Thatcherite @RColvile in a ‘comic mood’? Political Reporter comments.

Reading Mr. Colvile’s most recent essay, on the G7, conjured, in my political imagination, Mr. Puff from the Sheridan play, comic silliness, as cover for a self-serving manipulative cynicism. The reader might wonder at an utterly humorless Thatcherite resorting to ‘satire’ as his weapon of choice.  Read the first two paragraphs of his essay and wonder at his targets: ‘G7’, ‘those strange things that exists because it exists’, ‘the leaders of a slightly miscellaneous group of countries’, ‘not quite the richest or the largest or the most democratic, but pretty close on all three counts’,  and in the second paragraph ‘the royal family’, ‘Labour Party’    


The G7 is one of those strange things that exists because it exists. Every year, pandemics permitting, the leaders of a slightly miscellaneous group of countries — not quite the richest or the largest or the most democratic, but pretty close on all three counts — get together to solve the world’s problems. Their wives (and nowadays even some husbands) get a separate little outing, the modern equivalent of leaving the menfolk to chew the fat over port and cigars. There is plenty of awkward small talk and a profusion of awkward photo ops. If the press is lucky, there may be a fight.

All of which makes Britain a perfect host for this year’s summit. We lead the world in things that exist because they exist — institutions that you’d never invent today but that stick around because they’re already here. Like the royal family. And the Labour Party. And, you might say, our status as a global power.

In the following paragraph Mr. Colvile attributes this collection of toxic thoughts to ‘the two lines of attack made by the Brexit sceptics.’ Are they the villians in his collection of surmises? With the bit between his teeth, he is at full gallop! In an instant my Mr. Puff becomes Don Quixote, or should it be The Grand Inquisitor? Have I reached to point of rhetorical fracture? Our writer reaches deep for the ‘actors’ in his melodrama, a collection, at random, of Mr. Colvie’s telling one-liners.

“global Britain” as a blustering exercise in imperialist nostalgia, the diplomatic equivalent of the middle-aged man who buys a sports car after splitting up with his wife but loses the house.

 In the old days you might hang out with the same friends every day, a rigidly defined group that dressed the same, talked the same and listened to the same bands

Britain can stand with Nato on security and with the “D10” (the G7 plus Australia, India and South Korea) on containing China.

the freewheeling Boris Johnson. His vision of Brexit is not about bringing it all back home.

 On the economy as well as diplomacy, the Brexit gamble is that we can position ourselves to take maximum advantage of future opportunities; that we are better off dining à la carte than from the set menu. 

As The Economist recently pointed out, of the 43 firms worth more than $100 billion established in the past half-century, only one is from mainland Europe.

The great challenge of Brexit Britain to the EU is therefore not so much financial as philosophical — or even theological. 

What if it is better to be a solo act in small stadiums than part of the chorus — especially when no one can agree on what they’re meant to be singing?

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/freewheeling-boris-johnson-spoil-g7-summit-afterglow-brexit-britain-trust-5cmjrc6qx

Don’t miss Mr. Colvile’s comments on Joe Biden, Anthony Blinken and the Northern Ireland protocol. 1,075 words that never approaches the succinct!

Political Reporter  

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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