Apocalypse Not

I lived in Britain for seven years in the nineties. It taught me to be cautious when pronouncing on conditions in other countries and to be suspicious of the pronouncements of others. We don't really know very much about a place until we've lived there a long time. This is why when I hear socialists like Bernie Sanders rattling on about the wonders of countries in Scandinavia, I know at once they are political idiots. (Of course when I hear socialists rattling on about just about anything, I know they're political idiots. It's the socialism that gives them away.)

All the same, I couldn't help but be struck by Gerard Baker's description of Brexit in the Wall Street Journal:

The victory for the Leave campaign was perhaps the single largest blow the British populace has delivered to its establishment in modern history. Voters defied the impassioned—and unified—opposition of the leadership of all five major political parties. They rejected the advice of more than 1,200 corporate CEOs, including half of the chiefs of the FTSE 100 companies who wrote to The Times newspaper last week urging rejection of “Brexit.”

Banks in the City of London, one of the world’s major financial centers, along with the Bank of England, the country’s central bank, and most of its influential think tanks and academic institutions, had warned of the risks to the U.K.’s economic security and global financial pre-eminence if Britain did not stay in the EU. A procession of eminent foreigners, from most heads of European governments to James Dimon, the CEO of J.P. Morgan Chase, had urged a vote to stay.

In April, President Barack Obama traveled to London to weigh in, telling British voters that Britain would go to “the back of the queue” in negotiations for trade agreements with the United States if they chose to leave.

All to no avail.