The reason I harp on about the emerging Brexit ‘blame myth’ is not because I don’t like people criticising the EU. It can, I’m sure, take it.
It’s because this myth-that everything going wrong is the EU’s fault-will be very damaging for the UK and Europe if it takes hold. 1/
Not only is David right that a state of (state sponsored) paranoia is no basis for a confident future, but its consequences at home could be much deeper and more damaging 2/
Blaming EU citizens is only one step from blaming the EU, and it seems we have a real revival underway of people, media and groups happy to encourage people to make that leap. 3/
We know that the myth of a “stab in the back” has been weaponised historically, and there is no reason to think the far-right - possibly with money and organisation for Bannon et al - will not be willing to emulate that. We know where that leads 4/
And the fertile ground provided by this blame myth makes them more likely to be successful. And they won’t, we know, stop there. 5/
At a more prosaic level, once this myth takes hold, it can be used by governments as cover for any ill in society, and their inability or unwillingness to deal with it. It takes responsibility from the very people who we need to take it if we are to have a healthy society. 6/
But at an international level, it may be yet more damaging. You can imagine a post-Brexit world where, as a result of the animosity, mistrust, and hatred bred towards it, even simple agreements on cooperation are impossible to conclude with the EU. 7/
In such a febrile atmosphere, even the simplest, most non-controversial negotiation will be picked over for signs of betrayal. Every normal, non-damaging compromise seen as a humiliation. Anything but hostility seen as treasonous or pro-EU. 8/
And if hostility becomes the norm, or indeed expected by the electorate, the consequences for European Cooperation, including in crucial areas of security and defence could be dire. 9/
Remember, most EU member states are also NATO allies, and all are security partners. Brexit strains relationships - that is inevitable - but a government unable to cooperate properly without hostility could strain these to breaking point. 10/
There is then the possibility that we find ourselves in an unthinkable position of not considering or being considered close allies and partners of the EU and its Member State. 11/
Not wishing to be gloomy this Monday morning, but that could put us and a continent in the type of position we have all hoped could never exist again. 12/
We shouldn’t even have to be considering this as the remotest possibility. Hell, we should be in a position where anything but the very closest cooperation and friendliest relations are unthinkable. 13/
I’m appalled that I have even thought it necessary to write this thread, to be honest, but yet more appalled that, as @DavidHenigUK rightly points out, our own government is at least partly responsible for the promotion of this dangerous blame myth. 14/
And for what? For short term political gain. To be seen as tough by a particularly unthinking bit of their own party. To avoid losing face. Most of all to though to avoid taking responsibility for what they have created & presided over.
With no concern for the consequences 15/15
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