The Guardian: Brexiteers tapped into worst forms of nationalism, and won

Liverpool World Museum, 11March2015, Photo: Anthony Moretti

A columnist at the Guardian laments that too many people in the United Kingdom fell prey to the worst kind of nationalism in supporting Brexit. And now it’s too late.

To cause sufficient numbers to believe that the source of all their grievances is some hostile outside element is the oldest trick in the populist handbook. As Trotsky was for Stalin, as the USA is for the mullahs of Iran and Gülen is for Erdoğan, so Brussels has served its turn.

Hedge fund owners, plutocrat donors to the cause, Etonians and newspaper proprietors cast themselves as enemies of the elite. More magic dust. The claim that the Northern Ireland issue has been settled is a dangerous pretence. We have witnessed reasoned argument’s fall from grace. The Brexit impulse had strong elements of blood-and-soil, with hints of Empire nostalgia. Such spooky longings floated high above mere facts.

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