A ‘resurgence’ of pro-EU sentiment, well not quite… but… July 14, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
Two weeks after Britain’s EU referendum, Europe has defied predictions that the UK’s vote to leave would inspire a surge in copycat breakaway movements, with establishment parties enjoying gains and populists dropping points in the polls.
And it noted various polls from various polities which indicated a firming up of ‘centre’ right and governing parties as against right wing populists. Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark and so on all saw either strengthening poll figures for pro-EU parties, or as in the latter instance an actual rise in pro-EU support. Finland too. Franc and Italy show less change but again, strong support for remaining in the EU. And we’ve seen it in this state too. So I don’t think the thesis is entirely wrong. How could it be otherwise given the financial turmoil encompassing the UK in the wake of the referendum votes. The Phoenix noted that effectively everyone north of the border on this island had just taken a 10% wage cut, and obviously that applies to the entirety of the UK. Hardly any more surprisingly, consumer confidence has taken a battering as stock markets plunge (domestic stocks anyhow), currency fluctuates but essentially declines, news of job losses and so on proliferate. And all this before we get anywhere near actual negotiations.
I can’t blame electorates taking a look at that and resiling from it – not least when, as is now apparent, those most vocal in respect of Brexit has literally on plans as to what to do next. Indeed the argument that a Brexit would inevitably lead to the disintegration of the EU – something often touted by one N. Farage amongst others, has always seemed to me to be bizarrely parochial, one more rather British or perhaps more accurately English-centric prejudice displaying itself, and with that a peculiarly narrow understanding of both the EU and the attractions of stability. Again, and I know this is something that is often said here, but I think it bears restating, the values of stability are often under-appreciated in relation to voters. It’s not that people much love the EU, but replacing it requires something a lot more attractive than economic volatility. And that I think is something that is necessary on the left too. Aspirations are fine, but to really sell people on a alternative model requires that model to be worked out in some detail and means of arriving at it likewise. And it has always seemed to me that the very specific conditions that led to a Brexit of the UK are not necessarily, or even likely, to be replicated elsewhere. The curious self-esteem and arrogance that comes with English history, one might term it a national chauvinism, and a sense of apartness as well as the particular blend of media and other interests pushing to that outcome aren’t in evidence in quite the same strength or way elsewhere across the continent. And I think that observation is in a sense underscored by the fact that in both Scotland and Northern Ireland Remain was in the majority. They provide something of a control group (as does the RoI too, albeit in perhaps different ways) to England (and Wales to a lesser extent).