When I met the Dutch politician Geert Wilders years ago, he was set on ‘Nexit’. Now he too would rather stay in the EU

Exports are performing badly, pace the fantasy world of the Daily Express; supply lines for imports once regarded as routine are disrupted or discontinued altogether; staff shortages owing to new restrictions on travel and employment of our fellow Europeans are hurting the hospitality trade in what we used to boast about as our “service economy”. The UK’s economy is “5% worse off than it would be in the EU” according to a recent well-researched report by Goldman Sachs. Welcome to Brexit Britain!

In the early days of the Brexit disaster, I met Michel Barnier, the EU’s impressive negotiator, at a high-powered conference on Lake Como organised by the Ambrosetti Institute. We agreed what a disaster was in store if the UK did not come to its senses.

I also met the rightwing Dutch “firebrand” Geert Wilders, who at the time, and for some time after, was a campaigner for “Nexit” – the Netherlands leaving the EU.

Wilders was very interested in British politics, and I did my best to inform him, not least on the horrors of Brexit. I know I didn’t change his mind about Nexit – this was in 2017 – but the evidence of the damage wreaked by Brexit is now manifest to all. Wilders has apparently dropped his campaign to leave the union and prefers to alter it “from within”. If there is one positive thing Brexit has achieved, it has been to have a salutary effect on rightwing continental politicians’ opposition to the EU.

  • BarqsHasBite
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    1 month ago

    I couldn’t believe the businessmen like 3 months after the vote saying “see, we’re still fine, no crash or anything”. Fucking hell it’s long term you fucking imbeciles.

    • Flying SquidM
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      351 month ago

      It amazes me that the whole hoax campaign that was behind the vote was exposed but they said “well, the vote went through anyway, so we’re going to do it even though it turns out it’s not what people actually want.”

      • Optional
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        251 month ago

        Same with trump and russian collusion.

        Only in that case they just went with “no collusion”. Yes it was well documented and proven and would have brought charges if there wasn’t a made up pretend DoJ “policy” against charging a sitting president, but y’know. no collusion I guess? Because then we’d have to understand the entirety of the administration was illegitemate and those SCOTUS bastards the usurper, the drunk rapist, and the handmaiden all have to go. And y’know. We can barely keep the trains from derailing.

        • @[email protected]
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          161 month ago

          And it’s only DoJ “policy” if the president is a Republican - that’s a really important part of the fine print.

    • Runwaylights
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      121 month ago

      Probably, but he has dialed his rhetoric down a bit in an effort to seem more reasonable and stay in the talks to form a coalition. But I don’t trust it one bit, if he had enough right-wing support, he would still spout the same bullshit. Luckily our democracy is well designed enough that he can’t just tear it down, even if he had a majority.

    • @FLP22012005
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      101 month ago

      He believes whatever his Russian masters tell him to sell to the public.

  • @reddig33
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    141 month ago

    What is that hair???!!!

    • Optional
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      201 month ago

      right wing and weird hair. It’s a winning combination, apparently.

    • @wowsa
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      51 month ago

      His natural hair is brown and curly. Some say he bleaches his hair to mask his partial Indonesian descent.