Yesterday I was in an England mood posting on London Night Tube service, Delta’s Move to Heathrow T3, and an opinion piece and radio program by London-based entrepreneur Tyler Brûlé that London may follow the decline of Montréal.
If there is no lesson to be learned for London’s posssible trajectory, I found it eye-opening that 40 years ago Montréal was Canada’s leading city and financial center. The Canada I know is where even Bank of Montréal is headquartered in Toronto.
A number of readers weren’t having that thought experiment. Oh well, in honor of them I will troll back the BBC’s After Brexit collection from program A Point of View, recorded in mid-July.
5 British thinkers exploring the ramifications of Brexit. To avoid intellectually disruptive challenge to confirmation bias, I am labeling them as LEAVE or REMAIN so you can listen to only those you know you already agree.
There are fascinating nuggets such as that what to the outside world seemed a shocking lack of contingency planning was partly by government edict: of government departments, only the Bank of England and Treasury were allowed to develop contingency plans (mentioned in two pieces).
Here are the five episodes:
- REMAIN: Onora O’Neill “criticises the standard of public debate on both sides of the European Union decision and asks how this democratic deficit can be repaired. ” Listen here.
- LEAVE: John Gray “argues that Britain should look to Brexit as a new beginning in which it “can throw off the dead weight of a failing European project”.” Listen here.
- LEAVE: Roger Scruton “reflects on democracy after Brexit and explains why he feels it is the ordinary people of this country who care about democracy, not the urban elites.” Listen here.
- REMAIN: Peter Hennessy “sees the UK’s vote to leave the European Union as the biggest strategic shift in British history since the Second World War, rivalled only by the disposal of the British Empire. ” Listen here.
- REMAIN: Mary Beard “asks whether the referendum result will change our cultural identity.” Listen here.
Uh-oh not balanced, 3 to 2! Well, the first episode is more implication than stated position, call it 2 to 2 and a suspect tie.
I am fascinated by Brexit because it was entirely by choice, a referendum birthed by a minority of the majority party and lost by a half-hearted prime minister that put it forward for short-term political calculation. The new prime minister has deftly fashioned “Brexit means Brexit” which means everything and nothing. The referendum is both a definite end and an uncertain beginning and no one has a clue how it will play out despite their certainty.
Readers, what say you?