A gathering storm is brewing around the ill-judged Brexit project. We are writing ourselves into oblivion as a mature democracy and our very union is in peril. Not one of our present leaders is world-class and we need one now as never before. We are led by minnows.
This is from the Financial Times on 13 July 2019. It is hard to disagree with any of it.
“What sort of Britain will emerge from the Brexit earthquake? Will it still be united? What sort of role might it play in Europe and the wider world? Nobody knows the answers. But one can at least make plausible guesses. One conclusion seems clear: the UK the world thought it knew — stable, pragmatic and respected — is gone, probably forever. Lost reputations are not readily regained. The most important transformation is in political leadership. Boris Johnson, a serial fantasist at best, is very likely to become prime minister. The leader of the opposition is Jeremy Corbyn, a man whose lifetime passion has been leftwing, anti-American politics. The country’s dominant voice is Nigel Farage — a talented demagogue consumed by dislike of the EU – and of anyone who disagrees with him. He has captured the admiration of a host of disappointed Britons, presumably many of whom do not want or struggle with modernity. This is not a cast of leading characters for a country with a stable and mature democracy”
The most important idea is that reputations take years – in our case centuries – to build and only moments to destroy. It is all driven by a struggle for power among a group of unsavoury characters, in response to a vote that was misdirected by lies, misinformation and a longing for Camelot. Camelot – if it ever was – is long gone as is our Victorian influence over much of the globe. Our political innovations post World War 2, the United Nations and NHS are now such parts of the furniture of our lives that they, too, are afforded little respect.
The most galling thing is that many who voted Brexit now ‘just want it done’, without any attention to the cost and drawbacks that emerge daily. And that the Mainstream Media who ignited this particular popular dislike of ‘others’ still maintains a gung-ho support for leaving while readers who will be badly hurt by the loss of our funding, programmes and institutional networks wait for a utopia that will never be.