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Posted to Samizdata by me on 23rd June 2016: “Well, I dunno”. The link to an image of the Daily Mirror‘s cover for that day showing a deep dark well with the slogan “Don’t take a leap into the dark – vote REMAIN today” seems to have died, but it can be seen in this collection of front pages from that day compiled by the Atlantic. I was not despairing but definitely a little pessimistic, as were many of the commenters.

But in the wee small hours of June 24th things began to look different: “Well, well, well”.

And in the bright fullness of day: “Now is the winter of our discontent, or perhaps just two very English words”.

30 comments to Brexitalgia

  • Stonyground

    I was a leaver to begin with. I did look at the arguments for remain, because I always try to make informed decisions but I found them unconvincing. One thing that really hardened my decision was the government leaflets, that were supposed to be informing me about the referendum, were prosletising to me that I should vote remain. I do wonder how many of the undecided voters were persuaded to vote leave because of said prosletising. It certainly pissed me off, I thought that it was completely out of order.

  • Beedle

    I do wonder how many of the undecided voters were persuaded to vote leave because of said prosletising. It certainly pissed me off, I thought that it was completely out of order.

    That would be me. I was a reluctant remainer right up until the last week. The more insane and hysterical the rhetoric got, the more I started to wonder. And then a leaflet came through my door promising asteroid strikes and tsunamis if I didn’t vote remain. And I realised I’d paid for this fucking leaflet with my taxes.

    Fuck. You.

    I voted leave. And I’m really glad I did.

  • Lee Moore

    Following Stonyground and Beedle, I’m fairly confident that Remain shot itself in the foot with its ridiculous doom-mongering. As well as the irritation-at-being-taken-for-an-idiot factor, I think there’s also the factor that played big in the 1975 referendum. In 1975, the “No” side were successfully painted as, and in some cases were, lunatics. But in 2016, for some strange reason, the “Remain” side decided to paint itself as a bunch of lunatics. I feel confident that there’s a sizeable chunk of the electorate that opposes government by lunatics, and you don’t want to alienate that chunk.

    Natalie’s “Well, well, well” link leads to another link to Chris Hanretty who had a site doing some sums predicting the result. When it’s all over and he’s sadly (as a Remainer) signing off, he comments :

    In particular, I’m disappointed that the referendum has been won by a campaign both mendacious and nasty.

    I smiled – not schadenfreudistically – but simply because…well, motes and beams and all that.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    I wonder how many Europeans are glad that the UK is out, and how many are sad? Not the EU state, but the people? Germany can now get that EU army that it keeps asking for, and maybe Frankfurt will become the finance center of Europe. However, some parts of France also wish to leave the EU, and not all of Italy or Greece likes the EU either. None have yet left, but will they?

  • Hugh

    Stonyground “..pissed me off..”

    I remember the “Fact Sheets” in 1975. They decided me to vote ‘No’.

  • Roué le Jour

    And yet no one mentioned the strongest argument to remain, if we leave the EU will try to destroy us.

  • Lee Moore

    That’s a sunk cost, Roué old son. That was also the plan for if we Remained.

  • Tim the Coder

    Well Roué, we’ll just have to make it 3-Nil then.

  • Patrick

    RLJ – The concept of ‘ever closer union’ is expressly designed to eradicate the great historic nation states of Europe and replace them with an undemocratic monster. And it’s succeeding.
    For Britain? No. Fucking. Way.
    Anybody who likes Remain simply doesn’t respect the concept of democracy.

  • I’ve been a supported of leaving the EU since the early 1990’s, probably going back as far as St. Margaret of Thatcher’s trip to Bruges although I was never a Tory and never a fan of Nigel Farrage or UKIP either.

    I was a part of Dominic Cumming’s “Vote Leave” organisation to try and convert my locals here in Perth,Scotland into Leavers. Not very successfully, admittedly, since the Remain side thrashed us here 60/40, but it was better than the 80/20 we were expecting and every “Leave” vote counted.

    5 years on I have no regrets and while I didn’t much enjoy the road we travelled to BRExit (most of which was a waste of time and money), we seem to have got there in the end, so I’m happy.

    As for the efforts at “Rejoin”, well the EU’s ability to shoot itself in the foot is eternal and Lord Ashcroft’s recent poll shows that the number still supporting Leave or Remain is pretty static, so I can’t see any chance of that happening before the EU itself collapses in the next decade or two.

    As for bonus items, by Labour continually choosing positions AGAINST a big chunk of their own Labour voters, they are the one’s who have destroyed the Red Wall, not BoJo the Clown of Downing Street. So that was nice as well. Even Sir Keir Hardie’s attempts to move past BRExit are falling on deaf ears because the Islington Activist Army won’t let it go.

    Matters could have been a lot worse.

  • Ferox

    I haven’t been following the news about Brexit over here (and our media are inveterate liars anyway) so: what’s the status of the actual departure?

    The last I heard the Eurocrats in Brussels were threatening dire consequences if Britain didn’t agree to essentially continue on as though they were still members of the EU.

    Are you well and truly out now?

  • Are you well and truly out now?

    Yes, but the transitional arrangements over what to do with Northern Ireland (which was always a poison pill, if not a poisoned chalice) continue to be a source of contention, mostly though the comeback is on the EU and is almost free publicity and PR for BoJo the idiot in Clowning Street. Even the EU seems to have realised that their ongoing spiteful behaviour is only hurting themselves and benefiting their enemy (Boris and the UK), so it looks like another temporary compromise will be negotiated until Macron has another bad round of polling and decides to threaten another “French Non” against BoJo and the UK at which point it will all kick off again.

    The biggest problem for the EU is that their worst predictions for what would happen post-BRExit have evaporated like morning mist and their weak, slovenly and late response to COVID-19 has only further illustrated their incompetence and the sheer dead-weight of the EU bureaucracy. If there was a tipping point between EU enlargement and EU collapse, it was probably back in 2007, nobody other than the already worse Balkan states would be prepared to insert themselves into the EU’s hot mess as it stands right now and given their route of “ever closer union”, can’t see it happening in the future either.

    As for “Who will be the next country to depart the EU?”, I bet that is something which keeps the various EU presidents up at nights, because with contributions increasing across the board for EU members and benefits decreasing it is only a matter of time before some opportunist Prime Minister decides the way to save himself and his party from losing the next election is to have a referendum on leaving the EU. It probably won’t happen now or even soon, but give it another 5-years and relative post-BRExit success and somebody is going to make a break for the exit. Probably Hungary or even the entire Visegrád Group (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia).

    Even further departures wouldn’t kill the EU stone dead, but like all progressive projects, without momentum it cannot survive and who the hell wants to be part of some Greater German Union if they pay all the bills, get none of the benefits and the Germans are the ones making the rules solely for their own benefit?

    This is not a recipe for survival, nor even long term stagnation.

  • Lee Moore

    The biggest problem for the EU is that their worst predictions for what would happen post-BRExit have evaporated like morning mist

    It has to be said that if one is firmly committed to the “deliberate release” theory of Covid, then simply from the point of view of motive, Boris has got to be the number one suspect. Any economic Brexit wobbles – of which there were bound to be some – have been totally swamped by the Covid + Covid response tsunami.

    Boris can certainly be blamed for the economic effects of the nutty lockdown, but since the oppo are just as nutty, by which I mean eve nuttier, he probably won’t be (except on Samizdata.)

  • Stonyground

    Aren’t the Germans the ones who contribute the most to the EU budget? This might be OK while they have a really robust economy, but the Greens seem to be really big there and there rush towards zero carbon seems to be even more batshit crazy than ours. These people shut down their nuclear power industry in case there is a tsunami. How will the German economy fair when their industry is paying through the nose for intermittent electricity and they are trying to distribute their goods with electric lorries?

  • Aren’t the Germans the ones who contribute the most to the EU budget?

    Sure, but they weren’t prepared to make up the shortfall from the UK’s lost contributions and these have been shared out across the remaining EU’s members turning members who were previously net recipients into net contributors. This includes countries in the former Eastern block who aren’t rich by any means.

    Along with the conflict over the EU’s socially liberal agenda and attempting to force this agenda onto socially conservative countries (especially over freedom and LGBT type issues), many of these countries are asking themselves whether the cost of EU membership is worth it, especially if a country can leave the EU and thrive as the UK appears to be set to.

    Only time will tell though and BRExit has only really started.

    Any economic Brexit wobbles – of which there were bound to be some – have been totally swamped by the Covid + Covid response tsunami.

    Sure and BoJo will claim any positive news as “a BRExit dividend” and any negative news as “COVID after effects”, not because it’s true, but because that is what any chancer would do and BoJo is King of the Chancers.

    I look forward to more “despite BRExit” headlines in The Grauniad.


  • john in cheshire

    I pray for the godless, the pagans in our midst.
    I truly pray they come to our saviour Jesus .
    But if they reject Him. so be it. Can I do more?

  • As somebody across the pond, currently enjoying the 108°F (568°Ra or 34°Re for you Brits/Euros out there. [fine. 42°C]) in the Big Valley of Sacramento I had, as they say, no horse in this race. If I did it would be “Leave, dammit, and Leave quickly!”.

    That being said I have seen a lot of complaints from my fellow IT professionals on UK IT sites like “The Register” about the Brexit. You’d think there would be more libertarian types among the IT pros, but I guess too many of their paychecks come from global companies.

  • bobby b

    If you’ve read Stephen King’s “The Stand”, you’ll note that most IT types chose Randall Flagg’s realm.

    This fit nicely with my opinion that (most) IT types like order. Flagg made the trains run on time.


  • @Bobby B – Contrariwise, maybe those “IT types” didn’t want to be part of a “democratic” theocracy?

    I mean, your enemy is always cast as “The Devil” (Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, etc), so when the real anti-Christ comes along, how are you supposed to know?

    Maybe they just wanted to have electricity, air conditioning, cold beer and the chance to get laid?

  • bobby b


  • Mark

    If you can’t tell who the anti-christ is, it’s you!

  • bobby b

    John Galt – a quick money-making idea – write The Stand II, from the viewpoint of a couple of good people on the other side from Mother. A great commentary on viewpoint demonization.

    (I get 2% of writer share for the idea!)

  • James Hargrave

    Matthew Iskra.

    Floreat Rankine; floreat Reaumur. Anything but Centigrade.

  • Paul Marks

    The United Kingdom now has the legal power to “Set the People Free” (as Winston Churchill put it in the election campaign of 1951 – his last campaign) and sweep away the web of regulations and laws – the European Union has no legal power to stop us.

    But do we have the POLITICAL WILL to do so?

    Where is the Prime Minister who will answer the “experts” and officials when they they say the fatal words “but it is POLICY”?

    Where is the Prime Minister who will tell the “experts” and officials to GO AWAY – and face being reported for “bullying” which is against the “ministerial code”?

    Yes we are legally out of the European Union – but we are still under the endless regulations of international “governance”.

    I did not vote for Klaus Schwab and the World Economic Forum, and the Corporate “Stake Holders” – with their “Build Back Better” totalitarian “Great Reset”.

    No one voted for them – they have NO RIGHT TO RULE.

    “But minister it was all agreed as far back as 1992 – when John Major agreed to Agenda 21….”.

    No Parliament may bind future Parliaments – use the Agenda 21 – Agenda 2030 documents to light a fire.

    A fire to get rid of all these laws, regulations and “policies”.

  • The first newspaper front page shown in Natalie’s Atlantic link shows a dire warning from The Metro to vote Remain because otherwise


    The Remoaners EU-turned on that pretty quickly. 🙂

    Due more to my optimistic temperament than to any inherited Celtic second sight, I was always (nervously) confident about the vote itself. The spectacle of the UK ‘elite’ trying to reject the result was, if anything, more alarming, even though, for the same reason, I was (nervously) confident that the year 2019 would end better than it began.

    To illustrate my greater nervousness, compare Churchill’s losing the 1945 election to Labour with the idea of Churchill’s losing WWII to Hitler. Labour enforced tougher rationing than during the war, tried hard to have the government assign people to jobs in a peacetime conscription, etc., and while that has ended, other things they started persist – but it was better to lose an election than to lose the ability to have meaningful elections. The ‘elite’ attempt to end meaningful democracy is widespread. I am glad of its reverses in the UK.

  • complaints from my fellow IT professionals on UK IT sites like “The Register” about the Brexit. You’d think there would be more libertarian types among the IT pros (Matthew H Iskra, June 24, 2021 at 10:23 pm, and others in response)

    1) I spent the Monday following the vote at a small meeting of IT professionals in London, working hard with one other guy there to drag the discussion repeatedly back to progressing the meeting’s purpose instead of discussing Brexit. The meeting was split almost exactly 50-50, with a significant correlation between ‘native British accent’ and ‘pro-Leave sentiment’ versus ‘foreign accent’ and ‘pro-Remain sentiment’ (some of it explicit Remoaner sentiment – one guy with a strong accent was angry at the vote but happily confident that ‘the government’ would of course reverse the result 🙂 ).

    2) People are typically more right-wing about what they know than about what they don’t. IT contains many people who don’t (much) know what they are doing, but good IT professionals use agile methods and expect their first solution to a problem to have a lot wrong with it and need a good deal of refactoring before it does more of what it is supposed to with fewer bugs. I have found it is possible to explain to such people, e.g. the analogy between the tax on refactoring code imposed by static typing and the tax on reworking your business ideas in the real world that is imposed by government regulation. It is more persuasive to speak to people about what they do not know in terms of what they do know.

    3) Those who can code, those who can’t write for the computing press. Not quite true – but I think the public face of computing does not well represent computing whenever it gets near a PC subject. As well as the explicit forces we know, those who have more sense also have the sense to pursue team-work and avoid distracting subjects when in their IT persona.

    Just my 0.02p contribution FWIW to this IT subthread.

  • Paul Marks

    It is not just the United Kingdom that should be independent of the European Union – all nations (all peoples) should be independent of the European Union – which should not exist.

    However, I repeat my warning – there is no point in legal independence if a nation continues to accept the endless regulations of the “international community” as the basis of its laws – of its “policy”.

    The questions “who makes policy?” and “how can we CHANGE policy?” are de facto forbidden in the United Kingdom – and they should NOT be. Indeed they should be basic questions of political discourse.

    In the academic subject of “International Relations” there are two linked schools of thought – the “Federalists” and the “Functionalists”.

    Federalists believe in European and World Government by OPEN means – by elected Parliaments at the European and World Level, and other OPEN institutions subject to democratic politics – they trace their line back to the philosopher Kant and others.

    Functionalists believe in world “governance” (rather than government) – via international agreements of officials and “educated experts”.

    For example, the “legally nonbinding” (till it is made “binding” by local laws and regulations) “Agenda 21” that was agreed in 1992 – I sometimes stupidly type “1991” (because I am thinking of the talks that led up to it – once relatively pro freedom political leaders such as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were no longer on the scene).

    It is not acceptable to have the laws of the nation (down to the local council level) decided by an international agreement that most people have never even heard of – and which is explained away as “just a conspiracy theory” whenever one tries to raise it.

    If such agreements are “just conspiracy theories” then they should have no influence on the laws and regulations of the United Kingdom.

    The establishment must not continue to have it both ways.

    “This is just a conspiracy theory” AND “you must obey this – it is policy”.

    It is one thing or the other – it can not be both.

    If it is “just a conspiracy theory” then we do NOT need to obey it – it should NOT determine our laws and regulations, our “policy”.

    “But President George Herbert Walker Bush and Prime Minister John Major agreed..” so what? They are no longer in office.

    The laws and regulations of the United Kingdom must be nothing to do with the “policy” of an unelected elite of “experts”, and Corporate “Stakeholders”.

    The British people have not voted for “Sustainable Development” (Agenda 21 – Agenda 2030) under Klaus Schwab style “Stakeholder Capitalism” – i.e. the Corporate State. And please note that this agenda started more than 50 years ago – it was not in response to the Global Warming theory, it started BEFORE it.

    Amazon and Google and the other “Woke” Corporations (such as the Credit Bubble banks) should have no more influence on our laws than the corner shop does. And nor should “scientific experts” decide our laws and regulations.

    Saint-Simon and Klaus Schwab can go to Hell – indeed the whole lot of the “Davos” crowd, government and corporate, can go to Hell.

  • Paul Marks

    The West “won the Cold War” in 1989.

    Are we going to accept that we “won the war – but lost the peace” because the Collectivist Agenda 21 (Sustainable Development under Stakeholder Capitalism – i.e. a Mussolini style Corporate State) was agreed a couple of years later? Undermining individual liberty and making democracy (i.e. rule by the people – not the “educated” officials, experts and “stake holders”) a hollow sham.

    No – just no.

  • Elbo Altins

    Here is a link to that Daily Mirror cover image: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cllj-A4WkAAhJDR?format=jpg&name=900×900