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2016-10-03 21:25

BrExit: the Ceausescu model

Since we last posted, Britain has voted to leave the EU. Fearing, as ever, the worst we applied for Dutch citizenship at the end of last year, and this time next week we will be a naturalised Dutchman, and thank, let's be perfectly facing of it, holy fuck for that.

Opinions differ on how bad BrExit will be, but at the time of writing Prime Minister Theresa May has resolutely ruled out not being disastrously stupid and stupidly disastrous.

Our own thoughts on just how bad things could get are based on the Romanian model of communism. All the pictures of Cold-War-era Romania are of peasants and geese and agrarianism; what is out-of-shot is that Ceausescu took an industrial society and turned it back into an agrarian, quite deliberately:

The setting for this national tragedy was an economy that was deliberately turned backward, from subsistence into destitution. [...] To pay off his Western creditors, Ceausescu applied unrelenting pressure upon domestic consumption. [...] Petrol usage was cut to a minimum: in 1986 a program of horse-breeding to substitute for motorized vehicles was introduced. Horse-drawn carts became the main means of transport and the harvest was brought in by scythe and sickle. [...] [I]n Romania an economy based on over-investment in unwanted industrial hardware was succesfully [sic] switched into one based on pre-industrial agrarian subsistence.
(Tony Judge, Postwar, p.623)

The current Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom today suggested that

Britain's youth should take up the fruit picking and farm labouring jobs currently done by EU migrants, the Environment Secretary has suggested.

Twenty-first century Britain isn't post-war Romania. But this rat, for one, has never been gladder to have left a sinking ship. (Of course the EU could also implode tomorrow and Germany could personally invade us to slow and painful death and we would then, we concede, feel pretty silly.)

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