What is the future for England?

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The following paragraphs were written as tweets. Each was, then, constrained to 280 characters. And as they were posted separately, and not as a thread, each has to stand in its own right. They are, nonetheless very obviously related so I offer them here in that way, with this necessary explanation as to their style:

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I wish I did not gave such an apocalyptic world view right now. It’s no fun realising we’re heading for a crisis that our government has helped develop, wants, and has no desire to ameliorate.

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There is no such thing as manageable creative destruction from which a guaranteed upside will emerge, except maybe in the head of Dominic Cummings. But, no sane person would want to go there.

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Destruction can only be a political tool for the unaccountable. That’s what the Johnson team believe that they are. So far the Opposition has humoured their belief. If Parliament has not done enough to hold them to account it’s Labour’s fault.

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Labour sat out Brexit, believing they could rely on Napoleon’s maxim that you should never interfere with your enemy whilst they’re destroying themselves. The trouble is, they were tearing us apart as well. Labour cannot forget that this time and make the same mistake again.

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The Opposition (Labour, SNP, PC, Greens) can’t sit out this crisis. It’s going to be too painful to do that. They must have plans they can promote to deal with the immediate issues. But they have to also remember Beveridge: the best time to promote fundamental change will be soon

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Whatever was normal will have gone by the time this crisis is over. Whatever replaces it is not yet known. It could be fascism. And it could be something so much better. But the better route requires a willingness to imagine it. I only see that willingness in Scotland right now.

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Because Scotland has a vision of what it’s future might be I have little doubt it will get it. That’s because unlike the rest of the UK it will have a plan as the chaos of this crisis will continue to unfold.

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Survival always requires a will to do so. I don’t think the UK, as a union of four nations, has that will any more. It’s why I see independence for Scotland soon, Irish reunification thereafter, and then Wales also thinking there might be a better alternative to rule from London.

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The collapse of the UK will come because without having a role as an exploiter - whether by old fashioned land grab, or by financial capture of other country’s economies by the City of London and it’s tax havens - those ruling from London have no idea what role England has.

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It’s easy to see the basis on which vision for Scotland and Wales can be created. They are, in a way most in England who have never been there can’t comprehend, other countries. With care a united Ireland could also achieve that. But England? What is it? That is the hard question

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A post-colonial, post-financialised, non-exploitative vision of England as a separate country that can survive on its own rather than by extracting value from others is what is required if it is to make it through the long existential crisis that coronavirus is presenting it with.

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The politicians who can imagine an England that has its own role in the world, as a separate nation state, not dependent on the support of the other countries that have sustained it for centuries, are what are required to guide it now. And I can’t see them, as yet.

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I have to live in hope. That hope includes a belief that England can find a future in which exploitation plays no part. That hope has limited foundations. But when the alternative is offered by the far right it is something I have to believe possible.