Yesterday, Britain was offered a choice between fear and freedom. It chose freedom. Decisively.
As I write, shortly after 6:00 a.m. London time, the tally is not quite complete, but it is already clear that Brexit won by more than one million votes. The projected margin, with only a handful of localities yet to count, is rather more than 52% to nearly 48%. Not an absolute blowout for those who believe Britons ought to be allowed to rule themselves rather than submit, Vichy-like, to unelected commissars in Brussels, but still no squeakeroo, either.
This vote was a mandate for liberty, a rejection of subservience, and above all a rejection of the disgusting moral blackmail of “Project Fear” disseminated by the vested interests of the world establishment.
Britain presides over the world’s fifth-largest economy (edging out France for the spot last year), the fourth- or fifth-largest military, and — it cannot be measured precisely but is nonetheless palpable — a common law tradition that has underwritten democratic institutions, self-rule, and individual liberty.
President Obama, jetting over to lecture the Brits about how they should run their lives, warned that they would go to “the back the queue” in the world’s and in the United States’s favor should they opt to leave the European Union. In fact, Britain has a lot to say about the organization of the queue that is its destiny, and it just demonstrated that it doesn’t need the officious intervention of the worst president in the history of its former colony.
What does Brexit mean? The headline at the Drudge Report crowed “Global Order Jolted.” But it would be more accurate to say that — in the Anglosphere, at least — global order has been restored.
Had Britain voted to remain in the EU, the Anglosphere would have continued, but Britain would have lost its prominent role in it as it slipped more and more into the adipose embrace of the central planners in Brussels.
Doubtless, there will be short-term turmoil. As I write, the pound is off about 10% and nearly everyone expects turbulence in the markets. Long-term, however — and it will not be that long in coming — Britain’s assertion of its right to govern itself will redound to its own and the world’s economic vitality.
The pound will recover — if I were in the currency trading biz, I’d buy Sterling now and for the next couple of weeks — and Britain’s economy, free, free at last from the regulatory nightmare that is a signature of the EU’s despotic regime, will go from strength to strength.
The banks are not going to leave London, England will continue to trade with Europe. It will now also be free to trade as it sees fit with the rest of the world, unencumbered by the myriad protectionist rules stipulated by Brussels.
The winners in last night’s vote are the British people, the British economy, and the tradition of democratic capitalism underwritten by individual liberty and the rule of law.
Who are the losers?
Well, David Cameron is no doubt polishing his resume this morning. [UPDATE: Cameron just announced that he would be stepping down in the next few months.] But the biggest loser is the sclerotic, self-dealing political establishment that transformed the EU from a plan to open markets to a scheme to co-opt freedom and create a self-perpetuating cadre of untouchable elites.
Jean-Claude Juncker has been the president of the European Commission for the last couple of years. He presides over a population of nearly 500 million — well, 500 million minus 64 million as of today.
Do you know how he was elected? He wasn’t.
His fellow commissioners, all baker’s dozen of them, went into a room, closed the door, and appointed him. As with all European commissioners, the people didn’t hire him, nor can the people fire him.
Like all commissioners, he lives tax-free at public expense and enjoys an essentially unlimited expense account.
The EU has never presented the world with a certified budget, because it is so rife with corruption that the accountants cannot get (or are told not to get) to the bottom of it.
Britain’s vote to leave the EU is a historic act. It is a welcome reassertion of freedom and democracy in a world that has been drifting, and sometimes paddling vigorously, in the opposite direction. It is not a final, definitive act. There will be at least two years of negotiations as Britain begins to uncouple itself from the Leviathan of Brussels. There will be much “fletus et stridor dentium” as the Establishment bemoans this blow to its prerogatives. But this assertion of freedom will also have plenty of salubrious emanations and penumbras.
I predict that other countries will eye Britain’s newfound courage enviously, and begin taking back some of their own freedoms.
Brexit might also have the salutary effect of inspiring a little self-reflection on the part of the EU bureaucrats who have grown complacent exercising power without responsibility. With Britain’s example before them, perhaps they will think twice about telling people what sort of bananas they may eat, how to manage their national borders, or whom they may deport.
As Brexiteer Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London (and likely next Tory leader), repeatedly said, the vote to leave the EU was a positive and optimistic act. It was a forward-looking vote of confidence in Britain’s bright future and a proud assertion of its glorious traditions of liberty and economic strength.
This is a great day for Britain and and great day for freedom.