Robert Harris’s logic — it probably works when he’s preaching to the choir

Via Sean Thomas’s Twitter page, I saw that novelist Robert Harris has tweeted this:

Just came across this reference to Lord Carrington in Antony Beevor’s excellent “Arnhem”. Carrington won the MC and like many of his generation was strongly pro-EU. Contrast his character & life experience with that of Boris Johnson and you realise how low we have sunk

Read this tweet and realise how low we have sunk. Harris went to Selwyn College at Cambridge. Sure he studied English Literature rather than anything that dealt in serious reasoning, but has his brain really gone so bad that he thinks this passes as logic? Or does he just think he can get away with it as he’s tweeting to the left?

Let’s start with the selective examples. Did Tony Blair serve? Andrew Adonis? A. C. Grayling? As Sean Thomas replied, “Some generations were obliged to fight. You and me were just lucky.” Hardly anyone on both sides of the Brexit argument has served in the military, so picking out some convenient examples like Boris Johnson proves nothing. Would his Selwyn tutor have let him get away with that?

(There are in fact a few ex-soldiers in politics these days, although not many at the top. I agree that there are too many career politicians, but he appears to be unaware of the existence of many of these ex-soldiers.)

And how many World War II soldiers were anti-EU? How does one soldier prove anything? If we had plucked out a war hero who was anti-EU Harris’s Cambridge training would have come to the fore and he would have quickly informed us that this proves nothing.

And it’s all very well to say “Many of his generation were pro-EU”, but is this true? What evidence is there of it? I thought that the Remainers were bitterly complaining that the Brexit vote was due to the older generation? Or were they pro-EU in their youth, but then they went off it as they wised up?

Harris also appears to be unaware that Carrington later went sour on the EU:

“I thought we were joining a common market. It did not occur to me that the Europeans would interfere in our affairs….

“What worries me about the Union is that so many rules and regulations come out of Brussels that are not, broadly speaking, anything to do with the Common Market. They want to standardise everything, and that is not very useful.”

And Lord Carrington believes that the EU’s overbearing bureaucracy lies at the heart of the growing disillusionment many British people feel for the organisation.

“The average person is not anti-Europe but they are against over-regulation. You should be left to run your own affairs unless it affects the Common Market. The frustration with lots of people with the European Union is that they feel their lives are being made more difficult by the EU. Put simply, Brussels sticks in their throats.”

Like many people of his generation, Carrington was pro-EU in the sense of being in favour of joining a trading bloc. But he wasn’t at all keen on joining anything that resembled the modern EU. I don’t suppose Harris will be telling his readers that.

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