Brexit - people and arguments
for and against 

Why did it happen? -  A thematic guide to the UK


Update January 2024

 Brexit:  the UK outside the European Union

   The arguments over Brexit did horrendous damage to the UK, to its social fabric, and to its international reputation. Seven years later, Britain remains deeply divided. Bland words from politicians about "healing the divides" make reassuring soundbites, but have not done much to bring the country back together again.
    Though on paper Brexit may now be "done",  so too is a lot of the damage to the UK economy, to the people of Britain, and to Britain's reputation in the world, and these will take many years to heal. Britain's GDP is unlikely to ever fully make up for the loss sustained in the aftermath of Brexit.
    The "Leave" campaign won the Brexit referendum, but did so by telling a pack of lies and making impossible promises. Dominic Cummings, former director of Vote Leave, has said so himself. The Leave campaign promised that Brexit would bring less bureaucracy; it has brought more. They said that the UK would remain in the European Single Market; it has left. They said Brexit would not cause any travel restrictions between Britain and the UE; it has done just that. They said that Brexit would be a big boost to the British economy; it has done the opposite.
   By the end of 2021, opinion polls regularly suggested that only around a third of British voters thought that Brexit was having positive consequences for the UK.
   Many of the arguments put forward by the Remain campaign in the Referendum campaign in 2016 were ridiculed by the Leave campaign as "Project fear". They are now being seen as "Project reality."
    No major developments are expected on the Brexit situation until after the next General Election, due some time before February 2025. After that – with the Conservatives facing a huge defeat at the polls – Britain's relationship with the EU is likely to develop in a new spirit of collaboration.

Brexit - Britain, Europe and the Conservative Party

For decades, differing opinions about the UK's relationship with the European Union have seriously divided the British Conservative party, and to a lesser extent the Labour Party too.  In 2015, hoping to settle once and for all the in-fighting within his own party, Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron promised a referendum on whether Britain would be better off in or out of the EU. Cameron, a confirmed "remainer", did not think for one minute that British voters would choose to leave the EU. He just wanted to silence the "leavers" in his own party.
    Cameron's decision to hold a referendum was probably the worst political decision in the past two centuries of British history. Although the referendum was "advisory" (the government was not legally obliged to follow public opinion), the result left the government in an impossible situation. Cameron resigned, but did not call a general election. Instead, he left it up to his successors to sort out the mess that he had created. Instead of settling the question of Britain's place in Europe once and for all, the result of the referendum fractured Britain, generating even greater divisions in the Conservative party. 
    The situation got so fractious that before the General Election of December 2019, many leading moderate Conservatives, including former Prime Minister John Major, and Margaret Thatcher's former deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine,  encouraged people to vote for other parties.
    By 2019, most people in Britain were fed up with Brexit and the continuing arguments, allowing the new, populist and generally incompetent  leader of the Conservative Party, Boris Johnson, to sweep to victory in a General Election on a simplistic promise to "get Brexit done".
    He did. After more arguing and more hassle, Britain finally left the EU on 31 January 2020, having agreed a very poor deal with the EU. For Johnson, getting Brexit done was far more important than ensuring a good deal with the EU.
    Within two years, once the negative reality of Brexit became obvious, and the supposed "benefits" failed to materialize, Johnson was in deep trouble. It was not just Brexit, it was his handling of Covid and his personal life that quickly shattered the image of the man who had built his reputation on Brexit.
    Johnson was forced to resign in summer 2022, but the Conservatives are still in power, and the party remains irreparably damaged by the fiasco of the past years.

The rest of this page, dating from before the 2016 referendum, details the arguments presented by the supporters and opponents of Brexit.
For an analysis of the history of Brexit and its background from Churchill to 2023, see Brexit a short history.

This short synthesis of who's who, and the main pros and cons for staying or leaving, was written before the referendum in 2016. The arguments are still valid.

REMAIN - Britain should remain in the EU LEAVE - Britain should leave the EU

The parties (official or majority position before the referendum)

The Conservative Party, the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrat Party, the Scottish Nationalist Party, Plaid Cymru, the Green Party UKIP (UK independence party), the BNP (British National Party), the EDL (English Defence League), the DUP (Democratic Unionists, Ulster), Respect

A few people and personalities...  

Politicians: David Cameron, Jo Cox MP,  Jeremy Corbyn, George Osborne, all living former Prime Ministers,
Personalities:  Bob Geldof, Benedict Cumberbatch, J.K.Rowling, Elton John, Jeremy Clarkson, David Beckham, Victoria Beckham, Simon Cowell, Bear Grylls, John Le Carré, Daniel Craig, Jamie Oliver
Scientists and businessmen: Stephen Hawking ,thirteen UK Nobel-prizewinners, Richard Branson, Alan Sugar, Mark Carney,
And outside the UK
Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Angela Merckel

Post-referendum update 2017:
Kelvin MacKenzie - columnist and former editor of the Sun newspaper, regrets having encouraged people to vote Leave.
Politicians:  Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson, Nigel Lawson, George Galloway, Michael Gove, John Redwood, Lord Owen, Jacob Rees-Mogg,
Personalities:  Ian Botham, Joey Essex,  Katie Hopkins,  Elizabeth Hurley, Joan Collins, Michael Caine
Scientists and Businessmen: Richard Desmond, James Dyson
And outside the UK

Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, French National Front's Marine Le Pen1

Post-referendum update 2017:
Most Conservative MPs and many Labour MPs, starting with Prime Minister Theresa May, have suffered from chronic amnesia, and voted in favour of triggering Article 50... forgetting that they campaigned against Brexit in the referendum campaign nine months earlier.

Voter groups according to opinion poll surveys : majority voting intentions. 2

Young voters (under 30): 63%
Voters aged 30-39 : 58%
Voters aged 40-49 : 52%
University graduates: 62%
Those with A levels or equivalent:  53%
University students: over 75%
Older voters (over 60): 56%
Voters 50-59: 52%
Voters with no qualification higher than GCSE:  57%

The arguments:

How other nations will see Britain if we leave Europe

How do you want other nations of Europe to consider Britain after June 23rd? As a reliable partner, or as the one that walked away?
   If Britain leaves the EU, we will lose a massive amount of goodwill from people elsewhere in Europe. As well as damaging the UK's own economy, a vote for  Brexit is likely to set off a domino effect that damages economies throughout Europe. When this happens, angry fingers will be pointed at Britain, as the nation that deliberately wrecked the EU. And we'll have to live with it for at least two generations to come.
   It is pure fantasy to suggest that other countries of Europe will continue to look up to the  UK as, in many respects, they do now. They will not. Britain will be isolated, shunned, as the country that turned its back on the rest of Europe.
Other governments of Europe will not be happy with Brexit; but a British Brexit will actually be a salutary event for Europe, and even if it does cause an initial recession in Europe, it will not take long for other countries to appreciate that Britain was actually the first country to "liberate" itself from the burden of the European Union.
   Britain will once again be seen as the country that saves Europe, as we  did by our action in two world wars.  Nationalist parties in other countries of Europe will follow Britain and reclaim their sovereignty; eventually there will be no more European Union.


Leaving the European Union would allow us to choose our own immigration policy; that is true; but it is not going to stop immigration. Asked by the BBC if the Leave campaign's "chosen immigration" policy would actually guarantee to cut the number of immigrants, Boris Johnson carefully avoided answering the question.
   Then on 19th June, he said; " I am pro-immigration, my friends. I am the proud descendent of Turkish immigrants. And let me stun you, perhaps, by saying I would go further. I am not only pro-immigration, I’m pro-immigrants".  And these words from the leader of the "Leave" campaign that has suggesting that it would drastically reduce immigration to the UK.
  The fact is that if the British economy is to prosper, it cannot do so without recruiting large numbers of skilled and unskilled workers from other countries. If they don't come from our own continent, Europe, they will have to come from other continents.
    In no way will leaving the EU stop immigration to the UK.
    EU immigration is a great asset to the UK economy, and people from EU countries pay a lot more in taxes than they receive as benefits.
    Immigration is always an emotive issue that appeals to people's sense of nationalism. It is easy, and sometimes satisfying,  to blame others for our perceived ills. Of course, in the event of a Brexit, the economic downturn that will follow will make Britain a far less attractive country compared to other parts of Europe, we'll all be poorer, and immigration from the EU will fall of its own accord. But that would really be an own goal.
We need to reclaim our borders, and to have the right to determine our own immigration policies for people from the European Union, just as we control immigration from other parts of the world.
  Immigration from other countries in Europe accounts for just under half of all the immigration to the UK; and at present we cannot control it.
   Britain cannot continue to let in an unlimited number of immigrants from other parts of  Europe. If we leave the European Union, we will be able to use a "points system" to restrict immigration from the European Union to people for whom there are jobs available in the UK, and people who speak proper English.
   Today, for instance, there is a shortage of cooks to work in Bangla-Deshi restaurants in the UK; but restaurant owners cannot recruit from Bangla-Desh. By choosing our own immigration policy, we will be able to cap the number of migrants from other European countries, and bring in more people from Commonwealth countries, such as cooks from Bangla Desh.
    Immigration from other parts of the EU, notably from southeast Europe, has driven down wages in the UK. Reducing immigration from the EU will thus lead to higher wages for many unskilled jobs as employers recruit British employees to replace migrant workers who accept lower pay.
    We will also keep more of the young people that we educate in the UK, as there will be less opportunity for them to go and work abroad, if there is no longer free movement of people between Britain and the countries of continental Europe.

Post-referendum update 2017:
Many prominent Leavers now admit that leaving the EU will not actually reduce immigration more than a fraction, if Britain wants to continue to benefit from Access to the European single market. 
  In addition, the "Leave" victory has unleashed a wave of xenophobic and racist incidents in the UK, with police reporting a 57% increase in such acts compared to before the referendum.

Britain in the world : a question of reputation and influence

Britain is stronger in Europe than out.
We have everything to gain from remaining as a constructive member of the European Union.
Europe is (as long as it remains united) one of the  four major players on the world scene, and Britain is one of the three major nations in Europe. Alone we will lose this influential position. 
Britain can have more influence as a sovereign nation than just as a part of the EU. Britain can be an equal partner with the USA, with China, with Russia and the EU.

Trade and economy: can Britain perform better in the EU or outside it ?

The vast majority of economists in Britain and other countries warn that Britain leaving the EU would be an economic disaster.
The EU is the world's largest economic area. Britain will be more successful economically as part of the EU, than outside it. If we leave, we will still have to take account of EU rules and regulations if we want to trade with the EU; but we will no longer be able to influence them and help to shape them.
  A Brexit would mean the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, as international firms that need a base in the EU relocate offices and plants to Ireland or to the continent.
   The "Remain" campaign don't have the monopoly of "believing in Britain". We all "believe in Britain"; but believing in Britain is not some magic trick that will let us defy the economic odds.
57% of the UK's car production is exported to the EU countries, according to the SMMT. 
  A vote for Brexit is certain to have a negative impact on this.... if only from EU consumers who are furious about the UK leaving the EU. There have already been calls in Europe for consumers to boycott British products if Britain damages the European union economy by voting to Brexit. But it is likely to be much more negative than this, leading to plant closures and job losses in the UK motor industry and is subcontractors, many of them small firms.
  In addition, in spite of the claims by Leavers that Britain can't target export markets outside the EU because of EU rules, the UK car industry's biggest export market is the USA... followed by China. Not only can we export outside the EU; we can do so with great success.
SMMT: Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. - 2016
A handful of neo-liberal British economists believe that Britain could do better by leaving the EU.
  British business is hampered by bureaucratic red-tape from Brussels. Even the 80% of British companies that do not export have to follow EU rules on standards, employee rights, union representation, health and safety, paternity leave and other bureaucratic red tape; this is a burden on small businesses.
   If we leave the European Union, we can bring down the cost of labour in the UK, so that firms can hve manufacturing plants here in the UK, rather than exporting their production facilities to countries with low labour costs.

   Besides, big companies will want to keep their operations in the UK and will only relocate as little as possible, as Britain without EU red-tape will be a more attractive place to do business.
  We need to believe in Britain.

EU intervention and interference, and the concept of the EU

Over the last 40 years, membership of the EU has actually been very beneficial to the UK. When we joined back in 1976, Britain was "the sick man of Europe". Becoming part of the world's largest union of independent states has helped our economy, our wealth, our science and development, and our status on the world stage.
  Much of the "interference" that the "out" campaign so dislikes is actually legislation to protect the rights of ordinary people, to protect the environment, to protect consumers, to force phone companies to reduce roaming charges, or to require greater transparency from financial operators to combat money-laundering and tax evasion.
  In addition, the biggest burdens on business in the UK today have nothing to do with the EU. For instance", the new "living wage", a major cost to business, is intervention by the UK government, not by the EU.
   The EU is a force for peace and stability in a continent that has long been fractured by wars and national rivalries. It was set up, and still functions, to defend and promote peace, democracy and democratic institutions throughout Europe.
   The last thing Europe wants is to return to being a continent divided by rival nationisms, as it was in 1914 or 1939, with the consequences that we all know. Many Brexiteers seem to imagine that a Brexit will turn the clock back to some golden past, when Britannia ruled the waves and the Empire.But no amount of imagining will bring back the past.
Government intervention, and even more so EU intervention, interferes with natural market forces, therefore is bad for the economy. By leaving the EU, Britain will take back control and be able to get rid of a lot of unwanted Brussels legislation in fields such as consumer protection or employee rights.
   Freed from  unnecessary bureaucratic intervention, British firms will become more efficient and profitable.

   The European Union is an attempt to deprive the nations of Europe of their independence and sovereignty, by the creation of a massive European superstate run by unelected bureaucrats. Boris Johnson likens the European Union to Adolf Hitler, in the way that it is trying to unite Europe under a single authority.

Brexit and business

Most businessmen, and in particular the leaders of exporting companies and large companies, agree that leaving the EU would seriously damage their business and employment opportunities in the UK.
   There are some who feel "Big business wants the UK to remain in the EU for its own interests, for its big profits." Well maybe it does... But profitable businesses create jobs; and their profits mostly go to big investors, notably our pension funds.
   A Brexit will hit our big companies and our small ones; and while it may mean some people don't get fat-cat bonuses, a far bigger impact will be that  a lot of ordinary people lose their jobs, or can't get the jobs that have been moved to the Continent or to Ireland. And pensions will be smaller if business are less profitable.

A minority of business leaders and company owners dislike the EU because it imposes an extra cost, and extra rules on their freedom to act. These include EU workplace legislation, social legislation, employee rights, and standards.  Some business leaders also complain that EU legislation restricts Britain's freedom to set up bilateral free-trade agreements with non-Eu countries.
  James Dyson (whose company has moved all its manufacturing from the UK to southeast Asia) wants to leave the EU on account of European vacuum cleaner energy regulations, and because the EU requires vacuum cleaners to be equipped with different types of plug for different countries.

Jobs, mobility and employment

The free movement of people within the EU has been of massive benefit to Britain. Many of our firms and public services  could not survive without recruiting workers from other parts of Europe. Actually, EU citizens working in Britain pay more in taxes than they take back in benefits. And millions of Britons live and work in other countries of Europe, where they enjoy the same services and benefits as other EU citizens. If we leave the EU, all this will change.  
  Many firms depend on labour from the EU to do jobs that British workers cannot or do not want to do.
   There are some 65,000 EU nationals claiming jobseeker’s allowance in the UK : but that is only half the picture. 2.5% of Britons who live in other EU countries are also claiming unemployment benefits in those countries, notably in Ireland, Germany and France.. which is a similar rate.
The free movement of people within the EU has led to millions of people from Europe coming to Britain to benefit from our welfare system. They put pressure on our hospitals, our schools, our housing, our roads; and ordinary British people are having to bear the cost of this .  
  The influx of workers from eastern Europe has been driving down wages in some sectors, and ordinary British workers have suffered from this. Leaving the EU will allow wages to rise again.

Healthcare and Brexit

News: 9 June 2016. Tory MP Sarah Wollaston, chairman of the House of Commons health select committee, has quit the "Leave" campaign over its untrue claims about the health service, and will vote to remain in Europe.

 Remaining in the EU is vital for the National Health Service. The NHS benefits from EU research grants, and from the free movement of specialists within the European Union. Many of our leading specialists are from other EU countries. The argument that EU immigrants are breaking the NHS is a lie. Thanks to the EU health-care agreement, hundreds of thousands of UK citizens have a free EHIC card, and thus get treatment on health services in other countries of the EU. Arrangments are reciprocal. Everyone benefits, including holidaymakers. "Healthcare tourism" is very marginal... and it works both ways. 
According to the Daily Express, "Uncontrolled immigration has put a huge strain on A&E waiting times." Leaving the European Union will reduce pressures on limited resources. A number of leading figures in the "leave" campaign have misgivings about the way the health service is run.

  According to Nigel Farage, there is plenty of room for cuts in the NHS; and according to Boris Johnson, people should be made to pay for certain services so that they "value them more".  Tory MEP Daniel Hannan claimed on American television  that the NHS has been a "60 year mistake", and that a national healthcare system is not a good way to run healthcare in any  country.

The cost of belonging to the EU

Belonging to the EU costs us 0.34% of our wealth: domestic taxation in Britain, by contrast, costs us 35% of our wealth – 100 times more. The small cost of belonging to the EU is actually is vastly outweighed by the benefits of membership.  Though leaving the EU might allow some of our richest people to get even richer, it would make most ordinary people poorer.
  The figure of "£360 million a week"  banded about by the Leave campaign is seriously wrong, as it does not take account of what we get back. The real figure is less than half.... and a good bit of that pays the salaries of the thousand or so UK nationals employed by the EU civil service
Belonging to the EU costs Britain billions of pounds each year, money that could far better be spent on reducing taxation, or spending more on our public services. There is no point at all going on spending all this money to pay for unnecessary bureaucrats in Brussels, or to pay the salaries and expenses of MEPs.

Post-referendum update 2017:
Most senior Leave campaigners have now backtracked on the idea that £360 million a week could be saved and spent on the NHS . The figure had been widely condemned as wrong, before the vote, but the Leave campaign continued to use it.

The consequences of leaving the EU

For the last 70 years, Britain has basked in an aura of goodwill from other nations in Europe, as the nation that saved Europe. In 1939, inspired by great Europeans like Churchill,  we went to war for Europe and we didn't count the cost. With the help of our allies, we won, and Europe has been grateful to us ever since.
  If Britain leaves the EU, Britain will change from being the nation that saved Europe to the nation that abandoned it, or maybe that contributes to a major crisis in the EU, by unleashing nationalisms all over the continent.
  It is pure wishful thinking to imagine that in this new Europe, the UK will benefit from any special favours. Europe will not listen to us, and we will not be in a position of force to make them do so. As a small island off the coast of a disgruntled Europe, our future could be very bleak.
   According to the IMF, a British exit from the EU would be likely to have serious consequences for both Sterling and the UK stock market, damaging investment, pensions, and the UK's balance of trade. Experts suggest that sterling could rapidly fall by 10 -20 % against the dollar.... which will make everyone in Britain poorer, by considerably increasing the cost of foreign holidays and everything we import.
  In addition, if Britain leaves the EU, the remaining countries will certainly lay out the red carpet to attract international investment away from Britain and back into the EU.... and to develop an international financial centre in the EU that will eventually rival and maybe overtake London.
  It would take a few years, but it is foolhardy to imagine for one minute that the EU would just acquiesce to having Europe's major financial hub in a nation that is no longer part of the Union.
Britain has everything to gain from leaving the European Union, then negotiating lots of bilateral trading deals, visa deals and citizen exchange deals with other countries.
   Freed from EU rules and bureaucracy, the UK will be free to negotiate deals that are in Britain's best interest, and this will be far more beneficial to British business than being obliged to set up international deals in the framework of the European Union, as happens now.
   Since Europe exports more to Britain than Britain exports to Europe, European countries are going to do whatever we ask them to do, to make sure that their firms can still compete in the UK market. They are not going to erect trade barriers.

  If Britons vote to leave the EU, there will quite likely be short term consequences on the stock market and for the value of sterling; but these will not last long.
   A fall in the value of Sterling will make the cost of holidays abroad more expensive, and will drive up the cost of imported goods - cars, computers, electrical goods, but not by a lot.  But on the other hand, it will make British goods cheaper, so our exporting companies will be more competitive in international markets, which will generate more jobs.
   As for the IMF, their predictions are not always right.

  Besides, London is so well established as the world's leading financial centre, that this will not change whether we remain in the EU or leave it.

Collateral consequences - the future of the UK and Europe

All opinion polls show that Scots and Welsh voters will vote strongly in favour of remaining in the EU.
  Any victory of the "leave" campaign in the UK as a whole would open the floodgates towards victory for Scottish nationalists in a new Scottish Independence referendum, leading to a breakup of the United Kingdom within maybe less than five years. Nicola Sturgeon has already said that a new referendum could be organised.
  This will leave England even more isolated – on the outside of Europe and no longer even a United Kingdom.
   If Britain leaves the EU, the whole EU may rapidly collapse... which will have catastrophic geopolitical and economic consequences for Britain, Europe and the West in general
If Britain leaves the EU, this will weaken the cohesion of the EU and encourage Eurosceptics in other countries to demand referendums too.  The new EU that emerges from this will be much weaker and less attractive than the UK.  which will benefit from being out. In this new order, the Scots will prefer to remain with a stronger independent UK, than with an increasingly uncertain European Union.
   If Britain leaves the EU, other countries with strong nationalist movements may follow, leading quite quickly to a collapse of the European Union. This will allow all the nations of Europe to regain their sovereignty and take back their authority – which will be a good outcome

Post-referendum update 2017:
Brexit was widely welcomed by far right nationalist and xenophobic parties across Europe

 Why is the British NHS (National Health Service) under pressure? (Situation in 2016)

The NHS has featured prominently in the Brexit debate; sadly, the facts and figures quoted have often been misleading. A reality check shows that the problems with the NHS are British problems, and nothing to do with the EU. Other major EU countries have better funded and staffed heath services than the UK does. Most recent figures available from the World Bank.
Belgium Germany France UK
Health Spending as share of GDP 10.6% 11.3% 11.5% 9.1%
Number of GPs for 1000 population 4.9 3.9 3.2 2.8
Hospital beds per 1000 population 6.5 8.2 6.4 2.9
Nurses and midwives per 1000 population 16.8 11.5 9.3 8.8
The NHS is overstretched NOT because of pressure from EU migrants, but because our sovereign governments choose to spend less  on it than others ; we have less GPs,  less hospital beds, and less nurses and midwives per population than other major EU countries. Even Italy and Portugal pay a higher share of their GDP on their health services than the UK does. No wonder the NHS is overstretched. And this is a 100% sovereign situation.
   For several years now, the UK media have highlighted the massive problem of the lack of hospital beds in the UK, with the sick and the injured waiting for hours on stretchers in hospital corridors until a bed becomes available. Noone who takes the trouble to check out the figures will be surprised that people have to wait in hospital corridors until a bed is available. Relative to its population, the UK has less than half  the number of hospital beds of France, Germany or Belgium.
   Europe is not part of the problem of the NHS; by helping provide the health professionals we do not have enough of, it is part of the solution.

Still undecided ?

If you are still undecided, look at the arguments again, weigh up the pros and cons  and draw your own conclusions.
Which parties are in favour of remaining in the EU, which parties want to leave? And which of these parties do you have most sympathy with? Which of these parties have the competence to run the United Kingdom ? And what  solution do they or their leaders recommend?
Which of thepersonalities in either camp do you have confidence in?
Objectively, which arguments are most credible ?

And to conclude, three final points.

   1. If you still don't really understand the issues, you are not alone. They are not all easy to follow; they have to do with economics, finance, politics, geopolitics, nationalisms and a whole lot more.  Not everyone masters these.

   2.  Who will be most affected by the result of the Brexit referendum? Obviously, those who will have to live with it for longest. The young. And what future do they want ? 63% of the under 30's want Britain to remain in the EU.  Older voters: don't jeopardize your childrens' future.

   3  Why do some business leaders and politicians want Britain to leave the EU?
Well, it takes all sorts to make a world, and even clever and intelligent people do not always agree. And in business and politics, there are plenty of intelligent clever and ambitious people, who can disagree strongly on many things. Some are motivated by deep-held ideology, others by loyalty to a cause, others by personal ambition, others by a dislike of anything that restricts their liberty.

In the world of business : there are businessmen, fund managers and financiers who dislike anything that limits their ability to make money or take risks. The EU has pioneered rules and regulations to bring more transparency into banking or stop money-laundering. It has placed disclosure obligations on investment funds, many of which operate out of secretive tax havens such as the Cayman Islands or Bermuda. Unsurprisingly, many fund managers and their friends in politics object out of principle to these limits to their "freedom".
In the world of politics:   Most (but not all) of the MPs and other influential people in Britain  who want to leave the EU are politically on the far right - the right wing of the Conservative party, or even further to the right. Their desire to leave the EU is not motivated by rational argument, but by neo-conservative ideology. The political far right, is traditionally nationalistic, sovereignist, and anti big-government. This is true in the UK and the USA, just as it true in other countries. Throughout Europe, far-right parties are anti-EU, and looking forward to a Brexit for inspiration. Paradoxically, the same goes for a number of parties of the far left, for whom the EU is a tool of capitalism and big business.
   Moderate, middle-of-the-road politicians and parties are generally in favour of remaining in the EU.
  History shows us however that when far-right nationalists take control, the results are not usually very happy.  Just think of two recent examples - Milosevic in Serbia, or Galtieri and the generals in Argentina.  Their rhetoric sounded good to the people, they appealed to nationalistic emotions, and they blamed outsiders for their country's woes (in Serbia's case the Bosnians, in Argentina's case, the British); but their results were calamitous for their countries.
   Being nationalistic is not at all the same as being patriotic. Patriotism is a love for your country. Nationalism is imagining that your country is better than others.

See also :  Why Britain needs Europe New: Britain Brexits - who's to blame?

1. As reported in many news media. The Kremlin is refusing to make any public comments on Brexit, fearing (quite logically) that any announcement of a Putin backing for Brexit would be counterproductive, in the way that French National Front leader Marine Le Pen's planned UK Brexit support visit was blocked by Brexiteers as being more likely to damage the Brexit campaign than help it.See numerous articles
2. Percentages from YouGov poll as reported in the Daily Telegraph, 26 Feb 2016

 Copyright  :
 © Andrew Rossiter and 2016  - 2024
Photo March against Brexit. By John Briody
Licence Creative Commons 2.0

Copyright   : Website and texts © 2009-204 except where otherwise indicated

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson... the controversial and now disgraced British Prime Minister who championed Brexit

Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak - British  Prime Minister  2023 - 2024

Anti-brexit march

Five years after Brexit, many people wished that it had never happened

 Copyright  :
Photos of UK Prime Ministers licenced under the UK Open Government licence.

We value your privacy, and do not collect any personal data. does not track users, but uses cookies for essential functions and anonymized visitor statistics. To remove this message click   or otherwise click for more details