News & Politics

A Remainer's Take on Why Brexit Was Successful

For some reason, many Americans were fascinated by the vote on whether the UK would remain part of the European Union. Many developed opinions about where the nation should land based on their own political ideology.

Now that the vote is over, the post-mortem of the process remains. Many are now espousing opinions on why it happened, and once again many of those opinions are colored by personal ideology.

However, at least one “Remainer” – someone who actually wanted to stay as part of the EU – has offered an interesting take on just why her fellow countrymen decided to jump ship. Bridgette Grantville is a French economist and a self-described internationalist, and her critique is quite interesting.

Granville, now a professor at the University of London’s School of Business and Management, voted for Britain to stay in the EU this week: “I am an internationalist.” But she was nevertheless able to give a scathing account of just how insufferably arrogant, delusional, and power-grasping the EU bureaucracy has become. “This vote represents a revolt against elites who don’t take into account ordinary people or sound economics,” she told me. 

Just ten days ago, Granville attended a major EU conference in Sopot, Poland, where Klaus Regling, the managing director of the European Stability Mechanism, was speaking. “He said things I couldn’t accept about how well the Euro was doing, so I spoke up,” she recalls. “He dismissed me by saying I didn’t know anything about economic history. Afterwards, several bureaucrats sought me out to chastise me for giving him a hard time. The audience was 1,000 people accepting what they were told.”

But what they were told was that Europe was finally returning to growth, monetary stability was being maintained, and the European Union’s plans to expand its powers were on track. That’s not how Granville sees it. 

The United Kingdom, despite its more recent history, is a country filled with defiant people. It’s probably where we Americans get it from. They’re not the kind of people who will take arrogant bureaucrats pushing them for very long.

Plus, when you attack things that the British find almost sacred, that’s not going to help either.

EU officials held off on a proposed crackdown on electric tea kettles and toasters to try and not push the Brexit, but it didn’t work. The British take tea very seriously, so knowing it was hanging out there probably didn’t help.

Maybe the British have their own version of the Boston Tea Party now?