petej + delusion   80

Theresa May’s Brexit lost to the ultimate adversary: reality | Rafael Behr | Opinion | The Guardian
This has been the greatest source of frustration and shock for the rest of Europe: the spectacle of a once serious country, formerly admired for the coolness of its temperament, racing towards perilous choices while turning its face defiantly against obvious realities. That, plus the tragic irony of history creating a vacancy for visionary leadership and then filling it with May.

There is an almost perfect mismatch between the prime minister’s character and the skills she has needed. She was blunt when she should have been diplomatic; inscrutable when she needed to be candid. When imagination was required, she opted for inane repetition. When she should have reached out, she doubled down. She appeased enemies of compromise in parliament and squandered goodwill in the country.

It can be hard to disentangle the disaster Brexit might always have been from the specific mess May has made of it. There are turnings on the road to failure that she did not need to take, junctions that were missed. She did not have to embark on the article 50 route before knowing where it led. She could have drawn different red lines or changed them when they confined her to impossible choices. But while there were problems with the driver, there were also limits to how far she could get with Brexiteer maps, scrawled in crayon on the eve of the referendum with wild, higgledy lines pointing at destinations that don’t exist.

The result is that the country has been driven round in circles. The parliamentary debate on May’s deal today was a gloomier, paler version of the one that was held in January. For much of the day the Commons benches were emptier than last time. The prime minister’s exhausted voice was hoarser. The deal was rejected by a smaller margin not because it has got any better, but because fear and exhaustion are catching up with Tory MPs, overtaking their belief that something better will come along.

As for the implacables who voted against May, they were not jubilant. They inflicted a defeat, but they know also that there was no victory here for any kind of Brexit. A ruinous no deal is still technically possible, but a chain of events has been triggered that could lead to postponement or even annulment of the whole project. The prime minister’s humiliation could rebound on to every Eurosceptic fanatic who urged her ever further and faster down the road to nowhere. Brexiteers have a dangerous adversary that they cannot name. It isn’t any opposition party, or Brussels, or remainers. It is reality.
UK  EU  Brexit  withdrawalAgreement  meaningfulVote  defeat  HouseOfCommons  Parliament  backstop  Euroscepticism  MayTheresa  politics  nationalism  delusion  leadership  failure  dctagged  dc:creator=BehrRafael  intransigence 
10 weeks ago by petej
The endless Brexit lies have left us in an Orwellian nightmare
Anyone remember the days when the EU could "go whistle" for its divorce bill? When we weren't going to have a transition or, if we were, keep it to a few months and concede it as a favour to the EU? When free movement of people would end before that transition began? When we weren't going to sign a backstop that put a border in the Irish Sea or kept us in a customs union? When we were going to sign a backstop, but only so we could move on to negotiate our trade deal? When that trade deal was going to be ready to sign a "nanosecond" after leaving? When the transition was to be an "implementation" period to put that trade deal into effect?
UK  EU  Brexit  negotiations  dishonesty  misinformation  delusion  lies  exceptionalism  dctagged  dc:creator=LisJonathan 
10 weeks ago by petej
Seeking true happiness? Harness the power of negative thinking | André Spicer | Opinion | The Guardian
Perhaps the pessimism that infuses our age is not something we should recoil from or wallow in. Maybe pessimism could force us to realistically consider the worst-case scenario. Pessimism could help steel us against the inevitable anxieties that the future brings. A good dose of pessimism may actually motivate us in our attempts to address the problems we face. Pessimism could console and even free us. When mixed with some optimism, pessimism may help us to think more soberly and realistically about challenges that we face. Although being pessimistic is painful, it is certainly better than harbouring delusional fantasies about sunny uplands of the future.
pessimism  delusion  dctagged  dc:creator=SpicerAndre  psychology  philosophy 
11 weeks ago by petej
Britain needs a day of reckoning. Brexit will provide it | Nesrine Malik | Opinion | The Guardian
It has laid bare our political class, squirming pathetically and uselessly under the micro-scrutiny of Brexit. To paraphrase Jeff Bezos, Brexit rolled over the log and we saw what crawled out. The cavalier incompetence of David Davis, the dissimulating of Boris Johnson, the utter pointlessness of Michael Gove, the existence of Jacob Rees-Mogg and the dishonest and regressive elitism he represents. We have seen ministers entrusted with the future of the country learn on the job, and then flee the scene – revealing Westminster in general, and the Tories in particular, as a Ponzi scheme, a confidence trick. We now realise that the business of serious politics in this country rewards those whose only skill is keeping up the appearance of having a skill.
UK  Brexit  politics  delusion  decline  polarisation  division  exceptionalism  inequality  immigration  climateChange 
february 2019 by petej
Dreams of a No-Deal Nation | Red Pepper
Just like the original vote to Leave, the strength of the ‘no deal’ story is not its facts but its feelings, not its statistics but its sentiments. What is the story of ‘no deal nation’? No deal nation is strong, steeled for the disruption of ‘no deal’. It is powerful to the point of petulance, defiant of the demands from Brussels. But above all, it is in control, unchained from European rules, whether a customs union or the backstop. It might be materially bad, but it damn well feels good. It offers hope of a future of pride and dignity. Fighting the idea of no deal nation with facts will not work: ‘hope that is seen is not hope: for who hopes for what he sees?’

The more that ‘no deal’ demands sacrifice, the more its popularity will grow: the higher the price, the greater the prize. No deal nation is bolstered by a fuzzy reading of history, self-soothing with stories of its past. It reassures itself: the last time we stood alone, Britain emerged in triumph and the Europeans in tragedy; we prospered before 1972 and will do so again. Do not imagine that the reality of a ‘no deal’ Brexit will change this: confirmation bias will kick in. The Brexit faithful will conclude that they have been punished by devious elites who never wanted to Leave and by European opponents who never had our interests at heart. Rather than undermining Brexit, the ‘no deal’ disaster would merely confirm their suspicion they were right to vote to Leave.
UK  EU  Brexit  noDeal  BBCQT  nationalism  AndersonBenedict  storytelling  deindustrialisation  dignity  emotion  defiance  sacrifice  delusion  Lexit  stateAid  politics  dctagged  dc:creator=KibasiTom 
january 2019 by petej
May's Brexit Debacle: Britain Finally Confronts Reality - SPIEGEL ONLINE
She could have explained that a continued close relationship with the EU would mean having to accept many rules and decisions from Brussels without having a seat at the negotiating table. Or, if Britain were to opt for a greater degree of freedom, the consequence would be economic disadvantages. And she could have sent a reckless political hothead like Johnson to where he belongs: oblivion.

Instead, she appointed Johnson as foreign secretary and adopted his strategy of acting as though the United Kingdom could somehow have it all: full control over immigration, complete freedom to establish trade agreements with countries around the world and all the advantages of the EU membership they were giving up. And there would, of course, be no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, even if there is still nobody who has a clue how such a thing might be possible once the UK leaves the customs union.

The opposition isn't much better. Early on, Labour Party head Jeremy Corbyn committed himself to a position whereby the only Brexit deal he could accept was one that granted the UK the exact same advantages as EU membership. That was so obviously impossible from the very beginning that it is akin to sabotaging democracy. Corbyn still hasn't presented a clear vision for the future of a United Kingdom outside of the European Union.

It was always clear that a confrontation with reality was inevitable, and that has now taken place in the form of May's House of Commons defeat. She is primarily to blame for the fact that this confrontation took place so late in the game. Now, there is little time left to prevent a chaotic Brexit without a deal.
UK  EU  Brexit  withdrawalAgreement  defeat  politics  MayTheresa  JohnsonBoris  CorbynJeremy  delusion 
january 2019 by petej
mainly macro: Brexit. Of course everyone hates a compromise, but like much else its the best option, isn't it?
According to IPSOS Mori, only a few percent of people thought the EU was an important issue in 2010. In 2015 it only occasionally reached double figures. This strongly suggests that people voted Leave not because they wanted to leave the EU for its own sake, but for what they believed would be a consequence of leaving in some other dimension. This is the key to understanding why a compromise does not work.

Most Brexit voters will not be moderately happy with a deal that makes them worse off: they will not be happy at all. Most Brexit voters will not be moderately happy with a deal that gives the UK less say in the rules the UK has to obey than when in the EU: they will not be happy at all. A true compromise is something that gives each side something, but the incredible thing about Brexit is that what most Leavers want from Brexit is not possible, yet most politicians and much of the media refuse to tell them that.

The curse of Brexit is that anyone enacting it will be unpopular, not because most Leave voters do not get all they want but because they do not get anything they want. In fact, like the snake oil analogy, they will probably be worse off or have less say. Brexit was always a fantasy, and anyone who makes Brexit concrete will fail to deliver that fantasy. As most politicians have not had the courage to call Brexit out as the fantasy it is, voters are likely to blame the politicians who fail to produce their fantasy rather than blaming themselves.
UK  EU  Brexit  Leave  delusion  economy  publicServices  sovereignty  compromise  politics  dctagged  dc:creator=Wren-LewisSimon 
january 2019 by petej
Don’t expect Brexit to give us a British Alexander Hamilton | Rafael Behr | Opinion | The Guardian
This represents the confluence of two streams of British political culture. One is anti-intellectualism – admiring the gentleman dilettante who gets by on bluff and charm, socially superior to the sweaty scholarship boy who over-thinks and over-works. The other is moral complacency in holding up victory over fascism in 1945 as proof of eternal immunity to dangerous dogmas.
UK  Brexit  nationalism  delusion  victimhood  entitlement  noDeal  hardship  anti-intellectualism  complacency  politics  dctagged  dc:creator=BehrRafael 
december 2018 by petej
Of all the many delusions that have gripped British politics, this is perhaps the most destructive. It's what I call "The Tinkerbell Theory of History" - and it's carrying us down the road to ruin. [THREAD] 1/13
Far from being nostalgic for empire, the dominant folk memory of British history is of "plucky little Britain", standing with its backs to the wall in the face of overpowering odds. It's the story of the underdog, hopelessly outnumbered but somehow finding a way through. 3/13
UK  EU  Brexit  Britishness  nationalIdentity  delusion  myth 
december 2018 by petej
The Brexiteers’ idea of how WTO rules would work is pure fantasy | Kojo Koram | Opinion | The Guardian
To understand why parts of the Tory party are happy for Britain to walk in the opposite direction to the rest of the world regarding WTO terms, we must understand their attraction to the myth of how in centuries past, Britain became rich through “global free trade”. With influential economists David Ricardo and Adam Smith serving as intellectual forefathers, Britain’s rise to prominence is seen as intertwined with the rise of the doctrine of free trade, with the removal of legal restrictions on trade producing a system where natural British industriousness and innovation could thrive.

Celebrating and exaggerating Britain’s free-trade policies of the late 19th century, this narrative ignores the prologue to the story, in which the British empire first accumulated wealth through gunboat diplomacy and enforced markets over the 18th and early 19th centuries. Britain only embraced unilateral zero tariffs once its geopolitical power had been built up, and it would quickly depart from free trade and move towards protectionism at the start of the 20th century through the policy of imperial preference, encouraging trade within the empire.

However, the myth persists that anything that promotes free trade promotes British interests. Brexiteers promote a fantasy ideal of the WTO being the answer to all Britain’s problems despite the libraries of research that argue that its rules lead to the impoverishment of countries that have to rely on them. Because Brexiteers misunderstand Britain’s past, they believe that Britain has a “special relationship” to world trade. They cannot fathom the damage that relying on WTO terms to govern trade with our largest trading partner will do to the economy, even if it is obvious to rest of the world.
UK  EU  Brexit  noDeal  WTO  trade  freeTrade  history  delusion  hardBrexit  politics 
december 2018 by petej
Ivan Rogers’ Brexit bombshell, digested | Martha Gill | Opinion | The Guardian
There is a contradiction at the heart of the argument made by many of those advocating no deal. They say both that WTO terms are good enough for the UK to trade on, and that Britain’s prosperity depends on it striking multiple trade deals abroad.

Rogers puts it like this: “You cannot simultaneously argue that it is perfectly fine to leave a deep free trade agreement with easily our largest export and import market for the next generation, and trade on WTO terms because that is how we and others trade with everyone else – and argue that it is imperative we get out of the EU in order that we can strike preferential trade deals with large parts of the rest of the world, because the existing terms on which we trade with the rest of the world are intolerable.”
UK  EU  Brexit  negotiations  politics  delusion  sovereignty  agency  power  Article50  transition  EU27  withdrawalAgreement  singleMarket  LancasterHouse  freedomOfMovement  WTO  noDeal  trade  freeTradeAgreement  services  transparency  secrecy  dishonesty  RogersIvan  speech  Liverpool 
december 2018 by petej
Don’t pity May. Her immigration obsession helped get us into this mess | Gary Younge | Opinion | The Guardian
The story of the last two years, like the last few days, has been reality intruding on rhetoric in the most inconvenient ways. The actual process of Brexit demands more pain or more compromise, or both, than most of those who voted to leave the EU are prepared to put up with.

“There are two kinds of European nations,” the Danish finance minister Kristian Jensen said last year. “There are small nations and there are countries that have not yet realised they are small nations.” This is Britain’s most public and painful reckoning with its size and influence in its post-colonial state. It’s not pretty. This is why we can’t have nice things.

Absent a change of government, the only thing we can be certain of is failure. Either Brexit will fail and we will stay in the EU or it will succeed in some way we either do not want or had not anticipated, and the country will fail. The politics, at this point, appears to be centred upon who will be blamed for that failure. Few in the polity seem to be talking about what success would look like beyond the narrow litigation of the close result two years ago. The leave victory was not only, in part, the product of alienation; the way in which the political class has dealt with it has produced even more cynicism.
UK  politics  ToryParty  Brexit  MayTheresa  leadership  noConfidence  immigration  hostileEnvironment  xenophobia  incompetence  delusion  dctagged  dc:creator=YoungeGary 
december 2018 by petej
Theresa May is now a lame duck – too weak to take back control of her party | Martin Kettle | Opinion | The Guardian
More profoundly – much more profoundly – this vote was a wake-up call about the terminal sterility of a certain kind of Conservative vision. It’s a kind of Conservatism that is a confluence of two different traditions, and the Tory party is too respectful to both of them. On the one hand, there is a white establishment tradition, largely English rather than British in mentality, that has not come to terms with the loss of empire, dislikes foreigners, and which somehow equates Brexit with the restoration of British superiority and power. On the other, there are Thatcher’s children, often self-made, self-confident, petit bourgeois, anti-foreigner and anti-state, flirting with Ukip, beguiled by the Great in Great Britain and irreconcilable to any European engagement.

May’s critics are genuinely hopeless at politics. They can cause a lot of trouble. But they cannot, will not, take responsibility for practical action in government. They appear to believe that there is a Commons majority for their faith-based, crash-out, free-at-last, ourselves-alone Brexit if only they can install a true believer and bring the DUP back onside. The vote confirmed that is not true. The naivety is breathtaking. Such a Tory leader would lose any Brexit bill or confidence vote. Luckily for the Tory party, most MPs proved today they are not so foolish.

In the end, it’s the recklessness over Ireland, an instinct that lies deep in the DNA of part of the Tory party, that is the most frightening piece of foolishness. These fanatics, playing footsie with a DUP clique that puts sectarianism above the wider needs of a Northern Ireland that voted remain, are the direct political descendants, though with half the talent, of people such as Lord Randolph Churchill in the 1890s, FE Smith in the 1910s and Enoch Powell in the 1970s. All of them tried to play the Orange card. All of them did so with awful results for Ireland and Britain alike. As Talleyrand said of the Bourbons, they have learned nothing and forgotten nothing – and they proved it again this week.
UK  politics  ToryParty  leadership  MayTheresa  TheRight  Brexit  authority  dctagged  dc:creator=KettleMartin  conservatism  nationalism  xenophobia  Thatcherism  neoliberalism  delusion  Ireland 
december 2018 by petej
“When You Get That Wealthy, You Start to Buy Your Own Bullshit”: The Miseducation of Sheryl Sandberg | Vanity Fair
Why do so many M.B.A.s struggle to make the ethical decisions that seem so clear to the rest of us? Is it right to employ a scummy P.R. firm to deflect attention from our failures? Is it O.K. if we bury questions about user privacy and consent under a mountain of legalese? Can we get away with repeatedly choosing profits over principles and then promising that we will do better in the future?
SandbergSheryl  HarvardBusinessSchool  leadership  Facebook  management  transparency  anti-Semitism  conspiracyTheory  personalData  misuse  CambridgeAnalytica  ZuckerbergMark  delusion  morality  ethics  business 
november 2018 by petej
The idea of deep continuity in British history is absurd. We’ve always been in flux | David Edgerton | Opinion | The Guardian
Brexit is not a portentous destiny that overhangs our politics. It is a mess of irreconcilable nostalgias. We shouldn’t grant to the Brexiters their own argument that they are somehow more in tune with the essence of Britishness as experienced through history, which we risk doing if we think they are helped by ghosts from the past. It is not a reflection on the realities of British life, of the present or of the past. It’s a very local phenomenon, which even if carried through, would barely register at European, much less global level. For the only power Brexiters have is to make us poorer, to inflict self-harm on the economy, and to damage further what little reputation British politicians have. Delusional as well as deluding, these banana-monarchy conmen and conduits for dark money want to trap us in a historicised never-never land.

But as reality bites, cloth will be cut to size, delusions dispatched, and the huffing and puffing will end. Brexit cannot in reality really happen. The explaining of realities will have to begin – that our productivity is low and stagnant, our health outcomes not the best, our people not the best educated or most enterprising, our entrepreneurs hardly the most important of the age. Any real politics of improvement will recognise we are not in the Premier League but in the lower divisions, and that football long ceased to be a game foreigners did not play.
UK  Brexit  history  delusion  dependency  trade  nostalgia  politics  economics 
november 2018 by petej
David Davis: MPs will 'probably' vote against Brexit deal - BBC News
Mr Davis said there might be "some hiccups" but the UK was "a big country" and "we can look after ourselves".
UK  EU  Brexit  DavisDavid  Parliament  MayTheresa  politics  negotiations  delusion  meaningfulVote 
november 2018 by petej
No Dunkirk Spirit Can Save Britain From Brexit Defeat - The New York Times
Britain is not an economic powerhouse waiting to be liberated. We are a country of mediocre education and limited skills, whose preening vanity has prevented us from seeing our failings. Our membership in the European Union is not a set of restraints; it is what has been propping us up. If we insist on cutting ourselves off, parts of our economy will start to die.

Dunkirk is remembered so fondly only because, in the end, Britain was on the winning side. That wasn’t down to our plucky spirit. It was because America, with its overwhelming resources, entered the war. There is no such ally waiting to rescue us now, as we start down the dangerous path of methodically shredding our links with our neighbors and friends.
UK  EU  Brexit  economy  education  skills  agriculture  manufacturing  healthcare  trade  investment  CBI  delusion  nostalgia  immigration  employment  austerity  livingStandards  debt  politics 
july 2017 by petej
Welcome to Great!
"Welcome to Great!"

Dear lord
UK  government  Brexit  delusion  trade 
april 2017 by petej
Divide and rule tactics could leave UK without deal, say EU politicians | UK news | The Guardian
For the EU27, only one thing really matters in Brexit, as Malta’s prime minister, Joseph Muscat, among several others has repeatedly made plain.

“We want a fair deal for the UK,” Muscat said. “But that deal needs to be inferior to membership … Thinking it can be otherwise indicates a detachment from reality.”

Few on the continent seem convinced Britain has grasped this. “At the moment, it seems like Mrs May thinks of the EU as a restaurant where she can walk in order everything on the menu and then demand that the restaurant itself pays the bill,” the former Bulgarian prime minister Sergei Stanishev said last week.

“My view this is creating an illusion for domestic purposes, or it’s wishful thinking.”
UK  EU  Brexit  negotiations  MayTheresa  Europe  DavisDavid  Estonia  Latvia  Lithuania  delusion  politics 
february 2017 by petej
Jobs for all? In the US that idea is about to be tested to destruction | John Harris | Opinion | The Guardian
Across the world, in fact, what remains of the left and centre-left remains stubbornly wedded to visions of crowded production lines and the glories of the archetypal worker.

A more future-fit politics, built around the declining importance of paid employment and the need to rebuild policy accordingly, has yet to take shape; for the moment, the left and the hard right are awkwardly united not just in their disdain for globalisation, but also in their belief that politicians can get their countries back to an idyll of factories extending to the horizon and jobs for all.
USA  TrumpDonald  jobs  employment  manufacturing  infrastructure  protectionism  deregulation  automation  technology  delusion  nostalgia  post-work  dctagged  dc:creator=HarrisJohn 
january 2017 by petej
The crash in the pound punctures the delusion that Brexit Britain will flourish | Aditya Chakrabortty | Opinion | The Guardian
"Think about those figures: a Britain that doesn’t make things, that can’t pay its way in the world and where two generations have been brought up believing that what your wages won’t pay, your credit will buy. As the promises for Brexit are broken and people get poorer; as the consumerist model breaks down, who do you think will pay the price?

The answer, I’d suggest, was on show in Birmingham last week. Without Brussels, the right still has one set of scapegoats left. They number the Muslim woman in the headscarf, the Pole in the wrong kebab shop, and the African cleaner on the nightbus."
UK  EU  Brexit  delusion  nostalgia  history  currency  pound  exchangeRates  deficit  manufacturing  industry  inflation  benefits  consumerism  xenophobia  racism  dctagged  dc:creator=ChakraborttyAditya 
october 2016 by petej
Bruce Sterling: Design fictions and the judgement of history | NEXT Berlin
"Design fictions destabilise things. Why do you never have design fictions about stability? Well, start-ups are full of people working hard to make other people rich – baby boomer financiers mainly. That will be the judgement of history: an alliance between hacker space culture and off-shore, tax-avoiding elites. That’s your actual dragon, the big one. You know it’s a dragon, because you’re part of it; you’re its brain and nervous system. As long as you’re making rich guys richer, you’re part of the problem."
design  culture  startups  disruption  SiliconValley  libertarianism  capitalism  government  middleClass  state  globalisation  delusion  designFiction  NextBerlin  talk  video  dctagged  dc:creator=SterlingBruce 
october 2013 by petej

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