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Brexit: A cultural morphology

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WASHINGTON - Generations of inadequate school history teachers, the BBC’s drama department, the royal family and the silly songs that British children are forced to sing have all come together in creating Theresa May’s Brexit mess.

The Brexit disaster is only explicable by diving into that British culture that promotes the uniqueness and superiority of my fellow British citizens.

Half a century ago, Edward Heath, then the prime minister, fought desperately to change that narrative and demonstrate that we were indeed a “European nation.”

Heath managed to convince then-French President Georges Pompidou to turn back the famous “non” from his predecessor, Charles de Gaulle, and allow the United Kingdom to join what was then simply called the Common Market.

But Heath failed to deliver on the other half of the equation — fully convincing the British people at large.

Never mind the fox hunting/grouse shooting country set that has been ever present in the Conservative Party. It opposes May today just as adamantly as it opposed the very idea of Heath being ready to share power with “Continentals” in his day.

I grew up in grubby London schools where we were constantly informed that our “Great” Britain had not been invaded for 1,000 years. Our island’s story was glorious in every respect.

Our knowledge, we were told, need not reach beyond the borders of what was once the empire, where we ruled supreme. We learned about the Greeks and Romans, of course, as they influenced our kingdom, but never a word was uttered about the great civilizations of Asia and Latin America.

The narrative of British superiority was compounded from one generation to the next by a constant stream of television dramas hailing, for starters, the glories of British royalty.

They went on to the harmonious shows detailing the relationships........

© The Japan Times