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Brexit: The Movie

I am watching Brexit: The Movie. I am only about half an hour in and I am learning a lot. I did not realise how little power the European Parliament had or how many different councils and presidents there were. The tone is measured and reasonable, rather than polemical and raving, which makes it useful and easy to share widely. I understand that it focuses on economic issues, which might even change the minds of those who think anti-EU sentiment is confined to xenophobics. The production standards are very high, too.

I wonder if it will get any publicity in the mainstream press.

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39 comments to Brexit: The Movie

  • Paul Marks

    Good post and good film.

    And good cause.

  • Eric Tavenner

    I wonder if it will get any publicity in the mainstream press.

    I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for any.

  • I see Eric Tavenner already posted pretty much what I was going to say.

  • Sam Duncan

    “I did not realise how little power the European Parliament had or how many different councils and presidents there were.”

    I did. But it’s good to see it all presented so well. Good, also, to see the point made (although perhaps not forcefully enough) that this is what the EU is all about. There can be no “reform”, because as far as anyone inside is concerned there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s working exactly as it was designed to. Denying the people of Europe any power over their government isn’t a bug; it’s a feature. Where the United States stands for the principle that the people control their government, it’s no exaggeration to say that the European Union was concieved on the principle that they can’t be trusted to.

    And if you think it is, then you simply haven’t studied its origins and history closely enough. I’ve said it before: when I was young, I was a huge fan of the European Project. Nobody was more Europhile than me. I was one of those “My country, Europe” types. So much so that I decided to learn how the institutions worked. What I discovered gave me the creeps.

    For me, this isn’t about British nationalism or a xenophobic horror of being governed by foreigners. And it shouldn’t be for anyone else. It’s about extricating ourselves from a system of government that is actively and deliberately anti-democratic.

  • Mr Ecks

    “For me, this isn’t about British nationalism or a xenophobic horror of being governed by foreigners. And it shouldn’t be for anyone else. It’s about extricating ourselves from a system of government that is actively and deliberately anti-democratic”

    So if it was totally “democratic” you would be happy with the will of a majority of Europeans being forced on us would you?

    From an crew that was sold to the British people as a trade deal and NOT a superstate?

    I want freedom. They can stuff democracy–even if they had any.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Excellent film, Natalie, thanks very much!

    I’ve been planning to vote Brexit since before there was “Brexit.” The movie has not changed my mind. :>)

    The entire movie is pertinent to our various Situations here, as well. Americans should watch it, and stiffen our spines.

  • PeterT

    eureferendum.com (.com NOT gov.uk) also have a few videos up. Its a film of a presentation but it’s presented in bitesize chunks. You have to put up with some vitriol against Vote Leave (which I have to agree is justified to an extent – it should not be that hard to come up with a proposed plan in the event of a Leave win)

  • Rob Fisher (Surrey)

    The Vice review is quite unintentionally funny: http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/brexit-the-movie-review-sam-kriss-martin-durkin

    Between them were the potato-headed men with their scabbed, port-stained faces and their leathery wives, draped generously in tan cloth and ancestral privilege. “My word”, one exclaimed after a jostling collision. “I can’t have seen you since Balliol.” Another chance encounter was more familiar. “I saw you in the Lords yesterday”, said one potato to another. “There should be a special entrance here for peers of the realm.” Not that it would have been any less crowded. A little further off, another peer of the realm, the 12th Baron Monson, was touting a spare ticket for £20. This is the face of our new social insurgency. Brexit is the upper classes in revolt.

  • The last toryboy

    The comments are even funnier. Didn’t go down very well!

  • Rob Fisher (Surrey)

    That’s not me in the top comment, btw.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Well, I for one agree with the commenters. (Though I missed the opening, as my swimsuit was in the laundry that night.)

    It’s true that the movie’s a polemic, but there’s nothing wrong with that as long as the facts are correct, which I suppose they mostly are. (Few books or movies get all the facts right, though you should hear me screech if the Other Side makes a mistake. When we do it, I just whimper piteously.)

    I thought VICE was supposed to be the new Last Word in honest, on-the-spot reporting. I must say it’s struck me as toeing the usual librul/lefty party line the last several times I’ve looked.

  • I thought VICE was supposed to be the new Last Word in honest, on-the-spot reporting. I must say it’s struck me as toeing the usual librul/lefty party line the last several times I’ve looked.

    They had some great coverage in Ukraine and Kurdistan, but it was a flash in the pan… they have descended into being a sort of foetid sump for Guardianesque excretions even too pustulous for the Guardian, and that’s saying something.

  • Derek Buxton

    PeterT has got it correct, EUReferendum.com has the full story including how we were conned into it in the first place. It also contains the details of how Heath was talked into giving up our fishing grounds at the request of France.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Excellent movie! “our” side should get in the face of the other side and scream: this is our argument, what’s the best 70 minutes long argument that you can make??

    It’s good that the movie focuses on ever-increasing regulation, and lack of any check on its increase: it does not make extravagant claims, e.g. that the Greeks could solve their problems by leaving the eurozone and printing money.
    Also good to hear praise for Ludwig Erhard, who deserves it.
    It was also interesting for me to listen to some people whose columns/blogs i have read, but had never heard before.

    There are some minor flaws, e.g. it is not enough to leave the EU to become as free as Switzerland: it is also necessary, at a minimum, to repeal the legislation and regulation imposed by the EU, and one might wonder whether the current British political class is up to the task. Still, it’s quite a compelling case.

  • Rob Fisher (Surrey)

    I still quite like Vice. They are hit and miss. They have the most balanced and informative version of the rat meat in burgers story, for instance. They’re the only ones properly reporting about the kid who found the Mayan city. And these photos of children in Moldova are nice (but check the comment for the strange Romanian who lives in London and thinks poor Moldovan children are better off than Western ones with their iPads — very odd considering I saw distinctly non-mechanised farming on a recent trip in Romania).

  • Sam Duncan

    “So if it was totally “democratic” you would be happy with the will of a majority of Europeans being forced on us would you?”

    The young me would have been. Now, I admit, I’m not so sure, although more because I’ve come to be a great deal less happy with the will of a majority of anyone being imposed on me, rather than “them” not being “us”.

    And that, I’d contend, is “democratic” in the sense that it’s about people ruling themselves, running their own lives. More so than the electoral majoritarianism that politicians are pleased to call “democracy”. The EU isn’t simply opposed to the latter; its guiding principle is that people can’t be trusted to rule themselves in any sense.

    So what’s on offer here is either a pan-European system of government that’s designed to ignore the wishes of the people or a British one that, while flawed – as all “democracies” are – in responding to them, isn’t.

  • Rob Fisher (Surrey)

    “one might wonder whether the current British political class is up to the task” — I too worry about this. But one step at a time, I suppose. And I certainly have some small influence over MPs, unlike mysterious EU officials.

  • Alisa

    In my experience, Vice are very good on what one might call Third World reporting. When it comes to domestic politics, they are boilerplate leftists.

  • Alisa

    Quite so, Sam. When taken literally, the word democracy contains no direct implication of elections, majorities, or any other political mechanisms – although it certainly does not rule them out either.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Rob: that the UK will not become Switzerland by leaving the EU, is no reason to stay in; and i did not say that it is. My point was simply that people who take the movie at face value, might end up sorely disappointed after Brexit.

  • Rob Fisher (Surrey)

    Was not disagreeing, SG 🙂 I expect to be disappointed but in a better position to Do Something About It.

  • llamas

    Good movie, a well-made case, should have the widest possible distribution.

    However, I note from the UK media that the ‘remain’ forces are successfully shaping the debate, and the public are being focused on ever-more trivial reasons to ‘stay’, while the good reasons for leaving are completely ignored. The latest I see are dark murmurings that the EU is the only reason that there has been no European war since WW2.

    After 40 years of the EU in its various guises, I wonder whether the statist rot has not gone so far in the UK that it cannot be reversed. The Swiss are successful outside the EU because they saw it for what it was and decided not to join in the first place. But the UK has been infiltrated to such a huge extent by EU ways and EU thinking that it may not be possible to undo the damage. Thoughts from inside the UK, please?

    llater,

    llamas

  • Very good movie, well produced and focussing on the correct issues, primarily governance and trade.

    Well done to those involved.

  • Thoughts from inside the UK, please?

    We’ll know after the vote.

  • Laird

    Excellent movie; very professionally made. As good as any documentary I’ve ever seen. What sort of distribution is it getting?

    It seems to me that Brexit is the modern equivalent of the Magna Carta, forcing the relinquishment of power from a corrupt monarch (in this case, an imperious and unaccountable foreign bureaucracy). It’s fitting that you’ll be voting on it almost to the day of the 801st anniversary of the Great Writ. A pity they didn’t schedule the referendum a week earlier.

  • Mark

    I’m just watching this now and I’m confused by a small point. In comparing Switzerland to Britain we get the comparison that average wages in Switzerland are £67,025 but only £38,334 in Britain. Where on earth did they get that number from? Google tells me it’s £26,500 according to 2014 figures but surely £12,000 average increase in 2 years is insane, so did someone just pull that figure out of their arse or is the £38,000 referring to something else? It’s at 54:33 in the video for reference. Other than that nitpick it’s a good watch

  • Snorri Godhi

    No problem, Rob!
    BTW I forgot to mention another good thing about the movie: it makes a strong, unapologetic case for free trade. Somebody should make sure that Trump watches it; and if anybody tries to taint the anti-EU camp by association to Trump, tie them to a chair and make them watch this movie!

  • Laird

    Agreed, Snorri.

  • One thing I ask people who oppose Brexit is “are you glad the UK did not adopt the Euro?”

    I would say 90% of people I put that to say “yes”

    I then point out that the majority of prominent opponent of Brexit, including large companies and institutions warning of economic disaster if Brexit happens, favoured the UK joining the Euro.

    I have actually changed a few minds with that.

  • UK GDP per capita according to US gov figures is $41,200 (2015 est.) using PPP, or about £28,700 but GDP figures are always fairly ‘finger in the wind’.

  • Kevin B

    “it makes a strong, unapologetic case for free trade.”

    I think it makes a strong, unapologetic case that free trade is trade between individuals and not between states.

    It makes the case that ‘free trade agreements’ are not free and that trade works much better if the state is not involved.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Somebody pointed out that our “free trade” agreements, such as NAFTA and TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) are no such thing: They don’t represent free trade, but managed trade.

  • gongcult

    Yup! And to Julie: TPP seems to have even less transparency!

  • Snorri Godhi

    It makes the case that ‘free trade agreements’ are not free and that trade works much better if the state is not involved.

    Actually, no, it doesn’t; and please note that i am talking about the movie, not my own opinion.
    First, there is the segment starting at about 46:25, praising the WTO for forcing the EU to remove tariffs and quotas; and this i find easy to believe.
    Then there is the segment starting at about 1:02:05, with the narrator saying that “you don’t need a trade deal to trade; and yet, they’re still useful!”. Left unexplained is, why they are useful. Later on, he says that “if you want to avoid trade deals, joining the EU is probably the best thing that you can do.”

  • Stonyground

    I was already aware of much of the content of the movie, the expensive cumbersome bureaucracy, the mountains of pointless rules, the total lack of functioning democracy etc. I had forgotten about the food mountains. As the campaigning has got underway I have been somewhat frustrated by the lack of any references to these matters thinking, come on guys you have a brilliant case, why aren’t you making it? This film has gone some way to addressing that question. All we need now is for enough people to see it.

  • Alisa

    I looked up the film director and narrator, Martin Durkin, and found him to be a curious character:

    Closely connected with the defunct Revolutionary Communist Party, a number of his documentaries have caused controversies, most notably those critical of environmentalism. He has been described as “the scourge of the greens” and “one of the environmentalists’ favourite hate figures”.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Thank you, Alisa. Now i know that i already watched another documentary by Mr Durkin: The Great Global Warming Swindle.

  • jdm

    I haven’t seen anyone (anyone with some knowledge about it anyway) mention the part of film that discusses how the UK was basically doing to itself in the 40s through 70s what the EU is doing to it now. Aren’t those types of people still around in the UK? I mean, perhaps not dominant in the financial/economic fields, but certainly in the social fields (I still cannot fathom Rotherham et al)?

    It seems to me that the UK, if it exits the EU, will just replace one group of corrupt, crony capitalists with another. Switzerland works well because it’s always worked well (always is a bit of an exaggeration).

    Also, no one seems to mention that the EU is (in)famous for holding elections until the voters vote as expected.

  • […] if Brexit the Movie needed a counter, news reaches us of what appears to be a co-ordinated campaign amongst the […]