The common feature of the coalition of voters which came together to support Brexit is that we all want democracy in some form or another. It’s a state of mind. We each have radically different ideas of what ‘democracy’ actually is. Some of us, including other Libertarian Alliance sympathisers, see the other’s definition of ‘democracy’ as ‘fascism and dictatorship’. Others as ‘corporatism or communism’. Yet others, as poimntless ineffective liberalism.
But all of Brexit voters instinctively know, that the idea that anything resembling freedom, democracy, or government by consent, can exist in any environment other than a nation state of manageable proportions, is laughable.
Many continentals don’t see it like this. And from their perspective they are correct. Their recent history is of dictatorship, often cruel, so they think that the best they can hope for is the miniscule degree of democracy and freedom that the EU doles out. In their position I might think the same.
But this is Britain. We haven’t lived like that for hundreds of years. Periods of actual dictatorship in UK history have been rare and short and even then, from the point of view of the peasant in the field, something of an irrelevance. But the emotions run deep in out British mind. The legend of Robin Hood is more about resistance to the (then), recently imposed Norman rule as it is about men in tights cavorting in the forest.
I for example, abhor Corbyn and the Labour Party. But at least I know that if they are in power in a Nation State with it’s own money, there’s a chance I can get rid of them. It’s the same for them. But if you are part of a multi state federation and monetary union there’s no hope of removing your own government. You no longer live in the hope at least, of getting the kind of society you want. Ask the people of Greece.
The blunt truth is, I am willing to accept that my fellow Briton can vote me down, but I am not willing to accept that someone outside the UK can do so. That’s why many who had not voted before, and might not vote again, were willing to make sure they voted for Brexit. They are usually willing to leave political decisions to their neighbours, but they are not willing to leave decisions up to foreigners. They might be apathetic as to who wins elections. But they are not apathetic about retaining democracy itself.
I myself experience this emotion. I particularly dislike the Lib Dems, because although they are much closer to my way of thinking than Corbyn, (and for that metter social conservatives), I fear that they don’t value democracy. I can have a vote to remove Nick Clegg from office, and if I fail, I fail. So be it. But that right has been lost if am governed by thousands of other unelected Nick Clegg clones deriving their authority from the EU.
Democracy and self determination might, to greater or lesser extent, be an illusion, but, when we can see that we might occasionally be able to win an election which affects a change of leader who’s saying something radically different, they are illusions which sustain us. That’s why these international superstates are, unless he can impose order by force, doomed to fail.
Merely voting for Trump and seeing him win, has been a tonic for many American, (and for many elsewhere) and leaves us satisfied. It’s like when, once in a generation, our miserable local football team wins a game agaiast a more successful one. We don’t actually have to like the players. Does it really matter? Yes it does. If our little team has merged with the bigger one we have nothing. Not even hope. It might not matter if Trump us unable to deliver much of what he’s promised
It’s the same with Brexit. Sometimes seeing our smug opponents defeated is reward in itself. Even if freedom and independence is an illusion, many of us prefer to risk being a little bit poorer but free and independent, as opposed to living in a Gilded Cage. No doubt many slaves are better off than many free people. But it’s not a condition any of us are ever satisfied with And the less we have to lose the more likely we are to take the risk.
Materialist ‘liberals’ and socialists will never understand these emotions. That’s why they call us stupid. In their terms perhaps we are. But we have values and a dimension to our thinking, that they don’t. We are possessed of the gift of living with these ideas day in day out. In the end, the remainers have nothing.