As the car crash efforts by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union are upgraded to the status of a multivehicle pileup, along comes Nigel Farage and his new Brexit Party to add more carnage to the Mad Max-style spectacle that has become the politics of the UK. Speaking earlier today in London, the odious demagogue announced that the financial journalist and former Conservative Party member Annunziata Rees-Mogg will contest the upcoming elections to the European Parliament on behalf of his anti-EU grouping. Like her silver-spooned sibling, the leading Brexiteer MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, the affluent right-winger is another representative of the upper echelons of Greater England and the reactionary nationalism powering the Brexit movement in that country. As the veteran Irish newspaper columnist and author Fintan O’Toole notes in an interview with The Washington Post:
[We need to ask of the UK] …how does a very successful, relatively wealthy, very settled-looking democracy start to imagine itself being intolerably oppressed. Whatever you think of the European Union, and I have been as critical of it as have others, it’s not an oppressive force.
And yet the basic impulse in Brexit is we are an oppressed people and we have to have the equivalent of an anti-colonial revolution, whereby we throw off our oppressors. At the heart of that, you’re forced to think about self-pity, because you have to feel very, very sorry for yourself to imagine that the European Union is intolerably oppressing you.
The interesting thing about self-pity is we tend to think it involves low self-esteem. I don’t think anybody would accuse the English of suffering from low self-esteem. But self-pity isn’t low self-esteem; it’s actually quite high self-esteem. You feel sorry for yourself because you think you deserve more. You’re not getting what you deserve. And I think we have to see that this is a big part of the deep psychology of Brexit, this sense that the British deserve more than just to be another fairly normal Western European country, that their destiny is different.
In an imperial mind-set, there’s only two states: You’re either the top dog, or you’re being kicked. You’re either the conqueror, the ruler, or you’re the subjected people. There’s nothing in between. This is the legacy of empire…
In this particular mind-set, Europe is seen as the dominant…
A further example of this mindset is outlined by Kimberly Cowell-Meyers of the American University School of Public Affairs and her colleague Carolyn Gallaher of the American University School of International Service, writing for The Conversation:
Theresa May’s plan to exit the European Union has failed to pass the British Parliament three times. Some have blamed party disunity or May’s mishandling of this issue.
However, a key reason for the failure – and the one that hasn’t received a lot of attention – is the so-called “Irish backstop.”
The EU requested, and May agreed, to the backstop in order to protect the Good Friday Agreement, which relies on both countries being in the EU. A hard border would require checkpoints and other infrastructure that could become physical and symbolic flashpoints for Nationalists who support a united Ireland.
A new analysis that we have just completed shows that Parliament’s objection to the backstop amounts to an implicit rejection of the Good Friday Agreement, the agreement that brought the end of armed conflict in Northern Ireland.