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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > December 2017 > Demonising the demos

Demonising the demos

The self-hating English and their foreign friends ignore what’s rotten in the state of Europe

Why do critics of Brexit caricature their opponents, creating a monster that exists essentially in their own imaginations? Presumably a caricature is easier to deal with: metaphorically putting your fingers in your ears. In November’s Prospect, Dutchman Joris Luyendijk, having just returned home from London, wrote a Britain-bashing cover story which went viral online. For him, Brexit is nothing to do with the manifold failings of the European Union, but rather “the logical and overdue outcome of a set of English pathologies.” How else could “a workingclass mother” (a “warm person” to boot) presume to disagree with a “well-to-do mother” over Europe? The dysfunctions of the eurozone? Youth unemployment? Inability to deal with migration? The Catalan crisis? The rise of extremist parties? Fingers in ears: nothing but the ravings of the tabloid press.

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In Prospect’s December issue: Adam Posen, Diane Coyle and Nicolas Véron examine the state of Britain’s economy with Brexit looming and suggest that with a large part of the City looking to move and with productivity remaining low the outlook is firmly negative. Posen suggests that the only thing capable of disciplining the Brexit economy is the reality that things are going to be worse. Coyle suggest that although Brexit will hamper Britain’s productivity, the problem is long-term. Véron argues that more than a tenth of the City’s business will disappear due to Brexit—a significant slice that will be difficult to cover off. Elsewhere in the issue: Steve Bloomfield uncovers what is going on at Dfid, the struggling government department that recently lost its Secretary of State. Nick Cohen looks at the rise of the Strong Man is Eastern Europe as Viktor Orbán clamps down on society and Lizzie Porter reports from Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan, a region plagued by war and political instability.