The People Have Spoken, the Bastards
ian leslie

Given the barrage of vitriol that has been directed towards the 52% who voted to leave the EU, I cannot thank you enough for this sincere and thoughtful response. I was particularly struck by your acknowledgment of a democratic process which, regardless of its flaws, has compelled you to recognise the grievances of your compatriots. People voted to Leave for very different reasons, but there is no doubt that a very large proportion of those votes were motivated, not by doddering nostalgia or rabid xenophobia, but by a sense of despair and disenfranchisement. There are millions of people throughout Europe who feel the same way, which is why EU ministers and powerbrokers are now scrambling to avoid the dreaded ‘contagion’. In a stagnant, low-growth world, with ongoing security issues and central bank monetary policies that keep dumping cash that does nothing to stimulate growth or productivity, people are increasingly resentful. They are also not as backward or downright stupid as some commentators would have us believe. They see the inequalities getting wider and more entrenched. The Remain camp made the fatal mistake of talking down to these people throughout the entire campaign — belittling and derided them and then threatening them when all else failed. It was a strategy that massively backfired. But the loathing has not abated — few have taken the time to approach the issue the way you have. Instead they rail against the old, (apparently that includes anyone over 45), the non-university educated, non-urbanite, uncosmopolitan swill. And now, to top it all, they demand another vote. Despite evidence that the EU is a coalition that is either incapable or unwilling to reform, the petition to void this referendum is circulating widely. It seems that, for many of these highly-educated and cultured people, the only morally and epistemically legitimate result of a referendum is the one that they themselves agree with. And it is this attitude which, I fear, is going to make the months ahead all the more painful.

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