Brexit: why did it take so long?

Guest post

I am in full agreement with those who say old people are past it for voting purposes. I also think young people are too inexperienced and silly to vote. As for the lot in the middle, they are too busy to get the facts, hardly pay any taxes if they have families, are too busy watching reality TV and most couldn’t even name their MP. How come they deserve a vote?

Which is exactly where the European leaders got to when they moved from being a trading block to running the whole show – politics, legislature and courts – the whole show right down to making rules for toothbrushes. People are too dumb to vote, they decided. Leave it all to us; the elite who know best.

Sounds like a good idea. Who hasn’t felt at some time they were on the wrong end of a democratic decision? Our elected prefects at college were mostly little pricks. Democracy is immensely frustrating: it creaks and groans, it is expensive to run and subject to gerrymandering and a little fraudulence from time to time.

Sadly, though, it’s the best we have got. No one has come up with a better idea. The American founding fathers tried to mitigate the effects of its warts but they now have a travesty of a system almost out of control. Most dictatorships crumble eventually, undermined by extravagance and cruelty. Communist and socialist republics are a bit dodgy, resorting to violence to keep the plebs at bay.

Only the Swiss seem to have turned democracy into a pleasing art form. They vote on everything. It has worked for them. They are twice as well off as their European neighbours. 

Democracy for the Germans is too messy and unordered. And it’s below a Frenchman’s dignity to have to submit to majority dictates. Between them they wrote democracy off. They run the EU; have done since day one. The rest just make up the numbers.

Now they have the jitters. One of their wards is playing up. They have been given the one-finger salute. The question is – who is next? Is there a Farage in Austria?  Holland??

Meanwhile back in the UK the place is full of sore losers. The arrogant ridicule, the venomous attacks and the supercilious slandering knows no bounds. The “Remainers” were a powerful lot. Most MPs, most media, the elite in academia, the big banks and, as a surprise to some, big business all ganged up on the “little people” and they lost. Now they don’t like it.

There were a heap of reasons why they lost. Having Brussels force immigrants down the throat of the Brits was a major factor. The sheer enormity and intrusiveness of regulations was a killer. I mean, can you conceive of 109 rules on bed pillows? Or 172 regulations on mirrors? Italy was fined 6.74 million Euros recently for weighing their “straightened bananas” wrongly. It’s ingratiating, patronising, juvenile nonsense. The only gains were in numbers of bureaucrats.

But ultimately oil and water do not mix. The cultures of Europe are often miles apart. Trying to force French flair, German austerity, Dutch neatness, Italian indifference and English traditionalism into the same size box was simply never going to work. Too much had to be sacrificed. We are not keen to admit it but our sovereignty, our history and our way of life are all important to us. Someone who doesn’t speak our language or understand our thinking telling us what to do is too much. If we have to pay through the nose to be told, it’s a heap worse.

Too many voters in Britain figured out that the European experiment was failing. They had understood the need to work together to prevent another world war but being told what size duvet to put on their bed was over the top. They could read economic performance graphs like this:


When they saw that those nice Kiwis who used to send them butter and lamb, and who they had kicked in the teeth in the 1970s, could outperform them economically in the 2008 downturn in – and are still ahead of them today, it was time to call a halt. Decades of unemployment, slow growth and high costs had taken their toll.

The Brits woke up to the fact that the 8.5 billion pounds they paid into the EU got them little in return, lost them most of their fishing grounds, told them where and how to farm, lost them the right to say “no” to more immigrants and made their imported goods 8% overpriced.

No wonder they demanded Brexit. The miracle is that the vote wasn’t higher. Now the challenge is to hold it all together and avoid backsliding. Electing a “Remainer” as Prime Minister seems like a very bad start. It will be great viewing for months.



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  • MaryLou

    That’s a really interesting graph. I had thought that we went into the downturn before anyone else, but apparently not. Our downturn was sharper in terms of timeframe, but just look at that bounce!

    • Crowgirl

      Judging by that graph, it’s a terrible idea to be in the EU.

      • MaryLou

        Heh – yep, looks like they haven’t pulled their weight since 2010 – if then. Thing is, it’s not enough to do “well”, if it can’t outperform individual country’s, then really not much point!

      • biscuit barrel

        The terrible idea for EU is eurozone limits on budget deficits.

        2007 NZ EU same , 2010 EU was ahead of us

  • Intrigued

    I’ve been transfixed by all the news, opinions, whoops, howls, political assassinations, surrenders and resignations covered across a variety of outlets since Brexit. This summary is an excellent summary and observation of it all. I’m still shaking my head as to why it took them so long too.

  • Anthony

    Voting on everything might work for swiss but its sending California to bankruptcy.

  • Andy

    I recommend this feature length youtube video “Flexcit the Feature”

    This is a crowdsourced effort at creating a serious exit plan from the EU for the UK

    Christopher Booker introduces the background to the EU project and Dr Richard North talks in detail about the specifics of the exit.

    I seriously cannot recommend this more.

    If you watch this and understand 50% then you are more informed than most of the UK
    and 100% of the NZ MSM

    • Intrigued

      Thanks for posting that link Andy. We just watched that in our house. Very interesting and educational. For one, it seems to me that the EU has outsourced most of its regulation setting that affects so many industries and has effectively become redundant in many respects anyway. Not too many people would realise that. It will be interesting to see if the Flexcit plan is adopted by Britain. Makes a lot of sense and it’s heartening that people with a few clues have been hard at work on how to make it happen.

  • Ross15

    There must a lot people in France scratching their heads after the UK vote. The French had a referendum prior to the Lisbon Treaty coming into place ( that Treaty bought in much of the political union ideas). The French vote was an over whelming vote against the proposal but they were ignored. That’s how the EU got where it is today –walking over the people.
    Remember in Ireland when they voted against the wishes of the EU they just had another vote so the elite got what they wanted.
    Like the author of this piece I wonder why the vote wasn’t much higher to leave –I think part of the answer is, too many of the average citizens in the UK/EU have no idea what is happening.

    • taurangaruru

      I think voter disillusionment is a large factor, over many years now we have watched as our so called representatives ignore the will of the people & in many cases lie to the voters, usually there is no comeback & no payback so now we just shrug our shoulders & leave them to it. Hopefully these events such as Brexit (& even Trump’s success in the primaries) lead to greater engagement from the voters.

  • taurangaruru

    The continuing arrogance from the likes of Blair has no bounds, the man is now proposing a second bite of the cherry for the remainers because a few brexiters are getting cold feet, reminds me of the description of Malcolm Turnbull’s supporters as a “hapless set of bedwetters”

    On another note it will be interesting to see the fallout over the next few years, i assume GB will need to re-engineer their economy (along with their political structures) to drive efficiecies if they are going to thrive outside the EU, will the bloated morass of farm subsidies be canned? Surely it has to be.

  • R&BAvenger

    Our government does deserve legitimate criticism for it’s and it’s minister’s occasional dismal performance, but you do have to be impressed by the improvement in economic performance from 2008/2009 all the same.

    Get your nonsense sorted out and axe some of that deadwood.

  • JC

    The initial objective of the Common Market was to integrate economies to stop future wars and just about everyone agreed to that.

    However, the reason there haven’t been big wars since is down to NATO.. not the Europeans, ie, it’s US money and muscle that has kept the peace.

    Now that the US has pulled back from Europe the EU has come apart and there will be at least a cold war at some stage with Russia and Turkey with the Arabs in the mix to provide the gun powder.

    The future of Europe lies in the hands of the next couple of US presidents.