As I write this, it appears that the “Brexit”—the UK referendum on leaving or remaining in the EU—is winning by a million or so votes.
Stunning and historic as this is, it will take some time to unpack the “why” or “whys”. Some see a global shift away from multi-culti to traditional nationalism, driven by everything from immigration angst to currency upheaval to tectonic shifts in employment.
Again and again, following the Brexit debate, I was struck by the condescending and preachy tone of the “Remain” advocates: the UK needed the EU, it would be a setback of decades for both if they parted, Britain would bleed economically, etc., etc. Implied was the “we know what’s best for you” refrain common to elites the world over.
We are talking about Great Britain, here, right? Fifth largest economy in the world. Fourth strongest military. One of the most effective soft-power projectors, one of the most sought-after allies, and America’s “special relationship” partner?
Also, you may have heard: their native language has really caught on.
Is it possible the “Remain” folks tried to sell too large a tranche of what Joe Biden calls “malarkey”? Maybe people whose parents, grands and greats endured WWI, the London blitz of WW2, decades of IRA terrorism, the painful but necessary devolvement of colonial holdings—maybe these people think their nation is complete without being barked at from Brussels?
It sounds familiar to us on this side of the Atlantic: a faraway capital city of faceless bureaucrats and Beltway barnacle “lifers” telling us what is and is not “who we are”. One size that doesn’t fit all. Our money goes one way, their rules and lectures come the other way.
If you form a union, and find that belonging to it is onerous, not helpful, you leave. Some people in D.C. should get the same message being delivered in London.
And congrats to our British cousins: June 23rd may yet become their July 4th. Well-done!