Will Brexit make us better Europeans?

At Coffee House But one of the results of the vote might be that Britons become better Europeans; this is not exactly an unintended consequence, as Daniel Hannan has argued the point before, but it’s still somewhat counter-intuitive. Contrary to the thesis that Brexit has made the country a backwards-looking cesspit of hate, polls show that Britons have become more friendly to EU migrants since the June 23 vote. Maybe strong fences make for good neighbours, or the upsurge… Read on

The hypocrisy of pro-Union Brexiteers

At the Spectator, on the prospect of yet another referendum. It would also create the strange situation where a British government that had just left the European Union would be warning Scots that leaving a larger union will have catastrophic economics consequences. Surely no one involved in Brexit, or who supported Brexit, can make any argument against Scottish independence except emotional ones: that the British are a nation and for that reason should stick together. That point was… Read on

The new nostalgia for a pre-Brexit world

At the Spectator There is also anger, I should add, because those telling us not to close the ‘drawbridges’ often have their own very effective drawbridges called house prices. Coming up with solutions to a problem like this is the hardest part and Haidt’s central message is worth listening to – that in a more diverse society we should emphasise not what divides us but what we can have in common. In the long term, globalism will still win,… Read on

In defence of small nation states

At the Spectator. Scotland would do fine as an independent nation. They gave the world Adam Smith, after all. It’s not just Scotland; Catalonia is next in line and Flanders may also break away. In Nigeria Biafran secessionism has returned and one of the likely results of ejecting ISIS from Mosul will be Kurdish independence finally coming together. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of groups who would like independence – and the world would probably be a better… Read on

Auf Wiedersehen, remainers

From Spectator blogs I’m not a great optimist about the whole Brexit thing, although my colleagues would mostly disagree. It’s as if we were expecting a storm and we’re now cheering because it’s gone quiet. Strangely, eerily quiet. Anyway, like with climate change, I hope I’m wrong, and whenever I have my doubts about the whole thing, I think about the ‘Remain’ protests led by Eddie Izzard. Let’s hope these obviously counter-productive demonstrations continue for the next five years…. Read on

Watch John Calvin deſtroy ye papiſts in one utterance

From this week’s Catholic Herald.  I ticked off another “thing to do before I die” last month when I attended the annual wine-tasting day in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, which was the very image of la belle vie of rural France, apart from the four soldiers with machine guns (plus three policemen with handguns). France is swarming with heavily armed guys looking effortlessly cool as they defend us from the country’s endless supply of Islamist crazies, but the national emergency hasn’t affected… Read on

Why I regret Brexit

In this week’s Catholic Herald (out Friday) Well, that worked, and just as Britain was taken into the Common Market on a lie, so it will be taken out of the European Union on a lie; leave won with huge support in traditional Labour areas of the north, the midlands and Wales. Some of these towns, such as Boston, had had a big influx of eastern Europeans, but many had little immigration. More puzzling, too, many of these… Read on

Why we need a second referendum

At the Spectator Whether it was meant to be or not, this referendum was in effect a vote on globalisation, and so pitted people generally in favour of multiculturalism and social liberalism against those opposed to it. Despite being on the wrong side of history the latter edged it, just as I imagine if Elizabethan England had held a referendum on the national religion in, say, 1580, Catholicism would still have won, with the few remaining papist… Read on

Why are so few big business leaders for remain?

At he Spectator blogs What worries me, as an outer, is that we’re seeing a repeat of the Scottish referendum, where company bosses were scared to reveal their opinions for fear of economic boycotts or other social penalties, amid a general atmosphere of nastiness. Personally I’m against companies getting explicitly involved in political movements, largely because they tend to support gormlessly right-on causes that distract from their ruthless practices; but it’s healthy and right that business leaders give their opinion… Read on

Ukip hasn’t gone away, you know

At Spectator blogs Back in 2011 I suggested that Ukip would top the 2014 euro poll and was given odds of 66/1 by Paddy Power, but I chickened out of putting money on it; I also ducked out of a bet offered by a leading political pollster that the Kippers would overtake the Lib Dems. I come from an austere Irish Catholic background and have always taken the view that gambling is a waste of good drinking money…. Read on