Apr 30·edited Apr 30Liked by Thomas Prosser

"We might see Maugham as an institutional agent of low liberalism, advancing this ideology in traditional institutions, albeit in a respectable garb."

Jolyon Maugham was one of an elite group of prominent establishment professionals whose historical role was I think to legitimise the questionable strategies and overheated language of the Remain cause during the three and a half-year constitutional arm-wrestle which followed the Brexit vote. JK Rowling, Phillip Pullman, Mike Galsworthy, Baroness Hale, Gina Miller, Steven Pinker and AC Grayling played a similar role. The legitimacy they conferred was derived from their positions as highly respected public figures but not politicians or business people (except in the case of Miller).

They helped bring a new confidence and self-awareness to the hitherto amorphous mass of angry, bitter, disaffected centrists who we are all very familiar with - the people you have gone on to define more precisely as low liberals. I think the public role of Maugham and co has changed post - 31st January 2020, even if their personal loathing of Brexit has not. Pretty well all of them have championed worthwhile causes unrelated to the EU membership issue that I have mentally bookmarked and thought I should find out more about. They were seen as respected, interesting people for a reason. I guess I am saying yes, they helped low liberalism to coalesce but not consciously. They are still fundamentally non-politicians who probably feel much more comfortable interacting with their friends and peers.

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"whatever one thinks of Brexit – in 2016, I canvassed against it – this broader campaign aimed to overturn a major democratic vote."

I was in a lonely part of the wilderness through the Brexit period, trying to persuade people that the vote demonstrated a need for radical constitutional reform. From that perspective, I'd say it would have been perfectly possible to honour the 2016 vote without leaving the EU (https://treasonableman.wordpress.com/2019/05/25/a-peoples-vote-neednt-be-all-about-the-eu/).

To begin with I had hopes that people like Jolyon Maugham, and other high profile Remain supporters, would recognise the need for deeper reform but concluded eventually that they were mostly too invested in the established order.

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My stupid phone autocorrected losers to lovers. Losers consent is important, as we now see with Trump's own election tampering nonsense

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These were my circles a few years ago, as a Remain type. What came to trouble me about the Maughams & their outriders (as also happened in the US over Trump) was their implicit withdrawal of lovers consent to be governed.

I think these people are as darkly disturbing as anything on the 'far right' for this reason.

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