January 30, 2019
Stages of mourning
We note a despairing comment by an old friend of ours - Will Hutton (@williamnhutton), the former editor of the Observer:
"There is so much to deplore about Brexit. But most deplorable is how the rupturing of a 45 year relationship and the trashing of the soul of our country is being driven solely to keep the Tory party together. So short-sighted and tribal. It will never be forgiven."
We would like to make two points about this comment, which we think are relevant to the post-Brexit environment. The first relates to the last sentence: "It will never be forgiven". This reads like a battle cry for a civil war. We believe that both of the extreme options - a second referendum or a no-deal Brexit - have the capacity to unleash harm. In either of those scenarios, it is very likely to expect that some people will die, whether in a terror attack, in a two-day long traffic jam, or in a hospital failing to procure medicines.
The second point relates to Hutton's reference to the "soul of our country". It is interesting that this point was never made by the Remain campaign, which focused entirely on economic gain and loss. Any successful campaign for the UK to re-enter the EU will need to be based on cultural identity.