Sunday 2 February 2020

Two more Brexit quotes

'We tried to prevent the EU from rushing into the single currency, its most disastrous adventure. We tried to limit its political ambitions, dangerously undemocratic in a continent in which democracy is a new and fragile plant. We aided its rather ineffective diplomatic efforts. We spent a vast amount of money on helping to defend it, largely unacknowledged. We obeyed its tide of decrees rather more quickly than other member states. We paid up year after year, relatively uncomplainingly. We even tried – admittedly feebly under David Cameron – to negotiate a new accommodation to stay in. So we have no moral obligation, it seems to me, to “tie our trim frigate to that worm-eaten old battleship”, as Bismarck once put it.'

Professor Robert Tombs of Cambridge University, in the Sunday Telegraph today

'Our leaving is the result of a collective decision, taken by a majority of its people, about the destiny of their national community — or what most consider to be their home. And this decision, contrary to the liberal view of citizens as autonomous individuals who are mainly driven by self-interest, was never rooted in transactional considerations about money.

'Nor was it focused on individuals. Rather, it was anchored in a collective and sincere concern about the wider group, about the nation, and in profound questions about identity, culture and tradition. Who are we? What kind of nation are we? What holds us together? Where do we want to go, together, in the future?'

'....Researchers have since demonstrated that wanting to register a protest against “the establishment” was at best only a distant concern for most Leavers; voting to exit signalled more a desire to return to a traditional political settlement. The idea of their home being governed by people whose attachments appeared to lie elsewhere — in distant and insufficiently democratic institutions — seemed alien to the very things Leavers associate with the nation.'

Professor Matthew Goodwin of the University of Kent, in Unherd on Friday


  1. Leavers resoundingly got their way and Labour has been thoroughly routed. Let's see now how the people charged with administering the changes perform.

    1. Oh dear. The Foreign Office made a terrible mess of Brexit - though this is partly because of very weak political leaders like Mrs May and David Davis. We needed to implement the referendum result, partly to keep faith with the idea that in a democracy the people rule, and I am hopeful we shall have a Canadian model Brexit. Boris was the man to implement Brexit and may dominate the country for a decade to come or more, but he in many ways resembles an American Democrat - keen on regime change in Syria when he was Foreign Secretary, exercised about climate change now, an enthusiast for more immigration not less.