A lot has been said on this subject and no doubt it is a complete disaster in every way. To me one of the worst aspects of it will be the festering resentment created: within England, within Britain, and within Europe. There will be dislike and suspicion everywhere; ill feeling, anger, contempt. Even if it never comes about, though inefficiency or feet dragging, an awful lot of harm has already been done that cannot be rectified.

There really should be an explicit discipline called “political psychology” that deals with all aspects of the psyche that bear on politics (compare “economic psychology”). Political emotions would be a central area. Much of social science is still in thrall to behaviorism, but we need to recognize the full reality of the inner life in shaping behavior. In fact, most of political theory really is political psychology under another name. And the first law of political psychology is: People hate people with whom they disagree politically.

2 replies
  1. Joe Mckay
    Joe Mckay says:

    I don’t think it will be that bad.

    Half voted to REMAIN. And the other half voted to LEAVE.

    But of those who voted to leave the EU – they were either rebelling against the political elite (a lot of these were people who rarely vote) or were people who were hoping for a small victory for REMAIN and who wanted to scare the EU into renegotiating with the UK. My father was one of the latter and the last thing he wanted was for LEAVE to win. This is pretty much what Boris Johnson wanted as well.

    And then you had those voting because they have an issue with immigration. Some of these are racists and some just oppose open door policies. And want a fresh think on the issue (an Australian points system for example). That said – the LEAVE campaign definitely went hard on this issue since it was the only issue that helped them in the polls.

    As such – when the inevitable foot dragging takes place (which means we either don’t leave the EU or change our relationship with the EU to one not too different to what it is now) – only about 10% of the total population will be implacably opposed. Real hatred of the EU is pretty rare in this country. I expect the next general election and/or a second referendum will provide a fresh mandate for those who want to stay in the EU.

    I see a danger for Labour in the north as they may lose seats to UKIP (just as they did in Scotland with the SNP). But even that may not happen after things settle down. As a resident of the UK I really don’t think things will change that much in the future.

    As for me – I voted LEAVE. I just think it is good for democracy to give the political elite a bloody nose every now and then.

    I honestly think the UK is the most unracist country in the world (I would love to know of a country that is more tolerant than us?). As such – there is zero chance of the country taking a turn towards intolerance and bigotry due to the British love of fair play.


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