Thursday, 7 July 2016

Bonjour tristesse


I suddenly realised how British diplomats must be feeling about Brexit. Their sadness must surpass the sadness of City types counting on bonuses, Anglican bishops in the Athenaeum, feminists who sit on several QUANGOs and the staff of The Economist. 

On the other hand, ordinary people who thought they were powerless to control events found that they could. Referendums will be completely discredited from now on. They let people decide things.

I had dinner last night with two old English friends who know a lot about politics. Both are Remainers but both agree EU is in very many ways disastrous. Andy, a Liberal Democrat, said he always knew Leave would win. He said Paddy Ashdown once said 

'We can't give people a vote because we know they'd vote to leave'.
It reminds me of Yes, Minister.
'Bernard, subsidy is for art, for culture. It is not to be given to what the people want! It is for what the people don't want but ought to have!'
That they always wanted to leave is clear now, though it wasn't clear to most people during the referendum campaign. Despite the incredible threats of economic calamity, the advice from foreign leaders carefully orchestrated by George Osborne, the Brexit budget and the lies about Turkey the British decided that they wanted out of the European project which they had never wanted to get involved with in 1972.


  1. I for some reason didn't greatly like Yes Minister or Minder at the time but but now see them as part of English comic tradition that goes back to Chaucer Shakespeare Dickens and Ealing comedies.

  2. David in Banja Luka7 July 2016 at 15:59


    Why not revisit "The Sweeney" on YouTube?

    I hated it in the '70s and hardly ever watched it.

    The lead character Jack Regan (played by John Thaw of course)is very unlikeable.

    But watching it now is like being transported back in time to Victorian or Elizabethan London - the attitudes, behaviour and backdrop of everyday life, are so different to today.