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Brexit: The Take-Away

…The battle at first didn’t quite grip the nation as much as it did financial markets, the pound gyrating with every twist and turn. Then it became a case of who to believe. Would Britain be better off forging its own trade agreements? What is sovereignty anyway? Is Turkey really about to join the EU? Do immigrants cost more to public services than they provide in labour?….

People might do well to consider that voting is an emotional activity. Voters do not ‘weigh’ issues, policies or legislative agenda. Voters make an emotional choice in much the same way that buying a house, in which to live, is an emotional decision despite the financial calculations.

This is always the danger of a referendum because it is ‘assumed’ that voters make a thoughtful, calculated choice. They don’t. They vote from emotion manipulated by both sides of a referendum debate.

That is the ‘take-away’ from the Brexit debacle. People will theorise about why this happened and how it came to pass but the argument and intellectual discussion will be largely window dressing for the gut-wrenching reality that characterises modern Britain.

Politics hasn’t changed.  The Brexit campaign has exposed politics for what it has always been, though people cling to weak perceptions about ‘vision for the country’ or ‘a principled response.’  Politics has always been the naked, unbridled pursuit of power.

There is a real chance that American voters in November will cast ballots motivated by fear, anxiety, and an unconscious compulsion to vote for a loud, brash, fuzzy future too. Many of us will look back, after the election, and wonder to what extent Brexit predicted the outcome. 

A Footnote

Following a television interview, a BBC reporter Ros Atkins indicated that, on the day following the Brexit vote, the most popular Google query in Britain was “what is the EU?”

Another Footnote

There is an online petition in Britain with more than 2,000,000 signatures demanding a new Brexit vote to undo the mess.

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Professional. Retired. Canadian.

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