If you talk to almost anyone overseas, except those at the right-wing extreme (like Trump) or part of a tiny minority of the left, their reaction to Brexit is similar that of the former prime minister of Finland. What the UK is doing is utterly, utterly stupid. An act of self harm with no point, no upside. Sometimes outside opinion is based on incomplete or biased information and should be discounted, but on Brexit it is spot on. So why are so many people in the UK unable to see what outsiders can see quite clearly?
The days when Leavers talked about the sunlit uplands are over. Liam Fox has not even managed to replicate the scores of trade deals the UK will lose when we leave the EU. As for independence, Leavers cannot name any laws imposed on the UK by the EU that they do not like. Since the referendum, even public attitudes to immigration have become much more favourable.
Instead there has emerged one justification for reducing real wages, for allowing our economy to lose over 2 per cent of its GDP, to allow firms to make and enact plans to leave the UK: the 2016 referendum. People voted for it, so it has to be done. It is described as the “will of the people”. Yet few bother to note that almost half the people voted the other way, with those that would be most affected not even having a vote – and that this victory was won by illegal means. All of that is brushed aside. [Continue reading…]