Writing more than twenty-five years ago in Hubris: The Tempting of Modern Conservatives, a book I co-edited, the late political theorist Kenneth Minogue asserted that the worst thing about Britain’s membership in the European Union was that it had induced a rhetoric of deception that went far beyond the usual prevarications and half-truths of politics. Minogue, who often appeared in these pages, was not unaware of the other costs of membership, among which he rightly listed the lunacies of the Common Agricultural Policy, limits on trade with countries outside the Union, excessive regulation, and acquiescence to the dangerous folly of seeking to build a European superpower. “These things,” he wrote, “are serious, but not, I think, as serious as the corruption of the political process.”

As Britain heads uncertainly for the exit, it is...


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