Brexit and the institution of disintegration as structural change…

There’s been so much good writing over the weekend since Friday, I’m going to revert to an earlier approach to blogging and try to keep things short and snappy, First up is Mark Leonard talking on Friday morning to Uri Friedman…

…the basic mindset of Europeans has changed. Instead of thinking about the EU as a universal project, which would change everyone else, they’re starting to think about the EU as a fragile, exceptional project that needs to be defended from others.

These changes to the external environment have come at a time when, domestically, a lot of countries have been under a lot of economic pressure with the [European economic] crisis, even in countries like Britain that were very affected by the [2008] global financial crisis and introduced [government budget] austerity as a result.

One of the other consequences of 1989, of [EU] enlargement, was that you get these large flows of people. That is another way that people think that they are being shaped—that they’re becoming minorities in their own countries and there are people coming in and changing the nature of the country. That’s one of the slogans here: “I want my country back.”

Some of these [trends] are just cyclical, but when you make a decision like the decision that the British public took yesterday, it’s quite difficult to overturn. Your cycle can become a structural change quite easily, if it becomes enshrined by a referendum.

And for me, this is the real deal, at least within the borders of the UK…

The other element I didn’t predict [in 2005] was the collapse of representative democracy, which is happening everywhere. We’re seeing all elites in all developed countries going through this crisis.

In a lot of countries like the U.S., with [Donald] Trump, it’s kind of contained, whereas in the U.K., in the EU, because countries are interdependent, it can actually start to undermine the EU. And that’s one of the dangers now—that after a cycle of integration and of optimism, we’re in the midst of a cycle of disintegration and pessimism. These things can become self-reinforcing.

For those who haven’t yet, check out Paul Evans popular and much read “Why Referendums Should Be Banned“.

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