The 2016 Harold Wincott Memorial Lecture
Comment of the Day

November 03 2016

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

The 2016 Harold Wincott Memorial Lecture

Thanks to subscriber for the transcript to this lecture by Harold James with comments by Robert Tombs focusing on the differences in political culture between the UK and Europe which I found very educational and commend to subscribers. Here is a section from the former:

The divide is likely to produce a reshaping of the party political landscape.  The same problem – how to confront globalization – are destroying of twentieth century parties everywhere, European Christian Democrats and Social Democrats, or the Republican Party in the United States.  The Labor Party has already disintegrated; the Conservative Party will be torn apart as Brexit becomes imminent.  The development is analogous to two of the great transformations of British life: the aftermath of the 1688 Revolution, when the modern party system polarized around Whigs and Tories; or the legacy of Robert Peel’s conversion to repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846, in a debate that was also centered around the clash of commercial interests with the “territorial constitution” of Britain.  The only way of holding off the disintegration is to extend, extemporize and equivocate.  Or to repeat that “Brexit means Brexit.”  

Eoin Treacy's view

There are deep philosophical arguments that bear deeper scrutiny by all who wish to debate the merits of Brexit. However what appears clear at this stage is that the British people put their sovereign concerns ahead of their economic interests when they voted to leave the EU and it would be a very unwise politician to vote against the will of the people. 

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