Commentary: The left also has its Brexit supporters

Magyar Hírlap columnist Károly Lóránt comments on the state of the Brexit fiasco.

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Károly Lóránt

The international press keeps saying that those in favor of Brexit are racists, politically aligned to the far-right. But the left – though in smaller numbers – also has its share of Brexit supporters, Magyar Híralp columnist Károly Lóránt writes.

Going back to the roots of the issue: Brexit came somewhat out of the blue. Since the United Kingdom joined the European Community in 1973, there were those who questioned the benefits of membership, but the real catalyst was the appearance of Nigel Farage and his UKIP party, founded after the UK signed the Maastricht Agreement. He made it to the European Parliament and there provoked caustic debates with the majority powers. Probably most memorable were his verbal bouts with Guy Verhofstadt.

The Farage-led UKIP found serious traction at home and took away a significant number of votes from the Conservatives at the 2015 elections. In order to “lance the boil,” then Prime Minister David Cameron launched the referendum on Brexit in the hope that it will make the problem go away. Despite forecasts to the contrary, Brexit won with 51.9 percent of the votes.

Cameron to this day cannot forgive himself for being wrong in gauging public opinion, but he was not alone.

Putting aside economic arguments for and against, the main factor in the Brexit victory was national independence. The majority of Brits were of the opinion that they should be sole masters of their destiny, without an outside authority forcing things upon them. Though the international press keeps saying that those in favor of Brexit are racists and politically belonging to the far-right, the left – though in smaller numbers – also has its share of Brexit supporters.

Back in 2016, Chris Bickerton, fellow of the Queen’s College in Oxford and also a Guardian columnist, wrote that Brexit is not the property of the right because many on the left were also disappointed with the European Union. The division in opinions regarding Brexit and other such issues – migration, for example – is not between left and right but between national independence and the empire-building of a cosmopolitan elite.

We should really root for Brexit to be successful because it could also prove that there is a way to constrain empire-building and create a more equitable cooperation among nations.


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