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Could liberals become the new Brexiteers?

Keep the blue flag flying low. Credit: Getty

June 22, 2023 - 4:00pm

Brexit isn’t just a divisive issue in British politics: it is definitional. According to Deltapoll, 64% of Conservative supporters would vote to stay out of the EU in a second referendum, versus 22% who’d vote to rejoin. For Labour voters, the split is almost exactly reversed. 

In other words, the Right is overwhelmingly pro-Brexit and the Left anti. It is hard to imagine it being any other way. But according to Steve Davies of the Institute for Economic Affairs, it really could. In fact, writing for the Telegraph, he foresees a complete switch around of the Left-wing and Right-wing positions on the EU:

It’s worth noting that we’ve already witnessed one such realignment. In the 1970 and ’80s, Labour was by far the more Eurosceptic party. As recently as 1983, its manifesto promise was to leave the European Economic Community — because continued membership was a “serious obstacle” to the party’s “radical, socialist policies.”

British politics has always been faced with a “European question” — however, every few decades, the essentials of the question change. Until the fall of the Berlin Wall, the basic question was: “is socialism a good thing?”, to which the EU’s answer was “no”. But once the question became “is national sovereignty a good thing” British Remainers became Leavers and vice versa.

To make Left and Right switch positions a second time, the European question would need to change again — to something like “is a common European identity a good thing?”

At the moment, the EU doesn’t really know what it is to be European. A vaguely liberal set of “European values” has been drawn up, but EU citizens can get vague liberalism at home in their own countries. To trump national identity, a European identity would need a harder-edged definition — and, ironically, we see the pressure for that coming from Europe’s national populists.

Across the continent, identitarian parties have emerged from the fringes to gain mainstream power and influence. The latest example is Finland, where, this week, the True Finns party entered government alongside three centre-Right parties.

If this is the shape of things to come, Europe will become a very different place. Hence the Steve Davies theory that the British liberal Left will eventually recoil in horror while many on the Right gaze upon an anti-immigration, anti-globalist and anti-woke EU with longing. 

Yet the liberal Left is very good at not noticing things. For instance, there was a bit of tut-tutting when Giorgia Meloni became the Italian PM, but they’ve been oddly quiet ever since.

Or take immigration. While Lefty celebs scream “Nazi!” at Suella Braverman, there’s scant mention of the draconian drift on the Continent. If the hated Tories were to adopt the Danish approach, for instance, we’d never hear the end of it. 

Even before Brexit, there was the contrast between the reaction to Tory spending cuts at home and to the brutal austerity imposed by the Eurozone authorities on southern Europe. One was met with horror, the other with a shrug. Ardent Remainers may see themselves as more European than British, but they seem remarkably uninvolved in what actually happens there. 

It is possible that something truly seismic could wake them up. A Le Pen presidency in France, for instance. Or a CDU-AfD coalition in Germany. Then, and only then, they might be grateful for Brexit. Still, don’t expect a thank you.


Peter Franklin is Associate Editor of UnHerd. He was previously a policy advisor and speechwriter on environmental and social issues.

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Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

In seven years I haven’t met a remainer who knows anything at all about the EU, the treaties or the institutional machinery, and generally the less they know the angrier they are that we’ve left.

Then I noticed that all the same people were just as fanatical about the lockdowns, masking and all the rest of the COVID paraphernalia.

Perhaps it’s something peculiar to the English middle class, this intense need to be nannied and regimented in every aspect of their lives – a love of bureaucratic authoritarianism for its own sake and a terror of the responsibilities that freedom imposes.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

I also notice the correlation. That is why my repose to any remainer is Covid, Covid, Covid

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

The Pooters now run and control nu britj hew kay… The lower middles reign…

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

I also notice the correlation. That is why my repose to any remainer is Covid, Covid, Covid

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

The Pooters now run and control nu britj hew kay… The lower middles reign…

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

In seven years I haven’t met a remainer who knows anything at all about the EU, the treaties or the institutional machinery, and generally the less they know the angrier they are that we’ve left.

Then I noticed that all the same people were just as fanatical about the lockdowns, masking and all the rest of the COVID paraphernalia.

Perhaps it’s something peculiar to the English middle class, this intense need to be nannied and regimented in every aspect of their lives – a love of bureaucratic authoritarianism for its own sake and a terror of the responsibilities that freedom imposes.

Simon Neale
Simon Neale
1 year ago

There is no “European identity” associated with the EU; why would a customs union need a particular cultural identity? Even if such an identity were to be dreamed up by the EU, it would be dull and hopefully objectionable to all kinds of nationalists within the European continent.
The Europe of different national cultures, though, is a superbly beautiful thing. Think how much these countries have given the world in terms of material prosperity, language, food, and the arts.
I would be very pleased if the European countries were to assert their own strong national identities within a common understanding that they are different, but have a vested interest in trade, defence, and – more than anything else – resisting being destroyed by mass migration.

Daniel P
Daniel P
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Neale

The cultural identity question is super important. It feeds every policy.

Common culture = Common Values = Broadly Accepted Policy

That, more than anything, allowed the US to become what it did.

I do not see the EU lasting or, if it does, it will be a shell of what was envisioned at the outset.

Different cultures, different values, different acceptable policies.

Toss in that each member has a unique language and is unwilling to surrender to a federal authority as in the US or, to be more precise, they refuse to surrender when an EU policy is not one they like.

For the EU to work, you need common values, a common language and a strong federal authority with clear, acceptable, delineation of authority between the member states and the federal government. That is never going to happen without a war. It took the US Civil War to establish the primacy of the US federal government. Until then, the US looked a lot like Europe, each state essentially its own little nation.

Last edited 1 year ago by Daniel P
Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Neale

Catholicism is the European identity. No EU institution would dare admit such a thing, but it’s why you can feel at home in a 19th C. Anglo-Catholic church, France, Hungary, Sicily or the tiny Catholic enclaves in MENA. A delicate, golden thread interwoven through warring nations, weaving a common pattern in disparate nations.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

In parts of Europe it is, but Britain, Germany, Netherlands and Scandinavia were/are all Protestant so I don’t believe you can say the Catholic Church is the defining feature of Europe

Chris Amies
Chris Amies
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

There’s quite a few Catholics in Germany and the Netherlands however. (why Sweden is in the EU I’m not sure. Convenience, I expect). I still think it’s a valid point.

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

There’s a good argument that the EU (not synonymous with Europe) is a Catholic project, despite the fact that Ian Paisley thought it was. One of its originators, Robert Schuman, has been put on the first stage of canonisation by Pope Francis.

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Surely you’ve walked among the ruins of Catholic England, as did Shakespeare? Martin Luther was the proto-Mao and we are still dealing with the fall-out of protestantism, which (with apologies to my protestant brothers) is no more than a bleak mirror image of Catholicism.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
1 year ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

The current number of UK Protestants who know much about the fundamental creedal basis of Protestantism is, I should think, fairly small. I myself, a non-believer of dual Protestant background (Lutheran, Church of Scotland) now have no interest in the Christian faith as faith, but find it interesting as a ‘cultural’ phenomenon or ‘historical problem’.
Perhaps you could outline what the ‘fall-out of Protestantism’ actually is to you. Then I can judge whether the trends you discern exist. For some reason ‘woke’ appears to be attributed to the ‘Protestant fallout’ whereas I think it really has most in common with late medieval Catholicism.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
1 year ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

The current number of UK Protestants who know much about the fundamental creedal basis of Protestantism is, I should think, fairly small. I myself, a non-believer of dual Protestant background (Lutheran, Church of Scotland) now have no interest in the Christian faith as faith, but find it interesting as a ‘cultural’ phenomenon or ‘historical problem’.
Perhaps you could outline what the ‘fall-out of Protestantism’ actually is to you. Then I can judge whether the trends you discern exist. For some reason ‘woke’ appears to be attributed to the ‘Protestant fallout’ whereas I think it really has most in common with late medieval Catholicism.

Chris Amies
Chris Amies
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

There’s quite a few Catholics in Germany and the Netherlands however. (why Sweden is in the EU I’m not sure. Convenience, I expect). I still think it’s a valid point.

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

There’s a good argument that the EU (not synonymous with Europe) is a Catholic project, despite the fact that Ian Paisley thought it was. One of its originators, Robert Schuman, has been put on the first stage of canonisation by Pope Francis.

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Surely you’ve walked among the ruins of Catholic England, as did Shakespeare? Martin Luther was the proto-Mao and we are still dealing with the fall-out of protestantism, which (with apologies to my protestant brothers) is no more than a bleak mirror image of Catholicism.

Chris Amies
Chris Amies
1 year ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

It had occurred to me that this might be why people in other European countries were more accepting of the EU. There is historical precedent for a supranational identity.

Catherine Conroy
Catherine Conroy
1 year ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

There are also Orthodox countries now in the EU and a couple more to join.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

In parts of Europe it is, but Britain, Germany, Netherlands and Scandinavia were/are all Protestant so I don’t believe you can say the Catholic Church is the defining feature of Europe

Chris Amies
Chris Amies
1 year ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

It had occurred to me that this might be why people in other European countries were more accepting of the EU. There is historical precedent for a supranational identity.

Catherine Conroy
Catherine Conroy
1 year ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

There are also Orthodox countries now in the EU and a couple more to join.

Daniel P
Daniel P
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Neale

The cultural identity question is super important. It feeds every policy.

Common culture = Common Values = Broadly Accepted Policy

That, more than anything, allowed the US to become what it did.

I do not see the EU lasting or, if it does, it will be a shell of what was envisioned at the outset.

Different cultures, different values, different acceptable policies.

Toss in that each member has a unique language and is unwilling to surrender to a federal authority as in the US or, to be more precise, they refuse to surrender when an EU policy is not one they like.

For the EU to work, you need common values, a common language and a strong federal authority with clear, acceptable, delineation of authority between the member states and the federal government. That is never going to happen without a war. It took the US Civil War to establish the primacy of the US federal government. Until then, the US looked a lot like Europe, each state essentially its own little nation.

Last edited 1 year ago by Daniel P
Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Neale

Catholicism is the European identity. No EU institution would dare admit such a thing, but it’s why you can feel at home in a 19th C. Anglo-Catholic church, France, Hungary, Sicily or the tiny Catholic enclaves in MENA. A delicate, golden thread interwoven through warring nations, weaving a common pattern in disparate nations.

Simon Neale
Simon Neale
1 year ago

There is no “European identity” associated with the EU; why would a customs union need a particular cultural identity? Even if such an identity were to be dreamed up by the EU, it would be dull and hopefully objectionable to all kinds of nationalists within the European continent.
The Europe of different national cultures, though, is a superbly beautiful thing. Think how much these countries have given the world in terms of material prosperity, language, food, and the arts.
I would be very pleased if the European countries were to assert their own strong national identities within a common understanding that they are different, but have a vested interest in trade, defence, and – more than anything else – resisting being destroyed by mass migration.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
1 year ago

This is mistaken. The right would happily “join Europe” in all sorts of ways: a social health insurance system as in Germany or France; selective education as in Germany; a hard line on migration as in Hungary; traditional policy on family and children as in Poland…
They would not, however, wish to join the fake “Europe” of the EU, for that is no more than a cancerous bureaucracy.
Like all cancers it pretends identity with its unfortunate host, whilst asphyxiating it.
As for the right-wing surge, it is just as much a feature of the British as of any other European nation. It’s failure to manifest itself directly in this country is the perverse result of a two-party FPTP electoral system.
This same system has resulted in a resigned, one might almost say mindless approach on the part of the voters, whose only way of registering dissatisfaction is to lumber between two sets of preening scoundrels. Thus we risk the sight of a conservative electorate committing final cultural suicide by pretending that the cyanide of Labour is a cure for the arsenic of the current Tory party.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Would the right be willing to pay to fund those healthcare models though? They complain how much is spent on the NHS now and it still lags behind those European models

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The NHS receives as much or more as any of those systems already – and wastes it.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Actually the recent large budget increases for the NHS has only now brought it up the levels of funding the French system has received for decades (currently around US$5500 per capita), so not only does the NHS have a historical deficit that it needs to catch up, it’s also expected to provide many more services than the French model covers. It also significantly lags the spending by the Germans, which currently sits at around US$6500 per capita

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

That’s because nobody actually likes paying tax, even left wingers! Apart from the fact that the UK now has more people claiming benefits than paying tax. The sole reliance on one form of funding for healthcare in an ageing population with ever increasing demands is simply not sustainable.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Fisher
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

That’s due to an ageing population (more retirees to support) and an ever increasing number of full time workers requiring government assistance simply to pay the bills. Stagnant wages and high house prices have created a new class of people, the working poor

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Evasion. Full time workers? There are five million economically inactive adults, man! As for your nonsense about “catching up”, the NHS had outcomes little different from today when it was on half the money, proving that money was not the answer. Efficiency’s the answer, which you don’t get from a bloated state monopoly. As for the aged, don’t blame them. Blame the eight millions added to the population inside fifteen years from overseas; and don’t bore readers with the usual left wing rubbish which pretends that “migrants” sustain the NHS. They are scarcely qualified to be orderlies, let alone nurses or doctors and many of them make up the five million inactive ones. Even at the best, as a House of Lords report found, Blair levels of migration had granted the British population a pay rise of 63 pence a year – and that is looking more and more like a wild over estimation. And no, anticipating the last flatulent blast, this is not “blaming the migrants”; it is blaming migration, as engineered or connived at by swinish reds.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

In a discussion I find it’s best to respond to what I’ve actually said, rather than answering questions that weren’t asked simply so you can rant your predetermined agenda. Not once have I mentioned immigration so I’m not sure why you’ve brought it up. For what it’s worth I’m reasonably anti immigration as I believe it’s been abused, with large numbers of low skilled workers imported in order to keep wages low and house prices high, which goes back to my previous point of full time workers requiring government assistance simply to put food on the table.
Your implication that the country has 5 million dole bludgers is also misleading. Economically inactive can mean many things, such as being a stay at home mum, a full time student or a full time career for a family member. Should these people be forced to join the labour market? Only 1.5 million claim an unemployment benefit (out of a working age population of 38 million) so unemployment is already low, and if it went much lower your no doubt then be complaining that workers being in a position of strength to demand higher wages was pushing up inflation.
A final point in relation to the health service, Germany actually spends a higher percentage of its budget on admin than the NHS does, due to it effectively being run by multiple agencies (and subsequent duplication of paperwork and management positions) using public money. I don’t know what the answer is to improving the NHS, but lazily pointing at foreign models as superior because of “the market” without acknowledging that the Germans spent triple the amount on hospital infrastructure compared to the UK in the decade leading up to 2020 adds nothing to the debate

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

More evasion. Germany can spend more on health because the pathway is direct. The NHS supplied by general taxation lies at the far end of a complex bureaucratic cat’s cradle. Ergo, abolish the socialist NHS. When you’ve got a substantive argument, come back.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

The money to fund the system in Germany also comes from general taxation, and as I mentioned before as a % the administration costs in the German model are actually higher than in the NHS.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

What a neatly mendacious use of “also”, easily parsed as meaning that German healthcare is centrally funded and controlled, whilst alternatively meaning that German healthcare receives a portion of its money from general taxation. We both know that the second is the true interpretation, but you are hoping that readers will be taken in by the first, are you not?

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

What a neatly mendacious use of “also”, easily parsed as meaning that German healthcare is centrally funded and controlled, whilst alternatively meaning that German healthcare receives a portion of its money from general taxation. We both know that the second is the true interpretation, but you are hoping that readers will be taken in by the first, are you not?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

The money to fund the system in Germany also comes from general taxation, and as I mentioned before as a % the administration costs in the German model are actually higher than in the NHS.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

More evasion. Germany can spend more on health because the pathway is direct. The NHS supplied by general taxation lies at the far end of a complex bureaucratic cat’s cradle. Ergo, abolish the socialist NHS. When you’ve got a substantive argument, come back.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

In a discussion I find it’s best to respond to what I’ve actually said, rather than answering questions that weren’t asked simply so you can rant your predetermined agenda. Not once have I mentioned immigration so I’m not sure why you’ve brought it up. For what it’s worth I’m reasonably anti immigration as I believe it’s been abused, with large numbers of low skilled workers imported in order to keep wages low and house prices high, which goes back to my previous point of full time workers requiring government assistance simply to put food on the table.
Your implication that the country has 5 million dole bludgers is also misleading. Economically inactive can mean many things, such as being a stay at home mum, a full time student or a full time career for a family member. Should these people be forced to join the labour market? Only 1.5 million claim an unemployment benefit (out of a working age population of 38 million) so unemployment is already low, and if it went much lower your no doubt then be complaining that workers being in a position of strength to demand higher wages was pushing up inflation.
A final point in relation to the health service, Germany actually spends a higher percentage of its budget on admin than the NHS does, due to it effectively being run by multiple agencies (and subsequent duplication of paperwork and management positions) using public money. I don’t know what the answer is to improving the NHS, but lazily pointing at foreign models as superior because of “the market” without acknowledging that the Germans spent triple the amount on hospital infrastructure compared to the UK in the decade leading up to 2020 adds nothing to the debate

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Evasion. Full time workers? There are five million economically inactive adults, man! As for your nonsense about “catching up”, the NHS had outcomes little different from today when it was on half the money, proving that money was not the answer. Efficiency’s the answer, which you don’t get from a bloated state monopoly. As for the aged, don’t blame them. Blame the eight millions added to the population inside fifteen years from overseas; and don’t bore readers with the usual left wing rubbish which pretends that “migrants” sustain the NHS. They are scarcely qualified to be orderlies, let alone nurses or doctors and many of them make up the five million inactive ones. Even at the best, as a House of Lords report found, Blair levels of migration had granted the British population a pay rise of 63 pence a year – and that is looking more and more like a wild over estimation. And no, anticipating the last flatulent blast, this is not “blaming the migrants”; it is blaming migration, as engineered or connived at by swinish reds.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

That’s due to an ageing population (more retirees to support) and an ever increasing number of full time workers requiring government assistance simply to pay the bills. Stagnant wages and high house prices have created a new class of people, the working poor

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

That’s because nobody actually likes paying tax, even left wingers! Apart from the fact that the UK now has more people claiming benefits than paying tax. The sole reliance on one form of funding for healthcare in an ageing population with ever increasing demands is simply not sustainable.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Fisher
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Actually the recent large budget increases for the NHS has only now brought it up the levels of funding the French system has received for decades (currently around US$5500 per capita), so not only does the NHS have a historical deficit that it needs to catch up, it’s also expected to provide many more services than the French model covers. It also significantly lags the spending by the Germans, which currently sits at around US$6500 per capita

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The NHS receives as much or more as any of those systems already – and wastes it.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Would the right be willing to pay to fund those healthcare models though? They complain how much is spent on the NHS now and it still lags behind those European models

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
1 year ago

This is mistaken. The right would happily “join Europe” in all sorts of ways: a social health insurance system as in Germany or France; selective education as in Germany; a hard line on migration as in Hungary; traditional policy on family and children as in Poland…
They would not, however, wish to join the fake “Europe” of the EU, for that is no more than a cancerous bureaucracy.
Like all cancers it pretends identity with its unfortunate host, whilst asphyxiating it.
As for the right-wing surge, it is just as much a feature of the British as of any other European nation. It’s failure to manifest itself directly in this country is the perverse result of a two-party FPTP electoral system.
This same system has resulted in a resigned, one might almost say mindless approach on the part of the voters, whose only way of registering dissatisfaction is to lumber between two sets of preening scoundrels. Thus we risk the sight of a conservative electorate committing final cultural suicide by pretending that the cyanide of Labour is a cure for the arsenic of the current Tory party.

John Galt Was Correct
John Galt Was Correct
1 year ago

There is no comprehension of the rightward shift in the EU because at heart, UK ‘remainers’ are utterly parochial. They ironically barely see outside of the UK, and when they do, only as far as ‘Europe’.

John Galt Was Correct
John Galt Was Correct
1 year ago

There is no comprehension of the rightward shift in the EU because at heart, UK ‘remainers’ are utterly parochial. They ironically barely see outside of the UK, and when they do, only as far as ‘Europe’.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago

The Dutch government is actually turning Extreme Left. Currently a new law is being drawn up in which local councils get to choose who can buy your property if you sell it for 355,000 euros or less. This already with a national rent cap of 1000 euros or less on private rentals regardless of whether landlords’ monthly payments are higher or not. Not only that but plans are underway to introduce a capital gains tax even on primary properties. It’s basically becoming impossible to get rich legally in the Netherlands.
Such state intervention in the housing market hasn’t been seen since the time East Germany was ruled by the DDR. There is some speculation that the Netherlands, with its small geographic size and compliant population, is a testing ground for future WEF policy. There does seem to be an ideological movement underway to thoroughly drain the Dutch middle classes of all their wealth under the guise of supporting the less fortunate. Basically the Dutch government is transgressing basic property rights.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago

The Dutch government is actually turning Extreme Left. Currently a new law is being drawn up in which local councils get to choose who can buy your property if you sell it for 355,000 euros or less. This already with a national rent cap of 1000 euros or less on private rentals regardless of whether landlords’ monthly payments are higher or not. Not only that but plans are underway to introduce a capital gains tax even on primary properties. It’s basically becoming impossible to get rich legally in the Netherlands.
Such state intervention in the housing market hasn’t been seen since the time East Germany was ruled by the DDR. There is some speculation that the Netherlands, with its small geographic size and compliant population, is a testing ground for future WEF policy. There does seem to be an ideological movement underway to thoroughly drain the Dutch middle classes of all their wealth under the guise of supporting the less fortunate. Basically the Dutch government is transgressing basic property rights.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago

Could liberals become the new Brexiteers?
And for my next trick I will heard lemmings away from the cliff

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago

Could liberals become the new Brexiteers?
And for my next trick I will heard lemmings away from the cliff

David Collier
David Collier
1 year ago

From the perspective of someone who wafts around European countries a fair bit, more than many do anyway, I can say that there definitely is a European identity. People from European countries are much more alike than they are with an American, say, an Australian, and definitely from someone from a more obviously divergent region such as the middle- or far- east. They are also regional, e.g. someone from England be easily distinguished from an Italian. Usually. But that doesn’t make them any less European. Pinpointing exactly what it is that determines these identities is hard, a lot of it is to do with history, and a lot with attitude to the world. All countries, everywhere, have people who believe in a protectionist and inward-looking society, contrasting with those who have an expansionist and encompassing approach. With gradations in between.
The idea that one sort or another would gain greater fashionable approval of the EU is surely little more than an ongoing Brexit argument, specific to the UK’s current state of uncertainty about what to do with itself. I can’t see it being an issue in any other European country especially.

Last edited 1 year ago by David Collier
David Lindsay
David Lindsay
1 year ago

“Even before Brexit, there was the contrast between the reaction to Tory spending cuts at home and to the brutal austerity imposed by the Eurozone authorities on southern Europe”? Speak for yourself.

David Lindsay
David Lindsay
1 year ago

“Even before Brexit, there was the contrast between the reaction to Tory spending cuts at home and to the brutal austerity imposed by the Eurozone authorities on southern Europe”? Speak for yourself.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

Yes quite possible based on history. But isn’t part the trouble everyone needs to be defined as Left or Right, and fairly far out on each spectrum? Is this always helpful? In reality vast majority are moderately in the middle and aren’t that bothered as long as the key things in life are being well managed.
It’s quite discernible considerable majority think Brexit been a failure (incl. Farage of course), but that doesn’t mean a majority want to re-join tmoro. Most have probably grasped that’s not an option and we have to make the best of the bed we laid, at least for a generation. By which time the EU will have further evolved itself and we’ll see.
However re-joining the Single Market a greater possibility. Folks are less worried about EU Free movement than they were. They’ve seen the labour shortages and what that means. They’ve seen the massive increase in non EU immigration. And they are reflecting that actually perhaps it wasn’t quite as bad as was made out. Don’t think it’s going to happen tmoro but it’s chances have significantly increased. The fact we’d only have ‘consultation’ rights to some of the market rules might ‘suck’ but appetite may depend on how quickly we get ourselves together with an alternative approach and we’ve shown that ain’t so easy haven’t we. Tories were great champions of the SM so of course this a quite possible ideological volte-face that could pulled when time is right.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

That’s a very middle class perspective, I think, and even then not one shared by anyone whose kids are trying to rent in any of our major cities.

Stephen Solly
Stephen Solly
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

But it might be a perspective shared by the thousands of kids (and adults) who would relish the opportunity to work in the EU. I also suspect that thousands of businesses would also again like unfettered access to the world’s most successful free trade zone.
The SM option is worth exploring.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Solly

Of course businesses want it, it’s a source of cheap labour for them. The fact it has significant social costs (such as in work benefits now costing more than the dole) doesn’t matter to them as they’re effectively being subsidised by the taxpayer

Stephen Solly
Stephen Solly
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I think business also likes the opportunity to trade freely. Its not all about cheap labour. It’s about access!

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Solly

Most trade with the EU doesn’t incur any tariffs

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Solly

Most trade with the EU doesn’t incur any tariffs

Stephen Solly
Stephen Solly
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I think business also likes the opportunity to trade freely. Its not all about cheap labour. It’s about access!

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Solly

A minority interest. The vast majority of people have never and will never work in the EU. Apart from anything else, Brits lack the language skills.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Solly

Of course businesses want it, it’s a source of cheap labour for them. The fact it has significant social costs (such as in work benefits now costing more than the dole) doesn’t matter to them as they’re effectively being subsidised by the taxpayer

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Solly

A minority interest. The vast majority of people have never and will never work in the EU. Apart from anything else, Brits lack the language skills.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

All true, but 90% of grads I spoke to in London, complain about cost of renting.
While at the same time are woke and for open boarders.
When these contradictions are pointed out to them, they plainly deny that there is connection between housing trends and mass immigration because either Guardian, James oBrien on LBC or Navara Media says so.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew F

The insistence that the unaffordability of accomodation has no connection with immigration is the best evidence there is that leftists are either terminally dumb or operating in utter bad faith.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew F

The insistence that the unaffordability of accomodation has no connection with immigration is the best evidence there is that leftists are either terminally dumb or operating in utter bad faith.

Stephen Solly
Stephen Solly
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

But it might be a perspective shared by the thousands of kids (and adults) who would relish the opportunity to work in the EU. I also suspect that thousands of businesses would also again like unfettered access to the world’s most successful free trade zone.
The SM option is worth exploring.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

All true, but 90% of grads I spoke to in London, complain about cost of renting.
While at the same time are woke and for open boarders.
When these contradictions are pointed out to them, they plainly deny that there is connection between housing trends and mass immigration because either Guardian, James oBrien on LBC or Navara Media says so.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The majority that voted to leave aren’t going to want uncontrolled immigration to resume, it’s one of the major reasons they voted to leave in the first place. The Tories were being (rightly) attacked recently for simply replacing it with Non EU immigration so to say it’s no longer an issue for most is I think incorrect.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Yes with your first sentence BB, but I think you are assuming we applied all the rules on Free Movement that existed when we were in the EU. We fundamentally didn’t. It’s one of the biggest ‘con-jobs’ that no controls were available. For example the Charter articles allowed countries to insist jobs advertised locally first, minimum capital requirements for migrants (cÂŁ30k), any benefits paid in first few years at the same value of a benefit in their home country, no employment and must return etc. And of course there is nothing to stop our own Govt creating tax and business incentives to not import cheap labour but rather to invest and train locally. As it is of course Poles and some others are increasingly going to find no richer a country than their own so some flows would rebalance anyway.
Now I do agree it was a Business/Tory hidden strategy to not deploy these options in order to maintain cheap labour benefits to companies as well as neutralise organised labour in the UK. They thought they’d win the referendum anyway and didn’t need to start using these levers.
So where we disagree I suspect is on how ‘controlled’ free movement could have been, and probably could be in the future. EU will have learnt some lessons too of course and furthermore UK would have some allies in the EU to some tightening on the rules. Had we played our hand better before Leave we’d have probably won that argument then. Of course a better approach to migration wouldn’t remove the Brexit argument on Sovereignty but we know that’s alot of gibberish that would not alone have resulted in leave.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Poor last sentence – some less polite people might say “gibberish”.
.
Presumably the “we” in it represents the Remain community.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Barton
j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

The broader public increasingly know it. We’re still overwhelmingly following their rules, paying the French a fortune to patrol sand dunes, tied to the Windsor agreement & TCA, deciding not to junk 4.5k bits of EU legislation, and desperate to get back into shared research projects. And the key thing public wanted was migration controls and that’s increased.
Sure they’ll be some Remainers always thought the sovereignty argument in the modern world nostalgic nonsense, but they are irrelevant really. It’s Leave voters and those who never thought much about it now who are gradually grasping was a false prospectus.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

The broader public increasingly know it. We’re still overwhelmingly following their rules, paying the French a fortune to patrol sand dunes, tied to the Windsor agreement & TCA, deciding not to junk 4.5k bits of EU legislation, and desperate to get back into shared research projects. And the key thing public wanted was migration controls and that’s increased.
Sure they’ll be some Remainers always thought the sovereignty argument in the modern world nostalgic nonsense, but they are irrelevant really. It’s Leave voters and those who never thought much about it now who are gradually grasping was a false prospectus.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Poor last sentence – some less polite people might say “gibberish”.
.
Presumably the “we” in it represents the Remain community.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Barton
j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Yes with your first sentence BB, but I think you are assuming we applied all the rules on Free Movement that existed when we were in the EU. We fundamentally didn’t. It’s one of the biggest ‘con-jobs’ that no controls were available. For example the Charter articles allowed countries to insist jobs advertised locally first, minimum capital requirements for migrants (cÂŁ30k), any benefits paid in first few years at the same value of a benefit in their home country, no employment and must return etc. And of course there is nothing to stop our own Govt creating tax and business incentives to not import cheap labour but rather to invest and train locally. As it is of course Poles and some others are increasingly going to find no richer a country than their own so some flows would rebalance anyway.
Now I do agree it was a Business/Tory hidden strategy to not deploy these options in order to maintain cheap labour benefits to companies as well as neutralise organised labour in the UK. They thought they’d win the referendum anyway and didn’t need to start using these levers.
So where we disagree I suspect is on how ‘controlled’ free movement could have been, and probably could be in the future. EU will have learnt some lessons too of course and furthermore UK would have some allies in the EU to some tightening on the rules. Had we played our hand better before Leave we’d have probably won that argument then. Of course a better approach to migration wouldn’t remove the Brexit argument on Sovereignty but we know that’s alot of gibberish that would not alone have resulted in leave.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

That’s a very middle class perspective, I think, and even then not one shared by anyone whose kids are trying to rent in any of our major cities.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The majority that voted to leave aren’t going to want uncontrolled immigration to resume, it’s one of the major reasons they voted to leave in the first place. The Tories were being (rightly) attacked recently for simply replacing it with Non EU immigration so to say it’s no longer an issue for most is I think incorrect.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

Yes quite possible based on history. But isn’t part the trouble everyone needs to be defined as Left or Right, and fairly far out on each spectrum? Is this always helpful? In reality vast majority are moderately in the middle and aren’t that bothered as long as the key things in life are being well managed.
It’s quite discernible considerable majority think Brexit been a failure (incl. Farage of course), but that doesn’t mean a majority want to re-join tmoro. Most have probably grasped that’s not an option and we have to make the best of the bed we laid, at least for a generation. By which time the EU will have further evolved itself and we’ll see.
However re-joining the Single Market a greater possibility. Folks are less worried about EU Free movement than they were. They’ve seen the labour shortages and what that means. They’ve seen the massive increase in non EU immigration. And they are reflecting that actually perhaps it wasn’t quite as bad as was made out. Don’t think it’s going to happen tmoro but it’s chances have significantly increased. The fact we’d only have ‘consultation’ rights to some of the market rules might ‘suck’ but appetite may depend on how quickly we get ourselves together with an alternative approach and we’ve shown that ain’t so easy haven’t we. Tories were great champions of the SM so of course this a quite possible ideological volte-face that could pulled when time is right.