As a British investment adviser it is been painful to read US opinions written to clients in their investment newsletters trying to explain the situation, simplistically explaining it as part of a ‘populist movement’ or worse, as a ‘black swan.’
While the timing coincides with the US election, Brexit has little to do with ‘Trumpist’ ‘populism.’
While issues such as immigration clearly played a part in the pre-referendum debate and are of great concern to voters, the referendum on remaining in the EU has a much longer history.
NO BLACK SWAN
Far from being a black swan event it was entirely foreseeable. It is rather the case that Brexit was a classic example case study of group-think. I attended a breakfast recently with a leading UK private bank where the Forex expert explained that not one client had contacted them concerned about Brexit pre-vote and not one had hedged their position either. Astonishing.
A simple analysis of newspaper backing and circulation figures would have predicted the result in a one man one vote contest regardless of what the experts were saying.
In the previous European elections UKIP scored a record number of MEPs intent on delivering Brexit. Even in the local elections UKIP took a record number of seats – in an area which has nothing to do with Europe or European issues. Cameron had to offer the referendum.
LEAVE = RACIST? NOT ABOUT LITTLE ENGLANDERS
While a great fanfare was made of immigration and implying Leavers were racist nationalists (and many unseemly things were said and done), a Comres poll found that sovereignty was the main issue for Leavers.
Non-white Leave politicians received very little media coverage. Consider the BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people) open letter which was not even featured in the mainstream press which called for a greater openness of borders to Commonwealth countries. Of course the NYT featured the Remain open letter from celebrities and The Guardian featured an open letter from BAME when it concerned minorities in the Arts.
This was consistently the case during the campaign, the media creating a little Englander mentality despite the facts.
Locally, in Windsor, home of HM The Queen, and the constituency of the first Black Conservative MP (Ghanaian heritage and wealthiest self-made MP) who had tried to pressure Cameron into a referendum earlier, voters sided Remain despite giving the Leave MP a 16,000 majority. (However, anecdotally, few of these wealthier people would ever live in a multi-ethnic community e.g. next door in Slough).
The Slough MP on the other hand voted to Remain, while her very ethnically diverse community voted Leave. Slough is home to Asian immigrants from both Pakistan, India, and the West Indies who arrived in the 1960s and even Poles post war (the Madrid train bombers had links to Slough).
Another local MP from Staines, Kwasi Kwarteng, Ghanaian, was also vociferous on the Leave side.
A Polish friend (from Slough) who arrived 10 years ago voted Leave because recent Polish arrivals in his opinion were purely benefit seekers!
One would be forgiven for thinking this was possible if they read the FT, which has been astonishing in its response. They have been in cloud-cuckoo land and received due criticism for their anti-democratic ranting. Brexit means Brexit. There will be no second referendum or Brexit fudge. Consider who Prime Minister May has appointed to lead negotiations. Fox and Davis will not fudge the issue. These are no right wing populists à la La Pen or Poland. Consider Liam Fox’s book.
The question was very clear ‘Should Britain remain in the European Union?’ The UK will leave the European Union. However it can clearly cut any deal it wishes just as the US does with multiple partners. Whatever deal is done, it will be made with Britain outside of the European Union.
I don’t think it is appreciated by Americans how much the European Union has infiltrated our legal system. Our common law system has been integrating European directives and legislation for years which was unsustainable. This is a bit like the Supreme Court considering what UK judges have said in making their decisions. There is just no way that was going to run forever.
BETTER NOW THAN LATER
Leave was always going to happen as I advised my clients. There is simply no way 16 million Britons would have been happy with political union as stated in the Five Presidents report. See comments at the top of page 4 and 5 – ‘successful currency’?! ‘Political Union.’ Brits are like Americans. Can you imagine an American accepting this?
It was there in black and white. However with Project Fear being led by the government, the threat of World War 3 and the undoubted desire not to feel like an isolationist or racist, 16 million were inclined to continue for the time being as things were.
Obsessive Remainers completely missed the point as shown by the Mayor of London’s incredible campaign #Londonisopen (great video however!). That was exactly the point of leave. Globalists would rather the option to do a trade deal with Africa or Asia without the EU interference. Why shouldn’t a Canadian or South African Doctor get a job ahead of a European with less linguistic ability? It could be argued the Remainers are discriminatory versus the rest of the world.
Many experts such as Roger Bootle of Capital Economics believe the UK can thrive outside of the EU. This was no ignorant populist leap in the dark manipulated by the great BoJo as so many genuinely believe.