Brexit and the institution of disintegration as structural change…

There’s been so much good writing over the weekend since Friday, I’m going to revert to an earlier approach to blogging and try to keep things short and snappy, First up is Mark Leonard talking on Friday morning to Uri Friedman…

…the basic mindset of Europeans has changed. Instead of thinking about the EU as a universal project, which would change everyone else, they’re starting to think about the EU as a fragile, exceptional project that needs to be defended from others.

These changes to the external environment have come at a time when, domestically, a lot of countries have been under a lot of economic pressure with the [European economic] crisis, even in countries like Britain that were very affected by the [2008] global financial crisis and introduced [government budget] austerity as a result.

One of the other consequences of 1989, of [EU] enlargement, was that you get these large flows of people. That is another way that people think that they are being shaped—that they’re becoming minorities in their own countries and there are people coming in and changing the nature of the country. That’s one of the slogans here: “I want my country back.”

Some of these [trends] are just cyclical, but when you make a decision like the decision that the British public took yesterday, it’s quite difficult to overturn. Your cycle can become a structural change quite easily, if it becomes enshrined by a referendum.

And for me, this is the real deal, at least within the borders of the UK…

The other element I didn’t predict [in 2005] was the collapse of representative democracy, which is happening everywhere. We’re seeing all elites in all developed countries going through this crisis.

In a lot of countries like the U.S., with [Donald] Trump, it’s kind of contained, whereas in the U.K., in the EU, because countries are interdependent, it can actually start to undermine the EU. And that’s one of the dangers now—that after a cycle of integration and of optimism, we’re in the midst of a cycle of disintegration and pessimism. These things can become self-reinforcing.

For those who haven’t yet, check out Paul Evans popular and much read “Why Referendums Should Be Banned“.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • chrisjones2

    And today’s Shadow SOS for NI is Dave Anderson

    Will he ever get time to visit here before the next putsch?

  • chrisjones2

    By the way the latest polls in the US have Trump just 3 % short of Hilary

  • ted hagan

    It’s evident that the areas most affected buy out of control immigration (outside of London) were the areas where the Leave campaign won their largest support. Scotland and NI are not really affected that much. Had there been controlled immigration, especially in England, Remain would have won easily.

  • npbinni

    It seems like the ‘progressive’ minority are only interested in protecting the arrogant elites (who have come to dominate political and educational institutions) from democracy. Out with ‘one man, one vote’, in with special interests groups controlling the agenda.

    Well, people are just sick of it!

  • mickfealty

    Nice guy Dave. Been on the NI Affairs Committee for years, I think.

  • mickfealty

    Are you surprised?

  • mickfealty

    Give it rest and read the piece?

  • murdockp

    this all ties in with a good piece written in the Guardian.

    Similar things are happening in NI as the streets he describe exists in Newry and Belfast.

    The difference here is the benefits are more easily accessible and our housing problems are not yet on the scale of England and Wales.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    And we have our own ‘others’ on whom we can misdirect all our woes but that argument is finally becoming very tired. By comparison NI seems relatively stable compared to ‘provincial’ England all of a sudden. I left England just as the austerity measures were beginning to take effect with London being the only English city I’ve visited since and London is not a reliable barometer of England. Prior to departure there was a palpable sense (even in Oxford) that it was going to get much worse. On arrival in Belfast NI appeared relatively cushioned.
    Despite claims on Slugger that “unionists overwhelmingly voted leave …” etc. what we might take heart from is that there’s a new found NI commonality in relation to the EU and Brexit. If Article 50 is negotiated badly (and Westminster doesn’t yet have the necessary skill base and the necessary numbers to be present at the table) we could find that greater trans-tribal unity could be achieved in response. Whuda thunk it? But then our neighbour, Ireland, has responded to recent migration much more successfully than GB as well as having recovered from Troika austerity measures. Despite our differences everyone can see that clearly from the blue skies of Ooolstar.

  • murdockp

    But here we are in NI spending an £11bn more than raised in taxes. All coming from Westminster. The UK tax revenues are about to be decimated and the English Northerners need to be pacified. On top of that NI farmers will loose their subsidies and EU funding for many projects and groups has now been pulled
    The DUP lunatics are of the belief that times are going to get better against this backdrop. They actually believe that an even more rightwing tory politician is going to continue to channel the same level of funding to NI.
    Arlene needs to be sacked, she is not up to the job.

  • Teddybear

    The U.K. is having a nervous breakdown. We need the army to step in and impose order and calm

  • Anglo-Irish

    As an Anglo-Irish Northerner I doubt that Westminster will bother itself with pacifying us.

    They are currently in meltdown facing a situation which neither side saw coming and had any plan for.

    If Brexit goes ahead as it very much looks as though it will at this stage we will be left at the tender mercies of a right wing elitist government that will take care of the South East first and foremost.

    So, no change there then!

    Austerity will be something people look back on as the good old days.

    The EU had a policy of helping deprived areas of European countries through its Regional Development Fund.

    We can kiss goodbye to that, together with all other ‘inconvenient’ EU legislation such as the Human Rights act and Fair Work Practices.

    The NI Billions of subsidy are going to be cut drastically in all probability.

    A UI will look very tempting if the EU can be persuaded to pick up some of the subsidy.

    On the other hand that would suit Britain and I don’t think the EU will be looking to do any favours for us given the present situation!

  • npbinni


  • npbinni

    Some people are such sore losers. They need to grow up.

  • npbinni

    What a disastrous option. God help America!