Ironic that it’s “The Japan Times” which gives me the first answer to my question about novels reflecting the mood in English society about Brexit – although the article focuses on novels which have appeared since the referendum (a genre now known apparently as “Brex-lit”).
wo basic “senses” which don’t seem to be given to academics….trapped as they are not just in a single intellectual discipline but, these days, in a tiny field of what is a series of strongly barricaded enclosures.
The most obvious skill-set, however, for these times is probably that of social historians such as David Kynaston - who poke about in the rubbish-bins of popular memory and develop highly readable narratives. One such historian Dominic Sandbrook has even coined a phrase for the genre - The Great British dream factory
Our starting point for every argument about the need to remain in the EU should be “Brexit voters were right. The status quo is insupportable”……Brexit will not be reversed by traditional techniques alone. We need to talk with those who think anyone seeking to stay in the EU is trying to “kill democracy”, see January’s vivid Guardian survey. We could create more citizens assemblies on Brexit like the Manchester oneand give them national publicity. We need to learn from the Irish referendum. As Fintan O’Toole describes, those who won decided to “talk to everybody and make assumptions about nobody” and they did not “jeer back”.
describes how over the last half-century unelected bodies, from economic regulators, to science and medical councils, and now digital watchdogs, backed by a new range of auditors and ‘risk managers’, have proliferated.
Democracies need regulation for a wide variety of reasons that have grown out of an increasingly complex, science-based, long-range market-place. New relationships are being created between the state and the market, while ethical questions of safety, accountability, privacy and consumer and employee rights have emerged. The internet and the explosion of digital platforms has intensified the process greatly.
…….The need for a process to approve or disapprove products or standards is of obvious importance. The decisions taken can have serious economic, human and environmental consequences… Regulation is an ongoing process. Science and industry keep discovering new techniques and technologies and creating new products. It is not practical to decide each new inclusion on a white list or a black list via a Parliamentary vote, still less a vote by 28 parliaments. The answer to the democratic impossibility of parliamentary voting is expert advice, followed by the adoption of secondary legislation. …
It seems that the EU has in this way developed over 11,000 regulations, set over 60,000 standards and its different agencies have taken over 18,000 decisions on interpreting regulations and laws….which could take ten years to incorporate into British law, if each is accorded scrutiny. This alone shows that a process has been taking place that is beyond the reach and capacity of traditional legislatures.
Barnett’s analysis is an important and long one which warrants proper reflection – so I will pause it here and resume tomorrow…