Financial, political, and even an unsettling degree of social chaos still reign a full week after Britain’s shocking vote to leave the European Union, however amongst this turmoil a clearer picture is emerging as to why the “Leave” campaign won. Down below are four explanatory points made by The Economist in its much longer June 25, 2016 online article, “After the vote, chaos”
- One is that, despite repeated warnings from an alphabet soup of national and international bodies—the Treasury, the IMF, the OECD, the CBI, the NIESR, the IFS and others— that the economy would suffer as Brexit led to lower trade, less investment and lower growth, many voters were unimpressed because they did not feel the economy worked for them now.
- Leavers also took on a strong anti- establishment tone, championing losers from globalisation and fiscal austerity. That message chimed well with Labour voters in northern England, who backed Leave unexpectedly heavily. The division between London, which voted strongly for Remain, and the north, which did the reverse, reveals a sharply polarised country, with a metropolitan elite that likes globalisation on one side and an angry working class that does not on the other.
- The Leave campaign also won on immigration. Mr Cameron was unable to say how he could meet his twice-promised target of reducing the net annual number of immigrants to “the tens of thousands” so long as Britain was bound by the EU principle of the free movement of people. Remainers failed to convince voters that EU migrants brought economic benefits, or to explain that more than half the 330,000 net immigrants in 2015 came from outside the EU. The Leave slogan that Britain should “take back control” of its own affairs from Brussels worked especially well on this issue. It even trumped Mr Cameron’s case that Brexit would be bad for security; voters chose to believe instead that more migration might let terrorists slip in.