The sight of more heavy rain outside the window tells me it’s high summer. This means all the important people have gone on holiday to somewhere sunnier, leaving us hoi polloi to discuss politics.
As a result, I’m at my desk when Matt Goodwin’s latest Substack post arrives, heralded as a contribution to ‘silly season’.
The core argument is that talk of rejoining the EU is overblown, because there are lots of things that are problematic about membership.
Since Matt reminds me how many of us all subscribe to his Substack, I’ll assume you’ve read it.
As a first thought, this is classic eurosceptic messaging on the EU and European integration: it’s costly, it’s too intrusive but also not strong enough to sort things out, it’s lethargic and divided and it leaves the door open to millions of people coming here.
These messages don’t just date back to 2016, but to the mid-1990s.
The messages have hung around for two main reasons.
Each of them taps into wider discontents and emotions about politics, about foreigners, about fairness that allow them to leverage more engagement from audiences. Politicians are the least trusted profession in the UK, you say? Well maybe it’s not going to hurt my cause (whatever it is) to trash-talk them then, right? Certainly I can think of would-be populists who rail against the failings of the ‘new elite’ in just this manner.
But the messages also persist because they have something to them. (more…)