Growing up

The vote to Leave was as much a statement about Britain's national identity, and all that involves, as it was about its economic decline and political future.

Although Britain counted among the three victors of the Second World War, the country was bankrupt and exhausted, but it held the moral high ground for initially  standing alone against the Nazis. Economically it was a defeated country, only kept going  with the aid of US lend lease and then Marshall Aid.  Britain still had to come to terms with the end of its Imperial global power and rather than investing Marshall Aid, of which it was the largest recipient among all the European countries, in revitalising industry as Germany did, the then Labour government chose to spend it on defence to bolster its delusion of continuing as a world power. 

Subsequent Conservative and Labour governments continued to believe that Britain had a world power role and this echoes on today as part of  the real core of Brexit antagonism to membership of the European Union. Brexit support is strongest from conservative voters aged over 65 who have a gut feel that UK is tops. This group and the Brexiteers cannot reconcile themselves to the reality that the days when Britain's could flex its military muscle and when its heavy industries provided secure employment and its products dominated trade across the globe are long gone.

As Kipling wrote in 1897 " Far-called, our navies melt away; On dune and headland sinks the fire; Lo, all our pomp of yesterday; Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!". Brexit is the last gasp of a group clutching at the fading wisps of Britain's imperial past, as a talisman against the modern world with its internet based multinationals and the rising industrial giants of China and countries like India, which in the past were part of the Empire. Brexit will not reverse the fortunes of the Britain economy.  

When voters adjust to Britain's real position in the world then Brexit support will dwindle and fade. European countries realised decades ago that the days of the world domination were over, but many of the older generation in Britain still cling onto its comfort blanket of the past.

Its time to move on, listen to those in business and manufacturing and let everyone including our expats in Europe have the final say on the Brexit deal in a People's Vote.


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  • David Daniels