Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Enduring Europe


Brexit won because Remain had no romantic arguments for staying in. Only pragmatic arguments against leaving, mostly based on fear. Hope defeated fear, fairly narrowly. Nations are built on romance and so must the EU be if it is to endure.

If the EU can't survive Brexit then it certainly doesn't deserve to. I hope it will be a wake up call to the 27 remaining members, but I doubt EU can rethink itself as loose group of nation states with real subsidiarity and far, far fewer European laws. A good first step would be to abolish the European Commission. Meanwhile the next crisis will be in poor, crucified Italy.


  1. I don't think 'romantic' is the right word at all. But, as we know all 'sales' are emotional, this is where the Remain campaign went wrong. No-one was listening to rational arguments, when the Leave campaign appealed to the same emotional fears (not hopes) we're seeing in the US.

  2. As soon as Cameron stood there and predicted the outbreak of WW3 if we left the EU, remain lost...
    Michael Cunningham

  3. I'm very emotionally upset about us leaving the EU, and I'm white and british. I'm 50 years old, and this is the worst thing that has happened during my lifetime. Such a tragedy, we are diminished and neither the UK nor be EU will ever be as great again.

    1. I am sorry you feel this way about the UK. Would you say your attachment to the EU was romantic/idealistic or pragmatic or both?

  4. Brexit won because the UK was never romantically involved with Europe. The media always loved making fun of anything the EU did and we lapped it up. In one way it's surprising that we're not the respondents in the divorce.
    Christof G.

  5. As one who campaigned for fifteen years for the UK to leave the EU, I feel that we didn't really win the argument. It is more that the remainers lost, and lost more heavily than we did, perhaps partly indeed because they had no "romantic" arguments. It was also partly because their logical arguments were weaker (no-one trusted those forecasts), partly because they appeared to be desperate (remember Osborne's "punishment budget"), partly because the infamous £9M leaflet drop offended the British sense of fair play, and partly because Cameron laughably claimed success in his pre-referendum negotiations with the EU.
    Joe Webster

  6. I don't think it was emotional support in favour of being ruled by our politicians. I think that anti-European sentiment had grown in large part because politicians of all flavours* had long used Europe as an excuse to over-legislate, and also as an excuse for jobsworthy interpretations of regulations (forgive the crude abbreviation). Consistent under-prediction of immigration (= false reassurance and under-planning) will not have helped.
    It's practically impossible to create equivalent negative sentiment for a situation whose disadvantages (real or imagined) have not been experienced).
    As to whether the decision was optimal medium-to-long term, I have no idea. I suspect the economic differences for us will be small and negative compared to the rest of Europe; but it may accelerate some helpful reforms in Europe.