The Story Of Hamilton Is Also The Story Of Brexit

Hamilton musical - London - Brexit

What do the latest imported smash hit musical from America and Britain’s historic vote for Brexit have in common? The answer, it turns out, is nearly everything.

It has been frequently remarked, that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not, of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend, for their political constitutions, on accident and force
—  Federalist No. 1, Alexander Hamilton

Yesterday evening I succumbed to the hype and went to see the London production of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical Hamilton, newly opened at the Victoria Palace Theatre.

Hamilton tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, American statesman and Founding Father, most famous for having been a delegate at the constitutional convention of 1786, writing many of the Federalist Papers, moulding the new country’s financial system as Treasury Secretary during George Washington’s presidency and having been killed in a dual by political rival Aaron Burr. Through his words and intellect, Hamilton made an enormous contribution to the birth of America, yet his untimely death robbed him of as prominent a place in history as his legacy deserved.

At first glance this might not seem the most promising material for a musical show, but theatre aficionados have been buzzing about Hamilton since it premiered in New York to rave reviews back in 2015. Such has been the show’s rapturous reception that it is fairly hard to find a negative review, let alone a ticket, especially in New York where tickets for the Broadway production have traded hands on the secondary market for insane sums of money.

Being something of a contrarian, I arrived at the theatre in sceptical mood, perhaps too eager to find fault with something that was being universally praised by everyone else. I was sceptical that the rap and hip-hop musical styles which predominate would be a good fit with the narrative material, and worried that the much-discussed “colour-conscious casting” might be little more than a convenient excuse to shoehorn an identity politics lecture into what should be an evening of entertainment.

As it turned out, my scepticism was blown away and any worries about ideological virtue signalling were (mostly) unfounded. Hamilton is an excellent show, the musical genres and clever allusions to other composers from Gilbert & Sullivan to The Notorious B.I.G. draw you in to the story rather than distracting from it, and the source material (Lin-Manuel Miranda based his show on the 2004 biography of Alexander Hamilton written by Ron Chernow) is catnip for history and constitutional geeks like me.

But as I watched the first act build to a climax – after Alexander Hamilton has arrived in New York, become involved in the revolutionary movement, served as General George Washington’s aide-de-camp, fought at Yorktown, studied law in New York after independence was won and ultimately chosen to be that state’s junior delegate to the constitutional convention in Philadelphia, which laid the foundations for the United States of America as we know it today – something else occurred to me.

It provoked groans and assorted expressions of incredulity from my wife and our friend when I confessed my epiphany during the interval, but as the show progressed I realised that the story of Hamilton – of people forging a new and uncertain path through a world in flux – is also the story of Brexit. Bear with me, and I shall explain why.

After they won the War of Independence, Americans didn’t know exactly what they were creating or the experiment they were embarking on. They knew that remote and authoritarian rule from an overseas power was intolerable and injurious to their right to freedom and self-determination, but having thrown off the shackles of monarchy there was no set template for them to follow, no clear-cut alternative to which they should naturally gravitate.

Much of the detail as to how freedom from empire would actually work in practice had to be hashed out in contentious discussions, first formalised in the 1777 Articles of Confederation between the thirteen original states and later in the 1787 Constitutional Convention. This was a time of uncertainty, but it was also an exciting time ripe with promise. Then, as now, there was a new world to build.

Today, we face similarly profound questions about how humanity should best govern itself in changing times, as the epoch of the nation state finds itself threatened and undermined by powerful forces such as globalisation, automation, mass migration and the need to balance smart regulation of international trade in all its technical complexity with the need to preserve democracy and the ability of ordinary people to defend their local priorities and concerns in the face of corporate technocracy.

The existing political order has never looked less equipped to deal with these challenges, or been so discredited and seemingly unequal to the serious task at hand. In Britain, the political class have forged ahead with a centrist, corporatist vision regardless of which political party was in power for the past three decades, an incredibly narrow Overton Window effectively shutting out a huge range of reasonable, non-extremist political ideas from the national political debate. And in the United States, politicians of both parties peddled the illusion that the post-war manufacturing economy could be resurrected together with the promise of a comfortable middle-class lifestyle sustained by semi-skilled manual labour requiring limited education.

In both cases the people themselves were partially to blame for falling for false promises and in some cases practically demanding to be lied to by pandering politicians, but regardless of ultimate fault it has increasingly dawned on people that national and international institutions as presently configured have not met the challenge of our times and can not keep pace with a world increasingly knitted together by technology.

The European Union, held up by its naive supporters as the unquestionably superior way for nations to peacefully cooperate (despite not being replicated on any other continent), has conspicuously failed to effectively tackle nearly all of the big challenges thrown its way, from the migration crisis to the pitfalls of monetary union to rampant corruption in some member states and growing authoritarianism in others. And through all this, despite Herculean efforts and vast sums of money spent with the aim of forging a cohesive European demos – a body of people who hold their European identity in equal or greater worth than their national identity – no such demos has formed.

The EU’s “if you build it, they will come” strategy, creating all of the institutions required for a supranational political state in the expectation that a demos would magically follow along to grant them legitimacy, has failed. Outside Britain, where misguided and low-information young idealists sing Kumbaya and paint the EU flag on their faces, euroscepticism among young people is increasing as more people recognise that the institutions of Brussels present a beguiling but erroneous vision of the future. To all these challenges and more the European Union has nothing to offer save more political integration for the sake of political integration. The EU has no answer, just as remote and exploitative monarchy failed to redress the legitimate grievances of the American colonists.

A recent article by Bradley Birzer in The American Conservative about the limited lifespan of any system or institution of government certainly applies to the European Union and other pillars of the post-war world order as much as it does to the nation state:

One must remember that no republicans believe their republic can last forever. A republic, by its very essence, must rely on its organic nature, a living thing that is born, flourishes, decays, and dies. It is, by nature, trapped in the cycles of life, bounded by the walls of time. While a cosmic republic might exist—as understood by Cicero’s “Cosmopolis” and Augustine’s “City of God”—it existed in eternity and, therefore, aloof of time.

For better or worse, the Roman Republic reflected not just nature, but the Edenic fall of nature as well. We can, the Roman republican Livy recorded, “trace the process of our moral decline, to watch, first, the sinking of the foundations of morality as the old teaching was allowed to lapse, then the rapidly increasing disintegration, then the final collapse of the whole edifice.” The virtues of the commonwealth—the duties of labor, fate, and piety—gave way to the avaricious desires for private wealth. When young, the Romans rejoiced in the little they had, knowing that their liberty from the Etruscans meant more than all the wealth of the material world. “Poverty, with us, went hand in hand with contentment.” As the republic evolved and wealth became the focus of the community, not sacrifice, so the soul decayed. “Of late years,” Livy continued, “wealth has made us greedy, and self-indulgence has brought us, through every form of sensual excess, to be, if I may so put it, in love with death both individual and collective.”

Who can deny that some aspects of our present society – our materialism, individualism and instinctive fear of anything that might (no matter its virtue or long-term benefits) temporarily disrupt the steady accumulation of wealth, assets and positive experiences which we increasingly expect and demand – are worryingly reflected in Livy’s words?

To paraphrase Birzer, all things must come to an end. The Britain of today is not the Britain of thirty years ago, just as the dogmas of Ronald Reagan’s “Morning in America” no longer automatically apply to the American present. We have witnessed tremendous progress in that time, but also political and social atrophy. We are not what we once were, and neither should we cling on in futility to what is past. Many Remainers, having fixed in their minds the false image of Brexiteers as Mafeking stereotypes – curmudgeonly old retired colonels pining for lost empire – fail to realise that through their devotion to the European Union it is they who yearn to preserve the past, slavishly devoted to an anachronistic mid-century blueprint for a new world order, one which came to partial fruition, peaked and then found itself wholly inadequate to the stormy present.

Brexit is not a magical elixir sufficient to address the stormy present or dissipate the challenges we face, but it is a necessary first step to confronting them, just as Alexander Hamilton and the other Founding Fathers could not fully contemplate and realise their revolutionary new system of government until they had first thrown off the shackles of monarchy. Looking at Brexit as a narrow and obstinate project to reclaim full sovereignty or purely as a technocratic matter of trade regulations is to miss the point – we are seeking not to go back but forward, and Brexit is a necessary (though not a sufficient) condition to enable this progress.

It pains me to read much of the coverage and commentary around Brexit, which overwhelmingly ignores the big picture and the long term to obsess over speculative short term costs. It is vital to consider short-term costs and risks in any endeavour, but good policymaking is only possible when short-term considerations are balanced with a broader, longer-term perspective. Remainers often react with incredulity to the suggestion that anything might matter beyond next year’s GDP growth rate, but the American colonists of Hamilton’s day were every bit as concerned about their economic prosperity and security as their modern-day British counterparts; they just also realised that other issues were at stake, issues worth enduring the hardship and destruction of a revolutionary war to correct.

We in modern Britain are called to make no sacrifice remotely comparable to that of the inhabitants of the thirteen colonies as they struck out on their own to form a more perfect union. It would be laughable to compare even the worst of mismanaged Brexits to the price that Hamilton’s peers paid for their freedom and for the opportunity to advance the model of human governance. Yet so great is our present culture of consumerism and so diminished our sense of citizenship or civic duty that few of us are capable of thinking in terms greater than the pursuit of whatever might sate our present desire for comfort and stability. And even when this stability is under long-term threat, such is our fear of disruption that we would rather cling on to the slow, familiar degredation than take any risk by seeking to prevent it.

Today we have a tendency to think of ourselves as having transcended our past, that we inhabit what Francis Fukuyama called “The End of History”, a time when all major human challenges have been vanquished and we inhabit some kind of permanent, beneficent steady-state from which any departure would be an intolerable disruption. And from this perspective, Brexit does indeed appear to be a crazy, irrational endeavour, threatening to unleash a backslide into the fascism and totalitarianism with which we struggled in the twentieth century.

But of course we have not reached the end of history. We are continually presented with new challenges and opportunities, and try as we might to pretend that our existing institutions and policies need only tweaking or adjusting to meet them, recent events have proven this to be patently false. Not all Brexiteers may have voted to leave the European Union based on these high ideals but as Shakespeare wrote, “There is a tide in the affairs of men. Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.”

Through Brexit, history has gifted us the opportunity to imagine a new and improved form of government, one which strives to meet our future challenges rather than cower from them (all that EU membership offers, most telling in the rhetoric used by Remainers) or pretend that they do not exist (favoured by the more retrograde Brexiteers who envisage a simple rollback to the old nation state). We must seize this opportunity and be a beacon for other nations, all of which must ultimately grapple with the same issues though they may deny or postpone them for a time.

As I recently wrote:

It has been decades since Britain truly took the lead in influencing world affairs. But having voted for Brexit and thrown into the open many pressing debates which other countries remain desperate to defer or ignore, we can now be both a laboratory and a beacon for the world.

Rather than feeling rancour or relitigating the 2016 referendum result, we should feel the same sense of excitement and possibility that Alexander Hamilton and his co-revolutionaries felt as they debated among themselves how to keep the new republic that they had created. We must rediscover that spark within ourselves.

Perhaps it is no coincidence that a stirring tale about forging a new, more democratic future, a story kindled in America, is set to take Britain by storm as we negotiate our secession from the European Union and look questioningly but optimistically towards the future. Perhaps it is no coincidence that the spirit of Alexander Hamilton is flickering back to life on a London stage at this specific time and place.

Because when you strip away the political games and the media sideshow, the catastrophisation, recriminations, denunciations, speculations and bifurcations, the story of Hamilton may just also be the story of Brexit – if we have the courage and vision to make it so.


Hamilton tickets and information here.


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John F Kennedy On The Responsibilities Of Educated Citizens

John F. Kennedy, May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963

From Kennedy’s address to the 90th anniversary convocation of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, delivered on May 18, 1963:

But this Nation was not founded solely on the principle of citizens’ rights. Equally important, though too often not discussed, is the citizen’s responsibility. For our privileges can be no greater than our obligations. The protection of our rights can endure no longer than the performance of our responsibilities. Each can be neglected only at the peril of the other. I speak to you today, therefore, not of your rights as Americans, but of your responsibilities. They are many in number and different in nature. They do not rest with equal weight upon the shoulders of all. Equality of opportunity does not mean equality of responsibility. All Americans must be responsible citizens, but some must be more responsible than others, by virtue of their public or their private position, their role in the family or community, their prospects for the future, or their legacy from the past.

Increased responsibility goes with increased ability, for “of those to whom much is given, much is required.”

[..] You have responsibilities, in short, to use your talents for the benefit of the society which helped develop those talents. You must decide, as Goethe put it, whether you will be an anvil or a hammer, whether you will give to the world in which you were reared and educated the broadest possible benefits of that education. Of the many special obligations incumbent upon an educated citizen, I would cite three as outstanding: your obligation to the pursuit of learning, your obligation to serve the public, your obligation to uphold the law.

If the pursuit of learning is not defended by the educated citizen, it will not be defended at all. For there will always be those who scoff at intellectuals, who cry out against research, who seek to limit our educational system. Modern cynics and skeptics see no more reason for landing a man on the moon, which we shall do, than the cynics and skeptics of half a millennium ago saw for the discovery of this country. They see no harm in paying those to whom they entrust the minds of their children a smaller wage than is paid to those to whom they entrust the care of their plumbing.

But the educated citizen knows how much more there is to know. He knows that “knowledge is power,” more so today than ever before. He knows that only an educated and informed people will be a free people, that the ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all, and that if we can, as Jefferson put it, “enlighten the people generally … tyranny and the oppressions of mind and body will vanish, like evil spirits at the dawn of day.”

[..] Secondly, the educated citizen has an obligation to serve the public. He may be a precinct worker or President. He may give his talents at the courthouse, the State house, the White House. He may be a civil servant or a Senator, a candidate or a campaign worker, a winner or a loser. But he must be a participant and not a spectator.

[..] Third, and finally, the educated citizen has an obligation to uphold the law. This is the obligation of every citizen in a free and peaceful society–but the educated citizen has a special responsibility by the virtue of his greater understanding. For whether he has ever studied history or current events, ethics or civics, the rules of a profession or the tools of a trade, he knows that only a respect for the law makes it possible for free men to dwell together in peace and progress.

He knows that law is the adhesive force in the cement of society, creating order out of chaos and coherence in place of anarchy. He knows that for one man to defy a law or court order he does not like is to invite others to defy those which they do not like, leading to a breakdown of all justice and all order. He knows, too, that every fellowman is entitled to be regarded with decency and treated with dignity. Any educated citizen who seeks to subvert the law, to suppress freedom, or to subject other human beings to acts that are less than human, degrades his heritage, ignores his learning, and betrays his obligation.

I think that we can all take something from this speech as an inspiration to strive to be better citizens, no matter our position on American politics and the forthcoming presidency of Donald J Trump. None of us are above learning from the example set by great men and women of the past.

Yet nobody gives speeches like this any more. Why?

Is modern political speechwriting so poor because it reflects the abysmal quality of our present political discourse, or is our political discourse so poor because our contemporary leaders, more concerned with bribing and placating a fickle public than calling us to any kind of higher duty, have increasingly lost the rhetorical skills required to persuade and inspire their citizens?



Bottom Image: Wikimedia Commons

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The European Union’s Long Game

European Union - EU Parliament

The dream of a federal Europe is not dead, or even resting. European political union is a long game – watch closely on a day to day basis and you will notice nothing moving. Only when viewed at a distance of years and decades does the direction of travel become crystal clear

Pete North warns people against complacency:

One political meme travelling around academia at the moment is that the vision of the EUs founding fathers has stalled and will never become a reality so it’s ok to remain in the EU because there is a different destination of concentric circles bound under a loose alliance. It’s actually a convincing argument when you look at the reality on the ground, but it’s a piece of creative writing which ultimately ignores the nature of the beast.

The founding fathers were savvy in their design of le grande project. They always knew it could never be done all at once because the central vision would never secure a mandate. Integration by deception has always been the modus operandi. It salami slices powers little by little, so gradually that few ever notice. And you’d never see it unless you know what the game plan is. They were long term thinkers. They knew it would take a generation or so to advance their agenda and they had a roadmap to do it.

It has always used funding of local projects to manufacture consent. It’s why you’ll find EU logos emblazoned on any nature reserve or community hall or obscure museum out in the shires, to convince the plebs that their benevolent EU guardians cared more for them than the London government. It is why it funds universities too. Every strata of civil society has an injection of EU cash. Education, NGOs, you name it. And it works.

It is important to rebut the claim from EU apologists that Brexiteers are somehow exaggerating or indulging in conspiracy theories – often a sneering Remainer will say that eurosceptics have been warning about the coming European superstate for decades, and the fact that it has not yet quite arrived means that we are somehow wrong.

While the EU’s “founding fathers” were not exactly shy about their intentions for the nascent union, they also realised that supranationalism and the various tenets of statehood could not be spoken of too often in relation to the EU for fear of scaring people off. The process of integration would have to take place in stages, inching forward at opportune moments and often using crises as a pretext for the transfer of more powers (as we now see with the euro). Richard North and Christopher Booker’s masterful history of the EU, “The Great Deception”, draws on primary sources to spell this out in clear detail.

Pete continues:

The founding fathers always knew a day would come where the legitimacy of the EU would be questioned. And now you see how well their pernicious scheme worked, with the entirely of the civic establishment coming out in favour of remain. They have made idle supplicants of our institutions, robbing them of their vitality, curiosity and dynamism.

And those who speak up about this are often labelled cranks or conspiracy theorists. Except it is a conspiracy and one they published in full. They even founded an academic institution to promote it: “The Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies is an inter-disciplinary research centre at the heart of the European University Institute”. The hellmouth of europhile academics and functionaries.

The modus operandi is encoded into all of the treaties and articles of the EU. It is worked into the philosophy of the institutions and it is designed to resist any kind of reform – especially anything which may introduce democracy. There it lies, dormant in the system, but sufficiently restraining in order to prevent deviation from the path.

It may stall, it may go quiet, but the agenda is always there with the noose ever tightening – engineering for irreversibility. That is why the remains make such an issue of how we leave the EU. It was never meant to be easy. It was always a quicksand trap for democracies. The harder you pull away the more it sucks you in.

And so when we hear the ignorant prattle of cosseted and sinecured LSE academics telling us it’s safe to stay because the dream is dead, they are speaking from a position of naivety and ignorance. The Ghost of Monnet lives on. The ghoulish servants of the ideal still roam the corridors of Brussels and an infest social media spreading their poison, sewing doubts and rewriting history.

The more people learn about the history of the European Union, the more eurosceptic they become – almost every time. And part of that history is a shameful and profoundly undemocratic legacy of integrating slowly and by stealth, patiently overcoming obstacles (like referendum “no” votes) and grinding away to achieve the ultimate objective.

We should certainly not allow a bunch of highly self-interested and fundamentally untrustworthy academics to lull us into a false sense of security at this late stage.


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Janan Ganesh Is Wrong: Britain Can Still Make History – If We Leave The EU

Janan Ganesh - Financial Times - European Union - EU - Referendum - Brexit

A careless turn of phrase reveals a poisonous, negative attitude towards Britain held by prominent Remainers and EU apologists

What do passionate British europhiles and EU defenders really think about their own country?

This question is an eternal puzzle to Brexiteers, who have watched Remainers from the prime minister on down eagerly seize on every statement or piece of “proof” that Britain is too small and feeble to flourish without dissolving ourselves into the EU’s embryonic common European state.

And now, finally, we have something of an answer. In his latest FT column bemoaning the intra-party warfare currently consuming the Conservative Party, George Osborne biographer Janan Ganesh has the following to say about the United Kingdom:

Britain is not where history happens any more but our two flirtations with secession — Scotland’s from the UK, the UK’s from the EU — pique the curiosity of outsiders. They must look at the intra-Tory venom and assume its seepage into wider society. If Scots were lastingly politicised, and riven, by their referendum, Britons as a whole might be too. The stakes are as large, the facts as contested, the principals on each side as seethingly at odds as they were in Scotland in 2014.

And still we demur. The notable feature of this referendum is its lack of notoriety. With three weeks to go, pubs are not blazing with anticipation or rancour. Friends and relatives are not falling out. Campaign events are unmarred by anything darker than cheeky heckles. On the morning of May 30, only one referendum-related story made the 10 most-read on the BBC news website, and that was trumped by a crocodile attack in Queensland, Australia.

And there it is. Doesn’t that perfectly sum up the tone which pervades nearly all of the Remain campaign’s messaging during the referendum – the idea of Britain as a has-been nation, a place which was once consequential but no longer a place “where history happens”?

And of course this is exactly what Janan Ganesh, his colleagues at the Financial Times and many others in the Remain camp actually do believe. They (wrongly) think that we are a small island not only in geographical terms but also in geopolitical terms. They think that we don’t matter any more, that we will never again shape the world because we are not powerful enough and because we are not exceptional enough to do so.

To the mind of a Remainer, it is utterly perplexing why anybody would want a country as weak, fragile and inconsequential as Britain to leave the safe harbour of the European Union and head out into the storm. Sure, they grudgingly acknowledge, we made our mark on history in the past – and at this point they will often pause to apologise profusely for that very history – but we should never expect to do so again.

The future, they insist, belongs to those shining civilisations such as China and Russia, apparently – despite the fact that Britain remains the fifth largest economy, (by some measures) the second military power, and is home to some of the best universities, companies, popular and high culture in the world. And Britain should be grateful for any scraps we are fortunate enough to steal from a “top table” dominated by other, better countries.

But if the world really is now such a scary place that the only recourse for “fading glory” Britain is to shelter inside a remorselessly tightening political union, how come other countries, many of them much smaller than us, are not also busy dissolving themselves into regional political blocs?

The threat of terrorism affects Australia too, as we saw with the 2014 Sydney hostage crisis. Australia would also be threatened by any global conflagration involving Vladimir Putin’s Russia. And Australia is just as vulnerable to a world economic downturn as Britain – if not more so, given her remote geographic location.

So why isn’t Australia hastening to form a political union with New Zealand and other APAC countries? Why is there no Pacific Union headquarters being constructed in Malaysia, or elections being held to elect MPPs to the new Pacific Parliament? Why is there no Pacific Court of Justice being set up to adjudicate and enforce adherence to region-wide regulations and human rights laws?

Why, for that matter, is Canada not racing to form a political Union with the United States and Mexico, following the EU’s lead and turning NAFTA from a free trade group into an explicitly political union?

The answer, of course, is that political union does nothing – nothing whatsoever – to meet or tackle the most serious challenges facing our world. Australia and New Zealand are perfectly capable of intergovernmental co-operation without the need to create a new and unaccountable supranational body sitting above them and assuming their sovereignty. Canada and the United States are not only able to trade freely with each other, they also co-operate closely on military and intelligence affairs – again, without a Parliament of the Americas to pass laws binding on their respective citizens.

So the question goes back to EU apologists and British pessimists like Janan Ganesh: exactly what is it about Britain which means that we cannot follow the example of Canada and the United States, Australia and New Zealand? What deficiency afflicts Britain which means that we cannot co-operate closely with European allies on important issues without also dissolving ourselves into a political union with them?

The EU apologists won’t tell you, because they can’t. Because there is simply no good reason why Britain could not maintain exceptionally close links with the countries of Europe – remaining in the European Economic Area, retaining free movement of people, working together on common security challenges and those areas where our foreign policy interests align – while being a sovereign, self-governing country outside the European Union.

And those who persist in saying otherwise are either fearful and ignorant themselves, or they are cynically lying to promote a supranational or federalist agenda which they cannot openly embrace in public.

Why should Britain no longer be a place where history continues to be made? Why can Britain not be the first country to realise that a century-old dream of European political union being brought about by a 1950s model of centralised, supranational governance is hopelessly ill suited to the Europe of 2016? Why should Britain not be the first country to grasp this reality and strike out away from euro-parochialism, charting a better path toward global engagement which other countries may then follow?

Why, in short, do those who insist that we must remain in the European Union have such desperately stunted vision and ambition for the global future which Britain could build?


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Remain Supporters Are In Denial About The Nature And Purpose Of The EU

Owen Jones - EU Referendum

I’m voting Remain because Puppies For Everyone!!! The denialism and wishful thinking about the European Union’s true purpose and direction of travel exhibited by pro-EU left-wingers is off the charts

The Great Disappointment of the eurosceptic Left, Owen Jones, has popped up with a new contribution to the EU referendum debate in the form of the picture shown above, being widely shared on social media (albeit sometimes in cheekily photoshopped format with the message changed).

While this blog does not usually bother commenting on internet memes, this one is noteworthy because it simultaneously

  1. Sums up the entire basis of left-wing EU apologetics, and
  2. Reveals just how flimsy is that argument

The sign held up by Owen Jones proclaims:

“I’M VOTING REMAIN BECAUSE… I want to unite with people across the continent to build a democratic, workers Europe”

And I want to own a unicorn that shoots fruit based candy out of its ass and grants me three wishes a day, but sadly that is not on offer from the EU, just like the “workers’ paradise” lusted after by Owen Jones isn’t on the menu from Brussels either.

This referendum is serious business. So can Remainers please stop projecting whatever they desperately wish the EU to be onto an organisation which has never really been about friendly trade and cooperation, but is actually all about slowly and inexorably becoming a supranational government of Europe. And which is not going to abandon that long-held goal just because the British are now expressing a few doubts.

I’ve read the history of the EU. I strongly advise others to do the same. And if they still want to Remain, having understood the true nature of the grand projet, they should at least have the decency to admit out loud precisely what it is that they know they are committing us to.


For those interested in that history, here is a good starting point.


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