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Thursday, 17 November 2016

Provincials

Let us welcome foreign influence which is cosmopolitan; but not Norwegian, for that is provincial, and we have plenty of the same kind ourselves.

August Strindberg - The Growth of a Soul (1913)

Alternatively we might adapt Strindberg's words and say.

Let us welcome foreign influence which is cosmopolitan; but not from the EU, for that is provincial, and we have plenty of the same kind ourselves.

To my mind this is one Brexit argument which could have been made during the recent EU referendum debate but wasn’t. Instead the Leave camp was successfully painted as lacking cosmopolitan sophistication and derided as narrow-minded and inward-looking. In a word – provincial.

Yet the Remain camp always seemed provincial to me and still does. The EU is not chic, worldly or cosmopolitan but tired, elitist, and corrupt. A haven for spiteful political poseurs and third-rate bureaucrats. A holiday destination for those who prefer familiar surroundings and faded glories. Irredeemably provincial in a world which is moving on.


Second thoughts.

Is it worse than that? Is the entire world becoming provincial?

3 comments:

Demetrius said...

Essentially, the provincials did the work and the grind etc. and paid the taxes and created the profits. The cosmopolitans spent them.

Roger said...

'The EU is not chic, worldly or cosmopolitan but tired, elitist, and corrupt. A haven for spiteful political poseurs and third-rate bureaucrats. A holiday destination for those who prefer familiar surroundings and faded glories'.

I more or less agree with that - and voted Remain because the last point you made is the most important, the entire world is becoming provincial. Or at least economically flattened, the same rules and same machinery everywhere. Rowing against the tide whilst screaming and stamping feet does not look a sane way to go. Shades of Violet Elizabeth Bott.

Politicians everywhere can see their real power diminished and that all government offices are, as you say, 'A haven for spiteful political poseurs and third-rate bureaucrats. A holiday destination for those who prefer familiar surroundings and faded glories'. Far better IMHO that they play familiar games among their own kind, they make fewer mistakes that way and they don't feel obliged to annoy us so much.

A K Haart said...

Demetrius - and don't really want to invest in the provinces or the provincials. It will not end well.

Roger - the trouble is they leave the annoyances to mad bureaucrats bonkers activists and single issue obsessives. There are many people out there who are convinced that they know how you and I should live our lives and are prepared to devote their lives to achieving their fantasies. Unfortunately some are rich and/or powerful.