Emmanuel Todd on the Brexit
I translated this extensive post-Brexit interview with French demographer and historian Emmanuel Todd published on the website Atlantico.fr on July 3rd especially for my friends and family in the UK. And in loving memory of Chloe and Mike F.
Anne-Marie de Grazia
Atlantico : On June 23, the United Kingdom made the choice of leaving the European Union. Emmanuel Todd, one would imagine you to be very satisfied with this result…
Emmanuel Todd: It goes without saying, but this is not really the problem. I am interested in what is happening as a historian of the French school of the Longue Durée, the one of Fernand Braudel and of my master Emmanuel Le Roy-Ladurie; I try to extract myself from the short-termism of agitated politicians. The Brexit is part of a global phenomenon on which I am working and which touches the whole of the most advanced societies, including the US, Canada, Australia, Japan: divergence. Demographers know that fertility levels are very different, that some populations reproduce themselves and others can’t manage, that some must therefore call on immigration and others don’t; the works of Atkinson and of Piketty show that the speed and the breadth in the rise of inequalities are different.
The anthropology of family structures allows one to understand the origins of these differences and of this generalized divergence. What is presently happening, within the context of globalization, is that not only are national cultures resisting, but the stress and suffering of globalization are driving societies, not to open up more and to converge, but in the contrary, to find within themselves and in their anthropological foundations the strength to adapt and to rebuild themselves. This is what I am observing, way beyond the European context.
Japan is in a priod of re-centring upon itself, people there are dreaming of the Edo period, during which the country was developing autonomously, and unbeknownst to Europe. It's forces of the same order which have allowed the emergence of candidates such as Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump in the United States, and which demand an exit from the "Washington consensus" and from globalized discourse, together with the dream of an American re-foundation.
In Europe, it’s even more interesting because we are a system of old nations. Europe entered this process first because Germany took a head start. The problematics of a return to nationhood were imposed upon Germany by reunification. It was its duty, it had to rebuild its Eastern part. It had something of an advance which lead it, almost by accident, to its situation of pre-eminence on the European continent since around 2010. The second European country which re-centred itself upon a national ideal, after much turmoil, is Russia. The Soviet empire fell apart, Russia went through a period of terrible suffering between 1990 and 2000, but the accession of Putin has finally embodied this return of Russia to a national ideal, re-centred around a neo-gaullist notion of independence. It took some fifteen years for the Russians to find themselves in an economic, technological and military situation such as not to be afraid of the United States any longer. This we have been able to verify, stage by stage, in Georgia, Crimea, then in Syria. And we have arrived at a situation where Western armies wanting to fly over Syria must ask the Russians for their authorization.
This referendum on Brexit, if one follows this logic, is stage number 3: the re-emergence of the United Kingdom as a nation.
And what would be the specificity of the United Kingdom in this dynamic of a return to the nation?
They are not the first, but it is probably the most important stage because they are one of the two leader-countries in globalization. With Margaret Thatcher, they had one year’s advance on the United States in the neo-liberal revolution. They belong to the countries which have first impulsed its logic. An Anglo-American re-shifting towards a national ideal is more important than the emergence of Germany or the stabilization of Russia. Since the XVII century, the world’s economic and political history is propelled by the Anglo-American world. The English nation has two combined and contradictory characteristics; it is the country which has invented political liberty. Then, paradoxically, this national identity has an ethnic base almost as solid the Japanese. Like the Japanese, the English know who they are.
If one is to follow your reasoning of a return to nationhood, after Germany, Russia, and now the United Kingdom, what country will be next?
In order to accept what I am going to say, we must get out of the clichés about England, about these bizarre Englishmen who have double-decker buses, who drive on the left, who have a sense of humour, a respected Queen, etc … All this is true. But before anything, one must see the English as leaders of our modernity, in the Braudelian long-term. The industrial revolution came from England and Scotland, and it transformed Europe economically. The French, German, Russian and other economic revolutions are but consequences of it. But even before the economic transformation, the English have invented our liberal and democratic modernity. The real point of departure is 1688, what the English call the "Glorious Revolution," through which parliamentary monarchy was established. If you read Voltaire’s "Lettres Anglaises" of 1734, you will see his admiration for English modernity, along with some very funny things about the Quakers, or the absence of Newton’s sex-life. In 1789, the dream and the aim of the French revolutionaries is to catch up on England, the model of political modernisation. This is the model, which I accept, of Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson, in their bestseller Why Nations Fail, the more so that they are very nice to France; they stress that the contributions of the French Revolution to the whole continent have been of capital importance, that our Revolution has generalized the inclusion of the people. It remains that it’s England who invented representative government.
In this context, it is not illogical that the first referendum which will really have consequences for the European Union, the historical referendum, took place in the United Kingdom. The referendum is an unusual procedure in England. But the purpose of this referendum, and this is very clear, is that the first motivation of the Brexit voters, according to exit polls, was, before immigration, the reestablishment of the sovereignty of Parliament. For up until Brexit, the British Parliament was no longer sovereign, when the absolute principle of political philosophy for the British is the sovereignty of Parliament.
To conclude: logically, stage number 4, after the waking up of Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom, must be the waking up of France. Following the English is in conformity with our revolutionary tradition.
If one is hearing you right, and following your logic, the suitable axis along which to « change Europe » is no longer the French-German couple, but the Paris-London couple?
Yes. There will be a Europe of nations. But in this Europe of nations, a pacific one, I hope, there will always be the problems of the balance of powers and, of course, Germany will remain for some time the predominant economic power. In the mid-term, the demographic crisis and the migratory adventurism of the Germans lead one to foresee a serious political crisis in this country, and on the Continent – let’s say, in the coming 20 years.
One of the major mistakes of French leaders is not to have understood, not to have been able to anticipate that the good means of a recalibration with Germany was not the Euro, which is destroying us, but the Paris-London axis, which is inescapable in the mid-term, and which will not be a one-night stand, because it will be within the logic of the existing forces and cultures.
French elites are telling a big lie when they pretend to distrust England. It is in reality the only country in Europe in which we trust absolutely and this is why it is the only country with which we can efficiently collaborate on military security. It’s not something technical, it reveals an extremely strong relationship of trust. Let’s go on uncovering the truth. There are only a few tens of thousands of Frenchmen in Berlin, when there are hundreds of thousands of them in London. Just as there are Englishmen in France. There are two twin metropolises in Europe, London and Paris. Demographical dynamics are the same in the two countries, close to two children per woman. The discourse about the opposition between neoliberal and un-egalitarian England and about France being a social state, contains a part of truth, but when one examines these two countries, one can see that they are evolving in parallel, on the oppression of the young and the privileges of the old. All nations are different. But comparative impartiality must bring us to admit that the truly foreign world, with its young so few and far between, its low rents due to the demographic depression, its structural union between the Left and the Right, its social authoritarianism, is Germany, not Britain.
And how will this transition operate towards a Europe of nation-states?
To begin with, on the Continent, unfortunately with an acceleration and a reinforcement of the antidemocratic drift. From now on, with liberal England having left us in order to re-found itself, orders will come even more brutally from Berlin. No more masks. The French ruling – excuse-me, ruled – classes must expect to be publically humiliated. Let’s not forget that with the departure of the British, the United States also are definitely losing control over Germany. Through the Brexit, the Germanosphere is officially gaining its independence. The level of control of the Americans has been considerably weakened by the strategic German "Nein" to the Iraq war. We were made to witness the powerlessness of the United States in the categorical refusal of Germany to obey their economic injunctions, when they were beseeching them to contribute to world economic recovery by increasing their expenditures. The Brexit is the end of the notion of a Western system. All realignments become now possible. It’s the true end of the Cold War. And Putin, through his extremely prudent comments, is showing that he has understood this.
The situation is indeed becoming dangerous, but not for the reasons advanced by the Euroconformists.
It’s true, we are holding on to this security which comes from the fact that nobody wants war, that our populations are old, and still rich, for some time to come. But there are violent elements of national assertion. There is the violence of the take-over of economic control of the continent by Germany. There is the violence of the German immigration policies which follows logically upon its austerity politics of destruction of the economies of the Eurozone, accompanied by this hyper-violent dream Germany has to recuperate for its own economy the qualified young Spaniards, Italians, Portuguese, Greek, and soon the French, reduced to unemployment. There is the violence with which Germany has rejected the United States.
French anti-americanism is a joke compared to the one of Germany. I think that the Germans consider the American victory in World War II as illegitimate because they know that the true victory, the one on the ground, was the Russians’, who furnished 90% of the human effort. The American policy of mistreating Russia after the collapse of the Soviet block was an enormous strategic mistake. The Americans, giddy with their success in the Cold War, did not realize that they were destabilizing Germany. The Americans have humiliated the true victors over Germany, the Russians, which in a way was tantamount to saying that World War II hadn’t even occurred. If no more victors, then no more vanquished. Forthwith, Germany was liberated from its past. The American anti-Russian strategy has destroyed the American grip on Germany. On their own side, the French, instead of acting as a counterweight to Germany by buddying up with the British, have spent their time proclaiming how wonderful Germany is. Their voluntary servitude has contributed to re-nationalizing Germany.
For Jean Claude Juncker, "the Brexit is not a friendly divorce", and for François Hollande "If the United Kingdom wants to remain in the single market, it will have to pay the price for it in every meaning of the word, including in freedom of movement, " while indicating that the situation « can serve as an experience and a lesson. » How do you interpret such a position, which can be qualified as a “hard line” regarding the UK?
We no longer have ruling classes, as I said, we have ruled classes. What Hollande and Juncker are saying is no longer of any interest to me. What you are evoking here is a comedy of appearances as if "Europe" still existed. What’s existing is "Europa", meaning, German Europe. The only important thing that’s happened, since the results of the referendum, is that we have seen, in a cascade, the foreign ministers, Hollande and Renzi rush to Berlin to take their orders. That’s a revelation. Hollande’s harshness will have no practical effect. It’s Germany who will decide. We must remark, though, on the part of our President, nay, of our representative in Berlin, one more treason of our national interest: France has a 10% unemployment rate, it has a trade deficit with all the countries in Europe except the UK, where its financial and industrial investments are considerable, and he wants to throw us into a conflict. In the case of an economic conflict with the UK, because of the intensity of our links with our sister across the Channel, France is the country which has most to lose. He has no conscience of the national interest in this matter.
To try to take on Britain would be as unreasonable as it was to bring Russia to bend. Britain is an island, but it is not isolated. The anglosphere comprises the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK, and its global population is already superior to the one of Europe between Brest and Warsaw.
That’s why I am interested in Germany. What will it do?
Germany is a country which can function in two psycho-political modes. A reasonable mode, which I would call Bismarckian, where you try to be buddies with as many people as possible in order to fasten your hold over your space of domination. Bismarck was buddies with Great Britain, Russia, Austria-Hungary and Italy in order to isolate France which had been vanquished in 1870 and which was digesting badly the loss of Alsace-Lorraine. His aim was to stabilize the reunified German Empire. And then there is the Wilhelminian mode, where one gets carried away and tries to make as many enemies as possible in order to lose all that one has acquired: Wilhelm II fell out with Russia and with Great Britain, creating for France a system of alliances. Therefore, we have a maniacal German mode and a quiet German mode. Merkel is rather in the quiet, Bismarckian mode, except when she called on immigration and started to destabilize the continent. With her call on Syrian, Iraqi and Afghan refugees, she has entered the maniacal, Wilhelminian mode.
The quiet and reasonable Bismarckian mode would be, for Germany, to accept the Brexit without much ado, and to take advantage of it to finalize its control over the continent. It is the most free-trading country in the world in a Europe which has pulled down all its customs barriers. Why would it saddle itself with a trade war?
The situation is exactly the opposite of what the anglophobic Europeists, or rather, let’s dare say it, the neo-petainists are telling us. They gargle with the idea that the exit of the UK will reinforce the role of France in regard to Germany. That’s evidently false. The horrible truth is that there was in Europe a balance of power between the Germans, the dominant power, and then the British and the French. The whole game of the Germans was to play out the opposition between the French and the British in order to maintain the balance which insured their power of global control. Now they are rid of the British power, which was liberal in political terms, and which could only put the brake to all the authoritarian temptations already powerful in Germany and on the Continent. Now that the French are no longer protected by the British, they find themselves in a totally unequal tête-à-tête with Germany and we are going to move from the voluntary servitude into which our elites have put us to a servitude that’s less and less voluntary. The orders from Berlin risk becoming less and less polite, the more so that Germany, lacking a strategy, has a tactic: it seems to have immediately replaced the British by the Italians in order to weaken France. It brings Renzi into the game so as to create again an internal competition which will again weaken France.
I am optimistic over the long run. About the model of a re-emergence of nations I have no doubt and I think that the final outcome of these problems will be a peaceful return to a Europe of nations. Because of the age structures of our populations, because the main power on the continent, Germany, hardly has any army and is not a nuclear power, because the Europeans remain a peaceful and civilized people. A war is unimaginable. But in the transitory phase, the position of France will be quite a tough one. We are going to lose our status of being Germany’s pet, the whimsical child to whom all deficits are permitted. On our way to 15% unemployment? The British are leaving because they don’t like the Brussels bureaucracy, of course, but most of all because they have freedom screwed to their body. They perceive the Eurozone not only as an economic catastrophe, as a zone of austerity and stagnation – like everybody else, it must be said – but also as the locus of an authoritarian, antidemocratic drift. And it goes without saying, the retreat of Britain away from the central European space is a harbinger, in the short term, of an increase in the autoritarian drift of this "Europa".
For a geopoliticist, a configuration with two big free nations at either extremity of the continent, Russia and the UK, with France following Germany, with Italy at the verge of defection and the Americans in no hurry to intervene, it all looks like a pacific, economic and somewhat senile version of the Europe of 1941.
You are mentioning the immigration problem which was central in the Brexit vote. Is this not a sign that this vote happened through other factors than a return to political freedom?
According to exit polls, the first motivation of the British is to bring back to London the power of decision: it’s a democratic demand. The second motivation is indeed the question of immigration. But it is not “the same immigration” as ours, it’s about the Poles. The Community rules give to Europeans the right to circulate freely on the continent. It’s a question on which we will have to talk clearly. In this context, I am particularly happy to have had myself blown to smithereens last year by the politico-mediatic class in France for having defended the idea that our Muslim compatriots had a right to peace, in my book Qui est Charlie?
That gives me some leave to talk about immigration in a balanced way, without being treated as a lepenist. I am a reasonable immigrationist: immigration is a good thing, the assimilation of immigrants is a good thing, but people must be given time, and we must admit that diabolizing Islam is not a good solution. For having defended this simply human concept, I have lost half of my friends and I have been called a bad Frenchman by our Prime Minister, Manuel Valls. But I can, I must now say that unbridled immigrationism, which is in the process of becoming a European ideology, which puts the rights of strangers on the move – be they Polish or from the Mideast – above those of the nationals, and therefore the populations into a state of insecurity is, under the appearance of good feelings, an anti-humanism. In the rights of man, in the very foundations of democracy which, in order to be functional, can only be national, there is, implicitly, a right to territorial security, a right to a regulation of immigration. In denying this right, we are in fact organizing the plunge of the Western world into barbary. It is irresponsible to say that wanting to regulate immigration is being xenophobic. Here, too, the British are right.
But here we find ourselves in a frontal shock with a structurally Wilhelminian, adventurist Germany, the destabilizer of the continent. The fundamental preoccupation of Germany – you must read its press, we can all do it thanks to Google Translate – is to attract immigrants in extraordinary proportions, when the country has already not managed to correctly assimilate its Turkish population. The hole gaping at the bottom of its pyramid of ages is its obsession. For the Germans, the freedom of movement of people in Europe and beyond is essential, because it is indispensible to their immigrationist policies. It wants to absorb, I have said so already, the qualified young reduced to unemployment in the Eurozone. It wants, beyond what is anthropologically reasonable, absorb the populations of the Middle-East which have a rate of marriage between cousins of 35%. Migratory disorder is Germany’s project.
I would like to avoid all misunderstandings. I am not a partisan of radical conflicts, it’s exactly the opposite. For me, putting these contradictions in evidence is an aid to taking conscience, in order to avoid the maturation of grave conflicts, by bringing into agreement the French, the British, the Germans, the Italians, the Spaniards and the Swedes without forgetting all the others, on reasonable perspectives of immigration, on the peaceful coexistence of nations, on the defence of democracy. Especially, it is not enough to answer that “Europe is democracy” by essence. Let’s be serious: without the British, Europe is already no longer the place of democracy. Look at the 1930s: Salazar, Franco, Mussolini, Hitler, and even in Eastern Europe, with the exception of Czechoslovakia, dictatorships and more dictatorships. Denial leads to the brutal crash into reality. If problems are not treated, for sure there will be a return of conflicts.
…Since the vote in favor of Brexit, the chorus of a UK being seized with regret seems to be settling down in public opinion. How do you interpret this impression ?
I think that some elements are real. I follow what happens over there rather closely. People often suspect me of partiality because I am an anglophile, trained to doing research at Cambridge University. I proudly confess that it’s even worse than that. My elder son also went to Cambridge, he was better than me and they have kept him. He lives in London and has taken on the British nationality, and I have the joy of having now two British grandsons. But I would still prefer to be considered first of all a Frenchman who knows England a little bit better than François Hollande and who is able to recognize a Scottish accent. (…)
Evidently the Brexit has opened a cultural, political, social and ideological crisis in Britain. It is true that the upper classes and the establishment have massively voted "Remain". The "A" and "B" categories of the socio-professional nomenclature, equivalent to our « cadres » and superior intellectual professions, plus the managers, have voted "Remain". The "Leave" vote is becoming majoritarian in the « lower middle classes, » categorie C1, our intermediary categories, 30% of the electoral body.
The Cambridge constituency must have voted 72% for "Remain". The result of the vote has been a shock for the majority of the British upper classes. Class differences, which express themselves through accents, are much stronger in England than in France. There exists, in these times of katzenjammer, in some circles, a quite extraordinary anti-popular rage. The Labour Party has entered a crisis. But it is true, also, and this is a big difference with France, that one part of the British elite, in the Conservative Party, to the right, therefore, has been able to make itself the leader of popular opposition. This is extremely interesting but here, I must remain scholarly and admit that I do not understand all the elements of what’s going on.
It remains that they have found Boris Johnson, a quite astonishing man, indisputably a member of the top of the British upper classes, through his parentage as well as through his studies. The British have what’s needed, a fraction of the highest elite to manage the national re-emergence. With the added mystery that now, democratic debate is taking place within the fold of the Conservative Party, with a Left being side-lined. But here, we are finding our own anti-popular and anti-national Socialist Party again… For lack of understanding, we must admit « empirically » - that’s a word that’s hardly French – that this democratic and national surge is taking place at the right of the official political chess-board. To our misfortune, we do not have, in France, the equivalent of Boris Johnson or of Michael Gove, but maybe there is a seat to be taken at the right. Still, it’s not impossible that nobody will dare to. To the left, it’s dead, I don’t believe one bit that Mélenchon is capable of anything. The Left is paralized by some kind of a naïve, abstract, archaic vision of internationalism and universalism, and I am saying this being myself left of centre.
If the Brexit is winning with nearly 52% of the votes, UKIP clocked in at 12.6% at the last general elections in 2015. An assessment which can also be made about France, indicating a broad gap between the “European” mistrust of the voters and the score of the parties which carry this political offer. What does this paradox signify, between a “radical” majority and the weakness of its representatives?
The problem is that the British have always had their Winston Churchill or their Boris Johnson. It’s not UKIP who won, there is still no question, in Britain, to have Farage take over the reins of government. The British government must remain within the fold of an absolutely traditional part of the establishment. There’s a ruling class which manages to renew itself… I envy them.
The true tragedy in France is that we do not see emerging, at the heart of the establishment, this jolt of dignity which would push a minority portion of the elites to take in charge the interests of the population. I have always been an antipopulist, I have always campaigned for a return of the French elites to reason. But why on earth are our elites so uniformly resigned? Yet we have our Grandes Ecoles, which insure a regular supply of arrogant, even contemptuous elites. I am afraid that these good, disciplined pupils are simply remaining petits-bourgeois who want to be distinguished from the people: the notion of aristocratic freedom, dear to Montesquieu, remains inaccessible to them. But there is also history, and its traumas.
The fundamental difference between France and England is not in their relationship to Europe, an abstract and outdated concept, but in their relationship to Germany. To obey Germany is not Britain’s cup of tea; in France, it’s more complicated.
There is a lie which the people of the French mediatico-political circles are telling to themselves and which must be uncovered. They speak of the French-German couple, of French-German friendship etc. But, personally, I know only one Frenchman who is truly friendly towards Germany, me. In the book I am writing now, I stress the importance of the Reformation and of Luther in the mass literacy in Europe. I am sensitive to the tragic grandeur of German history. I would go so far as to speak of empathy vis-à-vis Germany on my part. But the true feeling of the French elites towards Germany is fear. (…) French elites are just afraid of Germany. There used to be a joke going the rounds in Brussels : « What’s Europe ? Europe is the association of all the people who are afraid of Germany… and this definition includes the Germans themselves. » The true problem in Europe now, is that the Germans are no longer afraid of Germany, because of American errors and of France’s cowardice.
Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, London: the vote is provoking apparent ruptures within the UK. Aren’t you afraid at the thought of this dislocation?
Let’s go back to this notion of heavy historic tendencies. The historical truth is that it was the belonging of the UK to Europe which set in motion this process of disintegration. Everywhere, belonging to the EU has induced an emergence of the regions and phenomena of territorial distorsions. Belonging to the EU has separated London from its English hinterland, it has drawn away London from the Scots. The same thing in France, Spain, Italy. So, of course, what we are seeing today is the ultimate point of the centrifugal drift in the UK. But with Scotland, it will suffice for London to negotiate well some compensations and to play the clock. A new reality will dawn on the Scots. Scotland has 5.4 million inhabitants, but 800,000 people living in England were born in Scotland. The forces of dislocation of the European Union will subside, and, more than anything, the Scots will be confronted with the reality of the new Europe announcing itself. It’s not a matter of leaving the UK to enter into Europe. The choice will be: must we stop obeying London to go obey Berlin? I have enormous difficulties imagining the Scots choosing Berlin. Scotland too is a very great nation. I recommend the book by Arthur Herman, How the Scots invented the Modern World. So, as for Scotland, I would tell you, in Scottish "dinna fash yersel" ("don’t worry", from the French "fâcher").
I am not saying that it’s going to be easy for the British, there will be work to do in order to resolve tons of problems, 10 years at least to bring back order into all this, maybe even a whole generation. It took us longer to produce the current European disaster. The true, most anguishing problems will be for Eire, not for Northern Ireland. Like Denmark, the republic of Ireland entered the common market only in order to follow the UK. It is going to be caught in an untenable economic situation if the Continentals put themselves into a posture of conflict.
There would also be an interesting reflection to carry out on the interest for Scandinavia to remain in the European Union after the departure of the British. The Scandinavian middle classes speak english exceptionally well, they are practically bilingual. Scandinavia has been disorganized by the European construction: the Norwegians turned it down, the Finns are in the Eurozone, the Swedes are not and are tired of all this Brussels chatter. The Danes are close to the British in their liberal temperament. An exit from Europe for all of them would allow to reconstitute Scandinavia. One can imagine a reconstruction of the Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, a reconstruction of Scandinavia. Then, think of these 27 mired in chit-chat, the only purpose of which is to hide the German centralization of power…
In the electoral geography of Brexit, what struck me was not so much the "Remain" vote of Scotland or London, which we expected, but the abolition of the North-South cleavage which seemed to be destroying England. England has voted "Leave" homogeneously in the Conservative regions of the South and in the Labour regions of the North. A little as if the referendum had already started to reunify British society.
On their side, several defenders of the Brexit, such as Nigel Farage, have admitted to exaggerations about the possibilities offered by an exit from the European Union. Is there not a danger in seeing the British population realizing that the Brexit will not bring an answer to the problematics which were developed during the campaign?
The idea that the Brexit is going to be easy is absurd. The European construction, which was very positive for a while, has entered into a phase of the destructuring of societies, of increasing difficulties for several decades, now with an added element of bureaucratic folly. It’s going to be a lot of work, therefore. It’s typically the kind of domain where one must distinguish the short, the mid- and the long term. The United Kingdom is going to have a heap of problems of solve but taking into account what I said before, about the general dynamic of separation of nations, in my opinion, we will soon no longer have time to pay it any attention, given the problems expecting Europe: reconstruction on one side of the Channel, deconstruction on the Continent. That’s the program for the years to come. Journalists will not be bored. In great historic challenges, the Brits always need a little while to get going, but after that, they deliver. On the other hand, we can count on the belated Europeists to cover themselves in ridicule.
If we remain with the hypothesis that the Brexit will go to its end, which is the most probable, it is perfectly normal that there should be a transition. But what has struck me most these past days, was not the disorder, but the qualities of national loyalty and of resistance to shock which are in the very being of the British. The first, instinctive post-Brexit performance of David Cameron has been admirable. He will assure the period of transition, before leaving the reins to his successor who will have to operate the Brexit. He is putting into place an ideal calendar. If this type of attitude confirms itself in the Conservative Party, and in the whole nation, we can be confident in the capacity of the UK to surmount this trial. What’s urgent, for the Tories, is the pacification of the party before embarking on the adventure of Brexit. One must not be content to just see the war of succession and the treasons within the Conservative Party. Johnson’s refusal to seek the leadership of the party is the counterpart of Cameron’s elegance. But suddenly, I am submerged by my Frenchness, I think of our President Hollande again and I feel like crying… France too is a great Nation. We deserve so much better!
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