The referendum was lost some time ago. At its most superficial it was lost because the EU failed to give Cameron enough to take back from the negotiating table in the form of plausible and sustainable gains for the UK. It was lost because Labour’s leadership catastrophically failed to join a unified platform until the last few days of the campaign and failed to communicate to its electorate a coherent and plausible narrative of the EU and its future. It was lost because of the years of austerity policies championed by Cameron and Osborne which have left peoples’ living standards suppressed and many marginalised. It was lost because it became a referendum about immigration and peoples’ fears, the latter worked on and stirred by right wing politicians from the Conservatives and UKIP projecting these fears into false utopias of an independent Britain, independently wealthy. And it was lost because these fears of the unknown and the Other played into the voting preferences of older generations.
ByManuel Muniz On
On 23 June, the British people voted to leave the European Union. Against all odds and, above all, against all reason, one of Europe’s most moderate and pragmatic of peoples has decided to disregard overwhelming evidence that such a decision would have negative consequences for the country. Almost the entirety of the country’s intellectual, economic and political establishment had explicitly opposed Brexit. There had been letters by Nobel laureates detailing the cost to UK research of a ‘Leave’ vote, a public statement by over 250 academics to the same effect, the official opposition of most British businesses as well as an avalanche of expert reports indicating the significant economic cost of leaving the world’s largest single market. In political terms, the ‘Remain’ campaign had the formal support of the country’s four largest political parties, of the Tory-led national government and of a plethora of international leaders, including the President of the United States. But, as Michael Gove, a Brexit supporter, recently said: “People in this country have had enough of experts”. He was, of course, right.