I'll go to see the new musical. It might cheer me up having lived in Britain's la la land for so long. Yet it won't explain why a shunken, middle rank country which has never found a role since it lost an empire and been in comparative decline for decades is still being told, and half believes, that it's the greatest, an example to the world, and the best place to be when, in fact, it's deep in debt, unable to pay its way in the world and being sold off bit by bit to keep importing goodies we can neither produce nor afford.
A nation in a mess on that scale needs a powerful reassurance industry to tell it that the plug hole is another of the great opportunities so constantly showered on it. Britain has it in a media which portrays every failing business as leading the world, every new restaurant start up as economic salvation. Their efforts are boosted by governments which tell us we're punching above our weight, as if a poodle punched rather than yapped, and by a Finance Sector which believes that multinationals must be allowed to evade their taxes to attract them here.
Trump has just discovered alternative facts. We've been fed on them for years. Indeed only a nation living in La la land could see creative destruction as regeneration and Mrs Thatcher's ruinous de-industrialisation as the cure for economic decline as if phoenixes arise from ashes so the best way to breed them is to create more ashes. Our competitors have used protection and built up national champions to grow strong. We have preached free trade to damage our industry, broken up all our former national champions: ICI, General Electric, British Leyland (Rover), and Courtaulds (RIP) and imposed the higher costs of both privatised utilities and indigent local government on a business community which then howls for tax cuts to survive.
Now we're told that a country which seems to be doing well only by contrast with an EU which is doing so badly thanks to the Euro, is an economic miracle. In fact it is a huge bubble boosted by ever rising asset and house prices and kept going by consumers borrowing to buy what they can't afford and a state borrowing ever more to keep going. If this is success one begins to wonder what disaster looks like and if we'll ever be allowed to recognise it.
These attitudes cripple the great debate on membership of the European Union. Euro -enthusiasts talk about the wonderful things the EU has done for us when its drained us of jobs, money and demand for decades. Beneficiaries proclaim the benefits of EU aid when its only our own money paid back for the EU"s purposes with their massive running costs taken out. The membership fees are said to be well worth paying when we must borrow to pay eleven billion,(and rising) just to belong to a club that's doing damage to our economy.
The City of London proclaims itself as the nation's all powerful saviour admired by the world,while at the same time threatening that it will collapse and migrate to Luxembourg if we leave. British business proclaims the Single Market as essential to survival while ignoring the fact that we trade in it at an enormous and growing deficit met only by overseas borrowing and the jumble sale of British companies, assets, property' land, even citizenship. British capitalism dubs itself a world beating triumph even though it lives on fees for selling British assets and leaches on the state for subsidies, lucrative PFIs and transfers of state functions which it can run down for the profit of overpaid executives and greedy shareholders, more concerned with the short term and shareholder value than building the long term strength of the company..
All nonsense but because Europhiles believe it so strongly they're prepared to sabotage Britain's case, preach the other side's arguements and support every threat dredged up by tin-pot politicians on the EU's side, acting as a fifth column posing as the essence of Britishness. They mock the government's efforts to implement the wishes of the electorate and portray escape from the EU octopus as not only doomed to failure but certain to lead to economic ,social and political disaster if they suceed. These are the arguments of nervous Nellies not those of a confident, competitive business sector
Arguments so fragile can't possibly be true yet they are assiduously propagated and proclaimed by the liberal media, the vested interests and the Celtic nationalists who prefer subjection to Brussels to benefits from Westminster. Even worse they are half believed by a public which has been told for so long that failure is success, decline improvement, debt virtue and subordination, independence. A nation fed on myths can, in the fullness of time and diet, die by them. Unless our politicians are prepared to heed Lady Curzon's advice to fearful brides to"Lie back and think of England"
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