Britain’s export position was temporarily boosted by the precipitous fall in Sterling, but that was unrepresentative because raw inputs had already been purchased at pre-fall prices. Now that UK companies have to purchase inputs & raw materials with a collapsed currency, the price of the resulting goods will of course increase to reflect increased costs. The net effect will be worse than zero, however, because of additional tariffs. That’s why even the most optimistic projections of life post-Brexit show a massive 8% GDP loss over the coming decade relative to what would have been the case if the UK had remained within the EU.

The reason for rural parts of the UK being more xenophobic and Leave-oriented than the cities is not because of globalization (they aren’t giving up their smartphones or McSlop or Nikes or cheap clothes, are they?) nor a “cry against the elites” (hello, Alexander Boris de Pfeffer Johnson, Old Etonian and quondam President of the Oxford Union…) but simply because these areas contain a larger proportion of poorly-educated, ill-informed, and more gullible people yearning for a yesteryear in which the Empire stood strong and Spitfires flew over the White Cliffs of Dover.

In other words, populism today is as it has always been: based on ignorance, fear, foolishness, and a desire to run away into the past as an alternative to trying to grapple with the challenges of the present.

The problem for populist solutions, of course, is that the present remains intact, the challenges grow larger, and populism merely makes everything far worse than it otherwise would have been.

Written by

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store