5 Thoughts on Brexit

Keep calm and carry on.


Krystian Dobuszynski/ZUMA Press/Newscom

First, I have not been a supporter of David Cameron's "one nation conservatism," which eschews fundamental economic reform and embraces the "nanny state," but I applaud the Prime Minister for fulfilling his election pledge and giving the electorate the referendum that the people of Britain wanted for a very long time. Unlike a frightening number of commentators and politicians on both sides of the Atlantic who now castigate Cameron for being "irresponsible" (i.e., for making the mistake of consulting the British people), I commend him for behaving honorably. Equally honorable was his resignation. It would be nice if more Western leaders had the decency of resigning when the policies they passionately support are rejected by the electorate!

Second, some people have called for the British Parliament to ignore the E.U. referendum. The E.U. establishment had done something very similar in 2005. Back then, the people of Holland and France rejected the E.U. Constitution in national referenda. The E.U. ignored those votes, relabeled the E.U. Constitution as the Lisbon Treaty, and adopted the latter. Such is Europe's commitment to democracy! Strictly speaking, the British Parliament is "sovereign." It does not have to accept the results of the referendum. (As a side note, it is amusing to see the same people who thought of parliamentary sovereignty as arcane and irrelevant, and who were perfectly willing to sacrifice it on the altar of "an ever closer union," to evoke parliamentary sovereignty in order to stop Brexit.) Personally, I cannot imagine the Brexit vote being ignored. It would destroy both the Conservative party, which is by-and-large pro-Brexit, and the Labour Party. It was the supposedly disaffected Labour voters, after all, who proved to be crucial to Brexit's success in northern England.

Third, I do not think that Scotland will break away from the rest of Great Britain. First, the strength of the Scottish support for Brexit took many people by surprise. Some 38 percent of Scots voted to leave the E.U., well in excess of expectations. Second, over the last 18 months, the Scots were reminded of the vagaries of the oil market. To the extent that independent Scotland wished to rely on oil extraction in the North Sea, the Scottish budget balanced at $100 per barrel. The Scots know that they may never see those prices again, for as soon as the oil price recovers, large-scale fracking will come back online and, probably, push the oil price down again. Third, Scottish membership of the E.U. is not guaranteed, for Spain may veto Scotland's accession to the E.U. rather than create a precedent for its own restless provinces, such as Catalonia.

Fourth, Brexit does not augur the end of "globalization." The British people may not want open borders with the rest of the E.U. (more on that below), but they did not vote against free trade in goods and services. That is not unprecedented. Australia, New Zealand and Singapore are very successful participants in the global economy. Their trade with the rest of the world is by-and-large free. The same, however, cannot be said about their point-based immigration systems, which regulate the numbers and skills of would-be immigrants. Britain's current immigration system, in contrast, gives the right of residence in Great Britain to all 508 million citizens of the European Union. Brexit may lead to a point-based immigration system in Great Britain as well, but it will not lead to zero immigration or isolationism. The expansive British services industry will still need immigrants (even if they have to enter on a point-based system rather than as a matter of right) and British trade could actually expand (since Britain will acquire the right to conclude its own trade deals with the rest of the world).

Fifth, the question of immigration was important to the result of the referendum, but it was not the only reason for Brexit's success. The longing of the British people for self-determination and general disaffection with the "establishment" also mattered. Yes, the parallels between Brexit supporters and Donald Trump's supporters exist, but they should not be overemphasized. The crucial difference, it seems to me, is that all major figures on both sides of the British referendum were completely committed to free trade in goods and services, whereas Trump's supporters appear to be open to protectionism and the possibility of a trade war with other countries. That makes the American situation different and, potentially, much more dangerous than British exit from the European Union.

NEXT: Brickbat: Feeding the Multitudes

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  1. Equally honorable was his resignation.

    It would have been honorable if he had invoked Article 50 first, then resigned. The voters have spoken. If he doesn’t think he should preside over the negotiations, that’s fine, but he should execute the voters will, instead of delaying it for months as the Conservatives search for new leadership.

    It seems like the plan is to throw a monkey wrench in the works, and maybe get new leadership that will claim it is not bound by the referendum result.

    Invoke Article 50 now, and resign. That’s the honorable thing to do.

      1. Harumph!

        /House of Lords

    1. What’s article 50?

      1. It’s the provision in the EU constitution for the secession of a member state.


        1. Oops, I guess I hadn’t refreshed the page for 20 minutes before I posted.

      2. It’s the article in the EU constitution that officially spells out the declaration of secession from the EU.

    2. My Co-Worker’s step-sister made $13285 the previous week. She gets paid on the laptop and moved in a $557000 condo. All she did was get blessed and apply the guide leaked on this web site. Browse this site….
      This is what I do________

    3. My Co-Worker’s step-sister made $13285 the previous week. She gets paid on the laptop and moved in a $557000 condo. All she did was get blessed and apply the guide leaked on this web site. Browse this site….
      This is what I do________

    4. I think the idea is to wait and hope polls show much stronger support for remaining in the EU. The pols will then use this to justify NOT invoking Article 50 and gamble that they will not be voted out as a consequence.

    5. If I remember correctly in UK there is a bigger price to pay for politicians who back failed measures… so even if he didn’t resign, the blood’s already in the water; he would have a hard time being effective as a leader and it would likely have only been a matter of time before he was shown the door.

      So more like one of those “you can resign or we can fire you… your choice” moments.

  2. Democratic platform is officially going to call for the use of the Department of Justice to investigate climate deniers.

    I heard just yesterday that the Department of Justice is independent and that Obama can’t just go ordering it around. Yet it can apparently easily be turned into a weapon to carry out part of the Democratic platform.

    1. Well, we just can’t have people going around speaking blasphemy can we?

    2. You may have heard that but it’s not true. DOJ is a cabinet agency and reports to Obama. It’s not like one of the “independent” regulatory agencies, such as the SEC, which are more insulated from the Executive Branch; it is a part of the Executive Branch.

  3. My prog friends are telling me the polish are now being slaughtered in the streets due to Brexapocalypse. I’m not sure where to find sources on this as the evidence I’ve seen seems to be tweets.

    1. Their cousin’s boyfriend’s uncle saw it so it’s obviously true. The left’s unfettered undergarment soiling is a glorious thing to see.

      1. That’s funny. One of my coworkers is from Poland, with a mother who still lives there. According to his mother, so he says, outside of a few mild public hissy fits by a small amount of people, it’s a non issue.

        Who’s third hand accounts should I be regurgitating?! I’m so confused…

    2. The Brits were always a murderous culture. Being beholden to unaccountable bureaucrats in another country was the only thing stopping them from slaughtering…the Polish…for some reason.

      1. No, no! That is the Germans!

    3. Brexit: Racist abuse in UK reported since vote to leave EU

      Cards abusing Polish migrants in both English and Polish were left on cars and at properties around Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, local police said.

      Wow, that took me… almost 10 seconds. I’m exhausted. Much easier just to snark.

      This message brought to you by an utter non-Prog.

      1. OMG OMG OMG! Cards! CARDS! Oh, the humanity!

      2. Right, given the history of victim fetishists committing hate crimes against themselves I was hoping for evidence more than anonymous reports and cards that can’t be tied to any actual people.

      3. Make a list of European National Socialist Union member staats. Now ask yourself how many of those entities were not collaborationist or entirely conquered by German National Socialism before 1945.

    4. What, did Angela Merkel send a few thousand panzers into Warsaw?

  4. Cameron’s swan song?

    1. Beginning to think every Beetle’s song is about Brexit.

  5. The more I see the wailing and gnashing of teeth from the usual suspects over this (especially Americans), the more I’m convinced the exit was the right thing to do in the long run. It basically undermines just about everything that centralization fanatics have promoted since the League of Nations, and exposes them for the childish control freaks that they really are.

    1. While the reaminers howl the loudest this side of the pond, polls before the vote suggest that americans were somewere well above 50% (some going as high as 80%) in favor of brexit.

      I guess whoever makes the most noise isn’t necessarily in command of the largest bloc of opinion.

      1. *Sets down metal spoon and pot*


          Oh, wait…

        2. I know of no reason,
          Why this chicken, well seasoned,
          should ever be forgot?

    2. I am surprised how few of the Remain supporters even today can give rational reasons for staying, instead most just sputter and insult their opponents.

      1. DJF-
        When it’s as plainly obvious as the Commerce clause allowing for Obamacare, rational reasons are not required.

      2. As opposed to the Leavers now Googling “What is the EU”?

        1. Citation required.

  6. The most interesting thing about the whole affair is the left has given us a peek under the sheet. Their calls to ignore the vote exposes their lack of interest in “democracy”. Democracy has always been a talking point they use to justify their odious and abusive policy. As soon as democracy doesn’t work out from them they immediately call to ignore it. They are authoritarians first and foremost which of course surprises exactly nobody here.

    1. They are totalitarians.

    2. Bureaucrat experts before free citizens.

    3. This was plainly obvious in Wisconsin just a few years back.

      The Democrats LOVE democracy – when they get their way. When the votes and majorities go their way, it’s all smiles and mandates. But the Republicans gained control and set about dismantling some of the most egregious oversteps (teachers’ union funded by default to sluice money into the Democrat Machine coffers, they won’t dismantle much more than that, being reasonable statists themselves) and the Democrats scurried across the Wisconsin-Illinois border to shut down business. The message is the Force we turn over to the government is theirs for the using to get their way, but if they don’t like the results, the can just shut down the apparatus – Force to get their way, nothing if the don’t. There’s nothing “civil” about such conduct. It is uncivil and begs for an uncivil response.

      1. +1 Rockford, IL Tilted Kilt

    4. uhhh you do realize they still have a monarch, right? I mean she is mostly symbolic but she still has the title ans the taxpayer largess.

      1. She is symbolic, but isn’t by choice? I mean, technically, she still has a bunch of power but doesn’t use it. I need to go look it up again to make sure.

        I would find it very interesting and entertaining if she decided to use some of that power.

      2. “..but she still has the title ans the taxpayer largess.”

        Well, they like her and… well… they’re raking in the the money by using the queen to make their country some kind of real life Royal Disneyland.

    5. Every day it seems I find new reasons to be in awe of our founders. For all the faults in our Constitution, its whole purpose was to stop these types of assholes.

    6. Peek under the hood at a Klan rally and you will find mystical altruists convinced they are the better people who know what’s good for the riffraff.

  7. This reminds me of the Prague Spring, when American intellectuals of the looter persuasion were upset with LSD-exporting Czechoslovakia for being selfish and ungrateful. After all the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics sarificed to shower them with the coercive benefits of altruist collectivism. Today, identical racial collectivists have added “racist” to the list of epithets. Everything else is much the same. *Yawn*

  8. Wall Street Journal reports that the market is up 200 points and the value of the pound is inching up.

    Some crisis.

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  10. Starting to think UK won’t follow through with Brexit. Especially since Cameron didn’t trigger Article 50 immediately.

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