what it stands for, and who it even represents? Its self-confidence is only skin deep and what it projects is based on a delusion. It sees itself as the keeper of the peace but it does so through incremental surrender of its values and it would seem that incoherence has rubbed off on us. Brexit may not be the remedy, but at least we have hit the pause button.  

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