what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Making sense of the Referendum (and UK politics)

The mood in England (less so in the other 3 parts of the UK – particularly Scotland) seems this past week to be consolidating around withdrawal from the European Union. We have known that a significant section of the British population has never found involvement in Europe to their liking but -  
that Brexit is holding at around 45% support according to the polls; that it has two ruling party politicians (the cabinet’s most able thinker and one time confidant of the prime minister, and the Tory's most popular star) as its leaders; that they are supported by around half of the party's MPs and a clear majority of Conservative voters; that they might even win!............ This should not be remotely credible.

My blogposts this past week have been trying to shed some light on how on earth the country has got to this point.
But I discovered this morning that someone has, in the past few months, been writing and publishing the definitive explanation …..and that is Anthony Barnett of the Open Democracy website whose Blimey – it could be BREXIT ! has been serialising on a weekly basis on that site for the past 3 months.

It is, quite simply, one of the most stunning things I have read for many years – written by someone who has had a unique position at the heart of key debates about political power since the early 1970s and whose independence from any employer or ideology allows him to write with a unique balance of coherence and intellectual depth. 

As Barnett explains in his introduction - 
“Blimey!” is not 'about' the referendum or reporting its ups and downs week by week. My aim is to explain its 'meta-politics': what to make of why it is occurring, where it comes from, what forces are contained within this strange event, what the consequences may be for all of us in the UK and in Europe over the longer term.

I have not yet finished my reading of the 12 sections (at least 200 pages) but what impresses me is the clarity of expression; the width of his reading; and the generosity of his quotations and attributions. 

Conscious that about 75% of my readers are not native English speakers, I will try to summarise the points which particularly impressed me and post this asap .....

In the meantime, just click and dip in.....see for yourself

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