1/ A brilliant demolition of the mentality of Brexit Britain. I want to focus on imperialism. It's an imperialist mindset that generates the delusions of superiority and entitlement. But why is that mindset so prevalent, so long after the end of empire?
2/ The founding members of the European Community all had recently lost or were losing empires through military defeat. The UK, on the other hand, saw itself as a victor in war, as an undefeated nation that voluntarily and gracefully withdrew from imperial responsibility.
3/ This story of voluntary and graceful withdrawal from empire was everywhere when I was a child in the 1960s. The story was a myth, a lie. No empire is given up gracefully. Empires end through humiliating defeat. And that was especially true of the world's largest empire.
4/ In just 25 years from 1947 to 1972 the UK went from ruling history's largest ever empire, to being the sick man of Europe, crawling forlornly into the EEC. And that devastatingly rapid collapse was dressed up as a graceful handing over of responsibility.
5/ So while the British, or mostly the English, knew they had lost the empire they had not had the imperialist spirit beaten out of them by crushing military defeat. So the English have been able to keep their imperialist spirit even while they have no empire.
6/ And what is it to have an imperialist mentality knowing you have no empire? Well I think it's deeply frustrating and angering. On the one hand you have the bitter humiliation of defeat repressed by the myth of graceful withdrawal festering just beneath the surface.
7/ On the other hand you are wide open to claims that your nation can be strong, powerful, great and world-beating. The one thing you don't want to do is give up your imperialist spirit and like other Europeans embark on a new post-imperial project of cooperation.
8/ So Brexit Britain, or Brexit England has a spirit like that of an angry ghost trapped at the site of the death of its empire, unable to move on to a new life. The Brexiters need to accept not merely the physical defeat of empire, but the defeat of their imperial mentality.
9/ For those who have read thus far I'd like to note that I owe @TimothyDSnyder for the very significant observation that the main founders of the European Community were defeated or collapsing empires, not nation states.
10/ I think if we want to erode the imperialist mentality, we should focus not so much on the evils of empire, but on the fact that the empire failed. When faced with the challenges of the modern world it collapsed catastrophically in just 25 years.
11/ Some people might say that Britain sacrificed its empire to beat the Axis. That is nonsense. A successful imperial power would have used the disasters that overtook several of its key rivals to greatly increase its power just as Britain did after 1815.

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More from @nickreeves9876

13 Mar
Please retweet if you want the opposition parties to cooperate in the next General Election in order to get the Tories out.

If you support this campaign, please put #FBPA (Follow Back Progressive Alliance) in your Twitter names.
Compass is organising a campaign for a Progressive Alliance backed by MPs including Clive Lewis, Layla Moran and Caroline Lucas. There are Compass groups in Labour, LibDems and Greens. compassonline.org.uk/campaigns/
The next government must rebuild our broken democracy. We need electoral reform and legislation to push (as far as can be done) big money out of politics. We need a much stronger Electoral Commission. There must be a clampdown on political lies, media reform, and plenty more.
Read 5 tweets
12 Mar
1/ Legal checks on government power are to be eroded. Voter suppression is arriving, the right to protest is being curbed, critical TV is being cancelled, while hard-right TV is being funded by super-rich kleptocrats. This is how democracy dies.
#ProgressiveAlliance #FBPA
2/ If the Tories win the next election the UK will become a Putinist sham democracy, a DINO (Democracy in Name Only), in which one party always wins. Trump's stupid Capitol coup failed. The Tory kleptofascist creeping coup is succeeding all too well.
#ProgressiveAlliance #FBPA
3/ If the opposition parties don't engage in electoral cooperation, they will almost certainly lose the next election, and we will lose what remains of our democracy. It is a simple as that. It's a Progressive Alliance or democracy dies.

#FBPA Follow Back Progressive Alliance
Read 10 tweets
4 Mar
Brussels has pledged legal action after ministers announced plans to unilaterally change a part of the Northern Ireland Brexit deal to better suit British businesses.

Starmer and Davey need to wise up. Brexit is not done, and it isn't going away.
The Tories and the tax-dodging Brexit billionaire press will repeatedly use conflicts with Brussels to stir up English nationalism. Opposition parties that stay silent will look vacillating and ineffectual and will see their pro-EU support base gradually drain away.
Of course if opposition parties attack the government on Brexit issues they will be accused of treason etc., but they will increase support among the anti-Brexit majority, and with a #ProgressiveAlliance they will have the votes needed for victory.
Read 4 tweets
21 Feb
1/ It looks like the majority of the working class are Leavers. That's not so surprising given working class employment, communities and organisations have been hit hardest by deindustrialisation, leaving many people to seek safety in what I call the tribe-nation.
2/ Human beings evolved and survived in tribes. Our psychology has a strong tribal element. In situations of social stress we tend to seek safety in the tribe. Once that might have been the Labour movement, now in the deindustrialised UK it's the tribe-nation.
3/ A defensive tribal mentality wants the tribe to be united. It is therefore suspicious of outsiders and of those within who manifest different cultural and social attitudes. And it sees those who ask too many questions as being disruptive and disloyal.
Read 6 tweets
8 Feb
1/ Millions of Germans continued to back Hitler even as the Third Reich crumbled into ruins. Around 80% of Trump voters think he won the election. Tribal nationalism is the rabies of the political mind. Fear drives people into the emotive loyalty of tribalism.
2/ The Brexit right cynically whipped up fear, and in a society largely broken by deindustrialisation people have sought safety in tribal nationalism. Like support of a football team, tribal identification is deeply emotional. Tribal nationalist politics is not going away.
3/ Tribalism poses a grave threat to democracy. A socio-political tribe will see opponents not as fellow members of a democratic community, but as outsiders who when conflict occurs, can legitimately be fought by non-democratic means.
Read 4 tweets
7 Feb
1/ After a Nazi referendum victory Goebbels said that "the will of the people is the will of the government and vice versa". He said this to delegitimise the core democratic right to oppose. The Brexiters used the "Will of the People" in exactly the same way.
2/ Aspiring populist dictators love referendums because they give them the chance to demonise opponents as "enemies of the democratic will of the people". Thatcher was entirely right when she echoed Attlee in saying that "the referendum was a device of dictators and demagogues".
3/ In a healthy democracy there are the majority and minority, there are arguments and compromises, there is government and opposition. There is no place for the totalitarian unity of the "Will of the People".
Read 5 tweets

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