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There's a telling line from Heseltine in a Long Read on the Guardian (which has terrible search, so I couldn't find the link now that it's gone from their front page) saying that perhaps destroying the UK's manufacturing base during the Thatcher years was "unthinking" - in the sense that letting the markets rip without any planning or foresight really wasn't a sophisticated move.

Then, in a nice editorial move further down in the same piece, someone else points out that Brexit is doing the same thing in the same way. Even more subtly - as long as you're paying attention - this is contrasted with Japanese policy, which is supposed to be based on modelling and rational planning.

The editing is curious, but the point is a good one: the UK doesn't do thinking. This has been the core UK problem since the end of WWII - and possibly long before it, although imperial prosperity disguised the rotten core.

The US-imported horror of so-called big government and centralised planning creates an Economy of Stupidity, where ideology, bluster, and posturing become more important than planned rational action.

It isn't just exceptionalism and narcissism, although both play their part. It isn't even the core moral driver of Brexit, which is a juvenile "I'm British and no one tells me what to do."

It's the fact that British mental processes are pre-modern - in fact pre-Enlightenment - at too many social levels, from the vacuous self-interest of the Johnsons and Rees-Moggs down to the shop floor.

There's an educated middle class which is more sophisticated and occasionally shows evidence of being able to model outcomes and make plans. But the rest of the population literally has no idea how to sift fact from fiction, and makes up for it with bluster and self-serving delusion.

So... the EU needs to understand that it is not dealing with a rational country. The UK doesn't do rational in any observable form.

There's plenty of ideology to go around, and a whole lot of posing and angry rhetoric. But there isn't any rational understanding of the problems caused by Brexit, and even less rational ability to plan for solutions.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Oct 4th, 2018 at 12:01:46 PM EST

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