Britain broke free from the European Union because it had become a wellspring of politically correct fanaticism. The free trade benefits EU membership conferred did not require a political settlement that made democratic people supplicants to supranational demagogues. The cupidity of Europe’s self-appointed elite and the arrogance of its unelected bureaucratic class provoked the leave campaign. Brexit hails the return of democracy and reason to Europe.
It is difficult to measure the effect of mass movements in days or weeks. Be in no doubt — Brexit is not a single act, it is a mass movement driven by millions of people passionate about democracy and their contribution to its future. Every mass movement has an iconic moment — a picture that tells a thousand words. Brexit’s iconic image was rock star Bob Geldof on a pleasure cruiser with EU elites sticking two fingers up at a fishermen’s rally for Brexit. The EU’s let-them-eat-bread moment was met with a let them eat Brexit landslide. The largest voter turnout since the 1992 general election returned a decisive victory of 52 per cent for Brexit.
The hard Left has gone into overdrive to revise the reality of Brexit by framing it as xenophobic and demanding another vote. It is a pity it doesn’t reflect on why it lost the vote. The pro-EU rhetorical weapon of choice against Brexit was the race card. People supporting self-determination and sovereign democracy over supranational demagoguery were vilified as racists and xenophobes.
Labour MPs in the Remain camp routinely portrayed Brexiteers as racists. Right-leaning open border advocates claimed xenophobia was the motive force of the Brexit camp. An infamous advertising campaign by Saatchi and Saatchi for pro-EU group Operation Black Vote depicted a white male skinhead threatening a Hindu woman. The image of a black man threatening a white woman has been used by white supremacists for decades and the newer PC version of the meme proved no more edifying.
The use of race as a rhetorical weapon to keep Britons beholden to Eurocrats appears fatuous in the light of truth. The demographic profile of Brexiteers is mixed and their reasons for voting to leave the EU appear varied. The Brexit campaign was led by Boris Johnson, a long-term advocate for free trade and open society. Early research on voting patterns indicate Brexit was borne of an informal alliance between working-class Britons and conservatives, as well as people of diverse faiths. Preliminary Ashcroft polling indicates a smaller difference between the voting pattern of people who support mainstream Left and Right parties than anticipated. Among Labour voters polled, 37 per cent voted to leave the EU while 58 per cent of Tory voters backed Brexit. At the extreme ends, 96 per cent of polled UKIP supporters voted to leave the EU while 75 per cent of Greens voted to remain in it.
The anticipated gender divide in Brexit did not manifest. However, significant differences in the voting patterns of Britons emerge when data is disaggregated by religion and ethnicity. The most polarised ethnic vote was cast by people identifying as Black, 73 per cent of whom voted for Remain, as did 70 per cent of Muslims and Hindus polled. Britons classified as White showed a diverse voting pattern, with 53 per cent voting for Leave. Fifty-eight per cent of Christians, 54 per cent of Jews and 52 per cent of a small Sikh sample polled also voted for Leave.
The principal reason pro-EU voters opted to remain in the union was the perception that leaving posed too great a risk to the economy and jobs. Among Brexit voters, the main reasons cited for leaving the EU were that “decisions about the UK should be taken in the UK” and to regain control over border security.
Brexit signals the return of people power to politics. It would be an error to reduce the decisive victory for pluralistic democracy to a caricature of populism. The broad concern with EU politics is substantial. Its fatal flaw is supranationalism; an anti-democratic form of governance that superseded the transnational trade alliance that formed the basis of the European common market. The pinnacle of EU supranationalism is the European Commission whose unelected membership drafts the laws that govern member states. While legislative proposals are discussed in the European parliament, they are not drafted by elected representatives. As a result, the commission’s prosecution of open borders was perceived broadly as evidence of rule imposed by unelected bureaucrats.
The perception that an unrepresentative elite is ruling the masses without popular consent has proven disastrous for regimes throughout Western history. The EU’s transition from a transnational trading alliance to a supranational bureaucracy may prove to be its undoing. By embracing supranationalism, EU leaders flouted the basic principle of liberal democracy that the people should govern the executive, not the reverse. Brexit is a reveille announcing the dawn of Western Civilisation in the 21st century.
It has returned power to the people in the land of the Magna Carta.