Friday, 24 June 2016

Brexit - blip or inflexion point?

It seems that there is a reasonably strong majority vote for the UK Leave-ing the European Union - the size of is very significant in England (because Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to Remain).

The pattern is that the Establishment-dominated regions of England voted Remain; and everywhere else voted to Brexit.

Unsurprisingly, the situation seems to be that the majority of those with highest status, power, education and wealth (i.e. the Secular Left, Politically Correct Social Justice Warriors) want to remain in the EU - everybody else, not.

The referendum campaign in the mass media was overwhelmingly-dominated by Remain - but the effects of decades of corruption and self-destruction in this class was very evident - in that the Remain campaign held all the cards, but was ineffectual to the point of counter-productive in its tactics.

Remain had no honest and positive message because there exists no positive message for them to have - they merely offered 'more of the same', which is very obviously killing us.

('Very obviously' to anyone with common sense - leaving the EU is a 'no-brainer', but among the Establishment it is lack of a functioning intelligence that disables them. They are self-bewildered, and delusional Clever Sillies; insane rather than dumb; evilly-motivated rather than incompetent.)

Instead Remain relied almost exclusively on inciting fear and hatred, but succeeded only in making clear that Remain was itself motivated by fear, hatred and destructive zeal - (truthfully) signalling that Remain regarded the voting majority as dumb, crazy or wicked and therefore deserving of cultural (and probably physical) annihilation.

But a vote entails merely marking a piece of paper - and of itself is no more significant than an opinion poll - and it has for a long time been known that most English people wanted to leave the EU. So this referendum may mean nothing. It may be a mere 'blip' in the down-trend.

One scenario is that pretty soon, the fickle, mass media-addicted majority will soon forget this vote, just like they have forgotten many other (should-have-been) highly significant events over the past decades. (The mass media, after all, are overwhelmingly in favour of Remain.)

Very clearly, the vote is evidence of a massive popular rejection of the Establishment leadership (as well as the EU, which is part of precisely the same nexus).

But a negative impulse is insignificant - in and of itself merely a venting of disgust.

What will happen now depends on whether the majority vote is evidence of a positive and strategic resolve towards a new future for England: this would have to be some kind of 'spiritual' movement, a new destiny for the nation; because that is the only kind of thing which motivates large populations over long periods of time.

I have said, many times, that net-positive change entails some kind of religious (and specifically Christian) revival - because I believe that 'nationalism' is a spent-force in the history of The West.

A Religious Revival is possible, but is it at all plausible?

We will soon see.

Leaving aside media reports, which are all more-or-less false, what do I perceive? Last night, at about 11pm, after the polls has closed, there was an extraordinary and unusual silence. I live near to the centre of the city, and usually - at night - there is a lot of traffic noise, sirens, shouting and whatnot; especially in a balmy night like last night, when the bedroom windows were wide-open. I had forgotten that it was the referendum day (not having taken part) and commented on the eerie silence to my wife - who reminded me what had just happened.

It really felt exactly like the country was holding its breath - poised on the crux of a decision.

So, now we know the decision. But not what will happen next. The hatred of the English leadership class for the mass of English people and for the country was absolutely crystal-clear during the referendum campaign - so now everybody knows exactly where they stand.

Clearly the referendum triggered a pause and some greater-than-usual degree of thought around the UK - an unfamiliar situation. The immediate question is whether members of the Ruling Establishment have also been part of this reflection, and whether any or many will take a step-back from the mood of self-hatred and strategy of suicide which (with the EU) they have driven for the past 50 years. This may turn-out to be an inflexion-point when the down-trend towards self-annihilation takes a sharp up-tick.

Or, we may find that the Establishment are so deeply corrupted that they will engage in a hate-fuelled fit of destructive pique.

Either way, things have now 'come to a point' as CS Lewis put I (in That Hideous Strength) - the issues are becoming very clear, the sides are very distinct.

The next few days, weeks and months will be crucial...


Leo said...

To paraphrase a tweet I saw reported in Rod Dreher's blog, the media cannot be trusted to cover the revolt against the establishment of which it is a part.

Bruce Charlton said...

@DB - You have not read my post with sufficient care - its phrasing covers the points you make.

Albrecht said...

I'm glad to see that the margin was higher in England as the overall margin was disappointingly small: <4%. A clear win, but barely.

You wrote:

One scenario is that pretty soon, the fickle, mass media-addicted majority will soon forget this vote, just like they have forgotten many other (should-have-been) highly significant events over the past decades. (The mass media, after all, are overwhelmingly in favour of Remain.)

After decades of "This time it's so obvious nobody could miss it" events that soon evaporated or were co-opted by the establishment I am inclined to agree with this scenario. It seems it only takes a month or so for "The New Normal" to take hold. There's even a vile propaganda "comedy" (Prop-com?) with this name as if to rub people's noses in it. And isn't "rubbing our noses in it" just what our mis-leadership class loves to do?

And yet, maybe they really have gone too far this time. When you push your agenda as comprehensively and as relentlessly as they have for as long as they have people have no escape. Like cornered animals, they have to react. And people don't like being bullied by smarmy know-it-alls who exempt themselves from the consequences of their own disastrous policies.

Here's hoping our global "elites" get the full measure of what's coming to them, and soon.

John Fitzgerald said...

It's interesting that you became aware of a rare quietness in the city air - a pregnant pause, maybe, between the pre and post- referendum settlements. We are at Midsummer, one of those 'thin' times, traditionally, where the veil between this world and what the Celts called the Otherworld seems more porous than usual. The Summer Solstice took place three days ago, while yesterday we celebrated the Vigil of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. Today, June 24th - six months before Christmas Eve - is the Feast itself.

St. John is an in-between figure, straddling two worlds - the last of the Old Testament prophets and the direct forerunner of Christ. 'John,' as St. Augustine wrote, 'appears as the boundary between the two Testaments, the Old and the New. Thus he represents times past and is the herald of a new era to come.'

In times gone by people used to light bonfires on St. John's Eve. A political, social and cultural fire was lit in this country yesterday. It is young and tender, however, and needs protecting, if it is to kindle the religious fire we hope for, from the many winds that rage about it. We would do well then, rather than hurtle headlong into action, to turn to St, John and the patron Saints of our nations - Andrew, George, David and Patrick - in prayer and silence, listening for the quietness you encountered last night and the still small voice that speaks from those depths, guiding us towards the heart and soul, the meaning and reality, the pattern, purpose and vocation of 'this sceptred isle' we have the honour to inhabit.

'Then Lucy looked to her left and saw what she took to be a great bank of brightly-coloured cloud, cut off from them by a gap. But she looked harder and saw that it was not a cloud at all but a real land. And when she had fixed her eyes on one particular spot of it, she at once cried out, 'Peter! Edmund! Come and look! Come quickly.' And they came and looked.
'Why!' exclaimed Peter. 'It's England. And that's the house itself - Professor Kirk's old house in the country where all our adventures began!'
'I thought that house had been destroyed,' said Edmund.
'So it was,' said the Faun. 'But you are now looking at the England within England, the real England, just as this is the real Narnia. And in that inner England no good thing is destroyed ... That country and this country - all the real countries - are only spurs jutting out from the great mountains of Aslan. We have only to walk along the ridge, upward and inward, till it joins on.'

C.S. Lewis, 'The Last Battle'.

Brandon said...

Your thoughts on Donald Trump? Inasmuch as you have any?

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Are there any indications that the other EU vassal states will follow suit? The atmosphere surrounding the exit reminds me of March 11, 1990, but perhaps I am far too optimistic.

Anonymous said...

With apologies for a couple tangents, I don't have a sense of what, if anything, the major post-1945 Inklings said about things like the Council of Europe, the ECSC, the EEC,and Euratom (all within Lewis's lifetime), the Merger Treaty, the UK joining the European Communities (within which Tolkien lived his last nine months), and all the further developments through and within which Barfield lived. Has anyone surveyed this?

John Fitzgerald,

Do you happen to know Masefield's Arthurian use of Midsummer imagery?

I hope and pray the re-emergence of the UK from the EU will indeed be taken up to its own good, the true good of Europe, the Commonwealth, and the world, and in that the resistance to the ongoing strivings (conscious or usefully idiotic) for 'the Abolition of Man'.

David Llewellyn Dodds

Bruce Charlton said...

@JF - Yes!

@Brandon - Preferable to the alternative.

@Wm - The trouble is that all such speculation is media filtered - but the reported response from most EU leaders (and in other places) was far more fatalistic than I had feared/ expected - i.e they seemed to accept the referendum as decisive and Brexit as inevitable (until it had happened - I expected them not to - and bureaucratic ineertia would have been a formidable obstacle) - which means that the Brexit *will* happen and therefore its effects have already begun.

The comparison with the collapse of the Soviet Empire may be reasonable - we will soon know. It depends on what you believe happened from 1989. My understanding is that it was primarily a rapid psychological shift within the ruling elite, a demoralisation, in which a huge house of cards of mutually-self-supporting lies and self-deceptions began to collapse, one collapse bringing on the next.

The mass media reports on elite morale yesterday focused on shock and despair more than anger, which might well cause something similar to 1989. If the elite lose confidence in their own moral worth, or each other, eg if they start trying to benefit from Brexit etc - well, things might unravel just as fast as they did in 1989.

But mere collapse is a net-negative outcome (as we know from mutiple examples - most recently in the Middle East) - what is vital is that some positive *spiritual* agenda arise to lead the way forward, in England (primarily). So far as I can tell none of the main Brexit leaders are capable or even keen to lead a spiritual resurgence. And there are no objective signs of this, except the nature and pattern of the vote iself which I interpret to be non-materialist and long-termist in its quality, consistent with some unarticulated but strong spiritual aspiration. This is not enough - but it might be the beginning.

Bruce Charlton said...

@DLD. I think I have probably read all the relevant material about Tolkien and Lewis. Tolkien would certainly and Lewis very probably have been against Britain or England subordinating itself to Europe. About Barfield and Williams, I am not sure.

William Wildblood said...

Could it be that the people who voted leave actually did so on the basis of some kind of principle even if they only dimly sensed this principle, instinctively feeling how it has been abused for years but not quite knowing what it is? Thus they were not voting for their pockets or for an ideology or from a class perspective but for something precious that has been trampled on by the self-serving elites. They can be demonised as racists, they can be called stupid, ignorant, turkeys voting for Christmas etc but what they were actually doing was putting material interest to one side for the moment and standing up for some kind of deeper truth as they saw it. Not all of them ,of course, but a large number. Whether this will lead to the spiritual revival you mention, Bruce I would very much doubt. What form could it take? But at least for once people have gone for something more than just bread and circuses.

Yurtle the Turtle said...

This seems as good a time as any to post Yeat's poem "The Second Coming"

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

It is a time where:

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

It seems we humans are addicted to bathing in the blood-dimmed tide, and that many still slumber in their indifference - provided the bread and circuses continue - while others burst forth with certain conviction that fuels their passionate intensity. The United Kingdom has their variant of this as does the United States. Between Hillary - the criminal - and Trump the Mad there is nothing good to choose. The oligarchs will feather their castles like so many little Prince Prosperos until the Red Death intrudes as the unannounced and most unwelcome guest at their media masquerade ball. This feels like nothing so much as civilizations approaching a cusp, but to what is uncertain. What seems certain to me is that we are entering one of those chaotic stages where old decadent forms are about to collapse in upon themselves, and something new - though hopefully not so beastly as Yeats imagined - is crawling its way out of the desert to be born. (I know it is all rather melodramatic, but that does not change that it is also very likely so.)

It would be nice - even if just once - for man to pull out the worst of the old dark threads of his nature to prevent them from being woven into dreadful horrors - again. I suppose I ask too much. Even so, it would be welcome.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your considered opinion! I can't immediately imagine any of them being keen, nor would I extrapolate, for example, from Williams's positive Empire (in many ways, anyway) in the Arthurian poetry to embracing some sort of European Union as post-war possibility, but it would be interesting to see any particular comments, or weigh analogous and applicable ones.

Meanwhile, I see a 25 June online article by Victoria Friedman with headline, "Carswell and Hannan Freeze Out Farage, Say They WON’T Lower Immigration" - wheeling and dealing re. "the cross-party committee which will negotiate Britain’s exit from the EU" apparently well underway!

David Llewellyn Dodds

Anonymous said...

Just ran into this:

David Llewellyn Dodds

Bruce Charlton said...

@William "Could it be that the people who voted leave actually did so on the basis of some kind of principle even if they only dimly sensed this principle, instinctively feeling how it has been abused for years but not quite knowing what it is? Thus they were not voting for their pockets or for an ideology or from a class perspective but for something precious that has been trampled on by the self-serving elites."

This is also what I believe (I did not think this until the evening of Thursday, after the votes had been cast, but I do think it now.) On Friday I discussed the detailed statistical breakdown of the vote with my colleague Michael Woodley (who is expert at these matters, and a good poll predictor) and it seems that the numbers are consistent with (although of course they do not prove) your summary.

Anonymous said...

They were voting for an England of the imagination - a myth that sustains - a truly real thing precisely because it is a thing of the imagination. The vote stood for hope and truth. It was an Arthurian impulse - an attempt to save a past and secure a future. A myth of an England sure of itself - sure of its superiority because it is a Christian country with an honest core, and a belief in the spiritual destiny of England. It was an "And did those feet" moment. It was a longing to return to 'Good Queen Bess - a Gloriana moment. It was a cry from the depths of the collective English soul. And it was mostly from the English working classes - the uneducated - those not taught in the ways of media and the secular Left - the never brainwashed - the uncluttered. It was a vote by those who can sometimes still see simply and clearly. It was brave and worthy of deep respect.


Bruce Charlton said...

@Gala - You say no more than the truth... It is palpable (for those able to feel such things).