This was the day the British people defied their jailers, by Tim Stanley.
There were two referendums on Thursday. The first was on membership of the EU. The second was on the British establishment. Leave won both, and the world will never be the same again.
It’s impossible to overstate how remarkable this victory is. Twenty years ago, Euroscepticism was a backbench Tory rebellion and a political cult. It was a dispute located firmly on the Right with little appeal to Labour voters. It took Ukip to drag it into the centre of political life – given momentum by the issue of immigration – and slowly it has emerged as a lightning rod for anti-establishment activism.
David Cameron… decided to turn the British and global establishment against [leaving]. Out came the Treasury, the IMF, even the President of the United States to argue that Britain had to stay. This was textbook politics…
But this time the establishment consensus coincided with a historic loss of faith in the experts. These were the people who failed to predict the Credit Crunch, who missed the greatest economic disaster to hit us since the Great Depression. And we were supposed to believe them? Slowly the consensus came to resemble not just a conspiracy but, worse, a confederacy of dunces. …
People wanted to have their say and they did. Up and down the country they defied the experts and went with their conscience. Labour voters most of all: the northeast rebelled against a century of Labour leadership. I am astonished. Staggered. Humbled. I should never have lost faith in my countrymen.
The young may have overwhelmingly voted Remain, too – but, hey, they will grow older someday. The young who voted Remain in 1975 overwhelmingly voted Leave in 2016. In part, perhaps, because they didn’t like being characterised as ancient bigots by the Remain side. Top tip for winning future elections: don’t call the electorate “thick” or “losers”. It, er, turns them off.
hat-tip Stephen Neil