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Ghost Dog

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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Canary Islands Archipelago
Home country: Spain
Member since: Wed Apr 19, 2006, 01:59 PM
Number of posts: 16,666

About Me

A Brit many years in Spain, Catalunya, Baleares, Canarias. Cooperative member. Geography. Ecology. Cartography. Software. Sound Recording. Music Production. Languages & Literature. History.

Journal Archives

Can England avoid a meltdown of national identity? (Paul Mason)

Scotland can, should and hopefully will leave the United Kingdom. The question for non-Scottish Brits now is, if we are going to say goodbye to the union, how should we frame our own national consciousness after that? What institutions should we design?

The original argument for independence was strong: Scotland has developed a national culture and consciousness on a different trajectory to that of England. Large numbers of its people are convinced their economic interest is harmed within the current structure of devolution. With a hard Brexit, all forms of devolution seem an inadequate protection from the bomb that is about to go off.

Theresa May’s determination to pursue hard Brexit is the equivalent of stepping off a 10-metre diving board without checking there is any water in the pool below. But a no-deal Brexit will not only trigger severe economic dislocation. It will trigger an ideological crisis of all the nationalisms in the UK. English nationalism – half-formed, turbulent and untheorised at the moment it defeated Ed Miliband and then delivered Brexit – will be forced to become concrete. Leaping off the diving board handcuffed to May will be bad enough; leaping handcuffed to a people having a national identity meltdown is definitely something to avoid...

... But if Scotland leaves – and Northern Ireland is given some kind of halfway status to prevent a border being re-erected with the Republic – then what’s left cannot be called “rUK” – the rump or remainder UK. It will be England-Plus. This new country will still be a major global economy, a nuclear power (albeit in need of a new port for its nuclear-armed submarines), a permanent member of the UN Security Council and home to the head of the Commonwealth. And it will need an ideology...

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/20/can-england-avoid-a-meltdown-of-national-identity

Brexit is about to get real. Yet we are nowhere near ready

... It’s as if the crew of the Titanic eyed the iceberg ahead and promptly decided to have a big squabble over whether to serve white or red.

This failure to wrestle with what’s coming goes wider. The public conversation since 23 June 2016 has barely differed from the debate before that date, each side – leave and remain – still refighting the EU referendum campaign, uncertain how to get out of the old groove.

That failing is most obvious among the Brexiteers, characterised by a refusal to own their victory and take responsibility for it. So when a voice of experience or authority dares point out the possible dangers ahead, they are either sacked, as was the fate of Michael Heseltine, attacked personally, like John Major, or else branded an “enemy of the people” who refuses to bow to the “popular will”.

Those with concerns are accused of “talking down the country” or lacking sufficient faith – as if, should Brexit make us poorer, the fault will belong to those who didn’t screw their eyes tight enough and believe. Credit to Jonn Elledge for calling this what it is: the Tinkerbell delusion...

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/10/brexit-real-triggering-article-50
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