The UK in 2016

by Maria on October 5, 2016

… should perhaps listen to Stefan Zweig in 1942:

“The Russians, the Germans, the Spanish, none of them know how much freedom and joy that heartless, voracious ogre the State has sucked from the marrow of their souls. The people of all nations feel only that an alien shadow, broad and heavy, looms over their lives. But we who knew the world of individual liberties in our time can bear witness that a carefree Europe once rejoiced in a kaleidoscopic play of variegated colours. We tremble to see how clouded, darkened, enslaved and imprisoned the world has now become in its suicidal rage.”

It doesn’t have to be this way.



Stephen 10.05.16 at 5:03 pm

Very eloquent, but three queries:

The “carefree Europe [that] once rejoiced in a kaleidoscopic play of variegated colours”; was that Europe not composed of independent nation states?

“We who knew the world of individual liberties in our time”; certainly such liberties were extinct in Russia, Germany, Spain and a good many other unfortunate countries in 1942, but were they extinct in the UK? Are they extinct, actually or prospectively, in the UK in 2016?

“We tremble to see how clouded, darkened, enslaved and imprisoned the world has now become”; living in the UK in 2016 I do not perceive myself as being enslaved or imprisoned; the few who are most regrettably enslaved appear to be the victims of Irish Travellers, or (for E Europeans) gang masters, often of their own nation; and I don’t know of anyone being imprisoned outside HM establishments of one sort or another. That the future is clouded and darkened I agree: that has been so for as far as I can remember.

So what, exactly, would Maria want to see otherwise than it is?


Maria 10.05.16 at 5:16 pm

Thanks, Stephen. Fair questions. It’s from The World of Yesterday, which is full of grim parallels to 2016. Especially about what it’s like to be a refugee and to lose everything but your memories, and perhaps even them through the lens of bitter hindsight.

I can’t (shouldn’t) claim that Zweig’s analysis and experience can be directly grafted onto ours, but there is something about the lemming-like self-harm and sheer unecessary-ness of what’s happening – have we learnt nothing? – that makes this quote resonate with me today.


Placeholder 10.05.16 at 6:21 pm

“My policy is to be able to take a ticket at Victoria station and go anywhere I damn well please!” -Stefan Zweig…or Ernest Bevin? How’s that going for you, @Stephen? You like scanning your fingerprints at La Guardia Airport?


JohnT 10.05.16 at 6:58 pm


If it helps, I would like my wife (long contributing member of my local community) not to have to go on a special list if she gets a job, with the intention of shaming her employer. I would like my friend Heidi to be appreciated for the hard work she does as an NHS doctor and not told by the Health Secretary she might well be sent packing when he has her true-blooded British replacement trained. I would be grateful if the minister for International Trade stopped explicitly calling both of them pawns to be traded.

And finally I would like my children to be forgiven their slightly foreign accents and names in the schoolyard, and not be asked (innocently or not) ‘when are you going home then?’

We didn’t have to deal with any of this crap six months ago so for me the future sure has darkened.


bruce wilder 10.05.16 at 7:13 pm

Someone somewhere close by may have had to deal with somewhat different crap. I am sure it was all completely unrelated, though, to your freedom.


Stephen 10.05.16 at 7:37 pm

Placeholder: I do not think that even the great Ernest Bevin believed, in the late 1940s, that he could go anywhere he damned well pleased. In my lifetime, before the EU, I could leave the UK and go to many places in Europe whenever I wanted to (I needed visas to go to the more deplorable countries, People’s Socialist Republics and for all I know – I never tried to go there – Francoist Spain. I have always needed a visa of one sort or another to go to the land of the free, and I don’t see how fingerprinting (can fascist oppression go further?) makes much difference.

Could you please summarise the point you were trying to make?


JohnT 10.05.16 at 7:45 pm

For many things direction of travel is more important than arriving at the end point. If German doctors are going to get the boot then the chances of helping Syrian refugees has declined to effectively zero. The slow acceptance that freedom of movement within the whole of Europe at least was worth having was a worthy beginning and it is crumbling rather than strengthening. How that helps liberal or leftist goals is not something I understand.


Stephen 10.05.16 at 7:55 pm

John T: I’m not sure – I may be wrong – that your wife’s potential employer would be shamed for employing just her. I would very much hope not. If it’s relevant, I’ve arranged employment for a fair number of people from outside the UK, reckoning that they were the best candidates for the posts. What I think may be intended is to show that some employers select a substantially or completely non-UK workforce, for reasons which no doubt seem good to them but are not necessarily to the advantage of the potential UK workforce.
As far as I can see, there is no prospect of currently-employed non-UK doctors being sent packing. Why do you think that abandoning the current cap on training UK doctors would cause that?
As far as I can make out, the minister for IT has said no more than that arrangements for EU citizens in the UK will have to be worked out together with arrangements for UK citizens in the EU. Is that a misunderstanding?
My own experience is that children with perceived foreign accents in any part of the uK (try being English in Scotland) have been initially a matter of curiosity.


Stephen 10.05.16 at 7:58 pm

Bruce: the OP’s quote was that “The people of all nations feel only that an alien shadow, broad and heavy, looms over their lives.” Some people in some nations no doubt do. But I think the statement, as applied to the UK in 2016. is hyperbole. Don’t you?


Ronan(rf) 10.05.16 at 8:02 pm

I’m open to correction on the following, as it’s a half thought through screed on a topic I’m only barely educated on, but….
Surely the elephant* in the room here is the break up of the UK. The rise of Scottish nationalism in tandem with English (and the intensification of Welsh) nationalism. So in this case you need to account for why the English (I don’t know much about the Welsh** at the minute) have reverted to a nativistic, xenophobic identity politics, while the Scots have developed a more pluralistic (in part, obviously in opposition to the English) civic minded one.
The common answer, at the minute, is that this is just what English nationalism looks like. It’s nasty, introverted and racist. But this doesnt really go very far, and pathologizes English nationalists. (Much like those who claimed ancient hatreds, and atavistic/primordial identities, explained Northern Ireland) And it ignores the liberal temperament ingrained in English society, and the fact that they have built probably the most admirable multicultural state in Europe.

The next argument would be to put causal weight on the political movements themselves. In Scotland they could develop a nationalist movement by being in opposition to England and the institutions of the UK. In England this option doesn’t exist, so hostility was captured by groups who directed it towards the EU and foreigners. This is one of the main reasons***, afaict, why Sinn Fein (who are Ireland’s populist nationalist party) have managed to develop a leftist, pluralist, civic nationalist political movement, while also capturing a lot of the votes in Ireland that UKIP et al did in the UK (this is borne out by surveys on values and political preferences of Sinn Fein supporters, which really dont tend to match what the organisation itself espouses. ie the base is more reactionary than the party)
This is my working theory, as far as it goes. So what does it say? The movements represent the will of their constituents, or they (more often) set the terms of the debate? It seems whichever way you answer this is going to give you two opposed solutions.****

* this is not to contradict any implications in the OP, which has convinced me to buy Zweig’s book. But the Union has broken apart before, and we had some similar, even more violent, responses. afaict?

** I’d be interested in any thoughts on the Welsh situation. My layman outsiders impression is there seems to be a struggle between the ethnic nationalists and the civic nationalists. (although, as this is the case everywhere, this seems like a trivial point to make)

*** That is to say Sinn Feins perception of national identity is also in opposition to certain groups (The ‘British’, Unionists, The English etc) which discourages scapegoating foreigners from outside these groups (Which, to their credit, they havent done.)

**** My position is that people overwhelmingly identify nationally, their political concerns and obligations are domestic, and their commitments to ‘cosmopolitan’ policies are contingent at best. So you have to take nationalism seriously. So imo it’s primarily driven by a failure to capture nationalist sentiment and direct it in a more positive direction.


Stephen 10.05.16 at 8:09 pm

John T: but whatever makes you thing “German doctors are going to get the boot”? As far as I know, all that is being proposed is that training of UK doctors should be expanded so that, after a time-lag, there will be a reduced need to recruit foreign doctors (educated at their own countries’ expense, but no longer available to their own countries).


Stephen 10.05.16 at 8:17 pm

Thanks, Maria. I would be interested in more detailed answers to my questions, especially the first one. I have family members who have been (genuine) refugees, and it’s not a state I would wish on anyone. What that has to do with the enslavement and imprisonment of people in the UK in 2016, I don’t know.

As for the unecessary-ness of what’s happening, that would depend on your opinion of the necessity of remaining in the EU. I can see arguments either way.


JohnT 10.05.16 at 8:24 pm

Stephen, sadly I am rushed, but the short version is that I (and you too I expect) know that how the English say things is meant to be meaningful. When the IT secretary describes EU citizens as ‘cards to be played’ instead of your politer formulation, that means something. When the PM on the same day says doctors from abroad are here for ‘an interim period’ rather than your politer formulation this also is indicative of a new and sour approach.


Stephen 10.05.16 at 9:03 pm

John T, I’m rushed too (have to be up appallingly early tomorrow for family reasons) but looking at what the Guardian said about the IT secretary’s statement:

‘Speaking at the Conservative party conference in Birmingham, the international trade secretary reiterated that no commitment would be given on the rights of 2 million EU citizens to remain in the UK until reciprocal rights were agreed for British citizens in Europe.
Fox, who was speaking at a fringe event, said the government would “like to be able to give a reassurance to EU nationals in the UK, but that depends on reciprocation by other countries”.
He said any other strategy “would be to hand over one of our main cards in the negotiations and doesn’t necessarily make sense at this point”.’

I think that bears out my interpretation: Fox is hoping for a reciprocal agreement with the EU. He is not at all intending to expel EU citizens from the UK, but wants to keep them here and keep UK citizens in the EU.

Would you not agree that, as a negotiating position, “of course we’ll give you everything you could possibly ask for, and we’ll rely on your friendly generosity to give us what we would like” may be possibly unsound? Especially when friendly generosity does not seem to be the European Commission’s default state.

And as far as I can make out, May is saying that the current rate of recruitment of non-UK doctors will continue in the interim until more UK medical students graduate, which in the nature of things ill be several years off. I’m not sure what’s the problem with that, given that there are far more competent UK young people wishing to become doctors than there are currently training places for them


Chris Bertram 10.05.16 at 10:31 pm

@Stephen “The “carefree Europe [that] once rejoiced in a kaleidoscopic play of variegated colours”; was that Europe not composed of independent nation states?”

No, it wasn’t. Or largely not. Zweig is harking back to the pre-1914 world where much of Europe was covered by a patchwork of ethnicities in multinational states.

Aside from your basic ignorance, I’ve getting tired of your quasi-Kipper trolling on this blog.


RobinM 10.06.16 at 12:26 am

Wrt Chris Bertram @ 15:
Since Maria attached the date 1942 to the Zweig quotation, surely it’s a bit sharp to accuse Stephen of “basic ignorance” for not thinking about pre-1914 Europe? Besides, whether or not they, some of them, housed “a patchwork of ethnicities,” has it not long been customary to refer to the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Poland, etc. etc. and so many more which existed prior to 1914 as “nation states” no matter how much certain intellectual fashions may come and go—though I’ll admit there is a rather widespread tendency, which I do not share, among people I know, to imagine that the Austro-Hungarian Empire epitomised all that was worth anything in pre-1914 Europe. (Cf. e.g., the piece on “nation state” at wikipedia.)

Wrt JohnT @ 4, I have a very pronounced Scottish accent—though when I’m back home in Scotland people there tend to remark my American accent—but it’s never struck me, over the course of more than 50 years living in the USA, as anything other than a matter of friendly interest when people remark it. And they, too, sometimes wonder whether I ever have the desire to return to live in the UK. But that never comes across as a hostile remark.

Wrt the “German doctors” matter referred to @ 7 and @ 11, as I recollect—largely because my daughter and her husband, both doctors trained in the UK, found it expedient in consequence of some management decisions limiting the possibility of professional advancement in the UK, to head off to warmer climes (but, sorry, I’m about to wander too far)— there was a period when the German system had trained more doctors than they could comfortably employ, from which Britain benefitted for a while only for Britain to discover that some years later that its training programme, fashioned in a period of shortage, had now, in turn, produced too many doctors (at least of certain types). In short, the supply and hiring of doctors is, as I understand it, more a management/economic problem which too often seems to be solved in an all-too-soon problematical way. (And if I may again interject my experience in the USA, what I find troubling here is to encounter so many medical practitioners of various sorts who have been lured to this country from elsewhere, often from relatively poor elsewheres where there is a great need for health care. That surely would never happen in Britain?)

Finally, wrt Placeholder @ 3’s comment, I like Stephen’s response @6. I’d just add to what he says, that upon visiting “the land of the free” and the home of the brave, people usually are not only fingerprinted but iris scanned by people sitting around wearing guns—though some of them are actually very friendly.

I hope this does not cause Chris Bertram to accuse me of “quasi-Kipper trolling”, not least because I haven’t a clue what that means. But maybe I’m now betraying my basic ignorance, though I incline to think, perhaps self-servingly, that it’s maybe just my age that’s showing.


Tabasco 10.06.16 at 1:56 am

Fox is hoping for a reciprocal agreement with the EU.

Governments do this all the time in trade negotiations. “If you buy our cars, we’ll buy your machine tools”. Nothing wrong with that. But trading in people is distasteful.


faustusnotes 10.06.16 at 4:34 am

Stephen, it’s been made very clear that the UK aims to train up doctors to replace foreign doctors, not to add to their numbers. That process will take 10 years, and during that time doctors already here will leave, and/or be forced out, and not be replaced.

Also note that the length of time it takes to train medical staff – 10 years for doctors, 5 for nurses, realistically – means that you don’t actually need to give staff “the boot” to completely destroy the NHS, only that you need to not be able to replace them. And in the case of nurses, this government that reduced the nursing bursary scheme is obviously not planning to train more.


John Quiggin 10.06.16 at 6:15 am

It’s certainly striking that how much the hard neoliberal component of the Tory party has been eclipsed by tribalism. The gratuitous slaps of the past few days, along with the substantive announcements, must have greatly reduced the inclination of anyone in the EU to even think about making special arrangements for financial passporting. Yet until June I would have said that the Tories (and New Labour for that matter) would never act against the interests of the City.


Frenchguy 10.06.16 at 6:57 am

I read The World of Yesterday two or three years ago and I actually had some trouble empathizing with Zweig. Sure his world was crumbling but his world was the 1% world where you don’t have to work if you don’t want to, where you can go anywhere in the world as long as you have the money, etc…

Not saying that the events he’s describing are not awesomely terrible but it really disturbs me to see leftists hail him as a hero.

(I admit, I may have been influenced at that time by the LRB essay: )


Frenchguy 10.06.16 at 7:01 am

To wit (Hofmann quoting Prater quoting Zweig so I hope it’s correct, counting on the LRB editors there), Zweig in 1914:

“This hatred against you – although I do not feel it myself – I will not try to moderate, for it brings forth victories and heroic strength … Do not expect me to be your advocate, however much I may feel this my duty! Respect my silence, as I respect yours!”


Gareth Wilson 10.06.16 at 7:56 am

So how big does a first-world country need to be before it can train all the doctors it needs from its own population? We seem to have established 65 million is too small.


Tim Worstall 10.06.16 at 7:57 am

“a carefree Europe once rejoiced in a kaleidoscopic play of variegated colours.”

That’s remarkably close to a Peter Simple column on the European Union from some decades back. Of course he was referring to pre-1848 Europe, possibly even to pre-1500. He was also half-joking.


Jim Buck 10.06.16 at 8:23 am

@16 Maria attached the date 1942 to the Zweig quotation, surely it’s a bit sharp to accuse Stephen of “basic ignorance” for not thinking about pre-1914 Europe?

Not really, I am ignorant about many things yet Zweig’s AHE provenance came immediately to mind when I read that sentence. T’is a bit lawyerly to break teeth on the mention of the 1942 date.


Charles 10.06.16 at 9:50 am


You should have paid more attention to Boris Johnson’s writings over the years. He has always been distrustful, at best, of the Financial Times crowd.


Pete 10.06.16 at 10:57 am

> So how big does a first-world country need to be before it can train all the doctors it needs from its own population? We seem to have established 65 million is too small.

It’s not about the size of the nation, but the size of the state. Training more doctors would require more money, and/or increased salaries for said doctors. Given that the government is still having a labour dispute over trying to reduce incomes for junior doctors, who work notoriously long hours, this seems unlikely.

I would expect that no thought at all has gone into how it would work in practice, it’s pure government by soundbite.

(There are also sub-issues like recruiting GPs to remote areas or nursing staff to expensive areas. If the pay for London nurses is such that they can only afford inferior accomodation and the hours are such that commuting is hard, then obviously the profession is going to be heavily staffed with immigrants who have lower expectations of accomodation. I believe they are more heavily recruited from the Commonweath than the EU).


TM 10.06.16 at 11:14 am

Apology to Maria for OT but the Glenn Reynolds thread is closed and I just came across this rather revealing data point:

“The Cincinnati Police officer who posted on Facebook that some white officers “are looking for a reason to kill a black man” must be appropriately disciplined”, writes the editorial board of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Part of the USA Today network.

Revealing because it’s directly related to BLM, it concerns mere criticism (as opposed to incitement to murder), and there has been nobody, most certainly none – not a single one – of the usual right-wing suspects clamoring about PC “censorship”, speaking up against punishment of a police officer for criticizing police racism on social media. Btw there was also no CT post titled “Freddie Vincent shouldn’t be disciplined” and I seriously wonder why that is. Henry?

End of OT.


Faustusnotes 10.06.16 at 11:19 am

It simply requires more funding for medical education. Most countries have doctor shortages (part of the reason they earn so much I expect) but the U.K. Has been ostentatiously plugging its gaps for years with European and commonwealth doctors – – big problem for some countries in its ex colonial orbit. It’s a failure of education policy, easily fixed but beyond the ability of britains incompetent political class. And it’s not just doctors – nurses and allied health staff too. Once brexit actually starts everyone will understand this.


Pete 10.06.16 at 11:23 am

@Romanrf: I’ve come up with the slogans “the opposite of nationalism isn’t internationalism, it’s globalisation” and “Brexit is anti-globalisation riots for the over-50s” to cover this.

Also, there are two Englands, just as there are two United States, one of which is much more liberal than the other.

You say “[England has] built probably the most admirable multicultural state in Europe”, but that multiculturalism is really limited to the big cities. London, Manchester, Birmingham. That’s not nothing – it’s half the population. Well, just under half the population, as we found out. In other cities it has failed. Rotherham? 67% Leave. ( )

I think there’s a big accidental, non-reproducible element to the English model of multiculturalism. It hasn’t really been government policy; official multiculturalism is a reaction to community fait accompli. Meanwhile, official policy towards everwhere that isn’t London has been “managed decline”. Nobody central cared at all what happened to marginalised Essex towns, let alone sending in any kind of multicultural advisors to smooth over the tensions and integrate the recent immigrants.


Collin Street 10.06.16 at 11:26 am

It’s not about the size of the nation, but the size of the state.

Obviously so, because medical provision and cost-of-same is a per-capita effect. Sometimes it’s more charitable to assume bad faith than genuine error.


Pete 10.06.16 at 11:33 am

(Oh, just to beat the doctor training issue to death: it’s a classic central planning / pipeline issue. It takes an incredibly long time to train doctors, and there’s a central stats bureau which is responsible for trying to estimate how many people we need to put into the training pipeline today so that, accounting for dropouts and increases in population, we have the right number in the future. I know someone who worked in this area in an NHS trust. Trying to do it through market mechanisms would also suffer lag, require regular tinkering with salaries, and would also require imports to cover shortages.)


TM 10.06.16 at 11:36 am

Re the OP: I’m uncomfortable woth the hyperbole in the OP (at least implied) and some of the comments. It would be great if people could be clearer, or even precise, about what they point they are trying to make.

Just looked up, there are 150,000 doctors employed by the NHS. According to this, 26% of doctors were non-British

When I read about the 1500 doctors, my thoughts were: 1) Why didn’t they do this long ago? Nothing, certainly not the EU, prevented the UK government from investing more in medical training, and 2) The number is a joke, it won’t make a difference. The idea of foreign medical personnel getting the boot any time soon, or even not so soon, is absurd as long as a modicum of rationality prevails in UK government. The question remains what the point is supposed to be of such seemingly nonsensical ammouncements. To placate the xenophobes/racists, surely. But they will demand real action, not token anouncements.


TM 10.06.16 at 11:40 am

Btw anybody watched the Stefan Zweig movie that just came out? Any recommendations?


Michael 10.06.16 at 11:42 am

May I please go back to the statement that Zweig was talking about the world of his youth and early manhood, when it was possible to travel relatively freely throughout Europe. Yes, that’s correct. And the EU had gone some way toward recreating that world, though with limitations and in only part of the world. Now, however, the UK is a place where it seems necessary to some elementary school heads to query the nationality of the children they teach. It is a place where offensive or violent racism in the street has become much more acceptable. It is a place where there is a party in power who regard foreigners as suspect, and who would wish to close the doors against the world. It is a place where the leader of the party in power can say that those who are citizens of the world are citizens of nowhere. So when Maria finds a resonance in Zweig’s comment in the UK experience today, I second that. This is now Little England in all its narrowness, manufactured fear, and bristling stupidity.

I write as a White Anglo-Saxon foreigner who has lived here since 1975.


Marc 10.06.16 at 11:45 am

What I found striking in May’s speech was the degree to which she was clearly moving to the left. This was not a Thatcherite speech. They’re also clearly setting up to restrict immigration; historically there have been times with more or less immigration, so that’s not exactly new under the Sun.

Open borders and unrestricted immigration are deeply unpopular. If you’re living in a democracy that matters.


casmilus 10.06.16 at 11:56 am

During the years 1940-1 Britain suddenly had a great increase in the number of burns and blast victims in urban areas. The GMC responded by relaxing the fitness to practise regulations so that lots of not-yet-qualified medical students could be employed treating the wounded.


casmilus 10.06.16 at 11:57 am

A.J.P.Taylor’s “English History 1914-45” commences with a description of the tremendous freedom-to-travel available to an English gent before the guns started firing.


Faustusnotes 10.06.16 at 12:14 pm

A ukip mep just posted a blog pointing out that Tory education, immigration, housing and economic policy is now being influenced by ukip. Not to mention that brexit is obviously a ukip victory. The idea that the tories have swung left is just silly.


Zamfir 10.06.16 at 12:50 pm

Pete says: “Oh, just to beat the doctor training issue to death: it’s a classic central planning / pipeline issue. ”

Is this indeed the case in the UK? Where I live, and some other countries I know about, it’s more simply that the allocation is controlled by doctors, who are under strong social pressure from their peers to keep the supply a tad short.

Not crazily short, they’re not calculating price-gougers. But they have a view of what a doctor’s lifestyle should reasonably look like, and they honestly think it would be bad to imperil that.


Marc 10.06.16 at 1:31 pm

There is a lot of focus there on immigration as well, but note this passage:
In a speech designed to set out her core beliefs, May offered a deliberate rejection of the legacy of Thatcherism. “There is more to life than individualism and self-interest”, she said, drawing on the story of the triathlete Alistair Brownlee who gave up his chance to win the final race in the world series in Mexico to help his heat-dazed brother Jonny over the line. “We succeed or fail together.”

May also criticised the jet-setting global elite, tax-avoiding multinationals and sharp practice by company executives. “So if you’re a boss who earns a fortune but doesn’t look after your staff, an international company that treats tax laws as an optional extra, a household name that refuses to work with the authorities even to fight terrorism, a director who takes out massive dividends while knowing that the company pension is about to go bust: I’m putting you on warning. This can’t go on any more,” she said.

The prime minister appealed to disaffected Labour voters, arguing that the party had fled from the centre of British politics. She said the Conservatives were now “the party of the workers, the party of public servants, the party of the NHS”.

Yes, rhetorics; yes, words not deeds; and they’re still the Tories. But that’s a real change in tone.


Pete 10.06.16 at 1:39 pm

Live update on “suicidal rage” of Brexit: Steven Woolfe MEP (UKIP) is in hospital after being punched by Mike ‘Right’ Hookem MEP (also UKIP).

Absurd reports are circulating on twitter about Hookem running from the police.


Pete 10.06.16 at 1:42 pm

@Marc: note that “a household name that refuses to work with the authorities even to fight terrorism” obviously refers to ISPs and other internet companies who refuse to collaborate with the total surveillance of their customers.

> Conservatives were now “the party of the workers, the party of public servants, the party of the NHS”.

They’ve been saying this for years. Expect tomorrow the announcement of further cuts to the NHS and job losses for public servants.


TM 10.06.16 at 1:58 pm

What the “anti-globalization” forces of the right want (in the words of David Davis, the Brexit minister):

“we can negotiate a free trade area massively larger than the EU. Trade deals with the US and China alone will give us a trade area almost twice the size of the EU, and of course we will also be seeking deals with Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, India, Japan, the UAE, Indonesia – and many others. …

And the vast majority of the world’s electronic components are manufactured in Asia. Many of these components currently face tariffs, increasing their costs. The elimination of such tariffs will decrease the cost of manufacturing a car in the UK, increasing our industry’s global competitiveness. The same thing will happen across other industries as tariffs come down and the cost of doing business with the UK is reduced. …

the flood of new regulation from Europe will be halted. We can then look at structuring our regulatory environment so that it helps business, rather than hinders. At the moment all businesses in the UK must comply with EU regulation, even if they export nothing to the EU. This impacts on our global competitiveness. Instead, we should look to match regulation for companies to their primary export markets. …

We should also continue with the programme of lessening the tax burden. In particular, I would focus on reducing taxes that have a deleterious or distortive effect on growth. This Conservative Government has already done good work in this area, with corporate tax rates cut from almost 30 per cent to 20 per cent, and with plans to cut the rate to 15 per cent. …

This leaves the question of Single Market access. The ideal outcome, (and in my view the most likely, after a lot of wrangling) is continued tariff-free access.”

Iow, there is nothing, nothing whatsoever in the Brexit playbook about rejecting globalization, neoliberalism, trade liberalization and deregulation. To the contrary, they want more of it, they want hyper-globalization, with a “free trade area” ten times the size of the EU (as Davis has hubristically stated). The one thing that they can’t stand is foreigners having legal rights.

And yet people on CT continue to claim the opposite. What’s the problem, reading comprehension or inconventient facts?


Robert Hanks 10.06.16 at 1:58 pm

FaustusNotes @27: And funding for medical education in England has just been slashed – from 2017, people wanting to train as nurses, midwives, physiotherapists, etc, will no longer be able to get NHS grants to pay for tuition. They will have to take out student loans: but the professions they want to enter don’t pay enough for them to pay the debt off.


Robert Hanks 10.06.16 at 2:01 pm

Stephen @9 “The people of all nations feel only that an alien shadow, broad and heavy, looms over their lives.”

That describes quite precisely how I’ve felt about British politics over the last few months. Of course the shadow is not as heavy as that over the lives of people in, say, Libya and Syria, but it is a shadow.


TM 10.06.16 at 2:20 pm

Also it should be pointed out, Brexit isn’t really about immigration per se, as the noises about attracting more immigrants from the “White Commonwealth” (discussed on CT in a recent post by JQ) show. What is really the issue for the Brexiteers is the fact that under EU agreements, people who move from one EU country to another have a set of guaranteed legal rights, as opposed to being tolerated or not depending on the political climate. The wage dumping argument that has occasionally been cited is also clearly wrong. An immigrant with a secure legal status is less easily exploited, less likely to be pushed into the grey market, less likely to accept below standard wages and working conditions than. That is why one reasons why most European unions don’t oppose EU free movement, they want better protection for all workers.


TM 10.06.16 at 2:21 pm

… less likely than an illegal or otherwise insecure immigrant (e.g. depending on employer sponsorship).


casmilus 10.06.16 at 3:27 pm

What they don’t understand is that globalization *includes* regulation and in fact many of the “EU regulations” are simply re-transmitting requirements originally from global trade bodies. The “bonfire of regulations” (and magic piggy bank that gets smashed at the same time) is a right-wing fantasy that doesn’t relate to how global trade actually works.

In any case, it’s only one faction that wants to focus on the expansion of trade. There are other pro-Brexit movements that emphasise border control and restricting immigration. They neither have a coherent set of grievances, demands, or a positive programme. And when Remainers tried to point that out, or work with what little clues were given, it was called “Project Fear”.

[Actually, “Project Fear” is just the Tory election/referendum strategy since 1979. The Right only got upset by it when it was turned against a cause they supported.]


Will G-R 10.06.16 at 3:36 pm

Theresa May: “Today, too many people in positions of power behave as though they have more in common with international elites than with the people down the road, the people they employ, the people they pass on the street. But if you believe you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere. You don’t understand what citizenship means.”

I’m not the only one to smell more than a whiff of classical anti-Semitism around this kind of rhetoric: the eternally wandering Jew, a resident of all nations but a citizen of none, a rootless invasive parasitic weed strangling the healthy branches of good honest nations like ours, a scheming foreign infiltrator who sucks vitality vampire-like from the sacred bond between blut und boden. Which is especially ironic given the mud being slung at Corbyn and Momentum right now over the obscene conflation of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism; I for one wholeheartedly resist tying my own Jewish identity to Israel, because I’d rather be the kind of Jew Nazis would hate than the kind of Jew they wouldn’t.


efcdons 10.06.16 at 3:42 pm

Faustusnotes @37

‘Of the left” isn’t just a short hand for “good people we like”. It’s possible for a political party to promote certain economic policies traditionally associated with the left with “social” policies traditionally associated with the right. Those types of parties have been doing very well lately all over continental Europe as well as (rhetorically at least) in the US (Trump has been conspicuously silent on slashing the entitlements his old white person base love and rely on to live which had previously been a pretty big part of GOP policy).

It’s no wonder the tories have (again, rhetorically) positioned themselves as defending the entitlements created by and associated with the left, and defending them in part by claiming they will only let “real” British people have access. The right and New Labour/Democrat/SPD etc. left have discovered people aren’t so into slashing the direct benefits they receive from the state then letting the market work it’s magic.

But they just want to make sure the benefits only go to people they like because A) they have been told (by the right and DLCist left) these benefits are under financial threat so restricting the benefits is a logical way to decrease the financial burden, and B) because these benefits are actually really good they don’t want to encourage people they don’t like to come over based on the strong pull factor of sweet benefits.


TM 10.06.16 at 4:34 pm

45: “In any case, it’s only one faction that wants to focus on the expansion of trade. There are other pro-Brexit movements that emphasise border control and restricting immigration.”

Afaikt, the relevant Brexit fractions advocate both and there is nothing contradictory in it. As explained, they are in favor of deregulation, globalization and trade liberalization and against legal rights for immigrants. I’m not aware that anti-“free trade” positions have ever had any relevance in the Brexit camp (if they are there, why aren’t we hearing howls of protest against Davis?). Some leftists imagine that anti-immigrant crusaders must also be anti-globalization but that is only in their head. They are not against the corporate agenda at all.


Marc 10.06.16 at 4:41 pm

@48: There are multiple points of view. I think that it’s a category error to assert that complex phenomena boil down to just one thing.

The reason that I brought up May is that I think we’re seeing some real rearrangement of coalitions, which represents both an opportunity and a problem for the left. Simply continuing on the current course, serenely confident that only bad people disagree, basically ensures that people like the Tories are in charge.


TM 10.06.16 at 4:42 pm

“a whiff of classical anti-Semitism”

Yes, the rootless cosmopolitan. We have heard it all here on CT ( Glad to hear you finally caught the whiff…


Sebastian H 10.06.16 at 5:42 pm

At this point Jews have sadly been accused of almost everything possible. You can also predict that almost anything which is negative will be attributed to Jeswish people by antisemites. At this point in history a large portion of negative descriptions of people have at one time or another been employed against Jewish people. That doesn’t automatically give things like “cosmopolitan” the whiff of antisemitism any more than atheists complaining about religion has a whiff of antisemitism.


Will G-R 10.06.16 at 6:31 pm

TM, for what it’s worth I’d back your horse over Sebastian’s in the linked thread, at least as far as an anticapitalism infested with nationalist exclusivity is no true anticapitalism at all. All I’d add is that your summation of “the compatibility between some versions of left radical rhetoric and reactionary ideology” doesn’t go deep enough in attributing this appropriation of leftist rhetoric as a deliberate strategy by the ruling class itself, in order that anti-establishment sentiment in a time of crisis might be channeled through national “socialism” as opposed to international socialism. In a severe enough economic downturn that workers won’t take anybody seriously who denies their exploitation outright, fascism is a useful way to misdirect the critique of this exploitation by imagining that it has something inherently to do with foreign infiltrators and somehow can’t be perpetrated by bona fide citizens of the Nation. But the people to whom this ideology is useful are still capitalists, they’re still exploiting workers, and the soil in which they plant the ideology is tilled by good old-fashioned liberal nationalism: no Nazis sending socialists to the gas chambers without the SPD calling on the freikorps to massacre revolutionary workers’ councils, no Amber Rudd touting yellow-star foreign worker lists without Gordon Brown touting “British jobs for British workers”, and no border walls or Muslim bans at the RNC without the generals and flags and “U-S-A!” chants at the DNC.


passer-by 10.06.16 at 6:58 pm

@Frenchguy 20
That’s actually what I found most interesting in Z’s autobiography. His “yesterday’s world”, his “carefree Europe” resonate with much of the experience of today’s European middle class (including the fact that he never experienced periods of economic growth). His “carefree Europe” of “individual rights” was, indeed, not the Europe of nation-states, but an imperial Europe spearheading the first globalization. RobinM is right, of course, that some of those countries (not Finland and Poland though, which did not exist as sovereign states pre-WWI) were nation-states, but Zweig’s experience of them is of the imperial / global metropolises, Vienna, Berlin and Paris (he really disliked London though). Zweig was, probably, a member of the “1%”, statistically, but the class to which he belonged would, today, almost certainly encompass 10-20% of the EU / US population.

The upper middle class (socially and / or economically) in those imperial cities in the early 20th century was cosmopolitan, humanist, liberal, multilingual, free to travel, awed by the tremendous scientific progress they were witnessing, reaping most of the benefits of what they did not yet call globalization, critical of the small-minded conservatism of their societies, AND completely oblivious (in practice, not in theory – they could discuss it ad nauseam) of the imperial realities underpinning their lifestyle and value system. Dismiss them as priviledged idiots as much as you want, their values were pretty close to mainstream liberal values today.
And then, they saw that world disappear, apparently overnight, an end of the world that caught them utterly unawares and made them helpless, irrelevant. With them, the first period of globalization ends in world wars, the “alien shadow” of the states, fascism, stalinism, etc.

It’s precisely because Zweig was such an ordinary member of that upper middle class that his autobiography is interesting. He is no genius, no political actor, just an educated, cosmopolitan European, an Austrian Jew who did not really realize he was either before he had to flee, unable, even in hindsight, to make sense of the way his world self-destructed. And, before dismissing him as an idiot, let’s remember that historians still struggle to really make sense of it as well.

The UK in 2016 should probably listen to Zweig, just like the rest of Europe. But the book’s current attraction comes, I think, from all of us who are bewildered by what is going on (even those pretending not to be, because of cynicism or brilliant insights), realizing that in many, many ways, our world is *exactly* Zweig’s “yesterday’s world”. And it is not that clear what any of us can do about its possible demise, beyond witnessing with open eyes. After all, the Lenin types (who shared most of the Zweig-type priviledge) did achieve much more than Zweig ever did – and thus, have much more to answer for – but most of those belonging to that cosmopolitan revolutionary intelligentsia were also swept aside quite soon and would, in many, many ways, share Zweig’s feelings by 1942.
It is just not clear at all that you can preserve the values of the cosmopolitan, liberal, humanist upper middle class that arises in periods of globalization while also addressing their tremendous political, social and economic costs.


Jim Buck 10.06.16 at 7:40 pm

@ 51 That doesn’t automatically give things like “cosmopolitan” the whiff of antisemitism

Are you denying that the term comes as perfume to the nostrils of anti-Semites?


Tim Worstall 10.06.16 at 7:49 pm

Governments are simply very, very, bad at planning.

“When I read about the 1500 doctors, my thoughts were: 1) Why didn’t they do this long ago? Nothing, certainly not the EU, prevented the UK government from investing more in medical training, and 2) The number is a joke, it won’t make a difference.”

The biggest change in doctoring has been the opening of it to women over the past few decades. This is right, just and proper. I’ve seen JQ around here pointing out that when he were a lad (and I an idea) respectable (for which read middle class) women were restricted to nursing or teaching. We’ve lifted those restrictions, Hurrah!

It is also obviously true that some portion of women in such a profession are going to take breaks, full or part time, in order to have and to some extent raise their children. That this now happens, that it is a break, an interlude, not the end of a working life, is also a Hurrah!

So, as a profession becomes more female (as doctoring has) then we’re going to need more people trained because not all those people trained are going to do that job for 40 years straight.

Hmm. And did government do that? Those people some say should plan our entire economy? Why, no, they didn’t, did they?

Governments are simply very, very, bad at planning.


magistra 10.06.16 at 8:44 pm

Another aspect of May’s anti-foreigner rhetoric is ramping up penalties for landlords who rent property to illegal immigrants, which has the completely expected result of making it harder for legal immigrants, or indeed anyone vaguely “foreign” to find accommodation.


Faustusnotes 10.06.16 at 11:36 pm

Efcdons, maybe Mays newfound respect for welfare programs arises from the realization there is nothing left to cut?

Tim, medical workforce planning in the UK is worse than in other developed nations with universal health coverage, eg Japan, France, Australia, Canada. While it is true that the uk system is more nationalized than theirs, it’s also the case that uk doctors have traditionally had a great deal more power (Bevin had to promise to “stuff their mouths with money” to get them to assent to the nhs), and overpaid given how hard they work (at least in the case of GPs) relative to some other systems. of course the task is made more complex by the ability to attract short term employees from Europe, a system the workforce p,an era weren’t expecting a bunch of reckless Eton boys to suddenly break; but the uk has been making bad decisions about medical training for years.

In some ways it’s a microcosm of the way public and private sector in the uk have been reckless with the Eu compared to other countries. In health, banking, some parts of STEM, even football, they have outsourced their workforce development to Europe and underfunded domestic training and capacity development. This leaves local talent with nowhere to go and breeds this sense of a country being taken over by foreigners. But the bigger problem here is domestic inequality in education and training, which ensures a large proportion of the British public are not ready for a global economy – a problem they then blame on the low paid foreign labourers they work alongside, rather than idiots like May whose genius education reform is to double down on the inequality.

Ditto inadequate housing, insufficient hospital beds, poor rail infrastructure – all chronic problems of the British condition going back to the 60s, but now all conveniently blamed on foreigners.


Matt_L 10.07.16 at 2:33 am

Maria, I share your presentiment. Those clouds don’t just hang over the UK, but they stretch across the Atlantic as well.


dax 10.07.16 at 9:30 am

I see TM beat me to it to the “rootless cosmopolitan” meme. I certainly see it in the May speech, and it obviously was an important part of Nazi propaganda in the 1930s. But I don’t see May as being, intentionally or unintentionally, anti-Semitic. I think it’s best to take her words at face value; she is positioning herself with the tribalists against the cosmopolitans, the common people against the elites. That has sufficient power in and of itself, and Jewishness has nothing to do with it. The use of this comparison seems a transparent effort by cosmopolitans to give themselves an aura of virtue; my guess is it will backfire.


TM 10.07.16 at 1:31 pm

“with the tribalists against the cosmopolitans, the common people against the elites”

And you are repeating the completely unwarranted equation of narrow-mindedness with lower class and cosmopolitanism with “elite”. It really hurts me to read that nonsense again after I pointed it out earlier:

“What keeps baffling me is how often commenters on CT implicitly assume that people who are narrow-minded, xenophobic, unwelcoming towards outsiders must be “lower class” (Rich). Do you guys – Rich, Sebastian etc. – ever stop to consider where you got these condescending stereotypes of the poor? And do you really believe that the rich are broad-minded, tolerant cosmopolitans?”

Tribalism is not a class marker and plenty of people with a cosmopolitan outlook are neither rich nor elitist.


dax 10.07.16 at 1:38 pm

Your beef is with May, not with me. In her speech she is against both cosmopolitans and the elite.


Rich Puchalsky 10.07.16 at 1:40 pm

TM has now quoted his assertion about what I wrote twice, and of course it’s an assertion that I never made. TM is just too much of a dullard to understand that so he keeps going on about it.

It’s also worth mentioning that TM fully agreed with and supported the people who were claiming that American Jews, as whites, naturally tended to support white supremacy.


TM 10.07.16 at 1:44 pm

passer-by 53: It is worth pointing out that prior to WWI, free movement was NOT an elite privilege. There were no such things as passports and immigration control in those times and many lower class people moved about in search of a living.

Of course the rich were able to travel more comfortably, as they always are.

“Zweig was, probably, a member of the “1%”, statistically, but the class to which he belonged would, today, almost certainly encompass 10-20% of the EU / US population.”

Much more than 10-20%. Zweig was able to travel for leisure within Europe and even to India and America. Nowadays, it is common for a European, even working and lower middle class, to have visited many of these places. It’s not a marker of privilege any more. The biggest difference in material living standards between a 1% er from the turn of the 19th century and an ordinary European today is probably the availability of servants.


Marc 10.07.16 at 1:48 pm

Deeming the word “cosmopolitan” a marker of bigotry because it’s been used against Jews in the past comes across like a parody of leftism.


TM 10.07.16 at 2:00 pm

Rich 62:

Quoting Rich: “It’s like a satire of how cosmopolitans dismiss the concerns of everyone lower class than they are as bad cultural values”
Note that the anecdote from which this originated said nothing whatsoever about the class of the people in question. It was Rich who immediately assumed they must be lower class.

As to Rich’s other claim, it’s a boldfaced lie.

dax 61: “In her speech she is against both cosmopolitans and the elite.” How does that actually work, a top member of the elite against “the elite”? Can we perhaps stop taking BS at face value and start talking about empirical reality?

May: “But if you believe you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere.”

Where does that refer to class at all? It’s a threat against people who aren’t willing to define their identity in terms of nationalism. It’s a threat to take exclude them, to take their rights away. Being “a citizen of nowhere” in our world is a severe fate. I don’t assume that May was thinking of Jews when she said this but historically, this has been an important mechanism of antisemitic resentment: identifying a group of people who aren’t part of the Volksgemeinschaft and can be excluded from the community and stripped of their rights.


TM 10.07.16 at 2:03 pm

Marc: “Deeming the word “cosmopolitan” a marker of bigotry”

Nobody does that. Neither does anybody deem the words gay or black or jew a marker of bigotry. But when somebody says, you gays, blacks, jews, cosmopolitans, we don’t consider you citizens of equal standing in our community, how exactly would you call that if not bigotry?


Marc 10.07.16 at 2:27 pm

TM, that’s an utterly surreal response. If May had said what you said that context would obviously be bigoted. Instead, the quotes that we’re looking at say nothing at all about ethnicity, race, religion, or sexual orientation.

There really are people in positions of power who identify more with the IMF than they do with their countrymen. There really are CEOs who care more about the bottom line than the workers in the factories in their country. Pointing that out doesn’t imply antisemitism without draining the word of all meaning.


dax 10.07.16 at 2:36 pm

“How does that actually work, a top member of the elite against “the elite”? ”

Members of the elite often rail against the elite. It works for the entire spectrum, from Trump to Krugman.


Rich Puchalsky 10.07.16 at 2:43 pm

TM: “Note that the anecdote from which this originated said nothing whatsoever about the class of the people in question.”

Yes, because the anecdote was about people coming from England to buy houses in the French Alps, it said nothing whatsoever about the class of the people in question.


Sebastian H 10.07.16 at 3:13 pm

The fact that he considers people buying houses in the French Alps as not from the upper class is precisely the problem.


Rich Puchalsky 10.07.16 at 4:58 pm

There are also the small matters that the person who told the anecdote introduced the classification “cosmopolitan” as a class to be compared with “tribalist”, and that I was following along with that. Also there was: “You see they live in the French Alps, in an area where 50 years ago “foreigner” still meant someone from the next village over.” Now maybe this means that the people living in the French Alps in this way are actually wealthy people — but it doesn’t mean that to me.


Stephen 10.07.16 at 7:50 pm

Chris Bertram @15;

Apologies for the delay in replying, I’ve been caught up in a family emergency.

You accuse me of ignorance, to which I happily plead guilty. Nobody I know has more than islands of knowledge in a deep sea of ignorance, though of course some sets of islands are larger and better connected than others. You may of course be an exception.

In this specific case, the OP quoted Zweig in 1942 as writing “The Russians, the Germans, the Spanish, none of them know how much freedom and joy that heartless, voracious ogre the State has sucked from the marrow of their souls … we who knew the world of individual liberties in our time can bear witness that a carefree Europe once rejoiced in a kaleidoscopic play of variegated colours’’.

Now, I in my ignorance did not appreciate that this actually referred to the disintegration of the Hapsburg empire after WW I: Robin M did not appreciate that, either. I further confess to not having read Zweig’s original text, among myriads of others. Very possibly you have. Would it be too much trouble to explain how, on the basis of your reading, the detestable activities of the 1942 Russian, German and Spanish governments contributed to the problem of post-Hapsburg states, except by invading them post-1939?

Further: not being omnipolygot, I can’t quote primary sources for my understanding that many people in what are now Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, Serbia and Romania did not regard their pre-WWI situation in Austria-Hungary as carefree. I may be wrong: am I?

Also: you say I am engaged in “quasi-Kipper trolling”. I have never written in unqualified support of UKIP, which is I suppose why you put in the weasel word “quasi”. If you want my opinion, it is that there are powerful reasons for and against exit from the EU: I think reasonable and intelligent people could argue either way. But I don’t think that comparing non-UK Europe, 1942, to UK 2016 helps the anti-exit argument. Again, you may think otherwise: if so, why?

Lastly, I really do think you have to learn to distinguish between “trolling” and putting forward reasoned and fact-based arguments you disagree with.

Yours in hope of a reasoned reply.


Ronan(rf) 10.07.16 at 8:45 pm

There’s no real difference between the cosmopolitans and tribalists , just they draw their boundaries differently. The real heroes of the story are the “tribalists” who walk back from the edge, and the cosmopolitans who work silently for the best outcome, compromising their preferences for reality.
As the song says:

“We knew from the start that things fall apart ”

Now it’s falling apart for the cosmopolitan class , you(we) have to take the medicine you (we)prescribe for the gen pop. Hopefully it teaches done humility


phenomenal cat 10.07.16 at 9:37 pm

“The “carefree Europe [that] once rejoiced in a kaleidoscopic play of variegated colours”; was that Europe not composed of independent nation states?”

No, it wasn’t. Or largely not. Zweig is harking back to the pre-1914 world where much of Europe was covered by a patchwork of ethnicities in multinational states.” Bertram @15

It’s understandable that Zweig (in 1942) would pine for pre-Great War Europe.
Though it’s also worth noting than Karl Kraus called fin de siecle Vienna, seat of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, “a laboratory for world destruction.”


F. Foundling 10.07.16 at 11:48 pm

Re ‘citizen of nowhere’ etc., there really is an interesting difference between the connotations of the terms ‘internationalist’ and ‘cosmopolitan’. An ‘internationalist’ has priorities that cut across national boundaries. A ‘cosmopolitan’, on the other hand, means literally ‘a *citizen* of the world’. On the one hand, this can be simply a way of saying that your specific nationality matters relatively little for your basic values, convictions, ideas, culture and identity (in that sense, I consider myself one). On the other, since there is no global state that you can be meaningfully be a ‘citizen’ of, the word can also imply a lack of civic commitment to any existing political community – which can, indeed, mean things like refusing to pay taxes to maintain public services. One interpretation is about what you are (being, say, ‘a true Bolivian’), the other is about what you do (fulfilling your civic obligations to the Bolivian national community).

Concerning national minority perspectives on good old Austria-Hungary, ‘The Good Soldier Å vejk’ might be somewhat relevant. As the main character might have worded it – beg to report, sir, a non-democratic multiethnic state can f**k you up just as well as a democratic nation state can, it’s just that the reasons it gives for that are likely to make even less sense to you.


Ronan(rf) 10.08.16 at 3:25 am

A true internationalism is loving the people, regardless of who the people are. Whether racist hillbilly or sociopathic banker, you have to love the people. The cosmopolitans want us to love the sociopaths and hate the racists, and the nativists, vice versa. I say we love them all regardless. We need religion.


F. Foundling 10.08.16 at 4:16 am

Ronan @ 76
> I say we love them all regardless. We need religion.

I think alcohol or pot are simpler and more efficient ways to produce the same desirable condition, and they have fewer unhealthy side-effects. As a matter of fact, even a nice lunch is sometimes enough to fill me with unconditional love for every living thing.


Ronan(rf) 10.08.16 at 4:25 am

Then feast yourself, foundling.


Ronan(rf) 10.08.16 at 4:40 am

I’m thinking I’m missing a comma(before ‘yourself’), but it works either way.? Afaict? Thoughts? I’m genuinely unsure what’s grammatically correct.


bruce wilder 10.08.16 at 4:50 am

I would omit “yourself”.


Ronan(rf) 10.08.16 at 4:56 am

The more words the better.Why not just exclude ‘foundling’ and add an exclamation mark?


Ronan(rf) 10.08.16 at 4:58 am



js. 10.08.16 at 5:21 am

Ronan, you definitely do not want a comma before “yourself”. You have the comma in the right place. (You should capitalize “foundling”, tho, esp. since “foundling” is an actual English word—”an abandoned child of unknown parentage,” as per the Shorter OED.)


Collin Street 10.08.16 at 6:27 am

> I’m genuinely unsure what’s grammatically correct.

I don’t think I’ve ever used feast as a transitive verb so I had to check dictionaries; they said that the direct object is the recipient of a feast being hosted by the subject. So, no comma.


Collin Street 10.08.16 at 6:31 am

[which is to say I agree with js. There’s no subject stated because it’s an imperative; the comma before “foundling” marks it off as a vocative[1] rather than as a normal syntactic part of the sentence.]

[1] Then feast yourself, o Foundling.


Collin Street 10.08.16 at 6:32 am

A foundling, of course, being one who was found.


Ronan(rf) 10.08.16 at 1:29 pm

Thanks js and Collin s. That clarifies my confusing. To go full circle, I hope Foundling finds what he’s looking for , and allows the light of Jesus in his heart.


Steve Williams 10.09.16 at 10:06 am

Will G-R @48:

‘I’m not the only one to smell more than a whiff of classical anti-Semitism around this kind of rhetoric’

I completely agree. How far away are we from the first time she calls human rights lawyers or academics ‘rootless cosmopolitans’?


Maria 10.09.16 at 4:49 pm

You guys… ;-)

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