Good fences make good neighbours
The EEC was not very popular when the government took the UK into it in 1973 and so the government was forced by the voters to have its first leaving referendum only two years later in 1975.
The government and all of the media threw the kitchen sink at remain in and succeeded, but on practical grounds alone, it never even tried to sell the vision of an ever closer union to the people of Britain, and if it had, it would have been rejected.
While governments managed to resist another referendum for the next four decades, the practical nature of the remain argument meant there was no mandate for further integration, indeed the remain argument was won precisely on the basis that Britain would not be pulled in any deeper.
So as the EU project developed in different directions, Europe was not something Britain did, Europe was something done to it; something that had to resisted or opted-out of: Schengen Area, the Eurozone and countless other programmes.
The 2016 EU referendum was the the last moment in history that a pro-EU case could be credibly made but again the establishment decided not to make it. It again decided to focus on the perceived practical shortcomings of an independent UK.
In other countries, there are some people who genuinely believe in a United States of Europe. However, we in the UK never had that tradition, so those arguing for remain are those who benefit most from the patronage that results from laundering our own taxes to and from Brussels give.
Brussels is awash with lobbyists for non-European interests and yesterdays winners struggling with technological change, wanting to game the regulations against new interests.
Remain was a coalition between decent people wanting to keep the status quo but also all these aforementioned parasites and spivs who know they could not justify a policy or an item of government spending to the British electorate so abuse the (still not very democratic) EU to sidestep democracy to push their own special interests and regulations.
The neo-liberal/Thacherite consensus of the last 30 years cracked fatally in the 2008 crash, since then it has been on life support as near infinite supplies of money are printed and dished out to the banks, but brain activity has not returned to the patient. The EU referendum is the British people starting to turn the machine off.
To put it another way, as I said on Twitter, it was Chekhov’s referendum. David Cameron put a gun on stage and the people shot him with it.
After the vote, I talked about the call for the second referendum and why it will not work, Brexit has just sped up the inevitable changes.
Anyway Britain is leaving the EU. If you voted for remain, not only will be much happier if you just accept it and move on with your life, you will be more successful. Escaping to a fantasyland where the vote did not happen will mean you miss the opportunities of the future.
This applies to organisations and sections of the economy too, after all no one is owed a living.
Those that work in harmony with the new independent era will thrive, those that mope around re-fighting yesterday’s narrative will be seen as irrelevant in the post-Brexit era and thus will lose funding accordingly.
The leave supporting public has been gracious in victory, trying to bring everyone on board. However, the good mood will not last long if institutions are seen to be working against the UK. David Cameron and George Osborne doubled-down on Remain and their position was untenable in the new era. Those that don’t learn the lesson might suffer the same fate.
I think in the long term, Brexit will be a benefit to all of Europe, Britain has gone from being an unhappy tenant of the EU to Europe’s most supportive neighbour and ally.
If you are a European, we the British people, voted to take by control and run our country from Westminster and our city councils and regional parliaments in the UK. However, we still love you as people and we love your countries. We can still kiss you from over the fence.