The June 2016 Brexit referendum left Britain a divided nation. That much we know. But the referendum didn’t create division. It exposed something that was already there, latent. This was hard to see if you attended to people’s conventional political views about taxation or public spending; even the issue of immigration, by itself, wasn’t “it.” Nor was it to be found in something as vague as “feelings” or “emotions.” It lay elsewhere, in the realm of the individual political psyche, that blending of personal, family and nonacademic history, casually informed reasoning, clan prejudice, tribal loyalty and ancestor worship that forms the imaginative framework in which, as we represent it to ourselves, our lives relate to events in the wider world.
In that framework, the way our representation of the past relates to our representation of the present isn’t always linear. What may seem, rationally, to be dead, gone and replaced (or to have never existed) is actually still there, immanent, or hidden, or stolen. An empire. An all-white Britain. A socialist Britain. A country that stood alone against the Nazi menace. One’s young self. A word for this is “dreaming.”
The past week has laid bare the crisis in British politics. On Tuesday, Parliament for the second time voted down the Brexit deal negotiated by Prime Minister Theresa May. Two days later, the same legislators voted to request from Europe an extension beyond the March 29 Brexit deadline. How this situation resolves remains anyone’s guess.
The major cause of this paralysis is the breakdown of the just-about-ruling Conservative Party — one faction prepared to compromise over Brexit, the other, a small minority in Parliament, eager to break absolutely with the European Union whatever the consequences. This makes sense only if you understand the hard-core Brexiteer minority as most in tune with the Leaver dreaming: that state of mind where it’s natural to talk about the Britons who endured the Nazi siege of the early 1940s as “we,” as if the present and the past, the dead and the living, were one and the same, bound to re-enact the slaying of a European dragon every few generations.
I’ve spent a lot of time traveling in England, before and since the referendum, listening to people talk about their lives. Remainers have their own rich dreams, no less fascinating, but I spoke mainly to Leavers, since they were the disrupters. I heard many true stories and many strong opinions, but as the years went by I began to attend more and more to the hints of dreaming between the lines, in what was not said as well as what was said. I noticed three things.
One was a strong sense of oppression, of being censored, and an attendant resentment. There were several occasions when Leavers I spoke to left pregnant gaps that could only have been filled with anti-immigrant sentiments that they weren’t “allowed” to say. By no means all Leavers are racist, but I ended up with the impression that for many, casual racism is regarded as a lost patrimony; that as much as Leavers might oppose immigration, they are no less resentful of the “elites” rendering it awkward to categorize people along racial lines.
Another thing I noticed was the internationalism of Leavers — internationalism with a particular flavor: the nostalgia for Ian Smith’s Rhodesia by a Norfolk farmer and member of the European Parliament from the far-right U.K. Independence Party; for the freedom to roam the North Sea without engaging with other littoral countries, from Grimsby fishermen; the indignation, from an ex-chocolate factory worker and U.K.I.P. member in the West Country, that young Britons who want to study abroad “have to” go to Europe (they don’t, but let that pass) when they should be going to Australian universities instead.
The third thing was the preoccupation with the state as defender of its people. This was literal — U.K.I.P. fliers boasting of how many extra aircraft carriers they would build in government — but also figurative, that it was the British government’s job to defend native Britons against immigrants; foreign competition; greedy capitalists; and, through the National Health Service, illness.
I used to be skeptical of the idea that Britain hadn’t come to terms with the loss of its empire. It was such a long time ago, and not a single one of the many Leavers I’ve had hours of conversations with over the years has explicitly expressed wanting it back. How could you? It would be ridiculous.
I believe now that a subliminal empire does persist in the dreaming of a large number of Britons, hinted at in a longing for the return of guilt-free racial categorization, in the idea that my country can be both globally open and privileged in an international trading system where it can somehow turn the rules to its advantage, in the idea of a safe white core protected from the dark hordes beyond by a mighty armed force.
How could this dreaming have survived so long after the fall of the actual empire? One answer may lie in the matchless political skills of Margaret Thatcher. She achieved the extraordinary feat of turning into political orthodoxy a plainly contradictory credo, that nationalism and borderless capitalism could easily coexist. The reality of the new Britain has been a shrunken welfare state, a country ruthlessly exposed to global free-market competition. The blindness of Thatcherism’s supporters has been to accept it as the patriotic solution to the globalism it enabled.
This idea, which begins to make sense only if your country happens to control a global empire, came from someone whose childhood dream was to be an official in the Indian Civil Service. It has been orthodoxy for four decades, not just in her own party but for a time, at least, in the main opposition. The bizarre and already disproved notion that the global free market might work as an avatar of Britain’s imperial power lies at the heart of the die-hard Brexit psyche. Propagating it was Mrs. Thatcher’s personal success, and that success, as we can now see, was her great failure.
James Meek is a novelist and journalist. His most recent book is “Dreams of Leaving and Remaining.”
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【萧】【墨】【开】【门】【进】【去】，【房】【间】【里】【没】【有】【单】【妍】【身】【影】，【空】【荡】【荡】【的】，【安】【静】【的】【过】【分】。 【即】【便】【他】【是】【心】【里】【早】【有】【了】【准】【备】，【可】【这】【一】【刻】，【他】【的】【心】【依】【旧】【难】【受】【的】【厉】【害】。 “【妍】【妍】，【你】【走】【了】【吗】？” 【许】【久】【没】【有】【人】【回】【答】【他】，【萧】【墨】【也】【知】【道】【自】【己】【这】【是】【在】【妄】【想】，【人】【都】【离】【开】【了】，【他】【还】【能】【奢】【想】【些】【什】【么】【呢】？ 【又】【在】【期】【盼】【些】【什】【么】？ 【桌】【上】【有】【单】【妍】【特】【意】【留】【下】【的】【信】【纸】，【只】【有】
【似】【乎】【是】【在】【回】【应】【莫】【问】【一】【样】。 【另】【一】【个】【园】【区】【也】【发】【生】【了】【爆】【炸】，【莫】【问】【如】【同】【救】【火】【英】【雄】【一】【样】【带】【着】【凌】【然】【飞】【速】【的】【赶】【了】【过】【去】。 【第】【一】【个】，【第】【二】【个】 【幸】【亏】【在】【莫】【问】【的】【疾】【驰】【当】【中】【并】【没】【有】【出】【现】【人】【员】【伤】【亡】，【爆】【炸】【的】【水】【准】【也】【很】【高】，【完】【美】【的】【避】【过】【了】【任】【何】【人】【群】。 “【莫】【问】，【不】【会】【是】【冲】【着】【我】【们】【来】【的】【吧】？” 【站】【在】【莫】【问】【旁】【边】，【凌】【然】【有】【些】【担】【心】，【才】【过】
“【嘻】【嘻】～” 【带】【了】【两】【个】【小】【家】【伙】【完】【了】【木】【马】，【还】【有】【其】【他】【一】【些】，【但】【到】【了】【做】【摩】【天】【轮】【的】【时】【候】【郁】【浅】【夏】【却】【怂】【了】。 【她】【有】【点】【怕】，【甚】【至】【是】【不】【敢】【上】【去】，【但】【两】【个】【小】【家】【伙】【一】【直】【看】【着】【她】。 【郁】【浅】【夏】【正】【要】【开】【口】，【顾】【黎】【川】【就】【已】【经】【拽】【住】【她】【的】【手】，“【没】【事】【的】，【我】【陪】【你】【一】【起】，【孩】【子】【们】【想】【玩】【就】【陪】【他】【们】【玩】【一】【次】【吧】。” 【郁】【浅】【夏】【甩】【开】【他】【的】【手】，“【谁】【稀】【罕】【你】【陪】，【我】
【视】【线】【依】【次】【扫】【过】【集】【装】【箱】【内】【安】【静】【站】【立】【着】【的】【八】【部】【新】【型】【战】【斗】【机】【器】【人】，【孙】【诚】【缓】【缓】【舒】【了】【一】【口】【气】。 【他】【快】【步】【走】【上】【前】【去】，【从】【紧】【箍】【在】【集】【装】【箱】【内】【的】【一】【侧】【墙】【体】【上】【取】【下】【一】【口】【比】【市】【面】【上】【常】【见】【的】【笔】【记】【本】【电】【脑】【还】【要】【略】【小】【一】【些】【的】【金】【属】【箱】。 【熟】【练】【地】【输】【入】【了】【一】【组】【高】【达】32【位】【的】【复】【杂】【密】【码】【之】【后】，【箱】【子】【很】【快】【就】【被】【打】【开】【了】，【露】【出】【了】【一】【张】【巴】【掌】【大】【小】【的】【芯】【片】。 “【复】济公救世网(挂牌玄机)【华】【强】【打】【开】【包】【厢】【的】【门】，【想】【一】【走】【了】【之】，【谁】【知】【被】**【的】【四】【个】【卫】【兵】【用】【刀】【逼】【住】。【华】【强】【不】【知】【道】【这】【四】【人】【是】**【的】【卫】【兵】，【只】【知】【道】【他】【们】【是】【花】【家】【庄】【的】【庄】【客】，【是】【来】【帮】“【许】【梁】”【找】【他】【报】【仇】【的】。【华】【强】【与】【这】【四】【个】【卫】【兵】【动】【过】【手】，【领】【略】【过】【他】【们】【的】【手】【段】，【看】【来】【今】【天】【只】【有】【拼】【死】【一】【搏】【了】。【于】【是】，【华】【强】【摆】【开】【马】【步】，【使】【一】【招】【仙】【人】【指】【路】，【将】【右】【手】【指】【着】【四】【个】【卫】【兵】，【对】**【怒】【吼】
【李】【文】【满】【脸】【问】【号】：“【我】【拿】【什】【么】【去】【组】【建】【战】【队】？【况】【且】FPX【虽】【然】【很】【新】，【但】【他】【已】【经】【是】【一】【支】【战】【队】【了】【啊】。” “【是】【让】【你】【帮】【助】【重】【组】FPX，【目】【的】【就】【是】【能】【够】【拥】【有】【冲】【击】S【赛】【的】【能】【力】。”【紫】【灵】【道】。 “【我】【怎】【么】【做】？【把】【天】【才】【选】【手】【都】【招】【来】FPX【吗】？【话】【说】【我】【都】【不】【认】【识】FPX【的】【老】【板】，【怎】【么】【重】【组】。” “【会】【认】【识】【的】。” “【那】【就】【好】【办】【了】，【我】【说】
【杨】【欣】【莹】【冷】【静】【了】【下】【来】，【把】【眼】【泪】【和】【鼻】【涕】【全】【都】【弄】【在】【了】【肖】【海】【的】【衣】【服】【上】，【然】【后】【脸】【红】【了】。【嘴】【上】【还】【是】【不】【饶】【人】【地】【讲】：“【我】【怎】【么】【知】【道】【你】【说】【的】【是】【真】【的】【还】【是】【假】【的】？【万】【一】【你】【是】【骗】【我】【的】【怎】【么】【办】？” “【你】【的】【手】【机】【借】【我】【用】【一】【下】。”【肖】【海】【松】【开】【了】【一】【些】，【脖】【子】【上】【被】【咬】【的】【地】【方】【传】【来】【阵】【阵】【隐】【痛】。 【杨】【欣】【莹】【不】【解】【地】【看】【着】【他】，【但】【还】【是】【把】【自】【己】【的】【手】【机】【给】【了】【他】。“【你】【要】