Brexit Kevin Cummins/Getty Images

A British Tragedy in One Act

In a sense, Brexit began in the 1940s, with Winston Churchill and his vision of Europe. And the outcome recalls one of Churchill’s more famous aphorisms: “The trouble with committing political suicide is that you live to regret it.”

OXFORD – Thursday night is said to have been momentous for those who campaigned to leave the European Union and turn Britain’s back on the twenty-first century. On that, at least, I can agree. As Cicero wrote: “O wretched and unhappy was that day.”

The decision to leave the EU will dominate British national life for the next decade, if not longer. One can argue about the precise scale of the economic shock – short- and long-term – but it is difficult to imagine any circumstances in which the United Kingdom does not become poorer and less significant in the world. Many of those who were encouraged to vote allegedly for their “independence” will find that, far from gaining freedom, they have lost their job.

So, why did it happen?

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