Europe has been the central question of English politics for most of my nearly five decades of life. Throughout that time, it has consistently cut across conventional Left-Right lines, as it did in the vote last week. From our earliest involvement in Europe, figures such as Enoch Powell and then Roger Scruton made arguments against the E.U. based on notions of national sovereignty, history, and culture. On the Left, those like the late Tony Benn, doyen of unreconstructed socialists, pointed continually to the lack of democratic accountability of E.U. institutions. Both Left and Right Eurosceptics also raised repeated questions about administrative waste and corruption.
And behind it all was the obvious fact that the British had never voted for the Europe we now have. We had voted for little more than a free-trade zone. What we have is a legislative and administrative behemoth that aspires to be a transnational state. This Europe has never had a popular mandate—a point that has reinforced feelings of resentment and impotence as it has advanced across people’s lives like some giant, bureaucratic glacier.
The political part of the EU is illegitimate. The governed never consented. As for impregnating the EU lands with Muslims … that’s rape, isn’t it?
The demographics of the English part of the referendum were predictable. Those who have done well out of Europe—mainly the London metro-elite—tended to vote Remain. …such people benefit from globalization: For example, it gives them access to cheap and readily available foreign labor, to fancy designer goods, and to the professional freedom that comes from open markets and open borders.
Those who find the effects of globalization intimidating, who feel that their jobs and wages are threatened by free movement of labor and capital, and whose local ways of life are eroded by mass immigration, tended to vote Leave.
That makes sense. People usually vote their economic self interest.
hat-tip Stephen Neil