Brexit, a field day for crooks. Bye, bye ataraxia!

Mobsters have always exploited world events for their own gain, says The Economist. But “for organised criminals, Brexit is perhaps the most promising rearrangement of the European scene since the fall of communism”. Clearly, much will depend on the outcome of exit negotiations. But if, for instance, Britain achieves its aim of maintaining an open border in Ireland while leaving the EU customs union, we can expect “an increase in the already substantial traffic in contraband” across the border, as well as “new opportunities through British ports and quiet coastal spots”. The expected “parliamentary logjam” as Westminster replaces EU laws may also bolster crooks if it means that current loopholes in anti-money-laundering regulations remain unclosed. But “Brexit’s biggest bonus for the underworld” is likely to be “weaker police oversight” following our presumed withdrawal from Europol and mechanisms such as the European arrest Warrant. Thanks in part to the EAW, Spain’s “Costa del Crime” has lately become less attractive to British crooks hoping “to enjoy (and reinvest) other people’s money”. “More sangria, lads? (The Economist, 3 February 2018)

Some will dismiss the above as “politics”. I look at it differntly. I think what is happening all over the world, and Brexit is an example, is the disintegration of life as we have known it since 1945, partly caused by idiot politicians, partly the huge threat to peace and security posed by climate change and bogus “news”. All this would have been as troubling to Epicurus as it is to us. To see the casual abandonment of a way of life painfully built over decades, the divisiveness, the foul language – all this makes life less pleasurable and increases anxiety. One can try to hide away from it and pretend it isn‘t happening, but regrettably it will affect us all, if not now in the very near future.


  1. I am of the opinion that all things will find their natural state of harmony, and what I see in this world is the churning of the water by opposing political, social and economic forces. To become too deeply attached to events in politics is to lose the state of ataraxia, thus my opinion is forget about it, let things run to wherever they will go, and get on with the simpler focus on self and friends.

    • Yes, of course this was the view of Epicurus, strongly felt, and, as a matter of pragmatism, if you can do nothing about a dire situation it is best not to get involved and thus get frustrated.
      However, the problem is that too many people have historically buried their heads in the sand. There were plenty of decent, educated Germans in the 1930s who were appalled at the crudity, vulgarity and violence of Hitler. They did nothing. Similar kind, decent Italians had slightly better excuses since Mussolini did some good things for the economy and the population ( and the trains). But still, the majority stood by as Musso’s thugs beat people up and tore up the established laws.

      People with consciences suffer a double whammy – they are alarmed at the roiling up of society and frightened of the threatened violence , the greed and uncaringness. No ataraxia in all that. if one doesn’t stand up for decency and the rule of law you can’t complain if one day you are also swept up in the chaos , like it or not. This is why I do not really agree with Epicurus, despite being very anxious for peace of mind. We are still citizens and we have to stand for something, and that is all the other decent, civilised principles set out by Epicurus himself.

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