Was the UK voting for Brexit a surprise? If so, it’s because we were oblivious to what has been going on with people for some time now. Lord Ashcroft’s survey shows us the UK electorate is deeply divided, but it is not primarily related to gender, generation or geography (Scotland and N. Ireland notwithstanding).
There is a cultural great divide in the UK, and elsewhere in the world that is revealed in the responses below:
By large majorities, voters who saw multiculturalism, feminism, the Green movement, globalisation and immigration as forces for good voted to remain in the EU; those who saw them as a force for ill voted by even larger majorities to leave. How the United Kingdom Voted and Why
So it is fair to say Brexit is also a repudiation of EU climate and energy policies, as explained here.
As for this phenomenon elsewhere, you must have also noticed a striking resemblance:
And the similarities extend to statements and soundbites:
There may be all kinds of reasons why I was sweating at ping-pong – but they don’t include global warming.
It is fantastic news that the world has agreed to cut pollution and help people save money, but I am sure that those global leaders were driven by a primitive fear that the present ambient warm weather is somehow caused by humanity; and that fear – as far as I understand the science – is equally without foundation. Boris Johnson (here)
We’re going to cancel the Paris agreement and stop all payment of U.S. tax dollars to global warming programs.”
“We’re going to deal with real environmental challenges, not the phony ones we’ve been hearing about. . .My priorities are very simple: clean air and clean water. Donald Trump (here)
Make no mistake: Both these gentlemen are unconventional and disruptive characters. Boris will face much resistance to his replacing Cameron. And Donald cannot be trusted to be a reliable Republican conservative, as Paul Ryan well knows.
Both are and will be denounced as “populists”, even “rabble-rousers”. Those and other such terms are always used by the elite whenever someone not in their club gains a following, becoming a political threat to those in power.
Reminder: Marx defined ideology as the set of ideas by which the ruling class maintains their power over the population. In an insightful essay (here), William Briggs sees the Brexit result as reminding us that democratic voting is inherently destablilizing. Because the hoi polloi can not be trusted to think as the establishment wants.
To the Republicans’ chagrin Trump is the one who consolidates the widespread resentment against the leftist, politically correct, authoritarian elite personified by Hilliary Clinton. In the same way Johnson was the face of the Brexit campaign victorious against the faceless EU bureaucracy.
Update June 28
Julie Burchill writes at the Spectator about the UK cultural divide, and describes the two sides as Ponces (Remainers) and Non-Ponces (Leavers). Apparently Brits use the verb “ponce” in two senses:
1. ponce around
British informal. Behave in an affected or ineffectual way:
‘I ponced around in front of the mirror’
2. ponce something up
British informal. Make overly elaborate and unnecessary changes to something in an attempt to improve it:
‘They would not let the food alone, they had to ponce it up in some way or other.’
The article is hilarious: http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/06/brexit-divide-wasnt-young-old-ponces-non-ponces/