It has finally happened. 47 years and one month after the UK joined the EEC, it has quit that body’s successor institution, the EU. As someone who often wrote “Unio Europaea Delenda Est” on my former blog I’m glad the UK has left in large part because I hope it will be the start of the entire project unraveling. More importantly, as far as I am concerned, democracy happened. It was a close run thing. The Remainer elites did their best to ignore or overturn the vote, in much the same way that their colleagues in other EU nations had ignored the expressed wishes of their populations.  This time, thanks in large part to a number of Tory toffs – not people that one might have expected to sympathize with ‘deplorables’, the metropolitan elites failed. And that is something that seems to be unique in Europe (and possibly the world as the US equivalents of Boris Johnson & co are all Never Trumpers).

Anyway. we’re out. Farewell, Adios, Tschuss and

The historians and so on will probably debate endlessly who was responsible for what, but I think we can name the main heroes of Brexit.

First of course is Nigel Farage. While numerous people on the political fringes, from hard core socialists to the libertarian Thatcherite wing of the Tory party had severe and sincere reservations about the EU, the bloke who was able to articulate the message that the UK did not belong in the EU the best was Nigel Farage. Not only that, but he managed to figure out how to get elected to the European Parliament and that gave him a platform and resources that would have been hard to get otherwise. Farage was, in biblical terms, the prophet crying out in the wilderness “make straight the way of the Lord” Had he not been there and done that I cannot see how the EU would have become the focus of the discontent felt by so many at the way the new globalist metropolitan elite was profiting at the expense of everyone else. If you look at, say, France you see exactly the problem. The Gilets Jaunes are protesting much the same problems but they don’t have a leader who can make a sane argument for Frexit or proper reform of the French state. As a result the French electred Macro who is, as I said at the time, a fake outsider created and supported by the French elite.

The second hero is Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage is a middle class chap who went to a decent London independent school. Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson on the other hand went to Eton, the most famous independent school in the country, and then to Balliol College, Oxford to read Classics. This is what the British upper-classes do if they are smart enough (and make no mistake Boris is very smart). Boris’ path to the heights of political power has not been entirely standard, but his acts and antics as Mayor of London during the Olympics got him well known as a respectable and successful politician. Thus his commitment to Leave in the referendum was key to making the Leave side respectable and visible. Without Boris as the figurehead the Leave campaign would probably have struggled to get the media coverage it needed. Then, of course, after the referendum and the disaster of May he managed to actually do the hard work and negotiate an adequate exit treaty.

Both of these men were key to the success of Brexit but neither was sufficient. Not even both together. Boris’ eminence grise Dominic Cummings was probably the key man in the leave campaign who actually got the vote out. Cummings is another toff, albeit one from “oop north”, who also went to an independent school (Durham, which is some 25 years older than Eton) and Oxford. His key skill was attention to detail and ruthless efficiency, his two key skills were attention to detail and ruthless efficiency and connecting with the Northern working classes, amonsgt his key skills (err sorry ignore the Spanish inquisition sketch). Cummings is a fascinating man, he desperately wants to reform the civil service and get it to actually deliver service to the public and since he’s just as smart as Farage and Johnson, he realized that step one of the process had to be to remove it from the deathly embrace of the Eurocrats.

Finally there are the “Spartans” – the Tory MPs of the ERG faction that were key to sinking May’s disastrous deals and then her prime ministership. Again many (such as Jacob Rees-Mogg who wrote this gem of a column recently) are from the upper classes. A lot of them are unreconstructed Thatcherites (like me) which is interesting because they are going to now be working with Johnson and Cummngs who are anything but.

So what will Brexit mean?

In the short/medium term I see potential benefits to the UK but also potential losses. It will mostly depend on what actually ends up being negotiated for the next 11 months and whether Boris Johnson’s government can take advantage of the flexibility of not having to follow EU regulations on everything from bananas to buses

The main benefit I see is a process one in that that the government actually (finally) delivered on what it said it would and didn’t ignore the clearly expressed will of the people. If the referendum result had not been honoured then there would have been a serious loss of trust in government. That same trust is exactly what the EU lacks having told various countries to vote again when their referenda on EU treaties etc. saw them rejected (and in the case of the Lisbon treaty flagrantly rules lawyering around the previous rejection of the EU constitution). Not to mention heavy handed interventions in the national politics of countries like Italy and Greece. I sincerely hope (but sadly do not expect) that the EU institutions will take note of Brexit and try to reform themselves so as to induce greater popular trust because if the populace don’t have trust in the government then slowly but surely you end up in a failed state of some kind.

The second, longer term benefit is the freedom to choose policies that work for the UK whether or not they also work for other parts of Europe. If you look at the EU one of its major issues has been trying to homogenise the whole continent of Europe. The result has been policies that cause pain in just about every country and, as a result, higher unemployment and lower growth. This is particularly true of the countries that joined the Euro. I don’t see that ending well (in fact we’re already seeing the strains) and the fact that the UK is out of that mess can only be a long term benefit even if it results in shorter term pain.

Anyway for now, Happy Brexit and enjoy the wonderful failures of headlines like this: