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Brexit bottom line: EU worked for the elite, but not for the British people
Which is why the elite don't see what the problem is.
To listen to the howling and wailing from the political and media elites, you’d think the British people were forcing their government to close all the hospitals and burn all the schools down. The reaction to Britain’s exit from the European Union has been that over-the-top hysterical.
The British Empire survived for many centuries before anyone ever conceived of the EU – which was only established in 1993 – and I think it can probably do just fine once again not being a member of it. But you’d never know it to see the reaction to the Brexit vote. It’s as if no nation ever survived independently without being part of a massively bureaucratic international body that insisted on telling all its member states what policies they were and were not free to adopt.
Political and financial elites have a lot more faith in massive multinational institutions than I do. The EU gives them access to power and influence at very high levels, and they never like it when that influence is diminished – as it certainly is by Brexit’s passage. It’s not as if Lichtenstein pulled out. This is Great Britain. One of the real powers – economically, militarily and culturally – in that part of the world.
And ultimately, that’s why 52 percent of the British people voted to leave the EU. No one denies that the EU needs Britain, and is far weaker and less effective without it. But no one really made a convincing case to the British people that they needed the EU.
We told you back in January about Britain’s frustration with trying to put a stop to the insane idea of taxpayer-funded income supplements for immigrants, and the difficulty of ending this practice precisely because of its membership in the EU. It was a great example of how being in the EU simply didn’t permit Britain the freedom and autonomy to decide what was best for itself – and in the end the British public decided it had had enough.
Will Britain’s exit cause problems for the international financial elites? Yes it will. Will it roil financial markets? For a while, probably, although I don’t think the long-term effect will be anywhere near as catastrophic as people are claiming. In fact, I think markets will adjust to the new reality of an EU-independent Britain quite nicely.
The U.S. and Britain will almost certainly work out a new free-trade deal independent of what we’ve worked out with the EU. The Brits never adopted the euro so they won’t have to worry about changing their currency. Britain is still part of NATO so there’s no change to that crucial defense alliance.
But even if Brexit does cause problems for the elites, why is that the concern of the British public? The EU has not worked for the people, and the people have told the elites they will no longer accept it as it is. If other countries follow, as we’re hearing could happen soon with France and perhaps Italy, then that will mean the people of those countries made a similar judgment about their own best interests.
The elites tend to like to instruct the general public about what is the correct thing for them to do. Barack Obama tried doing that with the British public, and at least one chap told an interviewer it was Obama’s butting in that pushed him to the “leave” side. But the people know their own best interests, and if the elites’ schemes aren’t benefiting them, it’s not up to the people to put up with it for the sake of the elites and their comfort.
The EU might have worked for British politicians and some of that nation’s financial elites. But it didn’t work for normal people, and that means Britain’s leaders are going to have to come up with a better idea whether they like it or not.
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