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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