Let me outline why Brexit is based on ignorance. The list I provide is not in any order of importance:
British self importance, born out of their past feats of empire and now that empire diminished, has led to a nation feeling less being a sole powerful nation. Britain was once the whole puzzle while now it is just a piece of the puzzle. Britain was once in control of everything Britain and controlled a very large empire. Now, as part of the EU, it has been forced to minimized their national ego by being just a part of a larger organization. For some, leaving the EU places the destiny of England back into the hands of the people and that is the attraction for some voters. Problem with this thinking is that the world has changed and people need to shift with it. Alliances thwart war. Alliances increase commerce and thus national economic growth and help individual prosperity. No borders should be the new norm between nations. This is the reason why young people have an advantage of not being stuck with what may have been correct in the past for England. The younger voter rejected Brexit as has been measured in studies.
Immigration “problem” is seen as being out of Britain’s control when the EU demands open borders. The EU nations share open inter-state borders as part of the Schengen Agreement, allowing free flow of people between nations
The major influx has come from non Christian nations of Africa and parts of the Arab world. Open borders threaten the religious purity because those coming from Africa and the middle east typically embrace Islam, not Christianity. Then there is the white supremacist population that looks down upon anyone not of the same culture.
The Brexit vote reveals a very common pattern throughout the world where rural voters are less sophisticated, even less intelligent, not from IQ but from lack of education and way less interaction with other cultures as is the case in cities. This “problem” has been in place in Turkey, United States, Philippines and other nations.
The rural less intelligent vote is partly responsible for the rise of right wing movements toward totalitarianism. The “ME” feelings gives the citizen a stronger sense of self and results in the feeling of us being protected against them. This plays into the hands of the right wing politicians of any country as this base of me first supporters can be very resolute and a core adherent for a politician. Donald Trump and the US Republican Party is a very good example of a politician and party gaining resolute adherence from the white supremacist element.
Rural voters may be more prejudice than city dwellers because rural folk have way less contact with different background people. This has possibly led some voters to think in terms of raising borders again:
- Donald Trump in the United States
- Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Hungary.
- “President Recep Tayyip Erdogan counts on pious conservative voters in the Anatolian hinterland to overwhelm his secular and left-leaning opponents, who live disproportionately in the country’s coastal cities.” (The Washington Post)
Once again, the feelings of ME against the OTHERS is attractive to some voters.
Young voters are more sophisticated than their parents for a number of reasons. The young have left colleges and universities with fresh knowledge and in some cases better facts and fresher outlooks. The young have less ties with the past mainly because they just landed here and have newer views of their environment. The young have accepted more the new forms of social media, which alone is a significant force upon the citizens.
“The broad consensus among economists is that Brexit will likely reduce the UK’s real per capita income in the medium term and long term, and that the Brexit referendum itself had damaged the economy.” (Wikipedia)
Summary: The British were sold the Brexit idea from the old guard, individuals that apparently may have self serving and flawed, skewed views of their country’s destiny. This rather ignorant idea started from politicians who have ideological beliefs rather than humanistic goals. Then, it got traction with the general public due to societal flaws, outlined above, deficiencies that are shared with many other nations such as rural ignorance, me vs we politics, national pride, etc.
- EU Referendum Results: https://www.bbc.com/news/politics/eu_referendum/results
- Trump isn’t the only one who wants to build a wall. These European nations already did: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2018/05/24/donald-trump-europe-border-walls-migrants/532572002/
- Brexit votes by age: https://www.statista.com/statistics/567922/distribution-of-eu-referendum-votes-by-age-and-gender-uk/
- The growing urban-rural divide in global politics: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2018/08/09/growing-urban-rural-divide-global-politics/?utm_term=.38d4eb67d67b
- Smarter People Are More Likely To Move To Cities: https://www.popsci.com/article/science/smarter-people-are-more-likely-move-cities