A scholarly and readable review of the Brexit referendum

the-english-revoltI’ve read numerous articles analysing the result of the EU Referendum in June. I missed this one The English Revolt by Robert Tombs in the New Statesman on July 24th. While it’s a long article, it’s an excellent account of why we ended up voting to Leave the EU. Here are a few snippets from the article.

Worst of all, [Remain voters] main argument – whether they were artists, actors, film-makers, university vice-chancellors or prestigious learned societies – was one of unabashed self interest: the EU is our milch-cow, and hence you must feed it. This was a lamentable trahison des clercs. The reaction to the referendum result by some Remain partisans has been a monumental fit of pique that includes talking up economic crisis (which, as Keynes showed, is often self-fulfilling) and smearing 17 million Leave voters as xenophobes. This is both irresponsible and futile, and paves the way to political marginalisation.

Many Europeans fear that a breakdown of the EU could slide into a return to the horrors of the mid-20th century. Most people in Britain do not. The fundamental feature of the referendum campaign was that the majority was not frightened out of voting for Leave, either by political or by economic warnings. This is testimony to a significant change since the last referendum in 1975: most people no longer see Britain as a declining country dependent on the EU.

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