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Brexit, complexity and the tangle of European minds
British debate is dumbing down arguments to misleading simplicity
One of the most worrying features of Brexit is that the UK seems to have lost the capacity to manage complexity. Many individuals in Britain can, of course, still grapple with difficult issues as well as anyone.

But the UK system, taken as a whole, seems to have become unable to understand and manage the complex issues arising from the country's efforts to disentangle itself from the EU.

This incapacity to deal with reality is evident in the ongoing fiction that there are serious negotiations going on to change the Northern Ireland backstop.

There seems to be a growing need in the British public debate to boil arguments down to a level so simplistic that they end up somewhere between misleading and meaningless.


However, our nearest neighbour raised to a fine art the presentation of competing views as half-witted, shared achievements as national victories, compromise as national defeat, and above all childish fiction as gospel fact.

On the path which led towards Brexit, the unwillingness of the UK tabloid media and many politicians to absorb, or even admit the existence of, complex detail led to David Cameron's abandonment of any effort to sell the deal he had painstakingly agreed with EU partners.

The popular British perception is that Cameron was offered next to nothing by the EU; the truth is that, in terms of the balance of interests involved, the deal was reasonable and significant. Cameron, having negotiated the package, decided on the basis of the initial media reaction that it was just too complex to sell.


Not surprisingly, the deal which Theresa May negotiated, shaped and signed up to in the autumn, with its necessary compromises, has proved too complicated for those who were fed for many years on a diet of straight bananas rather than straight talk.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Feb 18th, 2019 at 10:09:18 AM EST

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