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Is Brexit National Suicide?

Over the past week, I have often been asked what I think about the British referendum vote to leave the European Union, or to seek “Brexit.” My standard response is that I would be happy to explain, provided the sight of me ranting and shrieking obscenities does not bother my listeners. In my view, Brexit is quite literally nothing short of national suicide. It is a cataclysm that that country must and can avert, at all costs.

In saying this, I run contrary to the view of many conservative writers who seem delighted by the vote. Those observers make some legitimate points about the referendum and the national and anti-globalization values that it proclaimed. Yes, the vote did represent a powerful proclamation by a silent majority who felt utterly betrayed and neglected by global and corporate forces. The Leave vote, they rightly think, was a mighty voice of protest.

Actually leaving, though, is a radically different idea. At its simplest, it means that Britain would abandon its role as a dominant power in Europe, a continent that presently has its effective capital in London, and with English its lingua franca. It also means giving up countless opportunities for young people to work and travel across this vast area.

Alright, perhaps those losses are too tenuous and speculative, so let’s be very specific, hard-headed, and present-oriented. How would Britain survive outside the EU? If the country had three or four million people, it could revert to subsistence agriculture, but it doesn’t—it has 64 million. That means that the country absolutely has to trade to survive, whether in goods or services. Fantasies of global commercial empires apart, the vast majority of that trade will continue to be what it has been for decades, namely with other European nations. All discussions of Brexit have to begin with that irreducible fact.

So trade on what terms? Since the referendum vote, it has become starkly apparent that none of the Leave militants had given a moment of serious thought to this issue.

One attractive model is that of the associated nation, which enjoys access to the free market, but is exempt from EU laws and regulations. Conservative politician Boris Johnson [1] recently published an op-ed suggesting just such a model, drawing on the example of Norway, in what has been called a kind of EU-Lite. Beyond accessing the single market, he also specified that Britain would be able to maintain continent-wide mobility for its own people, while restricting immigration of foreigners into Britain. He also declared that future fiscal deficits could be solved by the limitless veins of fairy gold to be found under his house. Well, I am making up that last part, but it is perhaps the most plausible part of his scenario. European leaders made it immediately clear that no form of association would be contemplated under which Britain could exclude migrants. Mobility of labor must run both ways.

And that Norwegian example demands closer inspection. What it means in practice is that Norway’s government pays a hefty price for its EU relationship and market access, in the form of continuing to pay very substantial sums into the EU, while agreeing to easy immigration policies. The only thing it lacks is any say whatever in EU policy-making.

Let me put this in U.S. terms. Imagine that Texas seceded from the union. The American President is amenable to the scheme, and explains how it would work in practice. Henceforward, he says, Texas would be completely independent! It would however continue to pay federal taxes, while having no control of immigration or border policy. Nor would it benefit in any form from federal aid, support or infrastructure projects. Oh, and Texas would no longer have any Congressional representation in Washington, to decide how its funds were spent. It seems like a bad idea to me, continues the president, but hey, it’s your decision. Enjoy your sovereignty!

As they begin to consider the effects of Brexit, the Leave leaders are facing an irreconcilable contradiction. On the one side, you have the more mainstream figures, like Boris Johnson, who will very soon be pleading for a Norway-style association model, with all the negatives I suggested earlier. Against them will be the populists, like Nigel Farage’s UKIP, who will accept nothing implying open immigration, no form of EU-Lite.  Rejecting that element, though, also means abandoning any hope of access to the single European market. If implemented, that would mean industrial and financial collapse.

But there is a good side to that outcome! As the British economy disintegrated, millions would be forced to leave the country to seek their livelihoods elsewhere, and among those would be many of the recent immigrants whom UKIP so loathes. Who would choose to remain in a beggared and impoverished junkyard? The immigration problem would thus solve itself, almost overnight.

Realistically, the most likely outcome for Britain is some kind of association status, which means many of the burdens of EU membership, but without the essential pluses, of being able to control the process from within at governmental level. And the advantages of seeking that solution rather than the present model of full EU membership are… are… hold on, I’m sure I can finish this sentence somehow. No, in fact, there aren’t any advantages.

Full British membership in the EU as constituted presently—with all its manifold flaws—is infinitely superior to any possible alternative outcome.

But surely, one might object, the referendum can be neither reversed or ignored? Actually, it can, easily, if any politician had the guts to do so. Nor do we need a second referendum to achieve that result. Contrary to the impression given by many media reports, the recent referendum was an advisory and nonbinding affair, with no necessary legal consequences whatever. In terms of its necessary impact on legislation, it had precisely the same force as a Cosmopolitan magazine survey on sexual predilections. In the context of constitutional laws and customs established over a millennium or so of British history, the referendum exists for a single purpose, namely to advise the deliberations of the Crown-in-Parliament. Parliament must vote on this issue, and if it decides to overturn the result, then so be it.

If at that point, British parliamentarians still decided to validate the Brexit result, then so be it, and may their country’s ruin be on their conscience. But the decision remains entirely theirs.

Philip Jenkins is the author of The Many Faces of Christ: The Thousand Year Story of the Survival and Influence of the Lost Gospels [2]. He is distinguished professor of history at Baylor University and serves as co-director for the Program on Historical Studies of Religion in the Institute for Studies of Religion.

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36 Comments To "Is Brexit National Suicide?"

#1 Comment By Geoff Arnold On June 29, 2016 @ 1:51 am

Bravo (from a liberal)!!

#2 Comment By Joan On June 29, 2016 @ 7:16 am

A dominant power in Europe – which couldn’t control its borders and suffered decades of cultural trauma through immigration. The people understood the issues only too well, and voted Leave. It’s now up to the country to chart a new path in the wider world. Americans would say, “Give me liberty, or give me death”. So did the Poms.

#3 Comment By Viriato On June 29, 2016 @ 7:48 am

The problem with this article is that it is predicated on the assumption that the EU is here to stay. Yet, elite stubbornness aside, there is no reason why it should continue to exist.

Under the EU, birth rates have collapsed below sustainable population replacement levels. As if that were not enough, the EU has thrown the door wide open for illegal immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East. In tandem, these two phenomena spell the demographic death of European peoples and the final nail in the coffin of Christianity, the basis of European culture.

Meanwhile, the EU’s currency is failing, and the EU has crippled the economies of its Mediterranean member-states (after building up their economies in a most artificial and unsustainable manner — like a farmer who fattens his pigs before slaughtering them. Hmm… maybe THAT’S why Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Spain are referred to as the PIGS).

Not to mention the fact that the whole concept of the EU and of its ultimate goal destroys the sovereignty of nations — sovereignty for which oceans of blood have been shed over the centuries.

In short, the EU is destroying the millenarian achievements of the Portuguese, Spanish, French, British, and its other peoples.

Does the EU have any benefits? Yes. As you quite rightly point out, trade is essential to the economic health of European countries. Yet, these benefits of free trade can be had through the EEC, the institutional predecessor of the EU. The sooner the sinister EU implodes and is replaced by a new EEC that renounces any amitions of recreating an empire on the European continent, the better.

#4 Comment By Clint On June 29, 2016 @ 7:56 am

Is Brexit National Suicide?
Not really.

A study by the think-tank Open Europe, which campaigned to see the EU radically reformed, found that the worst-case “Brexit” scenario is that the UK economy loses 2.2 per cent of its total GDP by 2030 (by comparison, the recession of 2008-09 knocked about 6 per cent off UK GDP). However, it says that GDP could rise by 1.6 per cent if the UK was able to negotiate a free trade deal with Europe – ie to maintain the current trade set-up – and pursued “very ambitious deregulation”.

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#5 Comment By JLF On June 29, 2016 @ 8:27 am

Shorter version: Immigration on a continent-wide scale has just begun. Get used to it because you have no real choice; it makes money for those that matter.

#6 Comment By Colorado Jack On June 29, 2016 @ 8:45 am

The markets at the moment do not share Mr. Jenkins’ pessimism:

“The FTSE 100 Index added 2.3 percent on Wednesday and is within 0.9 percent of its pre-Brexit close.”

If England has a problem trading with the EU, a lower pound will do wonders. If the EU erects punitive trade barriers, there are lots of other countries in the world willing to take English goods and services at the right price. A lower pound means the English are poorer, yes, but it is hardly national suicide.

#7 Comment By Recusant On June 29, 2016 @ 9:26 am

I won’t bother to address all your points, but you have go the very wrong end of the stick and some of your ‘facts’ are pure fiction.

Of course a large proportion of the vote for Leave was a pure anti-globalisation reaction, but if you had been paying attention, you would have noticed that the leaders of the VoteLeave campaign – Johnson, Gove and Leadsom (Farage might have got attention, but was not part of the official campaign) – are all, liberal, free trade internationalists. This is not a protectionist, Little England move, but one to get the UK out of Fortress Europe and into the world.

Trade in goods and services will go up or down, but the vast majority of UK exports do not go to the EU: it currently stands at 42% and, once you take out the Rotterdam re-export effect, 37%. And that is in goods, which make up 12% of the UK economy and less of her exports. Services will be broadly neutral.

#8 Comment By Jefferson Smith On June 29, 2016 @ 9:28 am

This is all correct and well stated. I would just add a couple of other points. First, TAC readers and writers should recognize that fairy-gold fantasy of Boris Johnson’s — the blithe assurance that Britain can still have free movement for its own citizens but not for others, and all the benefits of the single market with none of the costs — as the same style of thinking that gives us the neocons’ fantasies of Middle East transformation, the GOP insistence that Iran and ISIS will wither if our rhetoric is suitably tough, and now Donald Trump’s claims that he can dictate new terms of trade to China and get Mexico to pay for a wall. Basically, it’s the notion that other groups and nations in the world will simply bend to our will. If we don’t have such lopsidedly favorable arrangements already, that’s not because policymaking involves inevitable tradeoffs, other parties have their own interests and you don’t get something without giving up something; no, it’s because we’ve been sold out by “elites” who are just self-interested or stupid (or perhaps deliberately bent on destroying us). But we can Make America/Britain Great Again by simply announcing to the rest of the world what we expect of them, and for no reasons that can be explained, they’ll comply — as if the the world’s other political and government leaders were our own hired staff.

Also, this widespread idea that the Leave vote represented a blow struck for the people against those elites is delusional. Look up the backgrounds of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Ian Duncan Smith and Nigel Farage. This was one group of elites engineering a strike against another, using the classic techniques of scapegoating and demagoguery that elites have always used to mobilize the masses behind their agendas.

Finally, it bears repeating that you shouldn’t decide major, complex constitutional questions by simple one-day nationwide majority votes. The U.S. requirement of a two-thirds vote in two chambers of the national legislature, followed by ratification by three-quarters of the constituent states, some of which have supermajority requirements of their own, may be too cumbersome, especially for some of the much more straightforward questions that are the stuff of constitutional amendments. But the principle is right: You need either supermajorities, or multiple votes, or distributed majorities (like, in this case, separate majorities in at least three of the four constituent parts of the UK), or some combination of those. Also helpful would be a clear prospectus: “Here’s what the new rules and arrangements will be if you vote ‘Leave’.” Instead the alternatives put before British voters were conjured up entirely from political arguments. That was true on both sides, although the Remain side at least did have a detailed prospectus that anyone could review beforehand — namely the status quo, plus some moderate reforms already agreed upon. Leave’s prospectus was whatever it was willing to paint on the side of a bus. That’s all they were ever required to produce, and apparently all the thought they ever gave to the great questions looming now. It’s hard to see how a political event could have been better designed to provoke a constitutional crisis.

#9 Comment By passingby On June 29, 2016 @ 9:46 am

This is a bit much. And if it were true, it would mean that Britain was no longer a sovereign country, despite reassurances to the contrary over many years.

First, some facts: the UK is “trade-dependent” in the sense that most countries outside of North Korea are — but less so than say a Belgium. Under 30 per cent of UK output is exported, and less than half of that to the EU, a share that has fallen noticeably over the past two decades.

To suggest that Britain has “committed national suicide” because it has left the EU is frankly absurd. Prof Jenkins seems to be labouring under the misapprehension that only member states can export to the EU. This will be news to US and other companies which have been exporting to the EU to many years.

What is true is that it is possible that trade will now attract tariff and non-tariff barriers in some part, and these will reduce exports. How much exports are affected will depend on the size of those barriers, although it should be said that many UK exports are relatively price-inelastic. But say the UK lost a fifth of its exports to the EU — that would be somewhere around 2-3 per cent of GDP. That blow would be softened as businesses turn their attention to other markets.

There are lots of good reasons to think that leaving the EU could impede future growth, although most of them really dependent on Britain ensuring it doesn’t impose self-inflicted wounds from bad policymaking.

Prof Jenkins is also simply wrong on the nature of EEA membership as an alternative. Moving to the EEA means a smaller budgetary contribution; exemption from the majority of EU law; the ability to independently negotiate trade agreements; a drastic curtailing of the power of European institutions, and exemption from the efforts to form EU-wide foreign, defence, justice and home affairs policies. There are good arguments against EEA as the best way forward, but here Prof Jenkins attacks a strawman. (It is worth noting that the Norwegian public have long defied their politicians’ wish for full EU membership, preferring their more limited EEA membership — something which would be strange were Prof Jenkins’ description accurate.)

Finally, were Parliament to ignore the referendum result, it would do nothing other than result in a landslide for UKIP at the next general election to set about the same task without a referendum.

#10 Comment By CJ On June 29, 2016 @ 9:56 am

Britain can’t survive without trade, but can the common market painlessly absorb the loss of 64M customers? It seems to me that the EU’s leverage isn’t as one-sided as is assumed whenever one examines the cost to the UK.

Other than a desire to be punitive, is there any reason why the UK can’t trade & travel with the EU on the same terms as the US, Japan, or the BRICs?

#11 Comment By KD On June 29, 2016 @ 9:58 am

You presuppose that the EU project is viable going forward, while it is increasingly clear that the EU is pulling apart. Britain by preserving its own currency, was EU-lite anyway. Certainly, one more migrant crisis under the deft hands of someone like Merkel should drive the stake through the heart for good.

#12 Comment By Janwaar Bibi On June 29, 2016 @ 10:16 am

“Fantasies of global commercial empires apart, the vast majority of that trade will continue to be what it has been for decades, namely with other European nations. All discussions of Brexit have to begin with that irreducible fact.” Jenkins

Meanwhile in the real world:

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“About 44% of UK exports in goods and services went to other countries in the EU in 2015—£220 billion out of £510 billion total exports.

That share has been declining, because exports to other countries have been increasing at a faster rate.

The European Commission itself says that “over the next ten to 15 years, 90% of world demand will be generated outside Europe”.

53% of our imports into the UK came from other countries in the EU in 2015. That proportion hasn’t changed that much over the past 16 years.”

#13 Comment By C. L. H. Daniels On June 29, 2016 @ 10:17 am

Disclaimer: I am not an economist.

That said, economists have had an absolutely lousy track record over the last 20 years, so that’s not necessarily disqualifying.

Here’s my thought. Yes Britain is an island and needs to trade. The EU, regardless of the status of Britain’s access to the single market, will *happily* continue to sell any and all goods to Britain. To do otherwise would both a) cost them money, and b) constitute an economic embargo. I don’t think we’re at that point where the desire to punish Britain is so strong that the EU will cut off its nose to spite its face. So, ipso facto, Britain can continue to buy whatever it needs from the continent, including foodstuffs, regardless of the its status vis-a-vis the single market.

The point of being in the single market is the unfettered ability to export goods to other countries in the market without tariffs and with less red tape. Seeing as the UK is running a rather large trade deficit with the EU presently, this hardly seems as though it has been working out well for them, and *certainly* not for the Leave voters who are overwhelmingly concentrated in the de-industrialized areas of northern England and Wales. If the people running UK economic policy in the next ten years had half a brain they’d tell the single market to screw off, raise protective tariffs against foreign steel, autos and other manufactured goods and encourage investment in domestic production for the protected industries. This is exactly how Japan and Korea executed their post-war economic miracles (and, it is worth noting, did so against the advice of Western economists who advocated opening their economies to trade). The weaker pound sterling will assist in making UK domestic production cheaper than imports and spur revitalized domestic manufacturing and, in combination with immigration reform, tighten the labor market. The Leave voters come out ahead. The people likely to lose are cultural and financial elites who, frankly, deserve whatever they get at the hands of the people they have been screwing over out of self-interest and resolutely ignoring for the last 40 years.

Newsflash: Mercantilism works. And the UK can make it work for them, of they just stop listening to the free trade zealots and take their lessons from East Asia.

#14 Comment By Dennis On June 29, 2016 @ 10:54 am

“European leaders made it immediately clear that no form of association would be contemplated under which Britain could exclude migrants. Mobility of labor must run both ways.”

This seems to be confusing two different issues. Illegal “migrant” immigration, with hundreds of thousands of unskilled, undocumented, unchecked third world “migrants being foisted on the population at the behest of the Merkels of the world, is one thing. “MObility of labor” is another. The could refuse the former but affirm the latter without any contradiction. Mobility of labor would be allowed to citizens of UE countries able to prove they have jobs lined-up in the UK, have the means to support themselves and not become a burden on the welfare system, etc. “Mobility of labor” does not, however, have to mean untrammeled illegal “migration” from the third world.

#15 Comment By Dennis On June 29, 2016 @ 10:56 am

sorry for typos above. Should be “The UK could refuse…” and EU, obviously.

#16 Comment By Will Harrington On June 29, 2016 @ 11:13 am

I am confused. Why would Europes markets be any more closed to Britain than to any other non EU country? Could it be because the EU is tyranical and vindictive? One asset that the UK has that no other European country does, and something I haven,t seen mentioned at all, is the Commonwealth of Nations. This might prove to be a much more advantageous avenue of investment for Britain than the EU, with potentially much larger markets (India all by itself, could soon be a bigger market than Europe) and even research partners ( again, India is a hothouse for research and innovation). I would imagine that Britain, with some creativity, could do very well without a controlling and unresponsive beaurocracy dictating policy to them. My main worry is that Scotland will vote to leave, thinking the EU will pick them up. I think Scotland could probably do OK as an independent state if they plan well and are realistic in their expectations, but the EU is not going to accept a secessionist state that would encourage other secessionist movements. Kososvo was OK, but not Scotland.

#17 Comment By grumpy realist On June 29, 2016 @ 11:18 am

What Boris and that crowd are proposing is that England get all the benefits of EU membership (no tariffs, financial passport freedoms) but none of the responsibilities.

Ain’t gonna work that way, guys. Financial services are one of the most portable professions around. As soon as you start getting any sort of barriers (tariffs, more paperwork), you’re going to see 90% of the London firms to pick up and move to “somewhere within the EU.”

You think the financial elites are going to lose by this? Ha. They’re already factoring in how to short the pound and short London REITs, sell England the rope that England will use to commit suicide with, and make out like bandits at both ends. Brexit is nothing more than the idiots setting their own house on fire.

#18 Comment By JWJ On June 29, 2016 @ 11:22 am

This article is a series of embarrassing straw man arguments. Typical of the extremist nanny remain group. Fear and hate seems to be their only tactics in getting you to vote their way.

And now the electorate did not vote the way of nanny remain group, the solution is of course ignore the vote.

“national suicide”
What pathetic hyperbole.

“giving up countless opportunities for young people to work and travel across this vast area.”
Really, UK won’t have passports anymore? Companies won’t be seeking talent anymore?

“As the British economy disintegrated, millions would be forced to leave the country to seek their livelihoods elsewhere”
Seriously, who would possibly think that the UK economy alone in Europe would disintegrate at any one time.

How did the UK ever rise above subsistence farming over the past 500 years without the EU?

#19 Comment By c matt On June 29, 2016 @ 11:36 am

Correct me if I am wrong, but Switzerland is not part of the EU, is highly dependent upon trade, and it does quite well.

#20 Comment By marc On June 29, 2016 @ 11:37 am

The Brexit vote is like the Greek NO vote on austerity before the government did a 180 degree turn and pushed through the austerity for which the people voted NO… the best part being that it was because the govt could not fathom breaking with the EU (and in their case the EURO, which did make things far more complicated). No British govt will want to spend their time for the next 6 years rewriting all their laws. Just like the Greek NO was made into a YES once the reality had sunk in, so the British NO to the EU will become a YES to the EU and people will get on with their lives and be glad they will have something to complain about. Everyone got a chance to say no to the establishment, but in the end the establishment wins, unless you are willing to risk Armageddon.

#21 Comment By Rich On June 29, 2016 @ 2:20 pm

If you do not control your own immigration policy, how can you call yourself a country? I’m sorry, but until Britain controls its own immigration, I really don’t think it is right to call Britain a nation.

Britain is not sovereign. It is like a state in the United States. Maryland and Virginia have certain powers, but they do not get to decide who can enter. That is what makes them non-countries.

#22 Comment By The The On June 29, 2016 @ 2:42 pm

What a steaming pile of fear. The author has nothing but fear to monger.

The EU is an undemocratic and unelected commission that is seeking to become a federal government of the EU. If you can’t see the problems in an unelected and unaccountable federal government then we have nothing to discuss here. You are a lost cause.

#23 Comment By Ken Zaretzke On June 29, 2016 @ 3:23 pm

“At its simplest, it means that Britain would abandon its role as a dominant power in Europe,”

Not exactly. Britain now will have a greatly expanded role in NATO, and as a result NATO will eclipse the EU in military and many foreign policy matters. British officers are sorely needed by NATO–their levelheadedness contrasts with the neocon illusions of many high-ranking American military officers–and now those British officers, and the troops under them, don’t have to squander their talents in the patchwork EU military.

#24 Comment By DGJ On June 29, 2016 @ 3:55 pm

Absolutely correct, take a look, Scotts and London plan to leave. It is national suicide.

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#25 Comment By Clint On June 29, 2016 @ 4:14 pm

Is Brexit National Suicide?
Hardly.

The new British government can go back to its initial objective and negotiate with the EU a trading relationship it wants. Its trump cards are (a) a large economy, (b) strong trade and investment ties with the rest of Europe and (c) its position as one of the world’s leading military and political powers.

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#26 Comment By Mike Spilligan On June 29, 2016 @ 4:44 pm

As a Brit and an ardent Leaver I would like to go through Professor Jenkins’s article item-by-item, but it would take too long to highlight the assumptions and half-truths therein.
The most prominent reason for people to vote “Leave”, according to one survey was Sovereignty, the second was border control, and immigration only third.
Immigration is important as the UK is overcrowded already. Our population density is equivalent to the whole population of the USA living within the borders of Texas.
Switzerland (outside the EU) does three times as much trade (inward + outward) with the EU compared with the UK.
The UK’s trade with the EU has been declining for about ten years, while with other parts of the world (where permitted by our EU “partners”) it has been steadily increasing.
The UK has almost no say in law-making – that is led by the inner-circle of the six founding members – Germany, France, Benelux and Italy. Moreover and more importantly those laws are formulated in secret by the 28 EU Commissioners (now 27 but soon to be 32 with new members) but there is no mechanism for any nation to reject those laws however wrong for their national structure.
The EU is not primarily a trading organization, it is a political one. The primary founder of the EU, Jean Monnet, said: Europe’s nations should be guided towards the super-state without their people understanding what is happening. This can be accomplished by successive steps, each disguised as having an economic purpose, but which will eventually and irreversibly lead to federation.
Having seen Greece crushed in spirit and economically, Italy having had a Prime Minister imposed by Brussels and a Euro-army being introduced (though denied until the referendum had passed) it seems the UK may have escaped just in time.

#27 Comment By William Dalton On June 29, 2016 @ 5:30 pm

Phillip Jenkins avoids dealing with the likelihood that the Brexit vote may have a greater impact upon the future of the EU than it does upon the future of the UK. Is the EU capable of taking up the slack in paying for its manifold programs, not to mention its bureaucracy, if all the money now flowing from British taxpayers were to stop. Is the EU willing to pay the price of seeing the imposition of new tariffs upon the goods it ships to the consumers of the UK, as much as British buyers must now pay the same tariff upon European goods it does, say, upon, imports from the United States? Britain has a whole Commonwealth of Nations to trade with. Will the EU find the match of that?

More significantly, Brexit represents letting the genie out of the bottle for the rest of EU nations, many of which, including such powers as France and Italy, have voters no less inclined than the Brits of asserting their independence from rule by Frankfurt and Brussels. The pressures which will brought to bear just to allow free trade within Europe to survive may be such as will drive its leaders to undo much of the centralization and super-government it contrived when it made the transition from the Common Market and EEC to the European Union. We should look at the possibility that all of Europe will wind up shaking off the shackles of its central governance and return to enjoying the kind of mutually beneficial trade structures, which required no freedom of immigration nor a common currency to enable prosperity and peace to reign in Europe. Britain, I have no doubt, would rejoin that scheme, and all would realize benefits which are lost to them now.

#28 Comment By Paul On June 29, 2016 @ 5:51 pm

There will be no Armageddon. The markets and sterling are recovering, French farmers and German industrialists are lining up to insist their governments allow the UK favourable trading terms. The doomsayer economists are admitting it won’t be so bad after all.
Sure the Remainers are horrified, no one ever said NO to them before, they still can’t believe it.
Should Westminster try to avoid the issues that made people vote Leave, my party (UKIP) is going to need a bigger meeting room. We brought Britain this referendum, not the Conservatives and we’re not about to let then backslide now.
Most original Ukipers were Conservatives who came to understand that to change their party from inside was impossible and that the same applied to the EU. So we left and did our own thing, standing in elections against them. We did well enough to force the referendum and with help from Conservative rebels still within the party, we won. The Establishment are beside themselves with anger and bile. So much that the two main parties are disintegrating before our eyes.
We have given up on right and left, we now do Right and Wrong. An influx of ex Labour voters/members has made us evolve too. This has always been about us and them and a rubicon has now been crossed, democratically. I’m rather proud of that.
One of your statesmen ( Ben Franklin was it ?) once said something like ” He who gives up freedom for an illusion of security deserved neither” We simply chose freedom.

#29 Comment By RMThoughts On June 29, 2016 @ 6:19 pm

Two distinct concepts. A NATION and TRADE. England decided to remain a nation. It will deal with the trade issue.

#30 Comment By Captain P On June 29, 2016 @ 6:40 pm

This is a largely ipse dixit article from a professor of religious studies. Not an economist, nor a political scientist. You’ll have to pardon me for being unconvinced by Prof. Jenkins’s piece.

#31 Comment By hooly On June 29, 2016 @ 7:53 pm

Well, not national suicide, that’s rather overblown rhetoric. But definitely further diminishment of Britain. In fact, the end of Britain with Scotland leaving and Ireland reunifying and perhaps Wales going its own way as well. So the rebirth of England, that pleasant land, that sixth rate power that it once was. London will become like Vienna, once the capital of an empire, but now reduced to provincial status. Perhaps that’s a good thing, being second rate and no longer at the adult table anymore, joining the likes of Spain, Taiwan, Mexico, etc. Notable, but essentially unimportant in the grand scheme of things in the world.

#32 Comment By the summing up On June 29, 2016 @ 8:43 pm

“We did well enough to force the referendum and with help from Conservative rebels still within the party, we won. “

I think you won with the help of a lot of other voters too, including Labor. You can’t win Wales with UKIP and a few Tory rebels.

#33 Comment By Roger On June 29, 2016 @ 9:02 pm

I strongly suspect that Brexit foreshadows a major overhaul of the EU which will reveal the pessimism of the author to be overstated.

#34 Comment By Paul On June 30, 2016 @ 2:28 am

@the sum…

True enough, the whole campaign was cross party. In my area however most of the Leave campaign was run by UKIP. The local MP did support us but nearly all the Conservative councillors hid in the bushes and took no part, they vastly underestimated the extent of support for Leave here (over 70%) and were afraid that taking a position would cost them votes. Judging from the sour faces this week, they now understand not participating was a worse option.
This is the whole point. The European elite were unable to believe that the continent’s electors would not accept the gradual erosion of democracy for their version of centralised efficiency. One size does NOT fit all.

#35 Comment By EliteCommInc. On June 30, 2016 @ 10:03 am

In the face of the fear mongering and signs of the end . . .

In my view the vote to leave the EU is a definitive sign, that Britain is not suicidal.

Quite the opposite.

#36 Comment By olde reb On June 30, 2016 @ 10:39 pm

Have you noticed the striking similarity between the EU authoritative faceless unelected financiers and corporate controllers that have devastated the European group and the projected structure being promoted by secretive treaty negotiations involving the United States ??

The embezzling of money by the Federal Reserve for the TBTF banks, and the same scheme by the ECB with the Euro, provides humongous funds for their perfidious acts. Ref.
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