Progressive Britons woke up this morning to the devastating news that their countrymen had voted by 52 percent to leave the free trade, travel and economic advantages that come with E.U. membership in favor of closed borders and independence. That this was a terrible economic decision became obvious as the British pound fell overnight to a 31-year low, its biggest fall in history. Why did the people vote for such a bad idea? Fear of immigrants. Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), which had backed a vote to leave, said in a statement recorded by Al Jezeera that E.U. membership had led to “irresponsible, open-door mass-immigration that has damaged the quality of life of ordinary, decent people in this country”
Al Jazeera’s Barnaby Phillips said, “There is anger towards the political class. The message on immigration resonated in large parts of the country. People at the poorer end of society feel that the large number of EU migrants, and other migrants, that have come in has been to their disadvantage; that it has hurt access to schools, access to housing, pushed down wages at the bottom end of the wage scale.”
Majority votes in favor of leaving the E.U. came from central U.K., a former industrial zone that has fallen on hard times as globalization has weakened local manufacturing. Interestingly, Scotland and Northern Ireland, both uneasy members of the U.K. voted in large numbers to remain; time will tell if these countries will seek to rejoin the E.U. as independent members.
Suffice to say there is deep uncertainly ahead as the U.K. will need to disentangle workers who have enjoyed free movement, trade with the members of the E.U. and many deeper long lasting economic and trade issues.
Last night on news of Brexit’s success, Van Jones took to Facebook live to pull a fire alarm, “No one cares [about Brexit], it’s summer, everyone’s happy. This is the end of the world. Please take this seriously.”
“Does any of this sound familiar? You’ve got a movement of crazy people going for power, making lunatic arguments, and then you have good, thoughtful liberal people saying ‘That wouldn’t be prudent. That wouldn’t work out. The policies are irrational. The liberal people come on the air and say, ‘oh these foolish people; this will never happen.”
It Just Happened. Crazy hard right lunatics just led the U.K. off a cliff into the vast abyss of stupidity and foolishness and soon-to-be economic chaos. Does this sound familiar? The same people in the United States will give you the same argument and tell you it is impossible that Trump can win. ‘His arguments don’t make any sense, they’re irrational; He’s so unseemly. Who would ever vote for this guy?’ and they point to the polls and say ‘Oh look, Hillary Clinton is doing so well,’ But look at the polls. Despite his lunacy they are tied right now in Ohio, a major swing state… Look man this is bad. This is horrible. What this means is that there’s a current in the U.K. I’m not talking about a crazy country you’ve never heard of. I’m talking about Britain. I’m talking about London. I’m talking about places where you can go and get off the plane and they speak the same language as you… This is what is happening in the United States. You have some people, and we’ve got to take this seriously, who are incredibly uncomfortable with multiculturalism, they’re incredibly uncomfortable with immigration, they are incredibly uncomfortable with the world changing, and these people will go and vote. In very large numbers…
Jones goes on to analyze what happened and points to the false reassurances that came from political analysts and incomplete polls.
The sane people went to sleep and the crazy people stood up. Everyone that tells you that Trump can’t win, you should start screaming at them. Because all they are doing is putting our base to sleep. All they are doing is calming people down when they should be riling people up, and if you want to know if this strategy will work or fail, look at what just happened in the U.K. You have to tell people every day, ‘not only CAN Trump win, Trump is probably gonna win, not because he’s smart, but because we’re so stupid that we keep telling people it can’t happen here. It Just Happened.
If you don’t want this to happen in the United States, slap your friends upside the head, who are watching NPR, eating their tofu, and telling you how wonderful it is that Trump is horrible. It is not wonderful that he is horrible, it is horrible that he is horrible and we need to get off our butts and start alerting people and getting the country ready for a big fight.
What do you think, is Jones right? If so, he’s sounding an alarm progressive voters can’t afford to press the snooze button on.
Watch his whole speech rant here.
Image screenshot from Facebook Live