This post was originally published on June 27, 2016, on Lindley French’s Blog Blast: Speaking Truth Unto Power:
Warsaw, Poland. 27 June.
The causes of Brexit that I have heard thus far are as follows:
The politics of austerity, the collapse of the Labour Party and the loss of the white working and not-so-working class, splits in the Conservative Party, Tory grandees, David Cameron’s political gambling, David Cameron’s ‘deal’ to the keep Britain in an unreformed EU, English political culture, the erosion by the EU of national democracy and sovereignty, popular demands for ever more devolution, elite demands for ever more centralisation, the Euro, the growing gap between the Eurozone and the non-Eurozone, the 1991 Treaty of Maastricht and the UK opt-outs, the marginalisation by France and Germany of the UK within the EU, immigration and the refusal of the political elite in London and Brussels to address popular concerns over many years, the sheer pace and scale of immigration, failure to prepare sufficient housing, schools and public services to cope with mass immigration, refusal of Brussels to be flexible, the failure to make the case for immigration, Commonwealth immigrants who did not like a perceived bias in favour of migration from the EU, Jean-Claude Juncker, the 1973 lie that ‘Europe’ was only a common market, the 1957 Treaty of Rome, a nostalgic view of English and Welsh history, a lot of Westminster politicians, some Whitehall bureaucrats, the Establishment in general (both British and EU) which many in England just wanted to give a good kicking to, the collapse of political integrity spectacularly revealed by both the Leave and Remain campaigns, Martin Schulze, Tony Blair, George Osborne, Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Jeremy Corbyn, protectionism, the European Commission and interfering Eurocrats, the European Parliament and its lack of political legitimacy, Iraq, Afghanistan, President Obama, globalisation, blaming globalisation, the British media, de-industrialisation, patriotism, fat cat employers, multinational corporations, the European Court of Justice and the dictatorship of legalism, the European Court of Human Right, because it got confused with the European Court of Justice, ignorance, bigotry and downright prejudice, and from a personal point of view the Eurovision bloody song contest, Sheffield Wednesday which I blame for everything, and me because I predicted it!
As for who voted for what and for what reasons please take your pick. However, be careful. The latest I have heard from our Dear Leaders today is a) that the referendum should be re-run so that the peasants can this time get the answer right; b) the referendum should be re-run because it upset Martin Schulze who injured his fist banging a table; c) the referendum should be re-run because the peasantry were so stupid that they ticked the ‘leave’ box when they meant to tick the ‘an awful lot more Brussels’ box, d) the referendum should be ignored by Parliament because Britain has a representative democracy even if it is not very representative; and e) the EU would like the British to pretend the referendum never actually happened at all.
Julian Lindley-French is an internationally-recognised strategic analyst, advisor and author, Vice-President of the Atlantic Treaty Association, CGAI Fellow, Senior Fellow of the Institute of Statecraft, Director of Europa Analytica & Distinguished Visiting Research Fellow, National Defense University, Washington DC