Jarrod Hazelton: Brexit a triumph of ignorance

Brexit is perhaps most appropriately summed up in the words of Mr. Donald Trump: 

“Just arrived in Scotland. Place is going wild over the vote. They took their country back, just like we will take America back. No games!” 

A Tweet heard (naturally) ‘round the world, whose expression of ignorance wa signored by his supporters  even as it was rightfully lampooned by everybody else.   Scotland and Northern Ireland voted strongly for the United Kingdom to stay in the European Union; England and Wales voted to leave.

Support for Brexit worldwide is a veritable Who’s Who of international Nuevo-fascism: Trump, Zhirinovsky, Putin, Marine le Pen. It is also the direct result of unabashed ignorance.  Take, for example, the recent remarks by U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage.

One of the central tenets of the Leave campaign was that £350 million per week in payments to the European Union would be diverted to the British National Health Service after Brexit. This incredible incentive is certainly something to consider, but for the fact that it was a total fabrication. Rather than admit this, Farage has instead made the preposterous assertion that he never said such a thing, regardless of the Leave campaign tour bus being emblazoned with the £350 million figure as it traversed the English countryside. Perhaps one of his handlers forgot to mention the design change. Additionally,  a Tory member of the European Parliament,  David Hannan, back-pedaled on immigration, claiming less than 24 hours after the Brexit vote that immigration levels  from the E.U. into Britain might remain unchanged after Brexit goes into full effect. Who knew that the UK had just voted in favor of a group of BRINOs (Brexitors In Name Only)?

Lying in politics is certainly not new but the  size of such preposterous claims in recent history is impressive. Trump is a virtual cacophony of spewing, festering untruths, and yet his followers  go along with his claims regardless of veracity. Instead, he maintains a stronghold on their collective frustration at  being excluded from a system that has long since left them behind.

What Brexitors and Trump supporters have in common may be less xenophobia, bigotry, racism and a longing to take back “again” whatever it is they feel is no longer theirs than ignorance. In America, Trumpists, are nostalgic for a country that once afforded them labor protections, defined-benefit pensions, generous employer-subsidized healthcare, affordable education and other things that have been stripped from them, albeit with scraps still trickling down to them from the rich interests so powerful in Washington, D.C. 

Ironically, market forces that have assaulted Brexitors and Trump and Sanders supporters who will refuse to vote for Hillary Clinton may ultimately solve their problems for them. Sovereign wealth funds lost over 30 percent of their interests in the U.K. overnight as  the pound crashed with the Brexit news, and won’t stand for  this to go on. Businesses in Britain will realize the vast expense of hiring and retraining based on citizenry regulations to be too egregious. And Brexit Remorse may lead to a second referendum, and/or negotiations to leave the E.U may result in a realm of clauses and capitulations that would truly make a Brexit In Name Only.

The prevailing ignorance, xenophobia, bigotry and socio-economic factors behind market forces may solve themselves for a time, but in so doing no lessons will be learned.

Jarrod Hazelton, who holds a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Chicago, is a financial analyst.