Shrill reactions to Ditchley shows the game is changing

“I can always tell when he knows he’s in the wrong and can’t admit it. He starts getting angry and shouting.” This was one of the ablest women this writer has ever worked for, talking about the manager above her in turn. The case was particular, in a long defunct, far away laboratory. But it was a general lesson(boy, did we need some in emotional intelligence!) and it has lasted with us to this day.

Which brings us to a recent meeting at a place called Ditchley Park in England. It’s a big house used for non secret meetings of people who have had a little experience in life, maybe run a business or a government department, and come together periodically to talk about lots of different topics of interest. A sort of pub night out without the football screens, if you like, and not normally calculated to excite the interest of many of us with better things to do at the weekend. Except, as Martin Kettle[1] reports for the Guardian, this one has excited paroxysms of rage from quarters as diverse as Nigel Farage, The Sun, the Daily Mail, and a host of others who advocated Brexit in 2016.

It is not that we at LSS have any desire to reverse Brexit, and consider any attempt to do so as entirely ill-advised. But any consideration of this country’s economy must consider it as an important factor. Just as in those families where daddy’s drinking must eventually be confronted, however much he shouts and hollers that he has no real problem. As our long-ago boss made clear: he knows, or he wouldn’t shout so. There always was a case for Brexit, but it was never on economic grounds. What its defenders fear is that the slightest, tangential hint that even a particle of their project may be wrong engenders a fear that the whole may be mistaken. And nothing betrays their fears and anxieties more than the hysteria of their reaction. The writing is no longer in the pages of their journals: it’s on the wall.


#brexit #ditchley park #economy

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