UK Patriotism in the 21st century

I probably shouldn’t blog when I’m cross, but I am, and it relieves my frustration.

At the Conservative conference today (5th of October 2016), the prime minister Theresa May just said “Just listen to the way a lot of politicians and commentators talk about the public. They find their patriotism distasteful, their concerns about immigration parochial, their views about crime illiberal, their attachment to their job security inconvenient. They find the fact that more than 17 million people voted to leave the European Union simply bewildering.”

Rather than argue (as Samuel Johnson famously did in 1775) that “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel” I take a pragmatic position.  The UK electorate’s vote to give up shared sovereignty over the entire EU, in the hope of increased sovereignty over the tiny UK, is (in my opinion) clearly against the national interest, and thus by definition unpatriotic.

The economic consequences of that decision will hammer the UK economy, and reduce our diplomatic influence across the world.  As a result of the economic damage the UK will also have less money to spend on national defence, such as providing aircraft for those useless aircraft-less carriers.  Both a weakening of the UK economy, and a reduction in our influence abroad would clearly be against the national interest, and thus (to me) unpatriotic.

Another consequence of leaving the EU will be the weakening of one of our major political and economic allies against Russian expansionism, the EU.  If Vladimir Putin approves of Brexit, then it can hardly be patriotic.

Ah, I feel better for having got that off my chest!