Wednesday 20 July 2022

11th July 2016: 'How are things in Britain?' 'The middle classes are still in shock.'


Overheard in the Athénée Palace on 11th July 2016, just after the Brexit referendum

'How are things in Britain?' 

'The middle classes are still in shock.'

I wrote this back then.

'It is a pleasure to think most of the right of centre and left-wing middle classes have been defeated but in fact it is a bit illusory. 43% of graduates voted Leave. What saddens me is that the FCO will give us EU-lite, because the EU project is their life's mission. I increasingly feel that leaving the single market altogether might be best thing we could do. I also think it is increasingly obvious that leaving the EU is exactly what the British always wanted and the right thing to do. 'Let freedom ring'. And a victory for rootedness over citizens of the world. And a victory for people like Roger Scruton, Charles Moore, Douglas Murray and the people of England. We are many, they are not few but slightly fewer than us. It was a glorious victory.'

It was a glorious victory but the time since Brexit has been inglorious. I am worried that Brexit will be captured by the British Foreign Office and the deep state, instead of being an opportunity for a bonfire of regulations. 

Instead of wanting cheaper food the British papers are full of articles worrying that subsidies to farmers might be reduced. 

How deeply corrupting EEC/EC/EU membership was.

I saw Tom Tugendhat wanted the UK to belong to some sort of grouping with the Nordic countries. I want free trade with the world and as few commitments as possible. 

Instead 'the head of the Royal Navy' Vice-Admiral Sir Ben Kay is warning today that China is a bigger danger to Britain than Russia. 

Why is China a danger to an archipelago on the other side of the world? 

(What danger exactly is Russia to British interests, come to that?)

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