It’s done. The Brexit is real and is going to happen. The intellectual elites were against it, the “establishment” of both Britain and Europe were against it. The ordinary, working Briton thought otherwise. Concerns over the flow of immigrants from other EU countries driving wages down and open borders that let Syrian refugees in insufficiently vetted were a major driving force behind the leave vote. Also driving the leave vote was a sense that their country was being taken from them, their sovereignty handed over to bureaucrats in Brussels. The British voted not just to exit the E.U., but for independence.
Because they were concerned with immigration, they were labeled bigots. Because they were concerned with the failure of Muslim immigrants to assimilate into Western European culture and with the infiltration of ISIS terrorists among the horde of Syrian refugees, they were deemed Islamophobic.
Meanwhile, the ‘stay’ proponents felt secure they had the referendum wrapped up in their favor, and so bet heavily on stocks, running the market up. Little did they know they were only setting themselves up for a farther fall. The opponents of the Brexit mistook interdependence on Europe for dependence. They considered the taking in of refugees, however poorly vetted, a virtue. Even after attack after attack rocked the continent, they refused to admit the obvious—even a minute percentage of Muslim refugees radicalized and loyal to the Islamic State, and protected by a sympathetic, unassimilated native Muslim population could wreak significant havoc. They also pressed the issue of free trade. Without the rest of the E.U. behind them the intellectuals reasoned, Britain would surely lose out on trade deals. Of course, many countries do just fine in trade without the clout of the E.U., some of those countries are even located in Europe. The thing about trade is, that it has to be fair to both sides. Trade deals that are not win-win do not last, and there is always another trading partner waiting to make a better offer.
Another concern of ordinary British citizens was the weight of overbearing regulation emanating from Brussels. Common household appliances, including hairdryers, toasters, and tea warmers were deemed too energy-hungry to be used in the E.U. You can mess with Brit’s hairdryer, but threaten their toast and tea and you have a rebellion on your hands. A majority of ordinary, working-class Britons had seen enough of this micromanagement from across the Channel and demanded out.
The establishment elite never seemed, in the end, to understand that those things that are fixtures of British life actually matter. It was assumed that any sensible person would give up these ordinary things in the name of the greater good. They ‘stay’ crowd vastly underestimated or refused to acknowledge the resentment that had always been there and building over the decades. Britain has always had a love/hate relationship with the continent, but the two forces had always managed to balance each other out, or so it was thought. The immigration situation was possibly the feather that finally tipped the scale away from love. Interference from President Obama did not help, the best way to get people to do one thing is for an outsider to tell them to do its opposite. In the end, Britons probably simply felt like they were being taken for granted by powers that did not place value on a British identity, distinct and separate from that of continental Europe. Nationalism, so it seems is not dead in Europe, and globalism is not quite the suitable alternative governing philosophy that many make it out to be. In the short-term, independence won’t be easy, but ought to prove worth it in the long run. Britain lasted for centuries as an independent state before and can certainly make it as one once again.