a hurricane, after all, is a lot of hot air moving in the same direction

Alex Massie has long served as “that guy on the Spectator it’s OK to like”, but this post of his serves as an excellent demonstration of a point made here.

When this magazine endorsed Brexit, it did so in typically trenchant and elegant fashion. ‘Out and into the world’ we said. The central thesis of The Spectator’s case for Leave was that the European Union has become a parody of itself, a sclerotic, irredeemably unreformable, set of institutions that are, at some core, fundamental, level intrinsically incompatible with this country’s instincts, traditions, and future.

So, you’re agin it? The problem here is that this is all vague, aesthetic, assertion-led attitude. There’s nothing concrete there. What “reforms”? Which “instincts”? How “incompatible”? What are these things you are talking about? Could I kick one across the street?


Those figures are accurate but misleading and, in other circumstances, I suspect The Spectator would be the first to tell you so. The relative proportions matter rather more than the absolute numbers. 44 percent of UK exports go to EU countries (a figure you may, with some reason, think depressingly high) but only eight percent of EU exports come to the UK.

Why depressingly? It’s next door!

Anyway, Massie spends most of the rest of the article pointing out that the mag’s case for Brexit was a load of nonsense without, you know, saying so. But I will.


  1. Metatone

    I guess it’s just the stacked nature of our public life that has let them continue with the vagueness… all that “attack dog” stuff from Paxo, Humphreys, Andrew Neil somehow never made a dent…

  2. Guano

    “The European Union has become …. a sclerotic … unreformable, set of institutions that are, at .. a fundamental, level intrinsically incompatible with this country’s instincts, traditions, and future.”

    There are a lot of vague words there doing a lot of heavy-lifting. And it begs the question – why did the Tories invest so heavily in Europe in the first place? Why did they want to join? Why did they put so much effort in making it a “free” market and in getting southern and eastern European nations to join?

    Or did it go wrong somewhere in the last 40 years, despite the UK’s efforts? And if this is the case, what has happened to the UK’s ability to punch above its weight?

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