17 September 2016

“Beleavers” and “Remoaners”: Brexit and the Anti-Democrats


 

We have a Treaty under which there is no possibility of paying to bail out states. Angela Merkel, 2010. [As of October 2015, total approved bailout to eight EU partners was 525.8 billion euros.1]

 

There can be no democratic choice against the European Treaties.
Jean-Claude Juncker (Le Figaro, 28 January 2015.)

 
Too many politicians are listening exclusively to their national opinion.
Jean-Claude Juncker in Rome, May 2016.


 

On 23 June 2016, 17,410,742 voters in the UK expressed their desire that the United Kingdom should leave the European Union, while 16,141,247 voters opted to remain in it. The exact numbers are important, since a lot of disingenuous arguments have been derived from them. Firstly it should be stated that more people voted to leave the EU than have ever voted either for a political party or (in a referendum) on any other issue in our modern democracy.2 Secondly, the margin of 51.9% “Leave” and 48.1% “Remain” was narrow, but clear. In recent years there have been several elections in mature democracies that were decided on much narrower margins. Thirdly (since much was made of this by the disappointed Remain camp) the “38% of eligible voters” who actually voted to leave is not “unrepresentative” in our democracy as presently constituted – for example, in the later Blair period of socialist government, only 25% of “eligible voters” produced a victory for him, and one with a good working majority in the House of Commons.

Moreover the turnout for Blair in his decline was relatively low, whereas the turnout in the EU referendum, at 72.2%, was markedly higher even than that of the previous year’s general election (66.1%) that brought the Tories to power.3

Our majoritarian system for national elections does indeed produce apparent anomalies, but that occurs because of the constituency based “first past the post” system of voting. For example, this system resulted in the EU-averse United Kingdom Independence Party winning 12.6% of the total UK vote in the 2015 election, but only 1 seat in Parliament; the Scottish Nationalists on the other hand achieved a mere 4.7% of the vote but were rewarded with 56 seats. The referendum, being a straight choice on a single issue with no “wasted votes” piled up by the losers in individual constituencies, was of course unencumbered by such anomalies (if such they are).

To many people these are arcane matters that may safely be left to psephological nerds, but it was a measure of the fury and anguish of the losers in the referendum that any argument, however disingenuous, that could be made to look remotely plausible was wheeled out in an attempt to demonstrate that the referendum was in some way “unfair” or “unrepresentative”. Closer inspection of such arguments usually revealed that the “Remoaners” simply felt that the result was “unfair” because they had lost. For example, one can imagine a simple test of the sincerity of the claim that the margin was too narrow to decide the issue: simply assume that the result had been the reverse of the actual one, namely 52% for Remain and 48% to Leave. Now imagine the Leave campaign claiming in exactly the same way as some Remainers now do that the margin was too narrow and the result “unfair”. How would the victorious Remainers have reacted to that? I think we can all envisage the accusations of “bad losers” and general breast-beating that would have been heaped on the complainants. Moreover, although we are constantly told that Scotland and London voted “overwhelmingly” to Remain, 38% nevertheless turned out for Leave in Scotland, 40.1% in London, while in the third Remain area, Northern Ireland, 44.2% voted to leave. A BBC news analysis points out that turnout was actually lower in the “national” Remain areas than in Leave ones (67.2% in Scotland for example, as against 73% in England). Scots turnout in their recent referendum on independence was much higher at 85%.

The vote to leave the EU may turn out to be the disaster the “Remoaners” claim it will be, or the liberation and ultimately a catalyst both for democracy and prosperity that the most optimistic of “Beleavers” hope for. Probably, as is so often the case, it will be something in between. However, regardless of the much disputed economic issues, one significantly desirable outcome was the unmasking of the astonishingly illiberal and anti-democratic nature of the insidiously powerful liberal establishment. As soon as the votes were counted, representatives of the latter demanded another referendum, following the EU’s precedent of insisting on second referendums when the first one has delivered the “wrong” result.4 More respectably, the veteran economics commentator Anatole Kaletsky argued in Prospect magazine5 that it was perfectly democratic to argue for a general election or a second referendum when the terms of any agreed deal with the EU were made known [italics added]. Referendums are for Kaletsky anyway an instrument of demagoguery (though apparently not the one that would reverse Brexit) and the fight to remain in the EU should start now, just as the opposition begins its fight-back after defeat in a general election. Kaletsky concedes that “European leaders will have to offer some modest additional concessions so that the new British government can ask voters to reconsider their decision”. By the standards of most Remoaner propaganda this is a suggestion of almost reckless generosity! As to it being democratic to fight for a second referendum, this would be so provided he applies the same right of the losers of the second one to subvert it as he applies to the losers of the first one. This does not seem to be what most of those demanding a second referendum have in mind.

Next up was a proposal that there should have been an age qualification for voters in the referendum. It was obvious to some that this should have been the case, since the strongest vote for Brexit was to be found in the age groups above 50. The justification for disqualifying, say, those over 55 from voting was that the referendum affected young people’s future. Younger voters and those too young to vote were untruthfully asserted to have been disenfranchised”, though how someone with the right to vote whose side happens to lose can be said to be disenfranchised” is something perhaps only a liberal intellectual can explain.6

Apart from the fact that the same demographic differentials apply equally to general elections (or any other kind), this “ageist” demand epitomises the muddle of competing dogmas that so often undermines contemporary liberalism. On the one hand the liberal left campaigns loudly against innumerable “isms”, including “ageism”; on the other, its more radical propagandists want to deny oldies a vote in the Brexit referendum on the grounds that they might exercise it against the wishes of young people. Evidently the oldies’ vote is selfish, by definition, while that of the youngsters is altruistic. This attitude ties in with the reiterated point that those with higher education voted in the majority for Remain, the “uneducated” for Brexit (I offer Liberals a sexist point gratis to add to this malevolently undemocratic one: in my part of southern England, the wives tended to vote Brexit and the husbands Remain).

Of course old people are expensive to run in a modern welfare state, with their pensions, their bus passes and their tendency to clog up the national health system. If they are to be denied their democratic rights on the basis that they are considered a selfish nuisance, young people should consider carefully whether they might have a different attitude when they are themselves over 55 years of age. In any case, denying people a vote because they might vote a way you disapprove of could equally well be turned round by people with similarly undemocratic views to propose, for example, raising the voting age to at least twenty-one (on the grounds that immature teenagers should not have the power to determine the benefits of old people enjoying the fruits of a lifetime of labour and service). It is just as logical.

This and other suggestions that were floated illustrate the growing tendency towards what an American commentator has dubbed “liberal fascism”, against which many of the seventeen and half million Brexiteers cast their votes. The feeling that they were being manipulated, not least over the question of immigration, motivated many to use this opportunity to express their preference with a confidence that proved immune to the scaremongering, bullying and threats that characterised the Establishment’s deplorable campaign for Remain. Hitherto metropolitan liberals have successfully disguised their illiberal stance with noisy rhetoric about human rights, multiculturalism, diversity and so forth. Behind all this lies an agenda that is often both deceitful and coercive. An extreme example is afforded by a liberal friend who said to me: “If someone bought the house next door to you, you would have no right to object, would you?” I agreed. “There you are”, he said triumphantly, his eyes swivelling rather alarmingly in their sockets, “it’s the same with immigration. If anyone comes to your country, no matter where they come from, you have no right not to let them in.”

Of course an argument like that is not advanced so blatantly in a public forum (after all, the leading Remainers are clever people with degrees, as we are constantly being told), but variations of it lurk behind much of the propaganda for mass immigration that is pumped out by liberal journals like The Economist. It seems to be an article of faith of that publication that all immigration is unmitigatedly beneficial to the host society, both economically and culturally (in the case of Germany, we are told that immigration will solve the structural problems of an ageing society). Malcontents who question this are patronised or abused. A journalist on Die Zeit, Germany’s prestigious weekly, has said: “When you ask a leftist about a social problem, they will at first deny it, then say it has always gone on, and finally that it is good for you.” Many Brexit voters (that is, the stupid people without higher education) were so stupid that they had seen through the propaganda for policies that were alleged to be good for them. They had noticed that the claimed benefits of the EU (and, by extension, “globalisation”) had flowed through to the members of the Establishment and the metropolitan elite, but they did not seem to have improved their own rather poor quality of life. One of the puzzles of the referendum result, as far as the Establishment was concerned, was that even areas that had received quite substantial EU largesse still voted to Leave, often by large majorities. Perhaps they felt that Britain, as second to fourth net contributor to the EU budget, was not in reality getting very much largesse from the EU for which it had not already paid?

This perception was crystallised in the disagreement about Britain’s payments to the EU budget, which Remainers maintained should only be quoted net of money received back in subsidies and investment. However, as MEP Daniel Hannan has pointed out, the same people making that argument do not claim that the quoted level of taxation in any given country should be reduced by the total of what the tax is spent on. As he puts it: Ask your neighbours how much their council tax bill is. I doubt they’ll subtract the value of the bin collection and lighting.” Anyway, in the case of the EU, most of the money raised from countries like Britain, which contributes 15% of the EU budget, is not spent where the tax has been raised – that is not the point of it. As Hannan further points out, the dysfunctional, market-distorting Common Agricultural Policy (nearly 40% of the EU budget) consumes £4.6 billion of the UK’s gross contribution to the EU, of which some £2.9 billion is returned, mostly to big estates that do not need such subsidies in the first place.7 It makes sense to quote the gross contribution figure, not least because quoting a net figure helps to conceal that alarmingly large slice of EU income that disappears in waste and fraud…

It cannot be said that the referendum campaign was either edifying or enlightening. Each side justifiably accused the other of distorting the truth (though to read the Remoaner-sympathetic press after the vote you would think only Brexit were misleading). Remain tried to avoid the topic of immigration altogether, the UKIP part of the two-horse Brexit campaign talked of little else. The government began rationally enough, then shifted to scaremongering, and finally threats. An amusing gaffe in the Remain campaign was supplied by Barack Obama, who, as a guest in Britain, delivered the population a characteristic sermon of low level bombast on how it should vote, rounding off the same with an open threat. Satisfyingly for all those who have a residual affection for democracy, the result of this ill-considered intervention was a distinct spike for Brexit in the polls.

To some extent the Brexit debate was anyway futile, insofar as no one could truthfully predict exactly what would happen as a consequence of leaving the EU. Beleavers talked mainly of taking back control of our borders and legislature, of new opportunities for worldwide trade, and of recouping money that would go to support the UK economy; but they made some implausible financial pledges and brushed aside the difficult question of how exactly all this was to be achieved, which nobody can know until the respective negotiating positions of the EU and Britain are revealed.

On the other hand, no Remainer could truthfully predict what would be the future of the EU, mired as it currently is in a crisis almost entirely of its own making. The Remain tactic of depicting Britain, the world’s sixth largest economy, as a pathetic abandoned orphan, likely to sink without trace in the North Atlantic should we leave the EU, was treated by Brexiteers with the contumely it deserved. Remain also avoided the central concern of many, namely the EU’s self-confessed democratic deficit”. Nor was our 40 billion euro trade deficit with the EU a topic to be dwelled upon when insisting that we should have no access to the single market after Brexit. Instead we were threatened with “isolation” and “loss of influence” (as if the constant defeats the UK has suffered in EU forums was an indication of “influence”).8 It was a sign of desperation when Mr Cameron even suggested Brexit could trigger another world war.

 

THE AFTERMATH



The immediate reaction of the Remain camp to its defeat was one of unrestrained fury, expressed by Remain-supporting columnists such as Philip Stephens in the
Financial Times or Polly Toynbee in The Guardian.9 The winning side, in their analysis, consisted merely of people who were ignorant, irrational, xenophobic, nativist, racist – and so on and on and on. Particular exception was taken to Cabinet Minister Michael Gove’s remark that “people had had enough of experts” telling them what to do, an observation that Stephens described as “a celebration of ignorance”.

But Gove’s claim was no more than the truth: after all it was the “experts” who got us into the disaster of the European Monetary System (against Mrs Thatcher’s sound instincts) and who then tried to bully us into the now dysfunctional euro. Experts had put us back on the Gold Standard in the 1920s, another disaster (Winston Churchill, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, said, “every expert conference since the war… every expert committee in this country, has urged… the return to the gold standard”). The greatest hedge fund disaster to date (the £4.6 billion bailout of Long Term Capital Management in 1998) was the result of the fund’s mismanagement, inter alia by two Nobel Prize-winning economists.

Then there were the “expert” economists (364 of them) who notoriously wrote a letter to The Times denouncing the Thatcher government’s economic policies in the most lurid and alarmist terms, precisely as the economy was taking off for an extended recovery. As one of the more impressive financial commentators, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, has written: “I noticed one thing about economics, and that is that economists didn’t get anything right.” Poor Mr Stephens seems to be the one all too inclined to celebrate ignorance, or at least folly, bolstered (as it so often is) by arrogance and bien-pensant shibboleths. Nevertheless his anger is revealing: as Daniel Hannan points out, the dream of Jean Monnet and Robert Schuman, reacting against the destruction wrought by demagoguery and the rise of fascism, was to create “a system where supreme power would be in the hands of ‘experts’: disinterested technocrats immune to the ballot box”10 – like Lucas Papademos or Mario Monti perhaps…?

Stephens’ scorn for the “peasants’ revolt” of Brexit is indicative of another illiberal aspect of the contemporary metropolitan liberal’s mindset, namely a contempt bordering on hatred for people who do not subscribe to their fashionable doctrines of multiculturalism, trans-nationalism and so forth, and who are not only of limited educational attainment, but also irritatingly poor. One should not forget that the decisive factor in the victory for Brexit was the vote of disillusioned Labour voters from the working class, who were tired of being patronised by prosperous urban leftists and abused as racists if they so much as raised the question of immigration.

70 per cent of Labour-held constituencies voted for Brexit. This disillusionment on the left is of course played out across Europe, where distrust of the liberal media is also strong. A recent article in the Financial Times sonorously lamented that people even mistrust the mainstream press (perhaps they even distrust the FT, whose partisan espousal of Remain, together with rabid post-referendum propaganda depicting even good news as the prelude to bad, has raised doubts about its journalistic good faith among some readers. One is tempted to reply to such a lament: “Well, whose fault is that?”).

The Remoaner press did indeed make the most of anything that could remotely be presented as “bad news” in the period of volatility immediately following the vote. It needed to do so in order to demonstrate that its warnings of Armageddon were justified. However facts kept getting in the way – the stock market FTSE 100 was 5% higher than before Brexit one month after Brexit; likewise, after a month, the domestically oriented FTSE 250, said to be most vulnerable to Brexit, was back to its level before the vote. Much was made of the pound’s sharp fall –but the same people who seized gleefully on this were saying pre-Brexit that the pound was seriously overvalued; besides which the fall has obvious advantages for hard-pressed British exporters. We were told that investors and banks would flee Britain, which is no doubt why Wells Fargo has committed to a £300 million worldwide headquarters in the City of London, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan have said London remained one of the most attractive places in the world to do business, and the drug giant GlaxoSmithKline has announced a massive new investment creating many jobs. Of course the picture is mixed (and these moves are not irreversible) while uncertainty remains about what the politicians and business can achieve in terms of future deals; but Armageddon it is not. Much of the propaganda in Remoaner media seemed actually designed to undermine confidence in the economy on the principle “If I cannot have what I want, then I will bring down the whole edifice”. So far this approach has not been effective.

Beyond the sound and fury of charge and counter-charge there is a real divide between two understandings of British identity which has been analysed by one Jeremy Adler of King’s College London in a long article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.11 Adler begins by referring to Brexit as “suicide” and continues with some colourful historical analogy: post-Brexit Britain, he asserts, is like the Britain described by Gibbon in the 38th chapter of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: it has “returned to its original state of barbarism”(!); the Brexiteers are compared to Shakespeare’s villains or fools: the mildly spoken Gisela Stewart, an impressive Labour Brexiteer (and German immigrant), is Lady Macbeth; Michael Gove, who has annoyed the left- liberal Establishment by challenging its ideological grip on education policy, is Iago. Nigel Farage, the UKIP leader is Richard III (a curiously inapt comparison even if we leave aside the fact that Shakespeare’s portrait of Richard is a propagandist Tudor construct); and Boris Johnson is of course a sinister version of Falstaff. After pausing to smear Roger Scruton, who should apparently have the alleged12 increase in racial violence since Brexit “on his conscience” because he has written things about the EU that Adler dislikes, the author finally gets to the point towards the end of his piece: of the two slogans “Stronger in Europe” (for Remain) and “We must take back control” (for Leave), the first seemed “lame and empty”, while the second, according to Adler, was a lie that was naturally interpreted as “foreigners out!”. You might be inclined to ask why the Brexit slogan should be described as a lie. Adler explains with the classic contemporary dogma of internationalists: control in today’s world is a dangerous illusion, like sovereignty itself. It is not altogether clear, but he seems to embrace a curious contradiction, on the one hand arguing that the Brexiteer concerns about sovereignty are “lies”, on the other that a change in the constitution is required to better subordinate British sovereignty to the EU. It is a revealing example of the difficulty that Remoaners find themselves in.

Despite the sophisticated analysis of our (not) unwritten constitution (of which Adler, in a curious reading thinks Burke’s influence has deepened its “implizite Fremdenfeindlichkeit”), of the impact of the English Civil War on society, of Britain’s regrettable attachment to the notion of a sovereign state (“in order to justify its existence , this tiny land must be permanently on a war footing”), of its even more regrettable decision to keep its nuclear defence (Theresa May, asked in the House of Commons whether she would be prepared to use it if necessary despite the mass destruction of civilian lives it would entail, answered honestly “yes” – Adler, ever ready with a smear, adds the word “enthusiastically”), and finally of its absurd nostalgia for empire and even more absurd pride in its democracy, culture and sporting prowess, in the end Adler has only one thing to say, namely: Britain is past its sell-by date and should be folded into the benign democratic centralism of the EU.

Adler’s is one of many similar pieces that have appeared since Brexit, but it is remarkable for containing every single trope of the contemporary liberal’s playbook. Here is defeatism masquerading as concern for “Britain’s influence in the world”, pacifism made respectable by depicting those who wish to preserve our country’s nuclear defence as warmongers who want to wipe out millions of innocent civilians, an ahistoric enlistment of history in contemporary partisan propaganda, a smear that seventeen and a half million British voters are irrational fantasists, racists and nostalgic imperialists, and personal abuse heaped upon any who raise questions that liberals and left-liberals have difficulty answering. Above all one smells in every line the contempt of a meritocratic elite for everybody else. As the American journalist Thomas Frank has argued, meritocrats believe they “are where they are because they are so smart, not because they’ve been born to an earldom”. But the flip side of this, writes Rachel Sylvester, is that the disadvantaged must deserve” to be poor (italics added). Meritocracy is turning out to be a world just as cruel and arbitrary as that of noblesse oblige and one that has seen an alarming increase in the gap between the rich and the rest. Worse, meritocratic assumptions are buttressed by a self-righteousness that Sylvester says is “more interested in showing off its own saintliness than in making a difference to working people’s lives”.13

Reading Adler and others of his ilk, one realises that Brexit was a first step in righting an imbalance that was threatening our society, a monopoly of power that ignored or despised people’s natural desire to preserve their political sovereignty, have their voice heard rather than ignored, and to state their legitimate rejection of rule by people they do not identify with and whose democratic credentials they do not accept. Metropolitan liberals and leftists may rant and rave, but the truth is, they have been rumbled. For bien-pensant academics like Adler, the EU is a kind of religion and those who question its tenets are heretics or infidels against whom a jihadist war must be waged. Hence the violence of the language used against dissenters, the hatred of the nation state, the illogicality of promoting multiculturalism on the one hand and distrusting ordinary Europeans wishing to preserve their identity and traditions on the other – “The ultimate consequence of identity thinking”, opined Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, “is the gas chambers of Auschwitz.”

But seventeen and a half million British are not in favour of Auschwitz: they merely want to remain with what most of them voted for in the referendum of 1975, namely to participate in a free trade area then known as the “European Economic Community” or EEC. It is a mystery to them as to why expressing this very reasonable preference should lead to them being traduced in the media, subjected to patronising abuse in academe and generally treated as what Mr Stephens calls “pinched nationalists”. Understandably they draw the conclusion that today it is liberals who represent the problem, not the solution.



1 See: “European Union Bailouts and Credibility: The Constitutional Dimension”, Antonio Estella Miami European Centre, University of Miami/Florida, Jean Monnet/Robert Schuman Papers, Vol. 15, No. 4, October 2015.

2 For example, Tony Blair’s landslide victory for New Labour in 1997 garnered 13,518,167 votes, or 43.2% of the total. It is claimed that the demand for a second referendum has attracted up to three million supporters online; however, as the renowned psephologist Professor John Curtice of the University of Strathclyde has commented, in the context of 16 million Remain votes and 17 million Leave votes, this is hardly significant (or “peanuts” to use his phrase). Claims that all these three million are people who regret their Leave vote (suffering from so-called “buyer’s remorse”), and would change it if given another chance, appear to be propaganda.

3 It was higher than for the five previous general elections and even very slightly higher than that for Tony Blair’s landslide victory of 1997.

4 For example, the Belgian Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene, commenting on the possible outcome of a Belgian referendum on the EU Constitution, said: “If the answer is No, the vote will probably have to be done again, because it absolutely has to be a Yes.” The inimitable Jean-Claude Juncker, commenting on the French referendum on the same issue, said: “If it’s a Yes we will say ‘on we go’, and if it’s a No, we will say ‘we continue’.” These and other quotations underlining the idiosyncratic Eurocratic view of democracy are quoted in Daniel Hannan’s Why Vote Leave (Head of Zeus Ltd., London, 2016).

5 Anatole Kaletsky: “It’s not over until it’s over”, in Prospect(August 2016).

6 Philip Stephens (Financial Times, 1 July 2016) even tells us that “the referendum disenfranchised the centrist, internationalist majority in parliament”. But as far as I know, they all had a vote in the referendum. Pretty soon anyone who is on a losing side, even if failing to get elected to the committee of the local Rotary Club, will be described as having been disenfranchised”.

7 Daniel Hannan: Why Vote Leave (Head of Zeus Ltd., London, 2016), pp. 179–181. The CAP figure is quoted by Hannan from a House of Lords written question HL3254, 3 November 2015. Recently the UK has been the second to fourth largest net contributor to the EU budget, currently accounting for an estimated 15% of it. However Remain supporters counter that Britain is well down the list of member countries if its contributions are measured as payment per capita. Remain supporters believe the circa 1% of GDP that countries are supposed to pay to the EU is money well spent on a great social and political project from which all benefit. Leave supporters do not believe in such a project because of its inherent democratic deficit, because of wastage and fraud, and because they want Britain’s Parliament to decide where the money that is currently paid over to the EU should be spent. At bottom, therefore, the argument is about democracy, accountability and the exercise of power, not about money as such.

8 Daniel Hannan, op cit., p. 81, writes: “Since majority voting was introduced in the late 1980s, the UK has voted against an EU legislative proposal seventy times. She has lost seventy times.” This is apart from high-profile defeats like failing to block the candidacy of Jean-Claude Juncker for the EU Presidency. One may think the UK’s position on some or all these matters was ill-advised, but one can hardly claim that its presence in the EU has enhanced its “influence”. Arguably the opposite is true.

9 The post-Brexit hyperventilation has been described as “a primal scream of pain” from Britain’s liberal establishment.

10 Daniel Hannan: op cit., p. 40.

11 Jeremy Adler: “Ist dies schon Tollheit, hat es doch Methode”, in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 8 August 2016.

12 The police now define “hate” crime as any criminal offence “which is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards someone based on a personal characteristic”. Operational guidance adds that “evidence of hostility is not required for an incident to be recorded as a hate crime or hate incident” and furthermore the police should never be sceptical of a claimed hate crime when interviewing the victim, because this amounts to “secondary victimisation”. “Secondary victimisation is based on victim perception, rather than what actually happens. It is immaterial whether it is reasonable or not for the victim to feel that way.” In other words, merely stating that an incident was a “hate crime” makes it so, convicting the alleged offender without the requirement of evidence. This seems an approach to justice more appropriate to Salem, Massachusetts in the late 17th century than a modern democracy claiming the rule of law, so no wonder reported “hate crime” has sharply increased. (See: Brendan O’Neill: “We are not a hateful nation”, in The Spectator, 6 August, 2016.) It is worth pointing out that neither the hatred poured out on supporters of Brexit, especially on social media, nor the abuse and name-calling aimed at the same in the respectable liberal press, qualifies as “hate crime” under the above definitions. Direct the same type or level of abuse at someone from an ethnic or sexual minority however and you can expect to be in trouble. I am not in favour of introducing yet more possibilities for claiming “hate crime”, quite the contrary, but it is difficult to see why hatred approved of by liberals should be privileged over that which is not.

13 Rachel Sylvester: “Welcome to New Britain”, in Prospect, August 2016. The quotation from Thomas Frank’s book Listen, Liberal is also taken from this article.




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