/ Liberalism and brexit

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Postmanpat 01 Sep 2019

  I recommend any who has the time and interest in the causes and possible outcomes of brexit make the effort to listen to this fascinating discussion between Giles Fraser and the political philosopher, Larry Siedentop. Siedentop is a soft remainer but gives a masterly analysis (I think!) of the issues behind both brexit and the crisis of UK democracy, and also of the meaning of liberalism

  His position on liberalism is summarised in this article by Fraser: https://unherd.com/2019/08/why-i-was-wrong-about-liberalism/ and also takes up the first half of the podcast.

  The podcast is here https://soundcloud.com/unherd-confessions/larry-siedentops-confessions

  The discussion on brexit starts at about 30.30.

   His argument, which follows on from his views on liberalism, is that the brexit vote was at its heart a vote against the centralisation of power in London (nod to Tom in Edinburgh here) which he argues was initiated by the necessities of WW2 and, because of the lack of a written constitution (and because of the disintegration of the ruling upper middle class) , was never reversed. Indeed it was accelerated from Thatcher onwards. 

   Fraser makes the point, which Siedentrop concurs with, that the increasing power of Brussels aggravated this alienation of the electorate. He (Siedentrop) argues that the problem was the EU was that it was built upon the French model and was essentially " a programme for a larger France" (quoting his French liberal friends) . His great regret, and he believes it is a regret of many EU members eg.the Netherlands, is that the UK never seriously attempted to reform and decentralise the EU.

  As he puts it, by the 1990s, the EU started to encroach no longer just on "interests" but on identities. And this was the catalyst for the growth of euroscepticism across the continent.

  Anyway, it's a fascinating listen and hopefully will provoke some thought on the part of  of UKcers. I would also highly recommend other podcasts in Fraser's series in which he talks engagingly with such diverse characters a Iain Dale, Helena Kennedy and Simon Heffer.

Post edited at 12:27
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Shani 01 Sep 2019
In reply to Postmanpat:

Thats a very interesting article.  Cheers for sharing.

In reply to Postmanpat:

As he puts it, by the 1990s, the EU started to encroach no longer just on "interests" but on identities. And this was the catalyst for the growth of euroscepticism across the continent.

Isn't the 'encroachment onto identities problem' due to globalisation rather than the EU? The internet, increase in wealth of the east, relative decline of the west, mass tourism, changing demographics leading to increase migration, increased rise of women in more powerful jobs, loss of unionised physical male dominated jobs, a rapidly changing technological world, AI....

I would put all of those factors ahead of any EU political interests in encroaching on national, regional or any identities. 

2
neilh 01 Sep 2019
In reply to Heartinthe highlands:

Try reading Neil Mcgregors excellent book on Germany for a counter view point. 

Dr.S at work 01 Sep 2019
In reply to Postmanpat:

Interesting, thanks!

So, as seems likely that Brexit results in the beak up of the U.K. or more hopefully, the evolution of a federal structure, what’s the solution for English devolution?

wbo2 01 Sep 2019
In reply to Postmanpat:  thanks - some of the arguments seem a little stretched but still interesting 

Postmanpat 01 Sep 2019
In reply to Heartinthe highlands:

> As he puts it, by the 1990s, the EU started to encroach no longer just on "interests" but on identities. And this was the catalyst for the growth of euroscepticism across the continent.

> Isn't the 'encroachment onto identities problem' due to globalisation rather than the EU?

> I would put all of those factors ahead of any EU political interests in encroaching on national, regional or any identities. 

  As I understand it his argument is that the EU has consistently justified itself by the benefits it brings to people as consumers, and that is simply not enough to bind people together as Europeans loyal to the European project. The erosion of civic culture by a purely economistic idea of citizenship paves the way for the ‘return with a vengeance’ of older identities and loyalties.

  Personally I would agree that globalisation has played a part. The main promoters and beneficiaries of globalisation and the promoters of what they regard as "correct" cultural norms are regarded as by the "somewheres" members of the same "elite" that promotes the EU.

1
MG 01 Sep 2019
In reply to Postmanpat:

>   As I understand it his argument is that the EU has consistently justified itself by the benefits it brings to people as consumers, and that is simply not enough to bind people together as Europeans loyal to the European project. The erosion of civic culture by a purely economistic idea of citizenship paves the way for the ‘return with a vengeance’ of older identities and loyalties.

HIs argument is nonsense though.:

1)  The EU doesn't justify iteself just to consumers.  Culture, peace, education, art etc are all major strands

2) He needs to explain why, except for the UK, support for the EU, is about as high as its ever been. 

3) He needs to show how the EU erodes civic culture is also needed.  I'd say is does the opposite - for example  protecting the names of local goods, support for minority languages, support for regions etc etc.

1
cb294 01 Sep 2019
In reply to MG:

This, in particular 3)

CB

TobyA 01 Sep 2019
In reply to cb294:

> This, in particular 3)

I think the EU has had the same issue in many other member states as  UK: in it not being apparent to many people what the really EU does that help their lives. Also there are costs from standardized regulations that often affect economically marginal, but culturally significant, small industries more heavily - traditional forms of farming for example.

Quite a lot of research has been done showing that citizens don't necessarily see Europeanisation and globalization as different things, the former is just one aspect of the latter.

Planeandsimple 01 Sep 2019
In reply to TobyA:

You could also phrase that as 

I think the EU has had the same issue in many other member states as  UK: in it not being apparent to many people what the really EU does which interferes in their lives.

Really that depends on whether you see the EU influence as beneficial or malign.

Some would say that democratic institutions within the UK are fundamentally different from those in the EU due to different historical context. The Reith lectures by Sumption are worth listening to with regards to this.

EU integration could be said to undermine our fundamental democratic heritage turning our politicians and civil service into ineffectual entities who simply pass the buck for any unpopular legislation to the EU rather than taking tough decisions. One wonders of this is why our current political class is rife with halfwits, spineless mutants, buck passers, and double speakers. A profession that once maybe attracted the bright and best for years has attracted the obedient and self indulgent semi capable dregs of the group think classes incapable of leading. 

Lack of leadership and resolve is the reason we just spent 3 years negotiating our own humiliation. Brexit isn't the biggest crisis our country has faced, or at least it didn't need to be if we hadn't spent the last 30 years putting clowns in charge. 

2
In reply to Postmanpat:

"Personally I would agree that globalisation has played a part. The main promoters and beneficiaries of globalisation and the promoters of what they regard as "correct" cultural norms are regarded as by the "somewheres" members of the same "elite" that promotes the EU."

You see, I would regard the promoters and beneficiaries of 'correct cultural norms' in the UK are the owners of the Daily Mail,  Telegraph, Express and Sun . The owners of these papers dictate what is discussed and deemed important  in political life - usually a narrow and often mean view of how we live our lives. 

The 'elite promoters of the EU' getting closer were people like Kohl and Mitterand who had personal memories of what the alternative to a European Union may be. The tragedy of human kind is our collective ability to keep on making the same mistakes once those who learnt from bitter experience have passed on. 

Post edited at 20:56
Postmanpat 01 Sep 2019
In reply to Heartinthe highlands:

  In a nutshell Siedentrop's  argument seems to be that "voters sense what both the European Commission and national executives seem unable to understand – that important transfers of power from member states to Brussels in the past two decades have created the risk of a mutual discrediting. National parliaments have compromised their legitimacy, without the European parliament acquiring any. A generalised cynicism about government is on the rise. This weakening of democratic cultures in the member states may be an unintended consequence of the process of European integration."

Arms Cliff 01 Sep 2019
In reply to Postmanpat:

I can’t remember any of the 100’s of leave voters asked on phone ins how the EU interferes with their lives coming up with that answer, but I guess it’s a bit wordy for the radio. 

TobyA 01 Sep 2019
In reply to Planeandsimple:

> Some would say that democratic institutions within the UK are fundamentally different from those in the EU due to different historical context.

Although that's a typically myopic British-centred view, so the some who say it would sound ridiculous. Do they think the democratic institutions of Croatia and Sweden are somehow more similar than those of France and the UK? Or Finland and Portugal? Or Denmark and Malta?

Postmanpat 01 Sep 2019
In reply to Heartinthe highlands:

> You see, I would regard the promoters and beneficiaries of 'correct cultural norms' in the UK are the owners of the Daily Mail,  Telegraph, Express and Sun . The owners of these papers dictate what is discussed and deemed important  in political life - usually a narrow and often mean view of how we live our lives. 

>

  Yes, but it's not true. The vast majority (75%?) of the population say that they get their news from the TV, primarily the BBC. Even the best selling print product, the DM, has registers at about 5%. And of course, it's not just news. The TV has a much greater grip on the nation's consciousness through it dominance of drama, comedy and documentary output. And actually, all the broadsheet press generally subscribe to the "liberal norm".

Post edited at 21:11
In reply to Postmanpat:

>   Yes, but it's not true. The vast majority (75%?) of the population say that they get their news from the TV, primarily the BBC. Even the best selling print product, the DM, has registers at about 5%. And of course, it's not just news. The TV has a much greater grip on the nation's consciousness through it dominance of drama, comedy and documentary output. And actually, all the broadsheet press generally subscribe to the "liberal norm".

The BBC news does tend to follow two trends in choosing its news agenda though. One trend is to broadly follow the government of the day agenda and the second is to follow the news as created by the newspapers. I would say that the BBC is a fairly timid and quite cautious news reporter. Yes, it is liberal in the sense that its workforce live in the world city of London, and they imbue that city's multiculturalism and sophistication but hardly radical in challenging a conservative ( in a non political party sense) agenda. 

So, the BBC may be watched and listened to by many, but it doesn't create the agenda of what is news each day. It is a little too cowed for that. 

Postmanpat 01 Sep 2019
In reply to Heartinthe highlands:

> So, the BBC may be watched and listened to by many, but it doesn't create the agenda of what is news each day. It is a little too cowed for that. 


It embraces, without even having to think about, the cosmopolitan liberal values of its employees which are not necessarily shared by what I'll call call the "somewheres" . Think "Woman's Hour".

Anyway, it's not a core part of this discussion so I'll leave it.

Post edited at 21:48
Greenbanks 01 Sep 2019
In reply to Postmanpat:

<The main promoters and beneficiaries of globalisation and the promoters of what they regard as "correct" cultural norms are regarded as by the "somewheres" members of the same "elite" that promotes the EU>

It does rather seem that the same 'elite' is fully occupied in the wheelhouse of SS Brexit as it charts its perilous course through some ugly seas...

TobyA 01 Sep 2019
In reply to Postmanpat:

Do you consider yourself an Anywhere or a Somewhere? If the former we start getting in to interesting epistemological questions about how an Anywhere knows what the Somewheres think!

Postmanpat 01 Sep 2019
In reply to TobyA:

> Do you consider yourself an Anywhere or a Somewhere? If the former we start getting in to interesting epistemological questions about how an Anywhere knows what the Somewheres think!

>

  Anywhere.

  We read books and articles that make it their job to find out, (and speak to them!)

Planeandsimple 01 Sep 2019
In reply to TobyA:

Most were conquered in the last 80 years, or in the case of Malta they were decolonised. Others have faced, like Spain huge political upheaval and civil war within the last 100. Almost every single EU has had their democratic slate wiped clean, started afresh with a values based democracy, as Sumption puts it.

The interpretation of democracy is incompatible, British democracy, as most would understand it is about holding the government to account and a mini-revolution every few years. In general Europeans view this as dangerous and prefer democracy to be an implemented procedure which gives an illusion of choice with the real power held elsewhere. Who can blame them after the disaster German votes wrought across the continent. Hence the tendency towards coalitions and voting systems which deliver these.

3
Gordon Stainforth 01 Sep 2019
In reply to Greenbanks:

... it's more like Schettino taking the Costa Concordia on a route off the Isola de Giglia where he knew there were dangerous reefs because his ego had blinded his judgement ...

TobyA 01 Sep 2019
In reply to Planeandsimple:

> Most were conquered in the last 80 years,

Just out of the ones I mentioned pretty much at random above, Finland, Sweden and Portugal haven't been "conquered".

> In general Europeans view this as dangerous...

And who exactly is this "general European"?

"In general" you are making completely unsustainable sweeping statements.

The New NickB 01 Sep 2019
In reply to Postmanpat:

>   Yes, but it's not true. The vast majority (75%?) of the population say that they get their news from the TV, primarily the BBC. Even the best selling print product, the DM, has registers at about 5%. And of course, it's not just news. The TV has a much greater grip on the nation's consciousness through it dominance of drama, comedy and documentary output. And actually, all the broadsheet press generally subscribe to the "liberal norm".

What is your source for this? The DM claim a daily paper readership of 4m and many times that online. Figures for the Sun are 10m and 29m.

Bob Kemp 02 Sep 2019
In reply to The New NickB:

The Ofcom survey has something like that figure- 79%, so I guess it's that. 

https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0024/116529/news-consumption-2018.pdf

birdie num num 02 Sep 2019
In reply to Postmanpat:

My mate Rex knows nothing about cosmopolitan liberal values. He only voted for Brexit because his name is in it.

1
Gordon Stainforth 02 Sep 2019
In reply to Bob Kemp:

Except, I don't think it means that (i.e. 79% get their news from TV to the exclusion of other sources ... i.e they use other sources on 21% of the time - which is what PMP implied) at all. This is what it says:

'TV is the most-used platform for news nowadays by UK adults (79%), followed by the internet (64%), radio (44%) and newspapers (40%). However, the internet is the most popular platform among 16-24s (82%) and ethnic minority groups (EMGs) (73%).'

which clearly means that most people get their news from a wide range of sources, and as many as 40% say that (of their different sources of news) newspapers are actually the most important.  i.e. people have been asked to put all their sources of news into a kind of batting order of preference. I think that's what it means ...

It's interesting that the internet for young people comes out on top, and well-known that audience figures for TV are dropping considerably, and among young people catastrophically (from the network broadcasters' point of view).

[sorry above is so badly expressed ... too tired, need to get to sleep now ]

Post edited at 00:41
baron 02 Sep 2019
In reply to The New NickB:

Did I read your figures correctly?

10 million people read the sun daily?

Lusk 02 Sep 2019
In reply to The New NickB:

> What is your source for this? The DM claim a daily paper readership of 4m and many times that online. Figures for the Sun are 10m and 29m.

Bullshit, monthly figures, maybe. Don't distort the truth now!

https://www.pressgazette.co.uk/nrs-the-sun-moves-up-to-become-second-most-read-uk-newspaper-in-print-and-online-with-mail-still-top-on-29m-a-month/

Post edited at 02:16
Ridge 02 Sep 2019
In reply to baron:

> Did I read your figures correctly?

> 10 million people read the sun daily?

OK, it's read to them.

RomTheBear 02 Sep 2019
In reply to Postmanpat:

It’s amazing how people constantly come up with new rubbish socio-economic explanations as to why they shat in the bed.

Post edited at 06:45
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Richard J 02 Sep 2019
In reply to Postmanpat:

>   Yes, but it's not true. The vast majority (75%?) of the population say that they get their news from the TV, primarily the BBC. Even the best selling print product, the DM, has registers at about 5%. And of course, it's not just news. The TV has a much greater grip on the nation's consciousness through it dominance of drama, comedy and documentary output. And actually, all the broadsheet press generally subscribe to the "liberal norm".

Did you see the recent FT article, about a study which treated the post-Hillsborough Liverpool Sun boycott as a natural experiment?  The study claimed that Liverpool was about 11% less europhobic than it would have been if the Sun had continued to be widely read, after controlling for other factors.

baron 02 Sep 2019
In reply to Ridge:

> OK, it's read to them.

😀

Planeandsimple 02 Sep 2019
In reply to TobyA:

That general European who ties a chain of onions round their neck, wears a beret or clogs, sleeps for half of the day, drinks alot of wine while eating wursts and pierogi. I joke. 

Sorry Toby I'm actually just paraphrasing the essence of the problem as analysed within the Sumption Lectures. I personally think you should listen to them they may aid you in understanding those who haven't worked for the EU and have equally valid but different points of view. He mainly talks about the relationship of parliament and the legal system, this is the major area of conceptual difference and stems from a number of historically important diverging constitutional decisions. 

I am aware of Sweden's history of neutrality. This is why I said MOST were conquered, which they were, and almost all that weren't within the last century had major political upheaval or revolution, Ireland and Malta for example. 

Bob Kemp 02 Sep 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

I agree - it's not a straightforward 'either/or'. And as someone else has pointed out, newspapers do set the agenda in a variety of ways, and the Beeb follow suit. 

The point about the internet and young people is important. And the impact of social media generally is increasingly significant of course. 

DancingOnRock 02 Sep 2019
In reply to Postmanpat:

>   Yes, but it's not true. The vast majority (75%?) of the population say that they get their news from the TV, primarily the BBC. 

I wonder how many actually get their news from Sky News. 

Postmanpat 02 Sep 2019
In reply to Bob Kemp:

> I agree - it's not a straightforward 'either/or'. And as someone else has pointed out, newspapers do set the agenda in a variety of ways, and the Beeb follow suit. 

>

  I never meant to suggest that people use exclusive news sources because obviously they don't.

  But, almost any way you look at it, the TV/radio based media, especially the BBC are the dominant news sources (and, maybe more importantly, probably the dominant source of values through drama, current affairs etcetc). Aside from TV and radio the BBC is the most popular news website and the the most popular source of news on social media (on Twitter, the BBC,Sky, ITV,Guardian, Ch4 and CNN account for 84% of news followed compared to 6% for the DM!!).

But really, it's an aside for another thread.

Bob Kemp 02 Sep 2019
In reply to Planeandsimple:

I've only listened to/read the fifth Sumption lecture on the increasing unpopularity of Parliament and related issues so I'm not sure where your generalisations about Europe come from - maybe you could give a link to the particular lecture? It is a very interesting series of lectures though, and that 4th one makes some points that are very relevant now. It's clear that Johnson is aiming to capitalise on the mood described in the lecture, and there is apparently data to support his approach:

"Recent polls conducted by the Hansard Society suggest that a clear majority of our fellow citizens would welcome government by a strongman willing to break the rules. "

(I haven't seen this data - will be having a look later.)

Fifth lecture transcript here:

http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/radio4/reith2019/Reith_2019_Sumption_lecture_5.pdf

Bob Kemp 02 Sep 2019
In reply to Postmanpat:

I didn't think you did suggest that - we can't always write an academic paper about each point we make, so it's not a problem. I do think you're exaggerating the role of the Beeb as a source of our values - values come from family, community, education, workplace, a range of media and more. The BBC only has limited influence here. Nor does it show one perspective or type of values. 

1
Postmanpat 02 Sep 2019
In reply to Bob Kemp:

> I didn't think you did suggest that - we can't always write an academic paper about each point we make, so it's not a problem. I do think you're exaggerating the role of the Beeb as a source of our values - values come from family, community, education, workplace, a range of media and more. >

  When I said "dominant source" I meant relative to other forms of media, not relative to family community etc. which I agree are hugely important.

1
Jim Fraser 02 Sep 2019
In reply to Postmanpat:

Rubbish. 

Social change blah blah, Brussels blah blah, ...

B0110cks. We know what works well because a number of small to medium sized countries in western Europe have done exceptionally well and post-war Germany has survived and thrived thanks to a political model that the British played a part in crafting. The evidence is there right under our noses yet we fail to adapt to the liberal-social-democratic model that will ensure our long term stability and success. Instead we persist with a disastrously inept constitutional model that was bound to end in tears. 

1
elsewhere 02 Sep 2019
In reply to Bob Kemp:

> "Recent polls conducted by the Hansard Society suggest that a clear majority of our fellow citizens would welcome government by a strongman willing to break the rules. "

If true, that is not good.

Gordon Stainforth 02 Sep 2019
In reply to Postmanpat:

I wish you wouldn't be so dishonest, Nick. What you first said was: 'The vast majority (75%?) of the population say that they get their news from the TV, primarily the BBC.' Talking about percentages of the population. You later changed it to 'dominant source', which has a very different meaning. The only 'dominant' thing you mentioned before was the Beeb.

Gordon Stainforth 02 Sep 2019
In reply to Jim Fraser:

> We know what works well because a number of small to medium sized countries in western Europe have done exceptionally well and post-war Germany has survived and thrived thanks to a political model that the British played a part in crafting. The evidence is there right under our noses yet we fail to adapt to the liberal-social-democratic model that will ensure our long term stability and success. Instead we persist with a disastrously inept constitutional model that was bound to end in tears. 

Beautifully and accurately put, Jim.

Postmanpat 02 Sep 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> I wish you wouldn't be so dishonest, Nick. What you first said was: 'The vast majority (75%?) of the population say that they get their news from the TV, primarily the BBC.'

>

  Which is clearly true, except that it is apparently 79%.

 I never used the words "exclusively". You mistakenly and weirdly  inferred that,and indeed added it to change the meaning of the sentence. One of the reasons my sentences sometimes get convoluted is to try and avoid this sort of mistaken inference that is so common on UKC. But even I didn't see this particular mistaken inference coming 1) because it's so completely obvious that barely anyone uses only one source of news 2) because it doesn't make  a material to the point I was making.

  As Bob Kemp says, "we can't write an academic paper about every point that we make".

  Please don't accuse me of dishonesty and I shall observe the same etiquette. If you think it was expressed badly, so be it. Sometimes people do that when they are tired or in a hurry.....

Post edited at 14:11
RomTheBear 02 Sep 2019
In reply to Postmanpat:

I agree with one thing, the UK is way to centralised to be democratic.

Unfortunately Brexit leads to ever more centralisation of power in Westminster, far from spurring a democratic revolution, Brexit is pushing us in an ever more authoritarian and centralised state.

JLS 02 Sep 2019
In reply to Postmanpat:

>"Anyway, it's a fascinating listen and hopefully will provoke some thought on the part of  of UKcers."

Gave it a go. Learned a new word "deracinate". Took ages to figure out Talkveel is spelt Tocqueville, however, I see now that it was always in the text pre-amble.

Only served to reinforce my view that the EU's brand of social liberalism remains be a useful governor on the rampant capitalism favored the current UK government.

Duncan Bourne 02 Sep 2019
In reply to Postmanpat:

Good post. Very interesting

JLS 02 Sep 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

>"Brexit is pushing us in an ever more authoritarian and centralised state."

"Are you sure it’s not just delivering us to the markets ripe for exploitation?"

RomTheBear 02 Sep 2019
In reply to JLS:

> >"Brexit is pushing us in an ever more authoritarian and centralised state."

> "Are you sure it’s not just delivering us to the markets ripe for exploitation?"

I won’t speculate on that. I don’t know. But what is clear is that Brexit, particularly no-deal, results in a more authoritarian and centralised state. 

As soon as you get no-deal, first of all checks and balances that exists through EU mechanisms disappear. Then, the government will have to make sweeping changes to the laws via the powers handed to them via the Withdrawal Bill.

The economy will suffer a shock, which is then used as a justification for ever more centralised, radical, and authoritarian government interventionism.

Through the instigation of a sort of state of urgency, you can then justify all sorts of new restrictions of freedom and civil liberties that will pass will little to no scrutiny.

The more chaos and confusion is created, the easier it is to justify strong, authoritarian leadership. When there is a fire in the building people are less likely to take a vote on the next course of action, instead they just follow the leader.

If you’re wondering why the architect of Brexit are so keen to create maximum chaos, that’s your answer IMO.

Once you start down that path, it’s very hard to go back and reverse it.

Post edited at 15:51
JLS 02 Sep 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

>"If you’re wondering why the architect of Brexit are so keen in creating maximum chaos, that’s your answer IMO."

Are These Visions of Things As They Will Be, Or Things As They Might Be?

I don't think we've quite landed the first foot of the first step down that road quite yet.

I'd agree that we should be very mindful of the possiblity that there may be people in the shadows that could be starting to see a weakness in our democracy and might well be pondering just how far they could push it...

neilh 02 Sep 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

Not sure this possibly upto scrutiny. After all the EU so far has not been able to check the rise for example of Orban in Hungary or the Polish hard right .Some would argue that Hungary is now an authoritarian state in the EU. So there are in reality very few checks from the EU to what are domestic issues.

RomTheBear 02 Sep 2019
In reply to JLS:

> >"If you’re wondering why the architect of Brexit are so keen in creating maximum chaos, that’s your answer IMO."

> Are These Visions of Things As They Will Be, Or Things As They Might Be?

> I don't think we've quite landed the first foot of the first step down that road quite yet.

I think we’ve landed it quite a while ago. In my view this process started since 9/11 and has just accelerated uncontrollably in the past three years.

I don’t see any easy way back in the UK and US I’m afraid. I think it’s already too late.

I think there is still a glimmer of hope for the rest of the EU to remain a bastion of liberalism and democracy, if they get their act together.

> I'd agree that we should be very mindful of the possiblity that there may be people in the shadows that could be starting to see a weakness in our democracy and might well be pondering just how far they could push it...

Not necessarily in the shadows. So far they are in plain sight.

Post edited at 17:01
RomTheBear 02 Sep 2019
In reply to neilh:

> Not sure this possibly upto scrutiny. After all the EU so far has not been able to check the rise for example of Orban in Hungary or the Polish hard right .Some would argue that Hungary is now an authoritarian state in the EU. So there are in reality very few checks from the EU to what are domestic issues.

As I’ve said EU checks and balances are only one factor, it doesn’t solve everything, but it’s certainly a dampening factor. The situation would be undeniably a lot worse in Hungary if it wasn’t for EU leverage. You could argue that the EU left Orban too much leeway but I think they are playing the long game here. 

Post edited at 16:56
Bob Kemp 02 Sep 2019
In reply to JLS:

> I'd agree that we should be very mindful of the possiblity that there may be people in the shadows that could be starting to see a weakness in our democracy and might well be pondering just how far they could push it...

You might like to read about who the people in the shadows may be- 

https://bylinetimes.com/2019/08/29/whos-behind-boris-johnsons-coup-the-murky-lobbyists-whove-taken-over-the-government/

This doesn't mention the Johnson-Bannon connection, which Bannon claims and Johnson denies. Or the role of Cambridge Analytica. 


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