[guest post by JVW]
In the wake of last night’s historic referendum on leaving the European Union, the people of Great Britain woke up this morning to find that they are the scourge of of all “responsible thinking” people in the faculty lounges, boardrooms, and grand salons of the cultured world. Here’s a round-up of obnoxious opinion:
The Boston Globe editorial board spewed out a typically pretentious and predictably dull-witted editorial, beginning with a reference to Shakespeare and then discussing the geography of the Calais-to-Dover channel crossing before finally getting around to their main argument for why the EU is so indispensable, because in their minds it has kept the peace: “The entire project was designed to use economics to prevent armed conflict. That worked.” I’m sure the people of Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Croatia would find that to be an interesting assertion. But let’s set that aside for a moment. It is true that since the founding of the European Union that Germany has not invaded France or Belgium, but that might be more aptly attributed to the 60,000 U.S. troops stationed in Europe than all the striped-pants set in Brussels. The heart of the editorial is a boring recitation of the opportunities and challenges facing the EU and was clearly written when the outcome was in doubt. I read it so that you don’t have to, and I would never recommend that anyone waste their time with it.
The Economist also has their callow young writers all hot and bothered over what they characterize as a “senseless, self-inflicted blow.” They forecast nothing but gloom and doom: “As confidence plunges, Britain may well dip into recession. A permanently less vibrant economy means fewer jobs, lower tax receipts and, eventually, extra austerity. The result will also shake a fragile world economy.” Oh my: the cheeky lads and lasses located outside of the major urban centers have managed to steer the ship of state straight into the shoals! The fabulously wealthy Europhiles like author J.K. Rowling are just besides themselves at the insolence. Why, from now on they may have to stand in the non-EU passport control line on the way to their chalets in the Mediterranean.
The Nation tries heroically to reconcile their populist pretentions (close to half of Labour voters may have cast their ballot for Brexit) with proper deference to the opinion of progressive elites, so they attribute the result to a combination of backlash against so-called economic austerity and those twin leftist warhorses racism and nativism. That’s certainly a lot more comforting that having to question the efficacy of trans-national government by a largely unelected and unaccountable elite.
Prime Minister David Cameron has manfully announced his resignation, despite some desire among his supporters for him to stay on. Opposition leader Jeremy Corbin, whose commitment to the Remain cause has been called into question, is resisting calls from restless members of his coalition to resign. President Barack Obama, after raising eyebrows by wading into the debate with a veiled threat demanding Britain to stay in the EU, now insists that he’s totally cool with the decision and that the vote shows how globalization has left some behind. File this in the “No shit, Sherlock” category, where so many of Obama’s pronouncements tend to land these days.
Markets are taking a beating, the pound is falling, and Britain might now be a really good summer travel location. This promises to get more and more interesting as events continue to unfold.