Brexit in British and World evolution

This article was due to appear in September when I asked for a second referendum, but I delayed it as I thought at the time that it would appear as purely academic. Political reflection has evolved since then.

The Prime Minister repeats endlessly her political mantra that Brexit will bring a brighter future and happy tomorrows. The student of history knows how costly any secession or independence can be, with usually an array of sweat, tears and too often blood, even with the best plans. This was precisely the sense of my question to FM Nicola Sturgeon at the RSA recently: ‘If Scotland would be independent, have you made any plans to project the country in the future?’ To alert her of the dangers of such program more than know about them. Matthew Taylor, who moderated, said ‘Very big question’ then turning to her ‘I suspect the answer is ‘yes’’!. She of course replied ‘Yes, is the answer to that question….’. Mrs May, to whom I pointed out I could ask the same question for Brexit, would have equally said ‘yes’. As a member of a family who has helped reformed two states, Egypt (1920’s) and Brazil (1958), and created one republic from scratch – the First Republic of Armenia (1918-20) – I will humbly point out that any such project is a costly adventure no matter how well prepared you are and even if you are on the ‘right side of history’ to quote Mr Obama during his inaugural speech

It is on the latter point I wish to dwell. World history, including the European one, has a flow and some like Lord Heseltine, see it very well. President Roosevelt once formulated it with the vocabulary of his time: ‘You can delay the development of civilisation, but you cannot stop it’. The world, whether one likes or not, tends towards unity even if this is in the future. The European idea is a step towards this unity; Brexit a delay triggered by those who consciously or unconsciously react to this global change: Open border and this free movement which Mrs May wants ended, mingling of nations at an increased pace, decentralisation of the financial world and education, etc… Even the French Prime Minister recently stated that English is the ‘Langua Franca’ of the world – a true revolution considering the onerous ‘Francophonie” program which aims to restore the influence of French in international circles.

It is no surprise hence that Mr Rees-Mogg wants Brexit, this is perfectly consistent with what he is and his view of the world. It is however not right for the Prime Minister of a country which is, among other things, a leader and pioneer in the digital world where skills free the movement of knowledge and millions in the process.

For interest: my question to Nicola Sturgon at 51.56 and her reply at 54.11:

* Christian de Vartavan is an eminent scholar and now CEO of a London blockchain consulting company.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • David Evershed 14th Dec '18 - 12:13pm

    The EU does not want free movement of economic migrants from outside its borders either – the same way the UK will be post Brexit.

  • I was interested in the mention of English as a world language. I believe that this notion is a reason for our distorted view of our place in the world. It is of course American culture which dominates the world. They speak English.
    When I was at school there were German classes for those studying science subjects in the sixth form. At University there were voluntary German classes which we were strongly advised to take. Seemingly in the 1950s at least some in England thought that the future scientific language was German.

  • Peter Hirst 15th Dec '18 - 5:11pm

    If the irreversible trend is to homogenisation, then within that unity there is a need for more fragmentation. Such as the peripheries of countries have more in common with each other than with certain parts of that country and within a street there is more variation than that street than with other streets. Unity is a surface phenomenon and useful for capitals though hides huge differences under the surface.

  • There was an interesting piece in Al Jazerrah that Brexit and the recent up tick of protest in France and now spreading across the EU has one thing in common. The gap between those who have and have not. You take into fact that France is about to breach the rules on borrowing again but nothing will happen, yet Italy has had it hands slapped, shows the issues of today. The EU I loathe with a passion mainly because it is not a natural process of integration but a forced one.. Nationalist sentiment has been locked in and is boiling over

  • Christian de Vartavan 16th Dec '18 - 11:16am

    Dear Peter, yes there is a need for fragmentation and the respect of local cultures. This joins what Dan is saying about nationalism and this is why I would perdsonally like a revision of the structure of the European Union towards a federalism which respects national wishes and cultural differences. Then in the future, when we will have learnt to live together and have the insurance that national and/or cultural differences are respected then we can think of a possible union. The current mistake in my opinion of the European process is that it is going to fast and hence some laws are ill conceived when simply not appropriate because of regional differences which have not been enough taken into consideration in Brussels – hence the colateral damages. This is also true for sovereignty which Guy Verhofstadt would like to be transfered to Brussels. as much as respect the man this is clearly a political mistake for the time being. It takes a long time to build a cathedral and Europe is a far more complicated project.

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