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Let's hear it for the nation state

By Graham Young - posted Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Congratulations to Boris Johnson. They've been comparing him to Churchill, and while it might be a little hyperbolic, this is one of the most momentous elections in world history.

One where a victory that seemed unlikely in prospect becomes pre-ordained in retrospect, and where loss could have changed the world significantly.

This UK election was about two things – whether the nation state is the best and primary unit of democratic governance; and welfare capitalism versus retro-socialism, cultural Marxism, and Modern Monetary Theory.


The result looks to be unambiguous, and coupled with Trump's win in the USA three years ago, and Scott Morrison's here, plus the stern rebuke given to Trudeau in Canada, suggests that the Enlightenment, and classical liberalism and intelligent conservatism, are all successfully fighting back.

It also confirms a realignment of political support, at least in the Anglosphere.

On the right, you have a coalition of the free enterprise, individualistic, free-thinking members of the elites, with the common sense working class: small business, clerks, retailers, salesmen and tradesmen.

On the left, the coalition is swathes of the managerial, professional, artistic and academic classes allied to the indigent and supplicant classes.

Or put another way. On one side the coalition is those who do, and on the other those who talk and take.

The primary argument that has won in the UK is that while cooperation between countries is a good thing, and supranational bodies are an important mechanism to achieve that, these bodies should be no more than coordinating mechanisms.


Sovereignty should remain with the demos and governance is something that should be done as close as possible to the people it directly affects, and in most of the world, this is the nation state.

There is certainly no point in drowning-out the voice of 65 million Britains, citizens of one of the most successful nations the world has ever seen, amongst those of 511 million from the EU, many of whom live in countries still finding their feet after years of authoritarian oppression, or looking for a sugar daddy to prop up failed economies.

And the argument was reinforced by the behaviour of the elites.

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This article was first published on The Spectator.

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About the Author

Graham Young is chief editor and the publisher of On Line Opinion. He is executive director of the Australian Institute for Progress, an Australian think tank based in Brisbane, and the publisher of On Line Opinion.

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