A New Year

On the top lane to Bughead Cross

I have tried to avoid writing too much about politics this past year. Mainly because it seems so pointless – and because all that happens is that I end up ranting away. But I cannot note the final rupture with Europe with anything other than real sadness. The cold weather this morning matched my mood.

For virtually my entire adult life we have been in and of Europe. The history I studied and I (still) read is clear that our fortunes are and have been inextricably linked with those of our European neighbours. Despite our many episodes of English (for it was invariably English) exceptionalism, our relationship with the continent, one way or another, has, sometimes of necessity but more often by choice, been close.

But I woke up this morning to a new world where, apparently, we have regained our sovereignty (had we ever lost it?) and are finally free (really?).

So what comes next? I was reading Camilla Cavendish’s column in the FT Online, With Brexit ‘done’, Britain must rebuild trust in Europe (almost certainly paywalled). She is very good on the challenges that the UK now faces but I was struck by this,

As the world moves into a new era of great power competition, the UK can only project its soft power and liberal democratic values in partnership with other like-minded countries.

One of the principal consequences of Brexit has been the steady erosion of the UK’s soft power and in pursuing Brexit in the way that it has, our government has quite deliberately undermined our liberal democratic values. There will be a lot to do.

But enough of this.

I was immensely cheered this morning by John Naughton’s Musical alternative to the morning’s radio news – Ode to Joy Flashmobbed – although the rest of his post in Memex 1.1 was a little less encouraging.

So I thought I would also share this with you – link