Saturday 14 September 2019

David Cameron is the perfect example of how the EU poisons roots

Another quotation from David Cameron's interview published in the Times last night.
"I think the issue of immigration plus that emotional argument was a winning combination for them. The argument about control, it resonated with people, and when you asked them, ‘Well, what is it we’re going to control?’ it was this issue of immigration.”

Some said he should have tried an emotional argument himself. 

“Well, when I tried to make the argument, which I believe very strongly, that the EU has helped to foster positive relations between countries who weren’t always positively inclined towards each other, it was written up as ‘Cameron predicts World War Three’. It just didn’t work.”
The fact that, even after thinking about the matter obsessively for three years, David Cameron does not understand why his fellow countrymen wanted to rule themselves shows how deeply the corruption went. He imagines that immigration is the only issue that made people vote Leave and one knows he thinks that means Leavers are xenophobes and racists.

It sounds very much as if he thinks Leavers are swivel-eyed loons, a description of Conservative party members widely attributed to, though denied by, his close friend and protégé, Lord Feldman, or the "fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists" which was David Cameron's description of UKIP members.

This reminds me that I once discussed the EU years ago with a very clever Englishman in Bucharest and told him that I did not like England being ruled by foreigners. He replied
Isn't that racist?
Then as for an emotional argument for staying for the British - unlike for continentals - there simply isn't really one. The idea that England needs to remain in the EU to prevent war is simply silly. We were involved in wars that started on the continent over centuries, but we always reacted to wars begun by other countries. The last war in Europe we can be said to have started ended in the reign of Henry VI, when we gave up our claim to France. 

Even if you believe, as many people do, that the EU prevents war in Europe, it is clear that Britain leaving the EU does not make war one jot more likely.

In fact the threat of war in Europe west of the former USSR comes from non-state actors, which is a problem the EU is exacerbating by having no borders in the Schengen zone and by the Commission's attempts to persuade member states to take in more refugees from the Maghreb.

When David Cameron decided to have a referendum on Brexit, Eurosceptics complained that an in or out question would be impossible for them to win. This was David Cameron's reason for framing the question in that way.  The best laid schemes of mice and men....

What happened is that people were forced to think about the question of leaving the EU, which had been fantasy until the Tories won the 2015 election, something that came to David Cameron as a huge surprise. He had spent the evening of polling day practising his resignation speech in the bathroom mirror. 

People had to think about Brexit when the referendum was called, they came to a conclusion and what is very surprising is that no-one I know or know of has changed their mind since, apart from Peter Oborne who seems to be on a political journey away from Toryism.

David Cameron says he was surprised by the very high turn-out, because he does not understand how visceral, existential, nationhood is. How could it have been otherwise?


  1. Then as for an emotional argument for staying for the British - unlike for continentals - there simply isn't really one.

    I think you're seriously underestimating the emotional appeal of internationalism. The alternative to internationalism is nationalism, and nationalism means Hitler. That's how a very very large number of people see it. It's a pure emotional response. And it's a very powerful very visceral emotional response.

    The foot soldiers on both sides in the Brexit War are running on pure emotion. That's why so few people have changed sides. Rational debate with either side is futile. To both sides the question is emotional, visceral and existential.

  2. Yes, internationalism is all too appealing at an irrational level but there wasn't really a rational emotional argument that David Cameron could have used. He tried by talking about peace in Europe but it didn't wash. The idea that our EU partners would make war on us or one another if we left was absurd. Strong emotions are right and fitting and do not preclude rational discussion.