A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

James Hannam

comments on Brexit from the perspective of a Brit:
Readers of [Quodlibeta] come from all over the world and they may have heard some surprising tidings from the United Kingdom over the last few weeks. As most of international news reporting has painted events as either a revolt by xenophobic peasants or just complete chaos, I [James] thought it was worth setting down what has really happened and the reasons behind it.

First, my biases. Although I am, I suppose, a member of the globalised neo-liberal order, I campaigned hard in my local area for a vote to leave the European Union, commonly called the EU, at the referendum on 23 June. I have been a sceptic of the EU since 16 September 1992, ‘black Wednesday’ when the German central bank provoked the markets to devalue the British pound against the will of the British Government. In the meantime, we have seen the EU bring in the single currency that, in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008 has turned into a rack upon which the economies of many of its members are slowly being broken. In essence, the EU has become an oligarchy, and not even a very effective one.
More at the link.


  1. I still say this is less the UK waking up to possibilities of something besides lockstep doctrinaire leftism, and more them merely wanting to be Tito to the EU's Warsaw Pact. (Not Tito to the EU's Jackson Five, because that would be silly. Also that would be Jermaine, not Tito.)

    1. Perhaps this is Jermaine:

      Every time I think I've had enough
      And start heading for the door
      There's a very strange vibration
      Piercing me right through the core
      It says, turn around, you fool
      You know you love micromanagement of your internal affairs by smug supercilious bureaucrats more and more
      Tell me why is it so?
      I never can say goodbye.

      And that's the whole Brexit meshugas right there in more or less the words of Michael (Jackson, not Flynn). Still working on the Tito link...

    2. Not sure if you understood my point. The EU bears very little blame for most of the UK's worst problems, many of which were already decades old when the EU came into existence.

      The UK has perfectly sound reasons to not want to be in the EU, but the idea that they're no longer being micromanaged by "smug supercilious bureaucrats" dies pretty much without a fight—assuming it was ever born—if you're merely familiar with the writings of Theodore Dalrymple.

      Hence the "Tito to the EU's Warsaw Pact" analogy.

    3. My apologies - I was just having fun with your Jackson 5 reference, which was funny. Not making any serious comment here.

  2. On a more serious note, some bloggers I respect are getting way bent out of shape over this, speculating on ways Parliament could ignore the referendum and just stay, which, frankly, surprises me. What part about democracy don't they understand? Isn't the EU essentially a treaty organization? How did it get to have this aura, this odor of sanctity about it? It's just business, when you get down to it. Don't like the deal, and want to cut your own? Why is this path, taken by individuals and companies every day, not OK when Britain does it? What terrible things do people imagine will happen?

    1. The EU is basically a voluntary and democratic assocation...but they've done it before, when votes didn't go "their" way. So folks who want it to go the other way are expecting that, and the folks who saw it happen and didn't care for it are expecting them to try something.


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