Fintan O’Toole: Bamboozled Britain dishes out Brexit blame
London strategises gormlessness to avoid taking responsibility for its actions
Performative victimhood has been at the heart of Brexit. File photograph: Andy Rain/EPA
If Brexit is so wonderful, why does anyone have to be blamed for its consequences? Because performative victimhood has always been at its heart. One thing has never, ever, been in doubt: it would all be someone else’s fault. The very things that Britain demanded and negotiated would be reconfigured as the perverse malignity of foreigners – the Irish, the French, the EU in general.
In May 2013, a British newspaper columnist wrote that “If we left the EU . . . we would have to recognise that most of our problems are not caused by ‘Bwussels’ (sic), but by chronic British short-termism . . . a culture of easy gratification and underinvestment in both human and physical capital and infrastructure.”