Beyond Brexit – Disunited Kingdom

The British (or is that English?) people have again voted themselves out of Europe. To help understand their mass psychology, or rather pathology, I highly recommend a recent book by Fintan O’Toole.

Heroic Failure: Brexit and the Politics of Pain’ is a brilliant and witty expose of how the Brits went from winning WW2 but losing the peace, not to mention their empire, to evoking the Dunkirk spirit as they became the oppressed underdogs of Europe.  And much more besides.

The chapter headings outline his narrative:  The Pleasures of Self-pity,  SS-GB Life in Occupied England,  The Triumph of the Light brigade,  A Pint of Beer, a Packet of Prawn Cocktail Flavour Crisps and Two Ounces of Dog Shit, Please,  Sadopopulism, The Twilight of the Gods: English Dreamtime,  The Sore Tooth and the Broken Umbrella,  Post script: Amity Island: The Unsettling of a Nation

O’Toole’s analysis of the (deliberate?) confusion of Britishness and Englishness, and its effect on Scottish and Irish nationalism, helps explain the rapidly decaying UK body politic, with its layering and crossover of identities.

The very notion of Great Britain itself is under threat from inside many parts of these blighted (hence Blighty?) British Isles. Perversely, perhaps even from the Conservatives themselves!  A Disunited Kingdom indeed.

The surge of Scottish nationalists and decline of unionist support, almost equalled now by Sinn fein, in Northern Ireland, sets the stage for an eventual break-up of the Union. England could return to pre-1707 borders and other ex-Brits get on with life in Europe. 

(P.S. Thanks to Jeff of Mainz for recommending O’Toole’s book.)


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