Jan Zielonka, Professor of European Politics at the University of Oxford, writes that the consequences of the Brexit referendum are bad for both Europe and Britain, regardless of the result. This piece is part of the UCL European Institute’s commissioning partnership with openDemocracy on ‘Brexit Divisions’.
The EU referendum in the United Kingdom was intended as a festival of democracy, but it has proved to be an exercise in political madness. Brits pride themselves on being sensible and pragmatic people, but they embarked on a sentimental journey into the unknown. Rational arguments are being set aside while populists are having a party. The prospect of a referendum with an uncertain result has already caused a great deal of disarray, and those who count the costs of a possible Brexit should realise that major damage to Europe and the United Kingdom has already been done. Continue reading