I have already reflected on one long term change to the political scene resulting from Brexit this morning. That is the demise of the Tory Party as we knew it. It is now, instead, a party of English nationalism. This, though, is not the only long term repercussion of Brexit, which I now think will come to be seen as being as pivotal in the history of England (stated carefully) as our civil war was, and for the UK as 1940 might have been.
As I have argued in my previous blog, one consequence of Brexit is that the Tory Party is now a party of English nationalists. I believe that change is permanent. It is becoming in consequence neo-fascist. The presence of their neo-fascism will persist for the long term, I fear. That is why I hope business interests might promote a new, moderate, right of centre party, which we need to counter this threat. But under our system such a party might not flourish, and English nationalism is, anyway out of the bag.
The obvious has to be said, that this nationalism is the absolute antithesis of past English nationalism. Books could be written on why this is, but in a sentence that is because past English nationalism was always expansive, and this is isolationist.
Britain itself is a product of old-style English nationalism. Wales and Ireland were subjugated. Scotland was coerced and lured into Union (I summarise, grossly, but not wholly unfairly).
The Empire was built on the same ethos. And so too was the Commonwealth (which would now be wise to turn its back on us, but has not, as yet).
And now? Because the English elite and their British counterparts could never make the EU our own (by reason of being late to the show, and because Germany was just too big to treat as if our own) that elite, almost absent now of its British counterparts, has decided to walk away. Spurned for what they really are - which is aggressive, mindless bullies, bred by a culture that perpetuated generation-on-generation such culture through the private boarding school system - these people have now done what the bully will always do, which is form their own gang in the corner, from where they will throw insults and threats to all within earshot. Their threats do, of course, have a purpose. They wish to challenge the truth. They want to disrupt the existing order of society, which considers their behaviour unacceptable. And they are willing to do all this because they are indifferent to the consequence of their behaviour on the majority.
But the consequence is not just that English nationalism will now be a part of the UK political scene for a long time to come. It is much broader than that. Because what this isolationist form of nationalism does, inevitably, provoke is the end of the Union as we know it.
Whether or not Scotland has, at present, got a majority for independence is not known. That English nationalists will create one is, I think, certain.
And as Sean Danaher recently noted on Progressive Pulse, changes in the demography of Northern Ireland almost inevitably mean that it will within a decade or so have a Catholic majority who will seek a union with the Republic.
Whether or not Wales stays, who knows? It had little love of Tory politicians for many years, and I cannot see English nationalism having any appeal there. I suspect that in time it too will seek to break away.
And this is not an accident: I happen to think that this is what English nationalists want. The antipathy towards the other countries in the Union in the region in which I live appears to be significant: the number who have been to any of them is tiny. Ignorance feeds the hostility that is felt. Such people will all too easily be persuaded that these nations are a cost that the English could do without, in just the same way that many still believe a figure once written on the side of a bus. And that will be the end of this country as it has been for the last century, and in other forms for three centuries.
Maybe I should not mourn. And for the Scots, people of Nothern Ireland and Welsh I do not.
But for England? Whatever has become of England?
I do not for a minute think our history all proud and glorious: much if it was not. But I was brought up to at least think we did, to some degree, try fair play. It was the ethos inculcated in me: the narrative I learned. And I think many did try to live by it, even if they failed, quite often. In the post-war era that ethos did build a country that benefited many. And where many could hope that it might benefit them, soon. But now, the aim is to build a land of the few, for the few, at cost to the many, and to the exclusion of others. And that is something that will be very hard to avoid, whatever happens on Brexit now.
And that is some thing to regret.