There’s always a certain difficulty with Vince Cable (“Sir Vince” as we should call him now). Should we regard him as being perceptive in his utterances or is he simply spouting the blindingly obvious? For there are times – Emperor’s new clothes and all that – when to state the obvious is to be perceptive. We don’t in fact think that is what is being done here concerning Brexit. This is just the blindingly obvious:
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable has said the Brexit vote was “driven by nostalgia” for a world where “faces were white”.
In his keynote speech to his party’s spring conference in Southport, Sir Vince said the “toxic” fall-out of the referendum is fuelling the rise of the populist right in Britain.
Saying that 70 per cent of over 65s had voted for Brexit, Sir Vince said: “Too many were driven by nostalgia for a world where passports were blue, faces were white and the map was coloured imperial pink”.
It does matter which examples you use to explain this of course. We can go with insisting that 52% of voters in the referendum are in fact Colonel Blimp without the humour. Harking back to a world which never really did exist but in which ageing memories can seek comfort.
Or we can place it all rather more accurately as part of those several national upchucks against the way the world is changing. Trump’s election, Beppe Grillo as Sejanus in Rome, Brexit, even Syriza in Greece, from their different starting points all are much the same thing. They’re that shouting out the window in Network, I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more. We can even call it inchoate, in that not everyone so voting is being entirely and fully rational and calculating in what they want to happen next – but they’re damn certain they don’t want more of the current same.
My own – and yes, I’ve much more rational and thought through arguments available – ulcerative gut feel is Martin Schultz, one of the former many Presidents of Europe. I don’t want Britain to be run by fat German socialists, whether they exercise power through Berlin or Brussels. Perhaps I shouldn’t say that so bite me. The important point here being that democracy is indeed the people getting what they vote for, good and hard. And what we’re seeing is, in many countries and all for different specific local reasons, said voters saying something other than the current ruling class would be good and they’d like that hard please.
Not something Vince has grasped as yet therefore we can’t call him perceptive, can we?