The Meaning and Meaninglessness of Brexit…

I don’t vote in British elections because I don’t live in Britain. Even if I did, however, I would have had a tough time choosing between Leave and Remain. The problem with the Leave campaign, I think, is that it played on grievances that are far bigger than the European Union and that will “remain” whether or not we sally forth. Take immigration. EU immigration has more economic advantages and fewer disadvantages than non-EU immigration. EU migrants, by and large, are more assimilable to our culture than men and women from other countries. Poles, Czechs and Hungarians are very rarely terrorists. This is not to claim that there is no reason to be critical of the Schengen Agreement but that it is less significant than many have proposed.

My doubts have not been assuaged by the shrill and unconvincing triumphalism of the Brexit crowd; wallowing in the superficial patriotic symbolism of blue passports and royal yachts in what is hard to see as anything but an attempt to distract themselves and us from the potential economic disasters ahead. Gerald Howarth, for example, has said that the decommissioning of the Royal Yacht Britannia was “one of the darkest moments of my political life”. Putting this minor event into the same conversation as, say, the attack on London by Islamic militants, the national disgrace of the Iraq invasion, is astonishingly childish.

The EU debate was, in a sense, an excuse to have an argument – an argument  it could not resolve. Good or bad, however, the consequences will be no less real.

About bsixsmith

I am a writer of stories and poems - published by Every Day Fiction, The London Journal of Fiction, 365 Tomorrows and Det Poetiske Bureau - and a columnist for Quillette, Areo and Bombs & Dollars.
This entry was posted in Britain, Europe, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Meaning and Meaninglessness of Brexit…

  1. Asteri says:

    I essentially agree with this. Though I didn’t have a vote, if I did, I would have been a reluctant, nose holding, remainer; just because seeing as the UK has been a member for 43 years it may as well stay. As much as I enjoyed the defeat and indignation of the metropolitan, London centered, elites, I suppose it wasn’t worth it just to see them lose. The UK has been the main instigator of much of what is bad about the EU and globalism in general, and I dont see that changing with BREXIT. I actually support having another referendum on the issue in the next 2 years so people can finally decide based on the consequences.


    • bsixsmith says:

      Yeah, I can’t claim to be above tribalism – I enjoy mocking liberal hand-wringers as well. But I’m not sure there was enough justification for juggling the economy above the toilet.


  2. Pingback: An Election Pre-Mortem… | Wandering Near Sawtry

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