Category Archives: UK EU membership referendum (2016)

Why Dalrymple voted for Brexit

Dalrymple spends part of every year in his house in Shropshire

Despite the fact that the European Union is far from being the cause of all the country’s problems, the outcome of the 2016 UK EU membership referendum steers Britain away from a potential monster, Dalrymple tells an interviewer.

Although no sensible person would liken it to the Third Reich or the Soviet Union, the EU nevertheless bears the seeds of an unfree state. It wants to force different peoples together in an artificial union. Dalrymple notes that Belgium is such a union: it holds together, more or less, but to do such a thing on a larger scale is to court major problems.

And the argument that the EU is the only way for Europe to play a role on the world stage can be swept aside. The EU has shown only weakness.

The European project, says Dalrymple, is little but misplaced megalomania.

 

The low intellectual level of people at the centre of power in Britain

Dalrymple writes that the title ‘director of communications in the administration of David Cameron’ is one that is

instinct with dishonesty. At least one knows what a second-hand car salesman does.

One holder of the office, a man called Craig Oliver, has written Unleashing Demons: The Inside Story of Brexit. The book is, says Dalrymple,

one of the worst on any subject that I have read in a long time. It is a blow-by-boring-blow account of Mr Cameron’s referendum campaign, principally in the media of mass communication, to keep Britain in the European Union.

Dalrymple notes that

a very bad book may, in its own way, be highly instructive, as this one is. If mediocrity can ever be said to shine, then it shines from these pages.

Oliver,

though a journalist, has no literary ability whatsoever.

  • He writes entirely in clichés.
  • There is not a single arresting thought in over 400 pages.
  • Wit and even humour are entirely absent.
  • He seems unable to use a metaphor, almost always tired to begin with, without mixing it (‘We are likely to succumb on this if they get on their high horses and cry foul‘).
  • He has no powers of analysis.
  • He has no sense of history.

There is, Dalrymple concludes,

no plumbing his shallows.

Oliver was

at the centre of power for several years. Everyone around him, including the prime minister, comes off as just as uninteresting as he; though it has to be admitted that the author could make Talleyrand seem a bore.

The one outstanding quality that these mediocrities seem to share is

ambition. It is disconcerting for the citizen to be faced so starkly by the fact that ambitious mediocrity is now the main characteristic of those who rule him.

Dalrymple points to

the abysmally low cultural level of the British population, including of the most highly educated class, as this book amply demonstrates.

An elementary error of logic

screen-shot-2017-03-04-at-22-25-43The campaign to leave the EU may, says Dalrymple (from 12:35), have appealed

to xenophobes. But it is an elementary error of logic to argue that if xenophobes voted for leaving, then those who voted for leaving were xenophobes. The fact that so many supporters of Britain remaining made this error suggests that education and the ability to think are not identical.

He notes that the implied corollary

was that there was nothing to choose between continued support for, and submission to, a corrupt and self-serving political élite on the one hand, and beating up foreigners on the street on the other.

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The crumbling EU soft-dictatorship

screen-shot-2017-01-08-at-09-45-45Dalrymple suggests that many of the 52% who voted for Brexit in the UK European Union membership referendum might have done so

because they feared that the ‘European project’ was the creation of a vast sovereign state to slake the thirst for power of megalomaniacs of the political class, impossible of even minimal democratic oversight, a giant Yugoslavia.

The leaders of France, Germany, and Italy have said that they want to push forward to closer political union. Dalrymple comments:

Consider the following. The French government, whose legitimacy no one will deny even if he denies its competence, is attempting some weak reforms of the rigid French labour market. This has resulted in months of conflict and continued violence. But at least the reform is the work, or attempted work, of a French government. Imagine if the reform were imposed by fiat of a European government despite the opposition of the French government and members of the European parliament.

Dalrymple: why I voted Leave

screen-shot-2017-01-01-at-14-10-23Dalrymple explains in an interview (from 1:02) that in England, as in many other countries, there is a sense that

the political and intellectual élite has formed itself into a caste that is completely separate from the rest of the population.

Dalrymple voted Leave in the 2016 UK European Union membership referendum

for political reasons. The EU is a political project which will reinforce this tendency to have a small caste that is separate. You only have to go to Brussels or Strasbourg to see people who haven’t paid for their own lunch for 40 years, who’ve never seen anything except from the back of an official car. There’s no possible way of the EU being even minimally democratic, of having checks and balances.

Dalrymple points out that the founders of the EU

intended this from the very first. They knew better; they did not think the population should have any say. We can see this when referenda are held: the result is always against what the political élite wants — and the political élite takes no notice.

On the subject of the young English people who voted Remain, Dalrymple says that these youths

were of the part of the population that expects to benefit from our highly corporatist State. They expect to be, or will be, in the élite, which is why they are in favour of schemes that are in the interests of the élite.

Young middle-class British Remainers claim to be concerned about ‘the future’, but, says Dalrymple,

if you look at Greece, what future do young Greeks have? 50% of the young in Greece are unemployed. In Spain it’s 45%, in Italy 25%.

This does not worry young middle-class Britons.

It doesn’t worry them because they are not going to be among the 45% who are unemployed.

It does not worry them because they are

not of the youth-unemployment class.

The real meaning of the European Project

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 22.58.13The vote of the British people to leave the European Union has been characterised by some of the losers, such as the BBC or

the left-liberal mouthpiece of the pensée unique, the Guardian,

as

nothing but an eructation of primitive prejudice.

Dalrymple reports that a survey has found that nearly half of young people who voted to remain either wept, or felt close to weeping, afterwards. This survey suggests either their depth of feeling or, more likely, says Dalrymple, their

emotional incontinence.

Many young people selectively interviewed by the media said that they felt that their future had been stolen from them by those who voted for Brexit. Dalrymple comments:

The fact that the youth unemployment rate in Belgium and France is 25%, in Portugal 30%, in Italy 39%, in Spain 45% and in Greece 49% did not seem to worry them. They were not of the youth-unemployment class.

The correlation between relatively low levels of education and a vote to leave was remarked upon. Dalrymple points out that

  • educated people initiated and carried out the Terror in the French Revolution
  • the Russian Revolution, and the joy that it brought to the Russian people, was the dénouement of decades of propaganda and agitation by the educated élite
  • there was no shortage of educated people in the Nazi leadership
  • the leaders of the Khmers rouges were relatively highly educated (in France, as it happens)
  • the founder of Sendero Luminoso was a professor of philosophy who wrote his doctoral thesis on Kant

The campaign to leave the EU may have appealed

to xenophobes. But it is an elementary error of logic to argue that if xenophobes voted for leaving, then those who voted for leaving were xenophobes. The fact that so many supporters of Britain remaining made this error suggests that education and the ability to think are not identical.

The implied corollary

was that there was nothing to choose between continued support for, and submission to, a corrupt and self-serving political élite on the one hand, and beating up foreigners on the street on the other.

You may wonder what the need for such a union is at all,

other than as a free trade area, which it was when it was mendaciously sold to the British electorate as being in 1975.

Well, it is this, says Dalrymple:

The abuse and the complicity, the secretive rule by decree by career politico-bureaucrats without any real oversight, is not the consequence of the so-called European Project, it is the European Project.

Brexit blow to the bien-pensants

Only a racist would question their right to rule over us

Only a racist would question their right to rule over us

Their view, writes Dalrymple, is that one either believes

in the rule of Messrs Juncker and Van Rompuy et al., or one goes around beating up foreigners on the street.

Britain’s intellectual class,

so dismissive of the uneducated masses who voted for Brexit, seem not to have noticed the logical fallacy in the argument that if xenophobes voted for Brexit, then those who voted for Brexit were xenophobes.

Dalrymple wonders if the country’s educational system might be

even worse than I had supposed.

Pride

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Ed Vulliamy: superior intelligence, education and ethical sensitivity

Moral exhibitionism: the déformation professionelle of the intellectuals

Picking up the London newspaper the Guardian, Dalrymple lights on an article by a poseur called Ed Vulliamy on the subject of the monstrosity of the wish of his countrymen to leave the EU and the various abominations of Brexit Britain.

The article contains sentences such as the following:

On the slipstream of empire, I’ve always thought — to the point of treason — of my British passport as a ‘burden of shame’, as UB40 so eloquently put it — ‘a British subject, not proud of it’. Now, trying to cling on in ‘the Continent’, it is just a downright embarrassment — not only a badge of shame, but also, worse in a way, of pointless, bellicose imbecility.

Badge of bellicosity

Badge of bellicosity

Dalrymple makes two points:

  1. This is typical of the hyperbole that followed the result of the referendum, to the holding of which few people objected before the results were known. You can have elections and referenda, so long as the results are correct.
  2. Overweening pride runs through the passage. The man who wrote it is middle-aged: he has kept his ‘badge of shame’ for decades after he could, if he had felt shame about it, have got rid of it. His pride is to have a badge of shame, extravagantly exhibited, to demonstrate his moral superiority over people who wear the same badge who are not as intelligent, educated or morally sensitive. On me this has the same effect as the sound of a nail running down a blackboard.
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‘Superbia’, detail, The Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things, c. 1450-1515, attr. Jheronimus Bosch

Macron takes a drubbing from Dalrymple

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 09.04.48Dalrymple points out that Emmanuel Macron, France’s Ministre de l’Économie, de l’Industrie et du Numérique, is a

ruthless mediocrity.

The sentiments Macron expresses are, says Dalrymple,

orthodox for a member of the European Union’s ruling political class, and have been repeated ad nauseam. The tone of the minister is peremptory and his argumentation very weak.

MACRON: De quoi le référendum britannique est-il le nom? Pour moi, il traduit la volonté d’une Europe plus efficace, la fin d’une vision ultralibérale de l’Europe que les Britanniques eux-mêmes ont portée, la fin d’une Europe sans projet politique, tournée vers son seul marché domestique.

DALRYMPLE: This is misinterpretation on an astonishing, even an heroic, scale; only a man blinded by ideology or prejudice could entertain it for a moment. According to Macron, British discontent with the EU – which is less pronounced than in some other member countries – is due to insufficient political and bureaucratic interference in economic and social life. There has never been a demonstration, at least in the West, with ‘Less freedom, more official regulation!’ as its slogan. No one with the slightest contact with reality could describe any European polity as laissez-faire, let alone ultra-laissez-faire. Try starting a business or hiring a worker in France, and see how much you will be left to your own devices. Try going on to the street in England (that laissez-faire heaven or hell, according to Macron) and sell something to passers-by just as you choose. You will be stopped far quicker than if you go round shoplifting. Had Macron used the word corporatist he would have been nearer the truth: and to corporatism there is no easy answer, though regulatory obstacles to entry into a market encourage such corporatism. But Macron’s vision, his utopia, is entirely corporatist, with the state always having the upper hand.

MACRON: Si on laisse le «Brexit» ronger l’aventure européenne, vous aurez des débats comparables chez les Danois, les Néerlandais, les Polonais, les Hongrois. C’est d’ailleurs déjà le cas. Pour éviter le piège de la fragmentation économique, sécuritaire, identitaire de l’Europe, il faut revenir aux promesses originelles du projet européen.

DALRYMPLE: He speaks of l’aventure européenne as if a continent of hundreds of millions of inhabitants were engaged upon a mountaineering trip. If we allow Brexit to gnaw away at the European adventure, what then? Other countries, the majority of whose populations want to leave the Union, might also decide to leave, and that would be the end of his corporatist dream.

MACRON: Nous sommes en train de fermer la parenthèse d’une Europe sans projet politique. Il faut réinventer une Europe de la puissance qui se pense par rapport au reste du monde et définit ses règles de souveraineté. 

DALRYMPLE: Who this nous are does not bother Macron. In Colbertian fashion, nous are the political class who, unlike the mere people, know what is best. As for the project, what is it? Though the term le projet européen appears on innumerable occasions in the French Press, it is never spelt out what it is, nor do journalists ask those who use the term what they mean by it. La construction européenne is another such term: what is being constructed is never stated and no explanation is demanded. It is as if a builder built a house without a plan. In fact the plan is obvious. It is for a United States of Europe, minus most of the federalism.

MACRON: Cette tension est due à l’incomplétude de l’Europe; parce qu’au-delà de ces trois promesses, la solidarité est un objectif du projet européen: on n’a pas achevé la convergence de nos systèmes sociaux, de la régulation des flux migratoires ou encore de défense et de sécurité. Aujourd’hui, nous sommes bloqués par deux tabous: un tabou français, qui est le transfert de souveraineté, et un tabou allemand, celui des transferts financiers ou de solidarité. On ne peut pas avancer sans les faire sauter.

DALRYMPLE: In other words, the Greeks spend and the Germans pay, in return for the abasement of France which no Frenchman (quite rightly) wants. As a recipe for international understanding, and for the continuation of the peace that apologists for the Union claim is the only reason Portugal has not attacked Estonia, or Belgium Croatia, this seems unrealistic, to put it no stronger.

MACRON: L’Europe doit regarder le monde: le risque géopolitique n’a jamais été aussi grand, en Afrique et au Moyen-Orient. La meilleure réponse à cela, c’est l’Europe. Il y a, aujourd’hui, deux grands blocs – l’asiatique et l’américain – dont le risque est qu’ils se parlent en face-à-face en nous oubliant. Notre défi, ce ne sont pas nos petites guérillas, c’est de savoir comment l’Europe existe, défend sa vision, ses intérêts et se protège dans ce monde d’incertitude.

DALRYMPLE: Macron makes it quite clear that it is desire, and no doubt nostalgia, for power that is the motive — no European country, France included, is any longer by itself truly powerful on the world stage. As geopolitical theorising, this is drivel of Hitlerian proportions; but it is current in the class of which Macron is a fine example, used as a plea for ever more centralised control exercised by themselves. I would like to think that my fellow-citizens, in voting to leave the European Union, had in mind a rejection of Macron and his ilk. Many of them must have been aware of the bullying or menacing language of the European political class: Macron said the European Council must issue an ‘ultimatum’ to the British. It had the opposite effect of the one intended.

The British got wise to the EU

Screen Shot 2016-07-03 at 08.44.55Educated people, writes Dalrymple,

are not ipso facto always wiser than the uneducated, but they are usually surer of themselves.

He points out that education

and wisdom, let alone foresight, are not the same thing.

He cites

  • the Russian intelligentsia, not notable for their political prudence
  • the German professoriate, not notable for its resistance to Nazi ideas
  • the educated leaders of the Khmers rouges, not notable for their humanity
  • highly educated persons in Britain, not notable for voting to leave the EU