How I learnt to loathe England

by Volker Weber

A Dutchman reflects on what he’s learnt by living in Britain for the last six years - it isn’t pretty:

The Tories are seared by Europe, as they have been for a generation, only now with more intensity; Labour looks incapable of overcoming its own divisions on the question. Neither party dares to speak the truth to millions of people who have voted for a "have your cake and eat it" option that was never on the menu. How to carry out the will of the majority when the majority voted for something that does not exist?

This is a tough reading. The future does not look bright for England.

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Not our proudest moment, it's true.

John ash, 2017-10-08

Even without the economic disaster this will cause, the division will take decades to fade.

Chris Lindley, 2017-10-08

I voted to remain in the EU but to be honest I find the article very bitter. I am sure that an equally bitter external view of any society would make that society seem irrational and unfair - although I do take and understand that the author is trying to "try to be as Dutch as I can" - although to be fair the Dutch people that I know from the yellow bubble don't seem to portray that trait.

To pick on one aspect of the post the UK has an almost unique position in Europe in that it is an island with a fierce sense of independence. The creeping federalism in Europe is disconcerting even to those who are Europhiles.

I am both British and Irish. The other large island nation is Ireland who have a much stronger tradition of emigration / integration within Europe and have also been huge net beneficiaries of EU funding so their perspective is different.

It will be undoubtedly a difficult time and while the post could make for difficult reading there are many many other posts that you would think should also make difficult reading about every other culture in the EU and beyond.

p.s. the comments make for good reading although they too seem a bit cerebral

sean cull, 2017-10-08

What do we care about a small island that cares about its independence? Independence is understood here as "lonely" and "without allies". They have chosen their direction. Good luck with that. We have much bigger problems to solve, I think.

Robert Krauss, 2017-10-09

For me that part of

But that scene on the morning after the referendum encapsulates my disappointment with the country. Not only the division, but also the way it had been inflamed. Why would you allow a handful of billionaires to poison your national conversation with disinformation—either directly through the tabloids they own, or indirectly, by using those newspapers to intimidate the public broadcaster? Why would you allow them to use their papers to build up and co-opt politicians peddling those lies? Why would you let them get away with this stuff about “foreign judges” and the need to “take back control” when Britain’s own public opinion is routinely manipulated by five or six unaccountable rich white men, themselves either foreigners or foreign-domiciled?

is the striking point. Not only for Brexit but for all western countries at the moment.

Torsten Pinkert, 2017-10-09

For me, the article carries a lesson that goes broader than UK and Brexit. Either return to a society where the overarching majority of society feels able to live a modest life without too much uncertainty, feel their work and efforts are mostly to their own benefit and not somebody/thing else’s (e.g. large corps, special interest groups, people not in need), and feel that they have influence on their destiny and growth potential... or else.

„Else“ are things like Brexit, T****, Af*, etc.

The question is whether the current dilemma will be solved by going back toward a more equal society (not only in wealth- but also opportunity-terms) or whether democratic rights and systems will be constrained or abolished.

Peter Daum, 2017-10-09

We are suffering from a lack of good politicians at the moment and, worse still, have politicians who do not seem capable of acknowledging their shortcomings. We have a populist demagogue media that has become a shameful parody of itself. All work to divide an already divided people. Few are covering themselves in glory at the moment, but it's worth watching how the likes of Sadiq Khan and Ruth Davidson develop, two politicians who already seem more assured and mature than those closer to power in their parties.

Paul Withers, 2017-10-09

A nation gets the politicians it deserves. We sowed the seed, and we're now reaping the whirlwind: decades of under-investment in education have given us a populace that is lazy and ignorant. Similarly, we end up with lazy, ignorant politicians.

The brexit farce is a result of the tories trying to get their house in order. It's insane that an entire nation is paying for the whims of a ludicrous political party that relies on a voting base closer to the grave than the cradle.

Ben Poole, 2017-10-09

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