Brexiteers need to act now, or become the most hated people in history

On the current difficulties:

Those angry Remainers who shout they want their country to reflect their own ideals (it’s strange how for Brexiteers it’s always ‘We want our country back’, while for remainers it’s ‘I want my country back’) they’ll have to learn a lesson that a country is something shared with people of different values with whom one must compromise.

For the angry Brexiteers the message will have to be reiterated that this is not a vote against foreigners, and in no way is it a carte blanche to act on your worst instincts. There will no doubt be great bitterness for the one-third of Leavers who voted on the grounds of immigration, and much blame must be placed with the Vote Leave campaign, which made promises on immigration I believe we cannot deliver without wrecking the economy. Overall I wasn’t impressed with the way they won their vote, but if their leaders now fail to own Brexit, and cause a recession that will cost people their jobs, I warn them that they will be the most hated people in modern British history. As John Hume once said, you can’t eat a flag.

Read it all there

Comments so far

  1. A leave voter says

    I’m usually a big fan, but I think you’re jumping the gun a bit here. To be clear, I’m all in favour of finding a solution which is agreeable to a larger majority than 52 per cent, but if we simply lapse to the so-called Norway option, then I think we’re doing the country and the voting public a disservice.

    As a negotiating matter, starting with the Norway option only achieves some of our goals – and that’s if it’s accepted in full, which “liberal leave” promoters assume it will be, but for which there is no guarantee. More to the point, “liberal leave” promoters suggest that this is the starting point for a fuller repatriation of powers (i.e. over migration) but it is never made clear why the other EU/EEA member states would accept that. It’s nice to think EEA membership is a comfortable resting point on the longer Brexit journey, but it’s fairly easy to see us locked in there.

    Would it represent an improvement? In some ways, yes – more about trade than politics, and protected from certain dimensions of EU power we’ve found most onerous. But freedom of movement would remain. And here I think you’re being naive if you think that just because most Leave voters named other reasons above immigration that they would be fine with a continuation of freedom of movement. It was free movement – not the Charter of Fundamental Rights, not bendy banana regulations, not anything else – which was the crystallising issue in the “Take Back Control” campaign. To most leave voters, to accept the Norway option (even if it is offered by the rEU) including free movement would be to accept leave in name only (LINO, I guess).

    To be clear, as well as the value of seeking a consensus-building compromise, I agree on the need for a lot of reassuring public communication to other European countries and to EU residents in the UK about our continuing friendship and hospitality.

    I sympathise with the wish to avoid economic harm, but patience and perspective are called for here. Market volatility is to be expected for a while – the task is to show the markets a managed, controlled process, so that this doesn’t feed into the decisions of households and businesses. A fall in the exchange rate is precisely why we value having our own currency and not fixing its value against another currency.

  2. “Brexiteers need to act now, or become the most hated people in history”

    A tad hyperbolic, Ed?

    I mean, those Nazis are pretty hated.

  3. Ed, I love your work but the last few articles have been of the bed-wetting variety.

    There is a concerted attempt happening here to overturn a democratic decision: Boris and Gove never really wanted full Brexit and as such they have revealed themselves to be the most mendacious politicians ever. At least Farage has the decency to say what he means and mean what he says.

    All the signs of deliberate panic mongering are in play:

    – The wilful refusal to allay the fears of migrants that they’ll be deported
    – The scare-mongering over the falls in the pound and FTSE which are no great shakes in comparison to other decisions
    – The purported relocations by certain corporations
    – The general vomit inducing liberal hysteria
    – The potential for a small number of racist incidents being blown out of all proportion into a moral panic (though I’m prepared to change my mind with evidence)
    – The whipping up of the youth against the older and elderly

    This adds up to Project Fear part 2: This time it’s personal.

    Boris and Gove want very little change at all; just the ability to sign TTIP style deals faster. We are looking at the prospect of 52% of the population plus the soft Remainers who went for the status quo being told that, you know what? Democracy doesn’t mean anything. Don’t bother voting for what you want, we won’t listen anyway.

    This is a terribly serious point because when the next crash comes, they are going to tell us ‘you really aren’t equipped to make decisions about this, we can’t afford to have full democracy anymore, we’re going to need some kind of professionalised governance (technocracy)’.

    So, please, get a grip.


  1. […] and conservatives, libertarians and communitarians, globalisers and localisers. The always astute Ed West noticed how Brexit voters say “We want our country back”, in contrast to the Remainers’ […]

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