Friday, 23 December 2016

Welcome to the Brexit fold, Niall Ferguson - it's where you always belonged

I can't say I was surprised by many of those who supported Remain. Jeremy Clarkson was a bit of a disappointment, simply because everything he'd said about the EU up to that point - plus his rough-and-ready, jeering, laddish, two-fingers style of patriotism - suggested he'd be one of the keenest and mouthiest of Brexiteers. Theresa May surprised me - but I presumed her decision had been made purely in the interests of her political career: ditto Tory minister Sajid Javid. But their defection from the cause was more than made up for by Michael Gove and Boris Johnson's support. The one who really disappointed me (to the extent of making me wonder for at least 30 seconds whether I'd got this whole thing wrong) was the chippy little Glaswegian Harvard historian Niall Ferguson, who, for some odd reason, was keen to keep Cameron and Osborne in power...

I presumed he'd spent too long amidst America's liberal-left academic elite (although it didn't seem to stop him attacking them on a regular basis), and with the master (or slave) of detente, Henry Kissinger, of whom Ferguson is writing a multi-volume biography. I did wonder whether Ferguson - who I worked with a few times and found immensely funny, likeable and intellectually stimulating - had ever regretted his support for the EU, an organisation about which he simply couldn't have been a fan. Well, now he has fully and handsomely repented:

He's right about David Cameron, of course. I realised what a total blister Cameron was when he tried to guilt-trip Oxford University into accepting more Afro-caribbean students. But it wasn't until he returned from Brussels with an insultingly meagre list of piffling EU "concessions" which failed to address any of the nation's concerns - and then desperately and dishonestly tried to sell the "offer" as a hard-fought triumph rather than an abject humiliation - that I began to truly despise him. I suspect I wasn't alone.

Anyway, it's a relief to be once more on the same side of the debate as Professor Ferguson. I suspect he'll sleep better at night for having got that off his chest: confession is good for the soul.


  1. Well, yes... but it does, for me, call into doubt his judgement.

    I admire his honesty in admitting the reason why he backed the remainiacs, but if that is what it takes for him to sacrifice principles, what would be his price for other concessions?

    Overall, I'm saddened. He had become something of a hero.

    1. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

      Merry Christmas, GCooper!

    2. Yes, indeed Merry Christmas, old chap!