(Fifteen-minute read )
I have just watched the debate for the leadership of the Conservative party and sadly next prime minister of England.
None of the candidates were asked to address the following essential overriding question England’s future.
Now that England has left the EU – England? – What is it?
Today this is the hard question because Great Britain has lost an Empire and has not yet found a role outside the EU.
One of the many driving forces behind Brexit, it seems to me, was English/British exceptionalism, encapsulated in the winning slogan “Take back control”.
We are different, we are unique, and we are exceptional.
Unfortunately, it’s now too late to realize that it is a medium-sized relatively unimportant country that has destroyed its manufacturing base in a Faustian pact with financial interests to become the money laundering “world beater” and the conduit of choice for tax evasion.
It’s young, are now on the slippery slope to a new medieval world recreation of taxation to support its crumbling economy and public services.
This time, there might be no way out.
Instead of catapulting it into a better age, modernity in the form of Tech will now be used to keep it in this state – imprison it in a world made by the mega-rich – by manipulating it to keep things exactly as they are.
An awakening is needed.
But I profess to be blind and deaf as to how the masses can be awakened, other than that the message is conveyed to it by the means of a very short, sharp, and deeply profound shock, which will be devastating for many and, no doubt, capitalized on by those who seek to divide it.
In the documentary ‘Social Dilemma’, it is pointed out that most of the recent investment in the world has gone into improving the processing power of algorithms and computing – it has outstripped investment and development in the fight against cancer, and science and technology elsewhere – all designed to predict even better how we will respond and then have us hanging in front of our devices, slobbering like Pavlov’s dogs for the next ‘impulse’.
That is what has been happening in the world – more people are being manipulated – not informed.
On leaving the EU England lost all sense of the common good and now the definition of the ‘common good’ sits outside the reference framework on how one might view the structures for the provision of the ‘common good.
The problem has always been having a democracy, or wealth concentrated in the hands of a few.
You can’t have both so we hear the slogan leveling up.
This cannot be achieved while witnessing politicians like Boris and the X Health Minister Matt Hancock who defend brazen neoliberal exploitation of publicly funded, public health provision for private profit as if it was simply illustrative of a fair free market.
At the top of English society, it is an amoral world where money is the only common factor – up to recently it does not matter if you are Russian or a criminal – it is the size of your wad that matters – money rules.
There is no free market here.
The simple fact of the matter is that politicians have failed to reign these forces in and weakened resistance for example by undermining unions and worker rights.
What we are seeing now is that last grab of what is left.
The collapse of the UK will come because without having a role as an exploiter – whether by old-fashioned land grab or by financial capture of other country’s economies by the City of London and its tax havens – those ruling from London have no idea what role England has.
The politicians who can imagine an England that has its own role in the world, as a separate nation-state, not dependent on the support of the other countries that have sustained it for centuries, are what are required to guide it now.
And I can’t see them, as yet.
The worrying bit for me is that there seems no longer to be any concern that these things happen so bare-facedly these days.
This seems to have happened in plain sight, but too many of our eyes are looking down at our devices being distracted by Apps and god knows what else (gambling, porn, Facebook, etc.,).
And the internet is there to be used as those with money see fit to maintain the status quo.
I have to live in hope, but now it is much more complex than England which has adapted to less.
A post-colonial, post-financialised, non-exploitative vision of England as a separate country that can survive on its own rather than by extracting value from others is what is required if it is to make it through the long existential crisis that it is now facing.
That hope includes a belief that England can find a future in which exploitation plays no part. That hope has limited foundations. But when the alternative is offered by the far right it is something I have to believe possible.
Survival always requires a will to do so. I don’t think the UK, as a union of four nations, has that will anymore.
It’s why I see independence for Scotland soon, Irish reunification thereafter, and then Wales also thinking there might be a better alternative to rule from London.
Labour sat out Brexit, but can’t sit out this crisis.
It’s going to be too painful to do that. They must have plans they can promote to deal with the immediate issues.
Whatever was normal will have gone by the time this crisis is over. Whatever replaces it is not yet known. It could be fascism. And it could be something so much better. But the better route requires a willingness to imagine it. I only see that willingness in Scotland right now.
No doubt with the pending departure of Boris sanity is starting to prevail in the government in regard to the future of the UK economy not to mention the Union in relation to the effects of Brexit and Covid-19!
This is now a country that agreed to make a series of payments to the EU, as part of the deal when it left in January 2020, often called the divorce bill.
It’s now a country that cannot feed its people, provide medical care, freely educate its future generation, build affordable homes, and create a green generate economy. A country whose history shaped much of the world for both the good and the bad now needs a written constitution to guide it into the future.
From January 2021, there was about £25bn left to pay by 2057.
Trust in politicians has now sunk so low in Britain that it could very well have to adapt to even less than that.
To me, isolation it’s just such a bizarre hill to die on.
When successful, politics goes largely unnoticed, when it messes up, a furor ensues.
So I ask where are the voices of young England.
All human comments are appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.