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Defiance Towards Brussels Hides the Reality – English Power Is Ebbing
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I met pleased and gloomy people in the first half of last year when I travelled around the UK writing about the potential impact of Brexit. But by far the happiest of those I interviewed were veteran Irish republicans in Belfast, mostly present or past members of Sinn Fein, who had devoted their lives to opposing British rule.

They grasped that Brexit had made the question of the Irish border a live political issue by turning it into an international frontier. This was no longer just a 310-mile-long dividing line between the UK and the Irish Republic but the border between the UK and the EU.

Irish nationalists had been trying to interest the rest of the world in the partition of Ireland since it happened in 1921 but had failed dismally. Now the British government was self-destructively doing their work for them, significantly eroding the status of Northern Ireland as part of the UK.

Unionist fears that they would be sold out have been amply fulfilled, an outcome confirmed this week by the EU-UK government deal on the Irish Sea border, which is complicated and confusing – perhaps deliberately so – but means in practice that there will be trade barriers between Northern Ireland and Britain, though not between the Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. Unionist papers now refer to an “Irish Sea border” as a done deal. At the same time, Boris Johnson dropped the much-criticised clauses in the Internal Market Bill that would have enabled his government to renege on the sea border.

Former leaders of the Brexiteers, propelled into power by claiming to be “taking back control”, are coy about what they have done, but the British state is ceding a large measure of authority over part of the UK. Northern Ireland will in future abide by EU customs regulations and “single market” rules and the rest of the UK will not. Unsurprisingly, the pro-Brexit British media that has been booming defiance towards Brussels in the last few days and telling Johnson to stand firm is largely mute about this diminution in the real power of the British government.

The unionists in Northern Ireland are not so shy in expressing their sense of betrayal. “The prime minister will always do what is right for him personally, then for his party, then for England,” says a bitter editorial in the unionist News Letter quoted by The Irish Times. “He showed pure cynicism when he came to Northern Ireland to denounce Theresa May’s border backstop … Within months he had the premiership he had spent a lifetime coveting, and within weeks of achieving that goal he was cutting the province adrift.”

Of course, anybody putting their trust in anybody so openly duplicitous as Johnson does not deserve much sympathy. Arlene Foster and the Democratic Unionist Party, for all their reputation for ruthless pragmatism, showed child-like naivety in imagining that the Conservative Party’s embrace would last a second longer than its dependence on the DUP for its majority in the House of Commons.

But the tortured emergence of the “Irish Sea border”, together with the dropping of the disputed clauses in the Internal Market Bill, does more than provide further example of Johnson’s untrustworthiness. They are the outcome of changes in the balance of power on a number of fronts, all negative for Britain. The first is between Protestants/unionists and Catholics/nationalists in Northern Ireland. The dominance of the former has been slipping away since the start of the Troubles in 1968, a decline recognised and institutionalised by the Good Friday Agreement 30 years later.

The balance between the two communities will change further as the unionists/Protestants lose their demographic majority in the upcoming census.

The outcome of the struggle over the location of the Irish border is more than just an Irish issue; it has been a crucial test of strength between post-Brexit Britain and the Irish Republic, the EU itself, and the US as Joe Biden becomes president. The result of the test is to show that global Britain is a shrunken power, regardless of the outcome of the current trade talks.

This does not mean that Irish unity is around the corner. The unionists are just as tough as the nationalists. Not many of them think that they would be better off in the Irish Republic, but what has changed is that a large chunk of the nationalist community who previously thought they were better off in the UK no longer do so. “You would not find many nationalists post-Brexit who would not vote for a united Ireland in a new border poll,” one commentator told me last year.

What was true then is even more true now. I was struck at that time by the cavalier ignorance of the Brexit leaders about the Irish border issue. They spoke of it being policed by technical means, failing to note that most of it runs through nationalist areas and any device monitoring it would be smashed within minutes of being installed. A year later I witnessed the same blend of ignorance, poor judgement and incompetence at work as Johnson’s government grappled with the coronavirus epidemic.

There is something darkly comic about Britain under a leadership of proven ineptitude, and deliberately shorn of allies, planning to outcompete the rest of the world. The problem is that the Conservative Party, as it transforms into an exclusively English nationalist party, has the virtues and vices of nationalist movements everywhere. There is nothing peculiarly British about this: most people in the world see the nation state as the best vehicle for their loyalties, something exemplified by the response to the pandemic when every nation – including the 27 members of the EU – consulted their own interests first and last.

ORDER IT NOW

Nationalists suffer from two weaknesses in particular: they blame everything that goes wrong on an external oppressor, such as, in Britain’s case, Brussels. Second, they are blind to the nationalism of others, seeing it as phoney and inspired by base motives like economic greed, and entirely different from their own pristine patriotism. The Brexiteers never considered how their own English nationalism would affect Ireland and Scotland. Yet the last 15 opinion polls in Scotland show that a majority of Scots now favour independence. Even if this does not happen soon, the “Scottish question” is going to be a dominant theme in British politics in the coming decades, just as the “Irish question” once was.

We are not yet seeing the final break-up of the UK, but the ebbing of English power within the British Isles as a whole is becoming ever more visible. Ireland has a thirteenth of the population of the UK but has become a political rival to be taken seriously because it is backed, at least for the moment, by the EU and the US. No wonder those Sinn Fein leaders in Belfast were looking so happy.

(Republished from The Independent by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Brexit, Britain, EU 
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  1. Notsofast says:

    The english need to get out of ireland let the irish determine their own fate. Let scotland grow a pair and become scotland again. If the welch are wise they would follow suit. Leave england to the international banksters that own it. Screw the german royal family that do nothing but smile and wave while collecting their millions.

  2. German_reader says:

    The problem is that the Conservative Party, as it transforms into an exclusively English nationalist party

    “English nationalist party”, lol. If only.
    The whole Irish issue looks pretty anachronistic, the way things are going now both England and Ireland will have become unrecognizable through mass immigration long before the end of this century.

    • Replies: @GeeBee
    , @Despair
  3. There are some easily recognisable British character types (and I would include the Irish in this). Of interest here is the one who seems to celebrate every possible negative outcome for Britain, for England, for Englishness. This combined with a smart mouth and an unearned stature from which to condescend make a fairly unattractive package.

    For a tiny nation the UK, England do well and have much to be proud of. Brexit is a triumph for ordinary people who are not on board with the global program. Belittle it as you like, predict whatever disaster you want. Nothing changes.

    Were one to draw a map of the world showing countries sizes as equivalent to their soft power England is about the size of the entire EU and this is unlikely to change any time soon.

    Still, if writing this has made you feel better Mr Cockburn, bully for you.

    • Replies: @showmethereal
  4. Cockburn himself admits above that soon

    unionists/Protestants lose their demographic majority in the upcoming census

    meaning that majority Catholics in the north will vote in the near future, to unite with the Irish Republic, angry Protestants notwithstanding … so how is Boris at fault, for letting go of a Northern Ireland that will soon vote to leave anyway?

    Cockburn’s Boris-bashing and claims of ‘decline of England’ does not account for how Brexit may have been a terrifically smart play, with Brexit secretly supported by City of London bankers right from the beginning

    EU leaders openly fret about the new ‘Singapore just offshore of Europe’ that is now England … which has been freed from obligation to submit to EU banking rules etc, and freed from any obligation to help bail-out EU banks when the EU currency begins to crumble and EU banks have their big upcoming crisis

    Between USA problems & EU problems, England is now poised to be the Western financial centre, with its courts the prime venue for international business arbitration … it is a phase of a new kind of ‘English power’, rather than marking England ebbing away

    • Replies: @GeeBee
  5. sozi says: • Website

    “most people in the world see the nation state as the best vehicle for their loyalties”

    Not so sure about that. Chinese consider their state a ‘civilizational state’ in contrast to the concept of a nation state. India with its hundred or so languages is hardly a nation state, nor is the Philippines, Indonesia or Pakistan. That’s bringing us close to 4 billion people already, without considering Iran or Russia, also often offered as examples of civilizational states.

    This site often bandies about concepts like nation and race that are, particularly in how they are discussed here, contingent on the trans-atlantic and ‘european’ experience. I mean, they are couched in the experience of the pelagaeic extractive empires and their successor states, and have little relevance for the historical development of the continental empires including the Austrian, Russian and those further east, and their successor states. True, the further west these states are the more they tend to blindingly adopt euro-atlantic concepts as the norm. But the plague of the west is that they take their finite, contingent development and the concepts borne of it as universal. As their share of global weath, inflated by the discovery of the new world and oil, diminishes, so will the sway of their worldview.

    Britain’s deeply bourgeois ethos and its evangelism thereof have always been anathema to true conservatives and traditionalists, good riddance.

    • Agree: showmethereal
    • Thanks: nokangaroos
    • Replies: @Coconuts
  6. GeeBee says:
    @German_reader

    Well said – I would have made an almost identical comment if you hadn’t beaten me to it. Cockburn is, as usual, talking utter – if sadly predictable – garbage.

  7. GeeBee says:
    @brabantian

    Between USA problems & EU problems, England is now poised to be the Western financial centre, with its courts the prime venue for international business arbitration … it is a phase of a new kind of ‘English power’

    Yes indeed. Even before Brexit it was the case that the portion of the whole of the UK’s economy generated by the City of London (i.e. the financial centre forming a small part of greater London) was arguably more than 50%. Or in other words, the City of London alone had an economy larger than that of countries such as Australia, Mexico and Spain, possibly even larger than Canada or Russia.

    This is hardly something England should brag about of course, as we all know who is driving the City of London juggernaut…

    • Replies: @nokangaroos
  8. Despair says:
    @German_reader

    The whole Irish issue looks pretty anachronistic,

    Northern Ireland exists because it was supposed to be a haven for protestants in a majority Catholic Ireland. Culturally, Ulster protestants see themselves as part of the anti-Papist realm that was headed by William of Orange. Hence the Orangeman marches there.

    This doesn’t make sense now, because England is no longer a protestant nation. It’s not even Christian of any kind. To have a protectorat across the Irish sea for something that makes no intellecutual sense either to the avrage secular Englishman or the secular Tory government is no longer tenable.

    As far as I can see, many Ulster protestants are true to their faith, but their champion under whose aegis they fell has become weak and feeble. England is too busy gorging itself on gassy beer and porn to care what happens in Ireland. I think this is a disaster.

    The Ulster protestants are going to have to fend for themselves.

    May God have mercy.

    • Replies: @Expletive Deleted
  9. @GeeBee

    If indeed it is over 50% (what on Earth do they produce?), good for them …
    as indeed the entire Brexit brouhaha is predicated on it – free the City of restraints and to hell with everything else.
    Cockburn is right on one thing, these are not the actions of a confident or even hopeful nation.

    Let us, then, add insult (EU border along Hadrian´s wall)
    to injury (the one in the Irish Sea) 😛

    • Replies: @GeeBee
  10. Jimmy1969 says:

    Patty: English Power has been ebbing since the end of WWI. Britain was on food stamps until the late 50s. It has been a long long journeys into night. The US is soon going to follow suit as China is now the man.

  11. @Notsofast

    I thought it was the British who were in Ireland? Who are these ‘English’ everybody keeps referring to?

    • Replies: @Notsofast
    , @Coconuts
  12. GeeBee says:
    @nokangaroos

    what on Earth do they produce?

    It’s the financial sector, so I would never disagree with anyone who suggested that they essentially ‘produce’ nothing of any real value. On the contrary, I would argue that much of what they get up to is actually negative if not downright deleterious. Nonetheless, the contribution of this geographically tiny part of London (the City of London is famously nicknamed ‘the square mile’, while Greater London’s total surface area is almost 500 square miles) to the UK’s GDP is vast, so much so that, as I said, ‘The City’ has a GDP greater than that of many leading countries like Spain, Australia and Canada..

    • Replies: @nokangaroos
  13. English power is certainly ebbing. German power is making a comeback. In fact, it is really taking the place that it should have occupied long ago. The English, that is the English elite, needed to start two world wars to keep down Germany as the continents number one power. When the British saw the modern battleships built by the Kaisers Germany before WW 1 and things like Germany becoming the largest steel producer in the world, their position immediately felt threatened, so they began their usual balance of power manipulations aimed at continental Europe and Germany. The lies and hate they continually spread are now legendary. Again, this was the English elite, not the common man on the street in England. The same process was recreated before WW 2 by England. What should have been a European civil war at most, become a World War, due to English manipulations ultimately aided by anti-German forces in the U.S.

    Today, the German economy is far greater than the British economy, almost one and a half its size. This process would have happened had the two world wars not happened. The English empire was breaking up. Its colonies were rebelling and with good reason. In India, for example, the British had so robbed that nation of its riches for so long, that it took an estimated 40 trillion dollars in today’s wealth from India, setting it back for over one hundred years. These facts are real and personally speaking, I’m an admirer of the British, a much more balanced and polite people’s than the Germans, which is my own background. But things are what they are. England for various reasons, much of them not being their own fault, will continue to decline. My own view of England’s present predicament, is that the international left’s grip on England, is the cause.

    • Agree: GeeBee
    • Replies: @Coconuts
    , @Joe Paluka
    , @Daisy
  14. Notsofast says:
    @Tom Rogers

    Ask a real irishman or scot and they’ll tell you who the english are. There’s a little history there you’re missing.

    • Replies: @GeeBee
  15. GeeBee says:
    @Notsofast

    Or, indeed, any Welshman…

    • Agree: Notsofast
  16. Coconuts says:
    @Dr. Charles Fhandrich

    In India, for example, the British had so robbed that nation of its riches for so long, that it took an estimated 40 trillion dollars in today’s wealth from India, setting it back for over one hundred years. These facts are real…

    This particular ‘fact’ was arrived at by an Indian Marxist nationalist economic historian using creative methods and involving some interesting Marxist assumptions.

  17. A123 says:

    For Northern Ireland, the UK is already signalling that they intend turn a blind eye to theoretically illegal border crossing. Irish citizens will drive to NI malls and other shopping venues and freely return home. Less expensive, Non-EU compliant, goods will flood South.

    Is it technically “smuggling” when the border is physically open and one side doesn’t care?

    The authoritarian EU has no ability to commit massive amounts of force to closing the I-NI border. As a result, they face a certain fate if their profound incompetence generates a No Deal Brexit:

    The reason why the UK is so confident is that they know they have the winning hand. The absurd hubris of German/EU arrogance is headed towards the edge of a cliff.

    If you need further proof, Hungary and Poland just achieved 100% victory over Mutti Merkel and her SJW Brussels Elites. (1). All the UK has to do is stand firm. The schizophrenic EU will inevitably concede.

    If the UK is “Ebbing”, the Brussels SJW Globalist Elites are “Plummeting into a Chasm”. The void is so deep, it makes the Mariana Trench look like a pothole.”

    PEACE 😇
    _______

    (1) https://www.forbes.com/sites/pascaledavies/2020/12/13/eu-rule-of-law-compromise-reveals-major-shift-in-how-bloc-handles-crises/

  18. Catholic/Protestant Unionists are wise/dumb to desire to remain in the UK.

    The key to having good (i.e. not totally sucky) government is for the governed to maintain a healthy hatred for their government.

  19. Coconuts says:
    @Tom Rogers

    The English are Northern Irish Unionists apparently.

  20. The problem with Ulster Protestants is that in the 20’s they’d carved out, backed by the British- too much.

    Historical Ulster consisted of 9 counties, at that time with a slight Catholic republican majority. So, Ulstermen & their leadership took 6 out of 9 counties, where they remained a solid, 65% majority- although, due to different concentration of population, they were a clear majority only in 2, perhaps 3 out of those 6 counties. Hadn’t they been so greedy, and had a population transfer occurred, there would have been now a safe British Protestant Ulster, with 2 or max 3 counties.

    If you try to chew more than you can swallow, you may as well end up suffocating yourself.

  21. @GeeBee

    Yes …
    what I do not get is how the Brits seem to happily (and defiantly) resign themselves to a Hong Kong-like future, shamefully in the shadows laundering money and evading taxes but precious little else.
    Seriously, I´m at a loss 🙂

    • Replies: @GeeBee
  22. @Notsofast

    If given half a chance the Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland would have slaughtered each other. It’d have come down to religious genocide for one sect or the other, and it was only the Good Friday Agreement that allowed the internecine hatred to evaporate away over a couple of generations.

    As for Scotland, it had an independence referendum just 6 years ago – the people voted to remain part of Britain by a 10% margin . Though I doubt they would vote the same way now given that Brexit is an essentially English invention.

    • Replies: @Notsofast
    , @Pheasant
  23. Rahan says:

    The Brit original anglo-zionist deep state is on the verge of repeating the “sparking off the Germany vs USSR massacre” clandestine diplomacy victory, with the USA and China as current players.

    The Brits have already ensnared the US in the “five eyes” thing which is basically a web of Brit protectorates pushing at the US from all sides while pretending to be its vassals.

    If the USA and China use up each other today in a meaningless total war, the way Germany and Russia used up each other in the 1940s, all of the sudden Britain and its networks aren’t going to seem so puny. Especially if it pulls off a parallel EU-Turkey-Russia conflagration in some point.

    Suddenly, when the dust clears, it may very well turn out Britain is the last transvestite standing. Even India is likely to provide a billion biomass material for the conflict, if London decides that that’s what it takes.

  24. Miro23 says:

    The problem is that the Conservative Party, as it transforms into an exclusively English nationalist party,

    If there’s one thing the Conservative Party isn’t it’s nationalist.

    In case Cockburn hadn’t noticed, nationalism is now a dirty word. The new key words are “diversity”, “BLM”, “white privilege” and the whole BBC counter-cultural (read anti-ethnic British activism) promoted by the UK elite – both Conservative and Labour (now both terms of only historic interest).

    Great Britain is a key part of the Zio-Reich (NWO), having been invaded and occupied along with the rest of the Anglo world (US/ Canada/ Australia) and it just follows orders whether WMD, Syria, Libya, anti-China activism, anti-Russia activism, Covid hysteria etc. The idea that Brexit has anything to do with British independence is laughable – The country is in decline/collapse mode the same as the US.

  25. GeeBee says:
    @nokangaroos

    Seriously, I’m at a loss

    I imagine that Lord Rothschild might be able to offer an explanation! As for the rest of us, you’re dead right. It’s all downhill from here I fear.

  26. Coconuts says:
    @sozi

    This site often bandies about concepts like nation and race that are, particularly in how they are discussed here, contingent on the trans-atlantic and ‘european’ experience.

    It is unclear what exactly Cockburn is referring to when he talks about ‘nation states’ but he is probably referring to civic nationalist nation states, not ethno-nationalist nation states. You can see this in the arguments about British and English power he makes, when British and even English already refer to multi-ethnic, multi-lingual populations and polities. Making Britain and England more multi-lingual and more multi-ethnic is something he thinks will increase its power or be necessary to retain it.

    What the purpose or utility of having this power is, if it just proliferates the number of childless white British people and significantly shrinks the ethnic groups that used to make up the overwhelming majority of the population of the English, Irish, Scottish kingdoms, is a question.

  27. Defiance Towards Brussels Hides the Reality – English Power Is Ebbing

    Cockburn is as ever opposed to Brexit. To the dispassionate observer, however, the headline should read:
    Brussels’ Defiance Cannot Hide Reality – EU Power Is Ebbing.

    Never mind little old England, from which power ebbed many decades ago. The EU, which was meant to be the future of Western and Central Europe, a veritable superstate in the making, couldn’t stop Britain leaving. Now It can’t even bully Poland and Hungary to get its budget passed. It is unravelling before our very eyes. Europhile establishment hacks like Cockburn seem unable to grasp this reality. Cognitive dissonance springs to mind.

    • Replies: @antibeast
  28. Altai says:

    It’s so weird to me, people taking Brexit personally and thinking it can only be seen as a puerile expression of Millwall supporters and ‘little Englanders’. And if that was it was, as if it was worthy of the ink and pixels spilt over it. Nobody cares if the UK is a great power or not, not the people who voted for Brexit not the people who didn’t. You have to pretend that membership in the EU had no consequences for the UK to make that claim and in such a case, who cares anyway?

    Brexit itself is a small matter in any case, to me the interesting part are the questions raised by the elite meltdown.

    1. Are the public in Britain allowed to vote in contravention of the elite? It seems like the vote’s legitimacy and by proxy democracy were thrown into question by the supposed progressive leftists David Lammy and Paul Mason and an army of others including almost all of the media.

    2. Are issues of immigration allowed to be voted on? Blinded by their mirage of Millwall supporters and racist grans flooding the polls, the massive, unprecedented level of immigration that accompanied the 2004 expansion of the EU that has displaced working class communities in Britain (And Ireland) greatly, both economically (The EU itself had to admit that Ireland’s GPD actually declined due to EU immigration, let alone per capita) and spatially. There seems to be much denial on this in Europe (Due to other EU countries having comparatively little to almost no EU immigration and immigration of a higher quality) and in Britain itself. (The latter simply can’t be explained other than immigrants simply not living around the elite and said elite not taking public transport) This is a serious existential issue for those communities. Asylum seekers by comparison displace spatially but don’t compete much economically, in some cases they are prohibited from doing so. And so EU immigration presents a different kind of issue more salient to the working classes.

    3. Are the elite capable of governing their own emotions or understanding non-elite views? Apparently not, the histrionics that have surrounding all this have been shocking.

    And for those who claim to be Europeanists, what’s to complain about? Britain is gone, the sabo is free from the machine. Where is the jubilation at the possibilities of being able to pass all the policy that the UK government always blocked? Banking regulations, taxes on HFT, a Gaullist foreign policy? A European common defense structure to replace NATO. The UK is gone so the CAP is more secure. And if you’re an environmentalist, the removal of the UK’s fisheries from the CFP is huge for fish stocks. (Though it’s too early to tell if it won’t just result in the same pressure being more localised on Irish fish stocks) Brexit may have delivered a greater victory for the left than any Western centre-left party has in 50 years.

    Can somebody please explain what the actual problem is here? I refuse to believe that people who aspire to be migrant fruit pickers in West Loathian have so much influence. So it must be people who take Brexit personally like Cockburn.

    And where in the hell is the left in Britain trying to make hay out of the new freedom from EU neoliberalism? Why do they assume those people in their old heartlands who voted for Brexit want neoliberalism or the more radical neoliberalism of the Tories?

    It’s all just tantrums by the upper middle classes and it’s sad. Any organised left-wing movements that don’t understand Brexit’s appeal to the working classes and insist it must be chauvinism will utterly fail to achieve anything because you just don’t seem to understand how the world has changed since 1968.

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
  29. antibeast says:
    @Verymuchalive

    Never mind little old England, from which power ebbed many decades ago. The EU, which was meant to be the future of Western and Central Europe, a veritable superstate in the making, couldn’t stop Britain leaving. Now It can’t even bully Poland and Hungary to get its budget passed. It is unravelling before our very eyes. Europhile establishment hacks like Cockburn seem unable to grasp this reality. Cognitive dissonance springs to mind.

    The EU will do better without the UK because the Europeans can now get their house in order without needless obstruction by the Anglo-Saxons, especially in its relations with Russia. BREXIT in the UK and Trumpism in the USA shows that defiance towards Brussels and Washington hides the reality that Anglo-Saxon power is ebbing. Both the UK and the USA couldn’t stop Germany from continuing with the Nord Stream II pipeline with Russia, nor could they stop Germans from investing in Russia which is home to 4,300 German companies today. After calling NATO “brain-dead”, Macron has proposed a “true European Army” — independent of US weapons suppliers — to ensure European strategic autonomy.

    This is happening right before our very eyes which the Anglo-Saxons seem unable or unwilling to grasp this reality. The Anglo-Saxons on both sides of the Atlantic seem to be suffering from Cold War delusions.

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
  30. Notsofast says:
    @Marshal Marlow

    Brexit is an essentially English invention… exactly and the best thing that can come out it is scotland, ireland and perhaps wales gaining independence. scotland already is planning another referendum and this could be just what ireland needs to able to settle their differences like adults, there’s no love for the queen in the majority of these populations, any hardcore loyalists might want to move to be closer to their sovereign. after the e.u. finally dissolves they will have real sovereignty.

    • Replies: @Coconuts
  31. @Altai

    Excellent post,

    Any organised left-wing movements that don’t understand Brexit’s appeal to the working classes and insist it must be chauvinism will utterly fail to achieve anything because you just don’t seem to understand how the world has changed since 1968.

    The difference between 1968 and today is that the mainstream Left do not represent the white working class, rather they despise them. They are now objective allies of the corporatists who want more and more third world immigration. In the Leftists’ case they think the immigrants will vote for them as the party of welfare and the Left will be in power forever. This has been very pronounced since the Blair Government, from 1997.
    In the period 1997 to 2019, UK GDP grew 50% in real terms. In real terms house prices went up 3 times, but the median full-time wage actually declined. So only the rich have benefitted over the last 20-odd years. But the Leftists politicos and hacks are protected from this by their generous salaries. They are part of the wealthy class.

    The mainstream Left are very attached to the bureaucratic managerialism of the EU, which they delude themselves that they can use for their own purposes. Rather the managerialists use them for their own purposes. The reason that they are wetting themselves about Brexit is because it has started the unravelling of the EU, as I mentioned in reply #27. The EU cannot exist much longer in its present form. More resistance from other member states will follow shortly.

    • Replies: @Coconuts
  32. @antibeast

    The EU will do better without the UK because the Europeans can now get their house in order without needless obstruction by the Anglo-Saxons

    There is also going to be a rather large hole in EU finances, which other countries are unwilling to fill.

    Both the UK and the USA couldn’t stop Germany from continuing with the Nord Stream II pipeline with Russia, nor could they stop Germans from investing in Russia which is home to 4,300 German companies today.

    Actually, the UK did very little on the matter, and the US opposition was largely cosmetic. The UK continues to invest much more heavily in Russia than Germany. It is ranked 5th, but when Jersey and Bahamas is taken into account, it is actually second. Germany isn’t even in the top 8. Political differences have had little effect. For example, BP is the second largest shareholder, after the Russian State, in Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil producer.
    https://www.russia-briefing.com/news/opportunities-british-businesses-russia-rbcc.html/

    After calling NATO “brain-dead”, Macron has proposed a “true European Army” — independent of US weapons suppliers — to ensure European strategic autonomy.

    The UK, Norway, Turkey and Russia apart , none of the European states have spent adequately on defence. For the likes of Germany, Belgium, Netherlands et al, NATO is a cheap defence option. They pay little for defence and the rest is covered by the US. They show no signs of altering this policy. The only things that might change this is US unwillingness to continue.
    The only one who is delusional is you. Do get a grip on reality.

    • Replies: @antibeast
  33. Coconuts says:
    @Notsofast

    Brexit is an essentially English invention… exactly and the best thing that can come out it is scotland, ireland and perhaps wales gaining independence. scotland already is planning another referendum and this could be just what ireland needs to able to settle their differences like adults, there’s no love for the queen in the majority of these populations…

    The most interesting thing there is English independence from Scotland, and to a lesser extent, Northern Ireland. In the Scottish independence referendum last time round England was not present as such, the British government was campaigning on behalf of the Scots who wanted to stay in the UK, the Labour Party (dependent on Scotland to win UK elections) and some kinds of business interests and landowners with strong Scottish connections.

    Northern Ireland is an issue between one group of Irish and another (even if a long time ago many of the Protestants were originally of English, Scots and French descent), someone has already mentioned the way in which people in England mostly no longer identify with the sectarian politics that is at the root of that.

    Particularly if Scotland was expelled from the Union, some kind of English identity that wasn’t so heavily based on the now fading Protestantism and the (originally Scottish and German) monarchy could have a chance to form.

  34. Coconuts says:
    @Verymuchalive

    They are now objective allies of the corporatists who want more and more third world immigration. In the Leftists’ case they think the immigrants will vote for them as the party of welfare and the Left will be in power forever.

    It seems possible that since the Blair era a lot of the middle class progressives who make up a core part of the left have seen how they can exert power by allying with big business (whose interest in increasing immigration they share) and promoting identitarian politics in the state sector and cultural establishment. They don’t need to be in government, in fact this may hinder or cause problems for them. In various ways the EU would be ideal as another channel for this, so they are upset because the possibility has been taken away. Some of the mania around BLM and decolonisation of everything is possibly due to spite about this.

    • Agree: Verymuchalive
  35. Pheasant says:
    @Marshal Marlow

    ‘If given half a chance the Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland would have slaughtered each other. It’d have come down to religious genocide for one sect or the other’

    I’ll take what was the sunningdale agreement for 20 please bob.

  36. antibeast says:
    @Verymuchalive

    Actually, the UK did very little on the matter, and the US opposition was largely cosmetic. The UK continues to invest much more heavily in Russia than Germany. It is ranked 5th, but when Jersey and Bahamas is taken into account, it is actually second.

    Foreign investors tend to use onshore entities in the UK, Netherlands, Ireland, etc. as well as offshore entities in the BVI, Cayman Islands, etc. By number of projects, Germany tops the list of FDI into Russia in 2019:

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/915431/leading-countries-investing-in-russia/

    The UK, Norway, Turkey and Russia apart , none of the European states have spent adequately on defence. For the likes of Germany, Belgium, Netherlands et al, NATO is a cheap defence option. They pay little for defence and the rest is covered by the US. They show no signs of altering this policy.

    No signs of altering this policy?

    THE European Union announced Monday that an agreement has been reached on setting up the 27-nation bloc’s first ever fund to support defense research and development.

    The European Defense Fund will contain around 7.95 billion euros ($9.67 billion) for the 2021-2027 period. Around a third of the money will be used on research projects, with the rest being used to develop the defense technologies.

    https://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2020-12-14/eu-clinches-deal-on-first-ever-defense-fund

    The only things that might change this is US unwillingness to continue.

    “NATO is obsolete.” — President Donald J. Trump

    Need I say more?

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
  37. Yet, if his figure was 75 percent off, would he be that much less wrong in what the British perpetrated in India and other cultures as well, some whom they even doped with drugs in order to control and cynically exploit? I’m a great admirer of the English but even the fact of how the English nobility treated the commoners of that time was utterly disgusting.

  38. @Dr. Charles Fhandrich

    “In India, for example, the British had so robbed that nation of its riches for so long, that it took an estimated 40 trillion dollars in today’s wealth from India, setting it back for over one hundred years.”

    I think it’s the other way around, if the British had never been in India and it had been left to develop on its own until the present day, it would be made up of many independent states that would be at the level of Burundi. The British broke the powers of the maharajas and unified India, built railroads, universities and left India with an organized government and a unified system of laws. India has had independence for 73 years and is worse off than it was in 1947. As for the British robbed the wealth of India for so long. If you’re talking about natural resources such as crops, forests and minerals, they were worth nothing until the British found a way to turn them into value added products. The British left India in an organized state with good infrastructure at 400 million population, look at India today 1.2 billion and 70 % of the population is still in poverty. In 1981, 88 percent of the population of China was in poverty, by 2015, only .7 percent of the population was in poverty. When Mao came to power in 1949, China was essentially in the stone age and everything modern had been destroyed in the war. Why has India lagged behind and China has become the first or second economy in the world today? India had enormous advantage over China in the late 1940’s but has stagnated since the British left. Many think its got to do with the intelligence of the people, China has basically the same IQ wherever you go, maybe a little higher in the cities. India has a smart 5-10 percent lording it over people who are about as smart as the average American negro. Trying to improve the lot of people with IQ’s of 75 to 85 is extremely difficult as there is very little that they can do other than the most basic of jobs and these are not the jobs that create much value in the modern world. Trying to blame the British for India’s woes after 73 years of independence is as absurd as those who blame slavery for the present sad state of American negroes.

    • Agree: Miro23
    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
  39. @Joe Paluka

    You’re right. India stopped making money for Britain before WWI, maybe as early as 1905. So the last 40 years of the Raj cost Britain a considerable amount of money, probably more than all the modern infrastructure they built for India.
    This infrastructure is modern no more because little has been done to improve it since, and the tripling of population has produced massive strains on it.
    Britain should have got rid of India in the 19th Century and used its money in more beneficial areas.

  40. @Despair

    The Ulster protestants are going to have to fend for themselves.

    God forbid they appeal to the people of the newly-independent Presbyterian (yet weirdly socialist and EU-incorporated) Republic of Caledonia, a 6-hour canoe paddle to the east-north-east.

    (one guy did a jetski from Galloway to Mann the other day, just to get a shag. Took him 4½ hours due to bad weather).

    Where almost all of their forebears and co-religionists were deported/emigrated from. For what even late mediaeval monarchs regarded as quite excessive violence, tribalism and fanaticism. Turbulence in general, in other words.

    Under those arrangements I’d not want to be a proud Fenian diasporate living in e.g. Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee or the Lanarkshire rustbelt.
    Some things, a few old, old things, are not yet under Nicola’s control.

  41. @Leander Starr

    English soft power is based off it’s former colonial power. It declined since… Had a non English speaking country arose after instead of the US – that soft power would have dropped even faster. Even nowadays much of the world associates football with Brazil and cricket with India.

  42. Daisy says:
    @Dr. Charles Fhandrich

    A simplistic assessment. You clearly haven’t lived in England much less encountered any Northerners, if you think that the English are generally more polite and balanced than the Germans.

    In addition, the English elite didn’t take on Germany – it was international Jewry, with Britain having been the seat of the Rothschild Empire for centuries.

    Ergo the British colonisation of India – this was to secure the interests of the (Jewish-run) East India Company’s monopoly in India – the average Brit had absolutely no role in this but of course centuries later the whole thing has been blamed on ‘ Brits’ rather than those wielding the real power.

    As for Germany today, just because it has a bigger economy doesn’t change the reality that Germany is still an occupied country, and one of the prime targets being destroyed from within by mass immigration and diversity.

  43. Stogumber says:

    Britain (or at least England) will be praised by future generations as the one (and perhaps only) country who left the EU at a time where it was still possible to leave it. Some years from now the central government of the EU will be strong enough to forbid and suppress any attempt for secession.

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