Belief in Brexit

Dr Robert Saunders of Queen Mary College, London has a very good take on the thinking of the Brexiters and how it is not so much delusions of empire that motivates them, but delusions of capability.

He calls it “The Tinkerbell Theory of History”. Tinkerbell was a flawed fairy character from ‘Peter Pan’ who was emotionally deficient.

So he suggests here that “ Britain’s glorious past can be traced to a single source. Not geography. Not empire. Not its natural resources or the immigration that birthed the industrial revolution. Just this: sheer pluck & determination.

He continues: “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.”

but ends up with “This [failed memory, or]  “forgetting” comes at a price: it tells a nation that has lost its empire, its military pre-eminence & its economic supremacy that (to coin a phrase) “Nothing has changed”. It reduces geopolitics to faith-healing, in which anything is possible so long as we believe.”

Of course, Britain was never alone – it was supported by the empire against Germany, and even then needed Russia and the US to avoid humiliating defeat. Plucky we may have been, but successful and alone we definitely were not.

But we still have to believe in Brexit.

Belief is a religion and not a political strategy.

As the conclusion he says “politics is not a fairy tale and history does not owe us a happy ending“.

And that is probably the most frightening.

Rather as Theresa May constantly cites what people tell her ‘up and down the country’, when we know she never, ever, meets ordinary people up and down the country, we have to conclude that our government is deluded and probably – let’s face it – mentally ill. That is what neoliberalism does to people.

No wonder, with troops on standby for the New Year, and a self imposed national crisis, which really amounts to the suicide of the UK, both as a country and as individuals within it – and all with the support of the UK’s own government, even the ‘Times’ suggests that with a no deal Brexit the suicide rate will increase.

I’m sure it will, as will crime and social disorder.

The government is beginning to become tyrannical – they need to listen.

Otherwise, having lost control of Parliament, they are likely, I suggest, to lose control of the country.

Which is why I reluctantly post this image:


  1. Neil Robertson -

    How spooky is that? I was only thinking yesterday that they didn’t put “troops on the streets” and “medicine/food shortages” on the side of a bus!

    I still happen to believe that talking up no deal is just a stupid bluff. A misguided, expensive bluff that is doing a lot of damage and people can see through, but still a bluff. If the government were foolish enough to try and go through with I believe they would be removed.

  2. Jennifer (aka Jeni, Havantaclu) Parsons -

    It seems to me that May has put the vote back into January 2019 because this will give enough of her dissenting MPs enough time to realise what a no-deal Brexit would do to their constituents, who will now have nearly a month to lobby them in favour of May’s deal.
    But are these constituents likely to say ‘this deal or no deal’ – or will they advocate withdrawal of the Article 50 notification? I’ve already e-mailed my MP to demand this withdrawal – or a further referendum – but he’s a Tory, and has said no to both.

    1. Neil Robertson -

      I’m puzzled that she is continuing with this attempt at scaring people into voting for her deal. The ECJ ruling on unilaterally cancelling Article 50 surely renders the whole pantomime (she started it 🙂 ) redundant.

      1. Neil -

        Yes, withdrawing A50 is a get-out-of-jail-free card for avoiding the most immediate danger to lives and livelihoods, but would take an enormous amount of courage for the government to pursue. There is sadly a deficit of courage among politicians at present, except for what does feel like an audacious bluff by the PM in threatening no deal when she must have been briefed extensively on the consequences.

        I note that the government’s no deal technical notices have very recently been modified so to suggest that no deal is no longer “unlikely”. Thus the government no longer officially believes no deal to be unlikely. The mind boggles.

      2. Peter May -

        Possibly the PM could revoke Article 50 unilaterally- but she might consider it would be her own death warrant. It is obvious that unless you have a hard border in Ireland we simply cannot leave the EU, which is why May’s deal is effectively staying but with no say. That is pretty much to volunteer to become the EU’s first vassal state….

  3. Peter May -

    I like it…
    Putin knows all about the will of the people and has done the vote rigging to prove it!
    On the Irish border I think Britain’s hands are tied by its own legislation – viz The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 para 10/2/b
    So I cannot see how we can in effect ever leave unless this legislation is revoked, which the DUP is unlikely to agree to!

Comments are closed.